Totally new from the ground up, Honda’s dynamic CBR600RR launches a blistering assault on road and track with a breathtaking new, aerodynamically designed race-ready form; a smaller, lighter and more powerful new 600cc Dual Sequential Fuel Injected inline-4 engine; a slimmer and lighter weight new Fine Die-Cast aluminum frame; and an impressive list of high-performance features which all come together to herald the arrival of the electrifying new champion of the mid-displacement Super Sports class.
First unveiled in 2003, the RR carries on the same tradition of phenomenal performance as the CBR600. The RR reaches the highest levels of performance ever available from a middleweight motorcycle. If the original CBR was the purest expression possible of what was then-current technology in inline-four engines, steel frames and single-shock Pro-Link rear suspension, the 600RR pushes back current technological boundaries. That’s because you can also trace a line directly from the RR to Honda’s breakthrough RC211V. That lineage is what makes the CBR600RR a watershed in motorcycling. It takes the latest, world-championship-winning technology, and applies it in real time to a motorcycle that’s available now—not next year, or the year after that. It’s also what makes the CBR600RR the most advanced sport bike Honda has ever produced.
Honda CBR600 history
Renamed the CBR600F, the Hurricane’s successor featured revisions to the engine that yielded an additional 10 horsepower. Revised porting and cam timing, plus recontoured pistons and combustion chambers, slightly higher compression ratio, recalibrated carb and ignition settings, and a new stainless steel exhaust system made the CBR’s inline-four even more muscular. Competitors had to try that much harder to keep up, whether on the street or on the race track.
A total redesign for Honda’s best-selling middleweight produced the CBR600F2. Horsepower leapt to an astonishing 100 bhp, thanks to more oversquare cylinder dimensions, larger carburetors, higher compression and a near-obsessive campaign to reduce internal friction. To provide handling to match its newfound horsepower, the more compact and lighter engine bolted to a new, stiffer frame with revalved suspension, more powerful brakes and RC30™-type wheels. The CBR600F2 was again the lightest, quickest and most powerful middle-weight money could buy.
The fourth revision of Honda’s middleweight champ sees engineers revisiting some popular themes: More compact combustion chambers and computer-controlled 3D-mapped ignition ensure more complete combustion and more power, to go along with a higher compression ratio, a new Dual-Stage Ram Air intake system and a renewed assault on internal friction. The chassis also benefits from fresh thinking, with recalibrated suspension rates and stronger brakes sharpening the F3’s handling edge.
Honda redesigns its middleweight star from the contact patches up, using the latest in design and manufacturing techniques. An all-new engine features significant reductions in internal weight and friction, more oversquare bore and stroke dimensions and a redesigned Dual-Stage ram-air system to push horsepower to an incredible 110 bhp. An aluminum Pro Frame® complements the engine revisions, complete with Honda Multi-Action System™ (HMAS™) rear suspension components, race-spec brakes, and radial tires for exceptional handling.
High-pressure programmed fuel injection (PGM-FI) puts the i suffix on the CBR’s designation. Along with a new electronic digital ignition, a revised and larger Dual-Stage Ram Air intake tract and airbox, and a redesigned exhaust, these changes account for a 5 percent increase in peak power from the CBR’s inline-four. A stiffer aluminum Pro Frame chassis keeps the F4i’s reflexes sharp and confidence inspiring. Bottom line: A 370-pound package that’s the lightest, most powerful middleweight Honda’s ever made. The F4i stays in the line-up alongside the all-new RR in 2003.
The remarkable RR uses breakthrough MotoGP technology to completely rewrite the rules for the 600 class. Using technology from the 2002 MotoGP champion RC211V, the RR is the most advanced Honda production motorcycle—ever. The compact inline-four engine uses the RC211V’s center-up exhaust and Dual Stage Fuel Injection (PGM-DSFI) technology to produce record horsepower for a Honda 600. The chassis features a massive 45mm fork and Unit Pro-Link rear suspension—another RC211V breakthrough—that allows maximum mass centralization and unheard-of design freedom for the all-new aluminum frame. Result: the most tightly focused CBR in history.
One of the central concepts that drove development of the CBR600RR is mass centralization; that is, concentrating the component masses as close to the motorcycle’s center as possible. When a rider initiates a turn, the motorcycle rotates around its roll axis—an imaginary fore-and-aft horizontal line drawn through the center of mass of bike and rider—as it leans into the turn. Placing the major masses (engine, fuel, rider) closer to this roll axis results in a motorcycle that reacts more quickly and smoothly to control inputs at the handlebars. The concept of mass centralization has been a guiding principal at Honda for decades, but the application to the RR takes the concept to a whole new level.
Honda engineers looked at the CBR600RR as an organic whole for centralizing mass. Every change, every hard part was related and affected others. Part of the approach calls for lightening as many pieces as possible that are far from the center of mass. That gave rise to the RR’s compact Line-Beam headlights, with their high-illumination three-piece reflectors-another Honda first for use on a production motorcycle; a lighter, more compact wheel hub design; slimline LED taillight; an analog/digital fully electronic instrument panel that’s one of the lightest and slimmest ever mounted on a street bike; plus a host of other changes.
The RR excels in the nip-n-tuck of urban survival. It’s tall, light and nimble and has an amazingly broad torque curve and excellent pick up from the traffic lights and multitudes of stop signs that seek to ‘calm’ traffic but are a total nuisance.
With a limited fairing the RR is less comfortable on the open highway. Below 100mph the bike is fine and the actual riding position is fairly comfortable, with not too much strain on the wrists.
Honda will know all about these minor failings, it’s obvious that the bike wasn’t designed to be a great tourer - they have plenty of those on the fleet and non have RR decals on the tail.
Compared to the 2003 model, the new CBR 600RR received a major revision with new body work, fully adjustable inverted front forks, a set of track-inspired disc brakes with radial-mounted four-piston calipers, and an entirely new aluminum frame, swingarm and rear shock. These changes along with additional refinements to the engine and exhaust system all came together to bring CBR600RR’s weight down nine pounds.
- Unit Pro-Link® rear suspension and swingarm design inspired by RC211V.
- Dual Stage Fuel Injection (DSFI) system features two injectors per cylinder.
- High-revving engine redlines at 15,000 rpm.
- RC211V-style center-up exhaust system.
- Radial-mount front brake calipers
- 41mm inverted front fork.
- Centrally located fuel tank increases mass centralization and allows more compact frame design.
- Line Beam Headlights features three-piece reflector design.
- Bodywork resembles championship-winning RC211V MotoGP machine.
- Industry-leading ergonomic design features maximum rider comfort for minimum fatigue in all riding conditions.
- Centrally mounted 4.8-gallon fuel tank is positioned low in the frame, increasing mass centralization and allowing a more compact design. This design positions the rider 70mm forward for optimum handling.
- Plastic tank shell cover protects tank and airbox.
- Line Beam Headlights features three-piece reflector design (first in the world) utilizing two H7 bulbs for optimum light distribution, and unique compact design.
- Instrumentation is very compact and features tachometer, speedometer and fuel gauge.
- Attractive hollow-spoke aluminum alloy wheels feature race spec 3.5 x 17-inch front and 5.5 x 17-inch rear dimensions.
- One-piece fan assembly for maximum cooling efficiency.
- Maintenance-free battery.
- Optional seat cowl.
- Compact rear cowl storage compartment for U-type locking devices (lock not included) under the passenger seat.
- Pivoting aerodynamic mirrors.
- Integrated ignition switch/fork lock for added security.
- Convenient push-to-cancel turn signal switch.
The CBR600RR is powered by a 599cc liquid-cooled inline four-cylinder. It does share the same bore and stroke dimensions (67mm x 42.5mm) as the F4i’s engine, but that was decided only after extensive testing with other cylinder dimensions. Honda’s engineers found the F4i’s displacement numbers would also be ideal for the RR’s performance goals.
The engine has been significantly improved over the F4i. Pistons, pins, and connecting rods are lighter than those of the F4i, increasing overrev capacity with a 15,000rpm redline. Larger intake valves improve flow, with a new dual-stage tensioner preventing whipping of the cam chain at higher rpms. The sump is now deeper to minimize oil splash, resulting in less internal friction.
The ram-air induction system supplies the motor with more air than that of the F4i, using a revised ducting system with larger ducts. Wind tunnel testing showed that larger outer ducts increase the required steering effort at higher speeds. Holes have been cut into the outer ducts on the 600RR to minimize that effect, a technique Honda has successfully implemented on GP bikes for years. They also look very cool and were a constant source of comments at the biker pit stops.
- Liquid-cooled DOHC 16-valve 599cc four-stroke inline four-cylinder engine features oversquare bore and stroke of 67mm x 42.5mm.
- High-revving engine has 15,000-rpm redline (CBR®600F4i redlines at 14,200), wider powerband and more over-rev than CBR600F4i.
- Compact engine length (236mm) positions the rider forward for more precise handling.
- Iridium-tip spark plugs improve fuel combustion and performance.
- Dual Stage Fuel Injection system features two injectors per cylinder—one upper and one lower—controlled by an ECU that senses rpm and throttle opening. Lower injector enhances rideability while upper injector improves top-end horsepower. At lower rpm only the lower injector is working. Above 5500 rpm both injectors are activated. The system uses 40mm throttle bodies.
- Denso injectors with 12 holes per injector deliver a finely atomized fuel mixture for optimum combustion efficiency and power.
- Auto enriching system is integrated into PGM-FI module, eliminating the need for a manual choke.
- Two-stage ram-air system provides a high volume of cool air to the airbox for linear power delivery and incredible engine performance.
- Cylinder head features angled valve inset to improve airflow.
- Cylinder head features two springs per intake valve and two springs per exhaust valve for optimum high-rpm valve operation and durability.
- Direct shim-under-bucket valve actuation ensures high-rpm performance and durability and offers 16,000-mile maintenance intervals.
- Light pistons, piston pins and nutless connecting rods contribute to higher-revving engine.
- Double-pivot cam-chain tensioner for cam chain durability.
- Right-side starter gears for increased lean angle.
- Lightweight aluminum oil cooler.
- Smooth-shifting close-ratio six-speed transmission is closely matched to the engine’s powerband.
Honda’s CBR600s have always had a reputation for exemplary handling, a reputation engineers wanted to enhance with the all-new CBR600RR. It was a daunting task, but what better place from which to draw inspiration than the MotoGP champion, Honda’s RC211V?
The CBR600RR’s frame, for example, makes use of the mass centralization ideas proven so well on the RC211V, starting with placing the fuel tank low in the aluminum frame. That facilitated positioning the engine and rider farther forward, pushing all three closer to the center of mass than with the F4i’s frame.
And the RR took yet another chapter from the RC211V’s winning play book, with its Unit Pro-Link rear suspension—technology never before seen on a street bike. Unit Pro-Link attaches the top of the shock absorber to the heavily braced aluminum swingarm, rather than to an upper-rear frame crossmember. As the rear wheel passes over a bump, the shock is compressed at the bottom by a set of links (see Unit Pro-Link technical feature for more details).
A host of benefits cascade from this simple, elegant idea. It facilitates placing the fuel tank low, because there’s no crossmember locating the top of the shock. Furthermore, with Unit Pro-Link, the shock absorber’s loads don’t get fed into the frame’s downtube structure, which allows the engineers unprecedented freedom in frame design, so they can tune the frame for very specific characteristics.
- Die cast aluminum frame utilizes new manufacturing methods to provide optimum rigidity while reducing weight. Frame is tuned for superior and precise handling characteristics.
- 41mm inverted Honda Multi-Action System (HMAS) cartridge front fork features spring preload, rebound and compression damping adjustability for precise action.
- Unit Pro-Link rear suspension system is patterned after RC211V GP racer. In this two piece shock design system, the upper shock mount is contained within the swingarm rather than the frame. With no top frame-mount for the shock, this unique system reduces negative suspension energy from being transmitted into the frame, allowing optimum frame rigidity and improved rideability out of corners.
- Braking system features twin four-piston radial mounted front calipers, dual 310mm front discs and a single 220mm rear disc for optimum stopping power.
- Center-up exhaust system features four-into-two-into-one design for increased performance, aerodynamics, and lighter weight.
- Lightweight triple clamp.
- Handlebars located below top triple-clamp for precise handling.
The CBR600RR competes with the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R, Suzuki GSX-R600, Triumph Daytona 675, and Yamaha YZF-R6, but all the comparisons are consistently claiming the CBR600RR to place first in the current group of super sport bikes.
If you want to feel like a champion every time you ride your bike, then the CBR 600RR is the best choice for you. Powered by a 599cc liquid-cooled inline four-cylinder, the 600 RR has a maximum output of 118 hp at 15.000 rpm and a peak torque of 48 lbs-ft 11250 rpm. Even if looks like a small bike, the CBR is your friend at speed. It rips rip off 10-second quarter-miles and 160-mph top speeds and is also cheap enough so you can afford one: $9000.
The CBR is one of the most powerful bikes in its class, reasons why it won the CC shootout in its debut year, but is also one of the most heaviest, a characteristic quite unlike its race-bred inspiration.
The CBR responds well to being revved, the engine picking up hard above 10,000 rpm and spinning eagerly to 15,000 rpm. Throttle response is instantaneous, though the Honda needed more throttle to be turned for quick acceleration than the other bikes.
The CBR600RR requires a bit more effort on the tight circuit than its rivals. It responds better with more body movement and feels most comfortable at full tilt while hanging far off the bike and more forward.
Priced at $8.800, the GSX R600 is powered by a 5 99cc,4-stroke,four-cylinder, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 16-valve engine with an output of 110 hp at 16.000 rpm. The R600 weights 354 lbs and has a top speed of 170 mph.
The R6 is powered by an extremely over-square engine, with a bore of 67mm and a stroke of 42.5mm. The compression ratio is high for a street-legal machine at 12.8 to 1. This 599cc DOHC 16-valve engine transfers power to the rear wheel through a six-speed transmission aided by a slipper clutch. Yamaha incorporated many of the lessons learned from the winning MotoGP riders into the YZF-R6. So this supersport bike is packed with race tech and 130 horsepower at 14,500 rpm. It is priced at $9.300.
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R
The Kawasaki ZX-6R is the most aerodynamic Ninja ever. It is powered by a 636 cmc 4-stroke, liquid-cooled In-line Four engine with an output of 130 hp at 14.000 rpm and a peak torque of 51 lbs-ft at 11500 rpm. With a weight of 398 lbs, the ZX 6R has a top speed of 145 mph. It is priced at $8.700.
The Daytona 675 stands apart immediately with its inimitable, spine-tingling sound and feel. Integral to this is the triple’s inherent advantage of masses of bottom-end torque, linked to a heavy mid-range punch that’s topped with a searing burst of peak power. Alongside the desire for a strong, torquey engine, a key part of the design brief for the brand new 675cc power plant was to make the water-cooled, three-cylinder, 12-valve unit extremely compact and narrow, contributing to the overall slimness of the bike. The stacked six-speed gearbox considerably shortens the engine and is the first from Triumph to feature a truly close ratio set-up for all six speeds, maximising the engine’s power and torque perfectly. Bore and stroke is 74.0mm x 52.3mm and peak power of 125 hp is delivered at 12,500rpm, with 53 lbs-ft torque at 11,750rpm. It weights 363lbs and is priced at $9000.
- Engine Type 599cc liquid-cooled inline four-cylinder
- Bore and Stroke 67mm x 42.5mm
- Compression Ratio 12.0:1
- Valve Train DOHC; four valves per cylinder
- Carburetion Dual Stage Fuel Injection (DSFI)
- Ignition Computer-controlled digital transistorized with three-dimensional mapping
- Transmission Close-ratio six-speed
- Final Drive 525 O-ring-sealed chain
- Front 41mm inverted HMAS cartridge fork with spring preload, rebound and compression damping adjustability; 4.7 inches travel
- Rear Unit Pro-Link HMAS single shock with spring preload, rebound and compression damping adjustability; 5.1 inches travel
- Front Dual radial-mounted four-piston calipers with 310mm discs Single
- Rear 220mm disc
- Front 180/55ZR-17 radial
- Rear 120/70ZR-17 radial
- Wheelbase 54.7 inches
- Rake (Caster Angle) 24.0o
- Trail 95mm (3.7 inches)
- Seat Height 32.3 inches
- Turning Radius 10.5 feet
- Dry Weight 361 pounds
- Fuel Capacity 4.8 gallons, including 0.9-gallon reserve
- Pearl Orange/Black Tribal
- Light Metallic Silver