1995 Honda CBR400RR NC29 vs. 2012 Ducati 1199S Panigale

A little David vs. Goliath here: 1995 Honda CBR400RR NC29 vs. 2012 Ducati 1199S Panigale.

Over last week, I got myself a new bike: a Honda CBR400RR. This brought back memories of my young days, running to the front of my house to watch as soon as I heard my neighbour’s ‘BabyBlade’ about to scream past.
Now, some say that you should not meet your hero. Well I did…and it was awesome!

Honda CBR400RR NC29 Gull-Arm: is a Japanese domestic market small-capacity sport motorcycle introduced by Honda starting from 1988 as a further evolution of the popular CBR400R. The CBR400RR is considered the most closely related of Honda’s 400 cc models to the CBR900RR or Fireblade series of large-capacity sport motorcycles. The CBR400RR preceded the 900 cc (55 cu in) Fireblade by four model years, going through one major rework (signified by a new “gull-arm” swing arm design and a new model number, NC29), and several years of production in its new form before acquiring the FireBlade name for the 1994 model year (hence the “Fireblade” sticker in my photo above).

Almost 10 times cheaper (NZ$4,500 vs. NZ$4,2000)
50% less petrol need
About four times less tyre wear
17 years older
Three times smaller engine
Four times less powerful (55bhp vs. 195bhp)
Slightly heavier!! (185kg dry vs. 164 kg dry)
No electronics: no ABS / traction control / quickshifter
Carbureted (vs. Fuel Injected)
Twice the cylinders (inline four vs. L-twin)
Smaller rear tyre (150/60/17 vs. 200/55/17)
More nimble, but more difficult to ride (hard to adjust line midcorner)

Yet can easily be as quick on the road (as I have tested)!
And just as fun!


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