When doomsday comes, history will only record one motorcycle in the all-time hall of fame: the CBR600. Now in its 20th year, we chart the success of a biking icon
And so it was born. The 'jelly mould' fairing hid a steel frame, an inline four of 598cc with 16 valves and 70-80bhp, good for a top speed just shy of 150mph. Around 10bhp up and, at 182 kilos, more than 10 kilos down on Kawasaki's then shit-hot GPz600R. The CBR had 37mm forks, 276mm front discs and a three-spoke 17-inch front wheel. Changes in 1989 added rebound adjustment on the shock, modified fairing and a span-adjustable brake lever.
CBR memories: Iain MacPherson, hard-bastid Scottish racer"I rode my CBR to my first race at Knockhill on 9 April 1989 as I didn't have a van. And I didn't have a clue what to do either. It was completely standard, with lights, hero blobs, even a number plate! All I did was tape up the rear light. I was up against stars such as Ian Simpson and Jim Moodie. I wasn't the smoothest out there, but I tried hard and came seventh!"
CBR memories: Don Morley, original launch photographer "I used one in Japan at the launch and thought the CBR was the best bike I had ever ridden. Except I always ended up scaring myself shitless as I never reached its limit but usually overstepped mine! Strange, because I never had the same problem with the VFR 750."
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