After riding the Blackbird for about 36000 km. in nearly 2 years it is not possible to be disappointed in the bike though it is not a perfect one. A point what is not as good as it should be is the gearbox. Switching gears is not smooth at all, especially the first three. Switching gears (first to second) at lower rev's without noise is most of the time a matter of luck. I have spoken to other Blackbird owners and they have the same experience with the gearbox. The average fuel consumption and wind protection could be better too. But over all it is a very good bike, suitable for daily commuting, touring in the weekends and long trips in the holidays. You may say that it is almost a perfect Grant Tourismo Machine. Very stable at high speeds (more then 200 kmh) and even slow corners e.g. narrow hairpins are not a problem.
The acceleration is really sensational. Always enough power, but when you're twisting the throttle at 4000 rpm in sixth gear the bike reacts a bit slow and when the needle past the7000 rpm mark you are going like a rocket. The OEM Bridgestone BT 57 tires are excellent on dry and wet roads. The DCBS brakes are good, braking very hard is not difficult. The performance of the brakes is even better then on the DCBS CBR 1000F's I have owned before. I have not been riding on a racetrack so I can not tell you about the behavior of the brakes under track conditions.
I've been to Norway in the summer of '97 with my brother on the buddy seat. Riding for 600 km on a day delivered no problems. Ergonomics for rider and passenger are very good. The Blackbird is a very comfortable all round sports tourer. Even loaded with two 46 liter Givi's, a seesack on top of the rack, a 40 liter tankbag, rider and passenger the handling is still very good.
During the last weeks of November '97 we had few days with very stormy weather. Even under those circumstances (strong side winds) the Blackbird is stable. The last week the temperature was about 6 degrees below zero. And though the bike sleeps outside (under a cover) it's start very well in the morning. In the last week of November '97 I stall the bike at night in the garage. I don't have a garage next door, it's about 2 km away from where I live. (5 minutes on the bicycle).
On 22 November '97 the Blackbird has been to the dealer for the the 18000 km service. At 6000 km, just a few days before my vacation, the tires where replaced by new ones, because I didn't knew how much I was going to ride during the vacation. Now the rear tire was replaced by the one that was changed at 6000 km. With this rear tire I can ride at least 2000 km. In the period from end November '97 till the first week of march '98.
I only ride my bird when the streets are free of salt. In march '98 I started to ride the Blackbird again for commuting, touring etc. under all kinds of weather conditions. From that day until November '98 the Blackbird works fine and except for the regular inspections the Bird did not need any extra service at the dealer. On the InterMot in Munich Honda introduced the '99 Blackbird with fuel-injection, a Ram-Air system and other improvements. On the Motorshow MotoRai In Amsterdam I saw the '99 Blackbird in new blue color. A week later I went to the dealer to make an appointment for the 36000 km service. We talked also about the '99 Blackbird and the result was that I traded my '97 Bird in for a blue '99. I received a fair price for my '97 so it was not hard to make a decision. Why a Blackbird again? Well the Blackbird has everything what I am looking for in a motorcycle. No problems. The improvements of the '99 Blackbird will make it for me a better bike than it already is. At the end of February I hope to ride my new '99 Blackbird.