Honda finds yet another way to amaze with the help of the CBR600RR. In fact, they launch a whole new model called the CBR600RR ABS which represents the result of some bright minds in Honda’s technical department.
As the title says, the new bike aims at rider safety and complete thrust while piloting so the great addition is the brand new Combined ABS system which is electronically controlled not only for adjusting the braking power, but to prevent the wheels from locking as well as delivering optimum front and rear braking power.
Of course that Honda didn’t want to take the gestation off the rider so the system takes in consideration the supersport bikes characteristics and only makes a difference in the very last moment, just when the rider starts thinking about falling as strategically as possible. Honda claims that ABS and CBS functions will be offered as standard and they will intervene without outbalancing the new bike.
The 2009 model year, named Honda CBR600RR ABS, will be 10kg heavier than the present year’s model, a bike that weighs 184kg with fluids. The power to weight ratio is, indeed, a little bit affected, but the “sacrifice” is well worth from safety reasons.
Exclude that and the bike is mechanically unchanged except some slight modifications to the cylinder heads and the exhaust. It results in greater torque in the 8000-12000 rpm range, so the power to weight ratio we mentioned about won’t have that much to suffer after all.
But as much as Honda or any other manufacturer would work to improve a model, you know that the competition coming strong from behind them is what keeps motivation rushing. And in this case, Honda has reasons to worry as Yamaha delivers the 2009 YZF-R6 practically as a race bike with headlights and mirrors. Packed with one-off features such as the YCC-T (Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle) and YCC-I (Yamaha Chip Controlled Intake) fuel injection system supplying the 599cc liquid-cooled inline-four; DOHC, 16 valves engine with gas, the R6 is definitely up to Honda’s 2009 challenge. Further more, the racing design is very attractive and the price accessible although the highest in this class (it varies from $9,990 to $10,190) if we exclude the ABS-equipped Honda.
Suzuki’s 2009 GSX-R600 is also built around a compact and lightweight 599cc, liquid-cooled, inline-four; DOHC, 16-valves engine that is fuel injected for the strongest and yet smoothest power delivery. Also a more aggressive bike for 2009, I would position the Suzuki right in between Yamaha’s hunger for power and Honda’s taste for style. And the price tag of $9,799 confirms my saying.
Kawasaki also prices its middleweight supersport bike, the simple Ninja ZX-6R at $9,799, but offers a Monster Energy version which raises the MSRP to $9,999. Both bikes are powered by a 599cc liquid-cooled, inline-four; DOHC, 16 valves motor and I dare to say that the 2009 Ninja ZX-6R looks better than its bigger sibling, the 2009 Ninja ZX-10R.
As you could suppose there is some stiff competition, but nothing that the 2009 Honda CBR600RR and especially the ABS model couldn’t manage.
Notice how we’ve mentioned something about every bike’s looks? Well, that’s important in the supersport middleweight class not only because the image sells, but because aerodynamics improve lap times and offer proper wind protection to the rider at high speeds.
Referring to the CBR600RR, we would have to say that this bike features new, racier bodywork that is sleeker, more aggressive and improves aerodynamics as aimed in this class. Though not radically different from the previous model year and not at all similar to the CBR1000RR, as many anticipated, it does indeed represent a step further for the Japanese manufacturer. Imagine how the CBR600RR and the CBR600RR ABS would have looked like after suffering the dramatic redesign in the Fireblade style. No, thanks, that only works in the liter class.
In opposition to the biggest CBR, the 600 features a more complicated designed fairing, at least on the sides, while its highest point (literally) is the top of the windscreen. That is normal on all bikes, no matter category, you will say and I couldn’t agree more, only that in this case the rear end almost meets the same height with the windscreen. That is not something you see every day!
On the sides, the sleek fairing blends in with the gas tank creating an overall compact feel which stands for the way that this bike is engineered. Also, the decals contribute to that as they stretch over the fairing, gas tank and tail. The middle section features durable materials that are matte black colored, no matter the paint scheme you choose. That is because the rider’s legs are located there and the constant movement that sport riding implies damage the shiny paint with time. Not on the 2009 CBR600RR, I must say. Even the rider and passenger pegs are matte black painted.
The seat, perfectly integrated between the tank again and the tail, is positioned in an almost horizontal position, allowing the rider to spend more time on it without complaining about lower back and arms fatigue. At the rear end, the dominating unit is that under-seat exhaust.
Available in a range of attractive colors (Red / Black, Black / Bright Green Metallic, Metallic Black, Phoenix, †Pearl White / Pearl Blue / Red) and awesome graphics, at least on the Pearl White one, the 2009 Honda CBR600RR is easy to be distinguished. Easy to be confused though is the 2009 Honda CBR600RR ABS model which gets the Red / Black, Metallic Black color schemes.
Although refined, next year’s middleweight CBR comes with a manufacturer’s retail price of just $9,799 for the simple model. Add the C-ABS system to that and you’re in for an MSRP of as much as $10,799. Is it worth it? We can only wait for a test ride with this bike and share our impressions with you.
Honda has definitely succeeded our expectations for 2009 as we were by now starting to wonder what more could this model end up featuring. The answer was probably the easiest to give, but the hardest to put in practice given to the specific category: ABS! We’re expecting the rest of the Japanese crowd to follow up the evolution of the Honda CBR600RR ABS.