Earlier this year Honda dropped some teasers that they were about to step back into the Supersport arena and today the full detail has dropped on the return of the CBR600RR. Before we look to the future though lets cast an eye back to the glorious past of the model.
Introduced in 2003 the CBR600RR went on to completely dominate Supersport competition around the world.
Queensland’s Chris Vermeulen won the World Supersport Championship onboard a CBR600RR in that debut year for the model by a hefty 64-points. Countryman Karl Muggeridge then went on to dominate the 2004 World Championship, taking the title with an even larger 72-point margin.
That success on the world stage was also repeated here in Australia with Adam Fergusson winning the 2004 Australian Supersport and Superbike Championships and team-mate Josh Brookes winning the Phillip Island round of the 2004 World Supersport Championship as a wildcard. Brookes then took the SS/SBK double championship for Honda in 2005.
I rode the Australian Championship winning CBR600RR at Winton in 2005 in what was a memorable experience. It was by far the most well sorted and perfect handling motorcycle I have ever ridden, and remains so to this day.
Frenchman Sebastien Charpentier took the 2005 and 2006 World Supersport Titles on the CBR600RR before Turk Kenan Sofuoglu won in 2007. Andrew Pitt then made it six in a row for the CBR600RR in 2008 taking the championship by 50-points over his Honda team-mate Jonathan Rea.
In 2009 Cal Crutchlow broke Honda’s dominance after winning the title on Yamaha’s YZF-R6 before Kenan Sofuoglu took top honours again for Honda in 2010. It wasn’t until 2014 that Honda took the #1 plate again, this time in partnership with Dutchman Michael van der Mark. Honda then stopped developing the CBR600RR any further before dropping it from their model line-up altogether in 2017.
For 2021 the CBR600RR will be back in the Honda line-up and aims to raise the game in Supersport the same way the original CBR600RR did back in 2003.
The Next Generation – 2021 Honda CBR600RR
The engineering basics are much same as the original with a 599 cc in-line four-cylinder engine providing the motivation along with an under-tail muffler like the original 600RR.
The numbers are not ground breaking with 120 horsepower and 64 Nm of torque along with a wet weight of 194 kilograms. The peak power figure is reached at 14,000 rpm while peak torque arrives 2500 rpm earlier. The bore and stroke are the same as the original and are dimensions the model shares with Yamaha’s YZF-R6, however, the Honda’s claimed power is a couple of ponies more than the Yamaha despite the YZF-R6 power peak arriving at 14,500 rpm.
While the engine is obviously based on its predecessor the cams, valve springs and crankshaft are new. Throttle bodies are now larger and feed reshaped inlet ports while gases exit via a revised exhaust system. The efficiency in the cooling combustion chamber and area around the exhaust valve seat was increased through the reshaping of the water jacket for the cylinder head.
The CBR600RR has gained some of the high-end electronics that grace the latest Fireblade complete with a Bosch five-axis IMU, Nissin ABS, rider modes and engine braking adjustments, along with an aerodynamics package with winglets that is also reminiscent of the $50,000 Fireblade. Honda are claimiing the lowest drag coefficient in its class.
Australian pricing will not be announced until later in the year due to currency fluctuations but the Japanese pricing of 1,606,000 yen plus on roads currently equates to a tad over $21,000 AUD.
The all-new CBR600RR will come in Grand Prix Red, a tri-color scheme that represents Honda racing technologies and features LED lighting along with a full-colour TFT liquid-crystal display.
A slip-assist clutch is also standard while a two-way quick-shifter is expected to be optional.
The new CBR600RR go on sale in Japan on September 25th but due to global shipping delays caused by the pandemic we would not expect Australian stocks to arrive until early next year.
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