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Images of Honda’s 2017 Fireblade were posted to social media by wakiwakiYZF_R1M then quickly removed, but not before they were screen captured by quick-thinking followers. The photographs confirm the news we broke in the latest issue of AMCN that the new Fireblade will be an updated version of the current model, not an all new machine most expected. Read more in the current issue of AMCN on sale now.

This pictures, which emerged overnight, confirm what our Japanese sources told us, that while Honda’s new Fireblade will boast wide-ranging changes to the engine, suspension and electronics — the changes will be minor enough to ensure the bike’s internal model code remains unchanged. 

What that means is the main chunks of the bike – its chassis and the fundamentals of its engine – are not being changed. It could be seen as a remarkable achievement, since this update will see the Blade remain until around 2020, when its basis will be well over a decade old. 

For the full story on why Honda chose this path and what changes Fireblade fans can look forward to, pick up the latest issue of AMCN, on newsstands today.