Yamaha won the supersport 600 sales war in 2006, and Honda is out for revenge. They think the all-new CBR600RR is the tool for the job, and Niall Mackenzie reckons they might be right.
Four years ago I compared the new CBR600RR to diminutive super star Kylie Minogue. Both appeared in the late 80s, lost some fans in the 90s then came back sassy and sexy. Well, both have had a difficult year and both are back healthier than ever. The parallels continue...
In 2006, for the first time in the 600RR's five-year history, Honda failed to top the European sales charts. Yamaha's new R6 did that, and if it hadn't been for a bizarre lack of concentration from Kevin Curtain at last round of the World Supersport Championship, the ultimate middleweight racing prize would have been in the bag too.
With alarm bells ringing, Honda's project leader Norikazu Maeda and his team have delivered an all-new, more powerful, more compact, lighter and sharper CBR for 2007.
But Honda haven't done anything radical, choosing instead to rework the current CBR in to make it the very best on road and track.
While sports 600 machines, even standard ones, can lap tracks incredibly quickly, recently the Japanese have lost their way when it comes to enjoyable road riding. But I'm celebrating, because with the new CBR, Honda is the first of the Big Four to give us a new generation 600 we don't have to thrash to find road riding satisfaction.
At first glance little has changed but look closer and you'll see redesigned, minimalist bodywork revealing a much smaller engine plus a new single air intake between the headlights. Like the fairing on the new RC212V race bike, the CBR cowling no longer exists to cover the bike in sponsor's logos but is engineered for aerodynamics, cooling and induction.
A by-product of this is a much more exposed engine, which in my book only enhances the look.
Continue the Honda CBR600RR Review 2/2
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