You've got to admit this is a good-looking bike! It's sporty, but in a "street-attractive" way. By that I mean that it is sporty in a street-bike sense, not a looks-like-it-came-straight-off-the-track sense.
And of course it's not meant to be a track-bike, nor an out-and-out sports bike. It's a sports-tourer type, with the emphasis being a bit more towards the sports end rather than the touring end particularly.
The basic configuration of the Honda Firestorm is that it is a twin-cylinder of 1000cc, running carburetor rather than fuel-injection. Riding position tends more towards the sports-style, with a very definite lean forward that puts a reasonable amount of weight on your wrists at town speeds. It is one of those bikes (and this seems a common trait with Hondas) that feels better the faster you ride it.
The riding position is not one that I am particularly comfortable with, but the weight is low enough (193kg) to make it easily manageable - even for an old bloke like me!
The power (at 81kw) is also easy to manage. My son-in-law, who was riding a Kawasaki 500 twin at the time, was with me when I took this for a test-ride, and I tried to convince him to take it (or a Suzuki 1000 which was also available to ride) for a test-ride too, but he was worried about not being able to handle the power. Now, I have a theory about power; which I tried to convince him of, but he declined. The theory is if you treat the throttle with respect and just apply it gently, then you ease into the power and only apply what you can use. The only problem with that theory is bikes that need a fistful of throttle to avoid bogging-down and stalling. The Honda's power was very manageable though; partly due to the torquey nature of the big twin. I'm sure my son-in-law would have been fine - if he'd followed my advice. It's that sort of bike.
If you've read tests of this bike in the magazines, you've probably read rave-reviews. Indeed, when it was released back in 1997, Two Wheels magazine awarded it it's "Bike Of The Year" prize. But, like a couple of other bikes that the magazines rave about but I find less than totally appealing, I came away not particularly liking it!
The motor was the main thing. It was that bad that I was suspicious that there was something wrong with it! I know twins often have more vibrations than might be desirable (to an old bloke anyway!) but this felt very harsh and displayed a definite unwillingness to rev. (Maybe I should have checked to see if someone had dropped a Harley Sportster donk in there?). Twist the throttle around and it did accelerate reasonably well, but it didn't want to rev out and felt very harsh while it was doing it. Whether it was crook or not I don't know, but as it was, I didn't like it!
It was very high-geared. I was tootling along a suburban road at somewhere around the speed-limit and realised I was still in 2nd or 3rd or something. This high gearing is another indication that it really is intended to be ridden fast.
One thing that did impress was the handling. It had a real running-on-rails feeling. Select a line, steer it in, and it just stuck on that line perfectly! It was an easy bike to ride quickly. And once again, the faster you rode it, the better it felt! I had a ball punting it along a curvy suburban back-road; knowing all the time that it was capable of being peddled through the corners a lot faster than I was going; but I was still having a ball!
So for me it was a bit of a mixed-bag. I liked the styling, but the riding-position didn't suit me; it was too stretch-out sporty for my tastes. The handling was great, but the motor seemed harsh and not especially fast. Maybe it was sick? I don't know; I can only comment on 'em as I find 'em! Either way, I don't think it is a bike I would buy. But if you are interested in them, don't take my assessment of it, because the magazines reckon they are great things! You'd have to try one for yourself.
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