Mark Forsyth's review of the CBR600RR ABS

Ex-Performance Bikes Editor - and Bol d'Or winner - reviews the CBR600RR ABS for Visordown

Posted: 12 June 2008
by Mark Forsyth

Visordown Motorcycle News
According to Honda 'Difficult is worth doing' ... bet that's not what the bloke who painted Forsyth's lid said

IT'S NOT the kids anymore like it was in the 70’s and 80’s that are having all the crashes. In the 00’s it’s the forty-something on big capacity sportsbikes that are lending weight to the term ‘organ donors’ amongst black-humoured A+E staff. We need help. Help against ourselves.

Enter Honda, stage left, holding the burning torch of righteous technological assistance. Their combined braking electronic ABS system is now up and running on their sports models – an industry first. It may be in prototype form but believe me, it’s ready for production. Until now ABS and combined brakes were the territory of tourers with HGV wheelbases and car-like kerb weights, not out-and-out sportsbikes.

The system starts to work its magic once the sensors measure a certain amount of braking force. The clever part of the process is that the rider still feels like he’s in charge of the braking operation but, clearly for their own good, it’s all taken care of by the bike itself. It doesn’t matter if your hands and feet are made of lead, you will be able to perform risk-free emergency stops on polished ice without coming to grief. Very, very clever.

The combined braking system overcomes the weight pitching issue of a sports bike under heavy braking by shifting more braking effort to the rear brake and less to the front. In a both-pedal emergency stop situation the attitude of the bike is spectacularly flat, allowing maximum use of both front and rear brakes. For reasons too complicated to go into here, the system will only work above 4mph – basically it’s all down to the efficiency of the wheel speed sensors. It’s not going to help you, though, if you’re rushing into a turn too quick, already on the razor edge of grip/disaster.

Turning, leaning and braking is already asking an awful lot from a fist-sized contact patch of adhesion – the electronic redistribution of braking effort is only going to hamper this incredibly delicate situation further. Honda may be fiendishly clever but they’re not going to outsmart basic physics. Not yet, anyway. In all, it’s not hard to see how this neat, sophisticated and compact system could save lives in one of those seat-nipping oh-my-god situations. There were reports – heard through my double life as a car journalist – that some people involved in car accidents had lifted their foot off the brake pedal with disastrous effects when they felt a rapid pulsing movement of the ABS kicking in. You certainly couldn’t accuse Honda’s latest electronically controlled system of imparting the same sensations.

Don’t be surprised to see this Dual CBS ABS system offered as an option on CBR600 and CBR1000 towards the end of this year. The price will be announced sometime soon. Whatever it costs it will be an effective insurance against damaged body panels, flattened silencer cans and missing footrests… and what price is your life?

You can read Mark Forsyth's full review in the next issue of TWO, out on the 26th June.


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SWC

"Until now ABS and combined brakes were the territory of tourers with HGV wheelbases and car-like kerb weights, not out-and-out sportsbikes. "

 Not forgetting scooters, eh?  I am on my 3rd Peugeot equipped with linked, power-assisted ABS brakes over the course of 6 years and well over 50,000miles.


Posted: 12/06/2008 at 13:04

Slighty off topic, but it is nice to see Mark Forsyth writing again (not sure where he has been), used to love reading his articles in performance bikes. I look forward to reading the full article.

Posted: 12/06/2008 at 18:25


"It doesn't matter if your hands and feet are made of lead, you will be able to perform risk-free emergency stops on polished ice without coming to grief"

However................... when it kicks in all it's juddery glory, you'll still fill your leathers.

HTH.


Posted: 12/06/2008 at 18:28

R1gomy wrote (see)
Slighty off topic, but it is nice to see Mark Forsyth writing again (not sure where he has been), used to love reading his articles in performance bikes. I look forward to reading the full article.


Yea, he's a good writer. I remember seeing him on the front cover of PB August, September issue, holding his Green Rotax road bike up in the air.

I can remember the date well, as it was the start of a six month stay in hospital for me.


Posted: 12/06/2008 at 18:35

'Ah, it's all flooding back now, I remeber, bright green leathers he  had  as well, was when he was winning  every  singles race  at three sisters, bout 88 - 89  I reckon John?

He was pretty handy on a bike as well as writing about em, that Bol class win on one of Rob Simm's stock CBR600 was some achievement, considering how it was done.

Sound bloke Rob (Carbon Can Co then Simmo Exhausts were his companies) was , wonder what he's doing now

Rob could  also  ride almost as fast as he could twirl spanners , just   2hrs to get a red hot CBR stripped, cases split,   gear clusters and selectors etc  replaced until it was back on track, it was still warm when they were putting oil back in it.  , aye, them were the days etc etc.....


Posted: 12/06/2008 at 19:50

I've got a 600RR - 2006 model - do you think ABS can be retro fitted?

Posted: 17/06/2008 at 12:04

My K1200R isn't in the HGV class and is amazingly easy to push around when parking so I think the comments about bike weight etc were a tad unfair.

However journalist have to make stuff readable and hyperbole has its part to play AND I like his writing style too


Posted: 17/06/2008 at 12:06

Ahhh PB in the mid 90's

My god its so big!

Porkin down the queens highway lookin like a streaky bacon!

Etc


Posted: 17/06/2008 at 12:44

TrickyDicky wrote (see)

'Ah, it's all flooding back now, I remeber, bright green leathers he  had  as well, was when he was winning  every  singles race  at three sisters, bout 88 - 89  I reckon John?

He was pretty handy on a bike as well as writing about em, that Bol class win on one of Rob Simm's stock CBR600 was some achievement, considering how it was done.

Sound bloke Rob (Carbon Can Co then Simmo Exhausts were his companies) was , wonder what he's doing now

Rob could  also  ride almost as fast as he could twirl spanners , just   2hrs to get a red hot CBR stripped, cases split,   gear clusters and selectors etc  replaced until it was back on track, it was still warm when they were putting oil back in it.  , aye, them were the days etc etc.....


Sorry Rich, I've just seen this. Simmo/Simmy exhausts? are they the same company??

The PB mag with him on the front cover, would have been 1987 mate.


Posted: 17/06/2008 at 18:00

ABS on a bike, id rather poke my eyes out with hot needles.

Posted: 18/06/2008 at 15:42

"ABS on a bike, id rather poke my eyes out with hot needles."Not a good idea because then even ABS isnt going to save you.Seriously though along with electronic ignition,fuel injection,Hydraulic disc brakes,good lighting and tubeless sticky tyres, ABS has its place .Ive been riding various BMWs with ABS for around 25 years and only had it cut in once but it saved me going off roading.

Posted: 18/06/2008 at 16:42

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