HONDA CBR600RR

no wonder the CBR600 has won so many accolades, the build quality is excellent

For 20 years the Honda CBR600 has enjoyed success on the street, the track and the sales floor. This latest version continues that trend, taking the supersport class to the next level.
Honda's design team had a goal: Build the fastest 600 for street or track while retaining Honda reliability and meeting strict new emission standards while keeping the cost at a level that won't scare away consumers.
The previous CBR600s, despite originally being designed as streetbikes, have won many championships, 8 AMA Supersport titles to be exact. That design philosophy worked wonders for the first 15 years, but it took a back seat in 2003 with the introduction of the track-focused CBR600RR. But even though the 600RR has dominated the FIM World Supersport championship in every year of its existence, winning 4 consecutive titles to go along with 3 consecutive AMA titles, it gets a clean-sheet redesign performed in conjunction with the development of the RC212V MotoGP machine.
Just look at the new bike and tell me it doesn't ooze Honda from tip to tail. Starting with the RC51-inspired centrally located ram-air intake duct nestled between the twin headlamps, the open-air look of the Formula One inspired bodywork that exposes the engine through its minimalistic covers. The lighter underseat exhaust features titanium internals. The Matte-black frame spars, Pro-Link swingarm and black three-spoke wheels ensure this bike stays true to it's heritage. Add into the equation a great new motor and even better chassis supplemented with a healthy dose of MotoGP technology, and it's easy to understand why it's such a great, exciting little bike.

with the CBR600RR at Midvaal Raceway - photos by Graeme Van Bergen


Full of fuel, Honda claims the '07 CBR600RR weighs in at 187kg compared to 195kg for the '06, revealing a significant 8kg loss. If these figures are correct then, without fuel, the '07 should tip the scales at a petite 156kg, making it easily the lightest in it's class. On the track, the 600RR felt light and responsive while trying to tap into this bike's potential.
Getting up to speed on the 2007 CBR600RR is not a problem because of its all new 599cc four-cylinder motor that is smaller, lighter and more powerful. It sets the tone for the whole light and compact theme of the bike. Overall engine length is reduced by 28mm, while the new crankcases, magnesium valve cover and internal components combine to purge 1.5 kilos from the engine alone. As impressive as these diminished digits look on paper, they are merely a sidebar to the story once the motor is running.
It makes power from the moment you twist the throttle, coming into it's own at around 7000 rpm, and continues to pull harder and harder as the revs climb to the 15,000 rpm 'redline'. Peak power is reached at 13,500 rpm (according to Honda), but by then this baby is really moving. Power is readily available in the often-used mid-range; just shift up and down the slick-shifting 6-speed gearbox and you will be hard-pressed to find anything to whine about. If you do, it will be the only sound you hear because the bike is very quiet.
It's important to know that the CBR does not have a top-end-biased power curve. It has a broad power curve that should make it both a better street bike and a more competent race bike. It was stable under acceleration. The 600RR pulls as hard as any other in it's class and the power delivery is so rider-friendly that it should easily give other 600's a run for their money.
The motor is unbelievably smooth. Throttle response is great, too, thanks to a trio of race-proven components. A centrally located ram-air intake on the front cowling allows for a more direct flow of cool air to funnel through the steering head into the redesigned 0.7 liter larger airbox where a new air-intake control valve (IACV) works in conjunction with the latest version of Honda's two-stage fuel injection (PGM-DSFI) system to offer seamless on-off throttle response. The IACV purportedly smoothes out throttle response by moderating incoming air flow at the moment the throttle is opened or closed. This helps to alleviate the tendency of many FI systems to be abrupt when getting on or off the gas.
Complimenting Honda's most powerful and compact CBR600 motor to date are some first-rate chassis components. The Fine Die Cast (FDC) frame design features four hollow pieces versus the 11 pieces necessary to create the frame of the '06. It starts at the new steering-head casting with integrated ram-air port, relocated 10mm further away from the crankshaft than the '06 bike. Then there's the two main frame spars and the one-piece U-shaped rear swingarm pivot and motor mount. The entire frame weighs in 0.5kg less than the '06, and when combined with the smaller motor, aids in the effectiveness of the mass centralization concepts applied to the entire design.
Suspension includes inverted 41mm Honda Multi-Action System (HMAS) forks with spring preload, rebound- and compression-damping adjustability. The outer fork tubes are anodized black so they look as good as they work. Out back the Unit Pro-Link rear suspension and now longer swingarm continues to provide one of the greatest rides of any production 600 on the market. At the 9-turn Midvaal circuit, the CBR had me feeling confident.
The bike was very responsive. Although it has seriously aggressive chassis geometry numbers, it feels particularly stable. Its stubby 1366mm wheelbase (reduced from the 1389mm '06 version), more-acute 23.7-degree steering head angle (reduced from 24.0) and decreased 95mm of trail (down from 98mm) points towards toward a potentially nervous chassis, but that's not the way it feels. Credit the new, more compact HESD (Honda Electronic Steering Damper) and repositioned steering head point combine to keep the handling characteristics steady.
Bringing the CBR down from speed is great, thanks to the radial technology brakes. On the front hub, a pair of 310mm discs and four-piston radial-mount Tokico calipers actuated by a new vertical-piston radial-mount master cylinder performed flawlessly, they offer excellent feel without being too abrupt, making them perfect for riding hard in a variety of conditions. A single-piston rear caliper and 220mm disc keeps the rear of the bike in shape when needed.
From the saddle the CBR600RR feels great. It's riding position is well suited to the track and less taxing on the butt and shoulders of street riders.
You have to be committed to being tucked in if you want to maximize the aerodynamics of the bike, and if you do, then you are more flexible than I am. Outright wind protection when riding around in the standard street rider's riding position is typical for a sportbike.
I found the bodywork very appealing. Take a look at the profile... you can see light peeking through everywhere, helping the bike appear lighter.
The instrument cluster features a central analog rev-counter with large, easy-to-read numbers. To the right of the tach is an LCD display for speed, temperature, tripmeters, odometer and a clock. To the left is the fuel gauge.
Overall, I was hard pressed to find fault in the 2007 Honda CBR600RR. It is lighter, faster and looks better than any previous CBR600.

The super-smooth motor will surely meet the needs of street riders and should be more than competent for racers, the brakes and suspension are billed as racing quality, and it is, of course, a Honda.

HESD (Honda Electronic Steering Damper) is hidden under the fuel tank

The Honda Electronic Steering Damper is an electronically controlled hydraulic rotary damper, mounted on the steering head. Damping characteristics are automatically adjusted in response to motorcycle speed and acceleration, for high-speed comfort and low-speed manoeuvrability without the rider having to have expert track set-up knowledge to extract the best from his machine on the road or the track.

The Unit Pro-Link rear suspension system was developed on the MotoGP winning RC211V. This revolutionary system does not mount the shock directly to the main frame, thus greatly reducing the transmission of suspension impacts to the frame. The result is stable cornering and superb off-corner acceleration, with brilliant overall handling characteristics.

Suspension components include an inverted 41mm Honda Multi-Action System (HMAS) fork with spring preload, rebound- and compression-damping adjustability. The outer fork tubes are anodized black so they look as good as they work.

stationary at the Midvaal circuit - photos by Kenn Slater

 

naked CBR600 with everything stripped off

 

Make Model

2007 Honda CBR 600RR

Engine

Liquid cooled, four stroke, transverse four cylinder, DOHC, 4 valve per cylinder

Capacity

599cc

Bore x Stroke

67 x 42.5 mm

Compression Ratio

12.2:1

Induction

PGM-DSFi fuel-injection with four 40mm throttle bodies.

Ignition

Computer-controlled digital transistorized with electronic advance and independent four-cylinder 3D-mapped computer control

Clutch

Cable-operated multiplate wet clutch

Max Power

118 hp  88.1 KW @ 13500 rpm

Max Torque

66 Nm @ 11250 rpm

Transmission  /  Drive

6 Speed  /  chain

Front Suspension

41mm inverted HMAS cartridge fork with spring preload, rebound and compression damping adjustability, 120mm wheel travel

Rear Suspension

Unit Pro-Link HMAS single shock with spring preload, rebound and compression damping adjustability, 129.5mm wheel travel

Front Brakes

2x 320mm discs 4 piston calipers

Rear Brakes

Single 220mm disc 1 piston caliper

Front Tyre

120/70 ZR17

Rear Tyre

180/55 ZR17

Seat Height

820 mm

Dry-Weight

156.5 kg

Fuel Capacity

18.2 Litres

Standing 1000m  

20.6 sec / 244 kph

Standing 400m  

11.1 sec / 208 kph

Top Speed

253 kph

 

clear, easy-to-read, uncluttered dash of the CBR600RR

 

The world asked for a lighter and more powerful CBR and we got it. Mission accomplished!

 

Thanks to Midvaal Raceway for the use of their track and

thanks to Joeline Dobrowski and her team at Honda South Africa for the ride,

they had to send two BIG guys to pry it from my hands... the best 600 we've EVER ridden.