Whenever you head away for a test, you have a sort of internal agenda of point of interest. It's only human to do so; my point of interest was the engine for a total different reason. It was of course also helpful that I needed to be in Malaysia this weekend.
The Honda CBR600RR was one of those bikes that I was possible most intrigued by. Partly because of the specifications - I mean you can't ignore a claimed dry weight of 155kg for a 600cc sportbike. The Honda CBR150 already has a weight of 115kg dry, this sort of mass comes closer to the likes of a Aprilia RS250, which was dry about 140kg, and, as has long since been proved, lighter bikes are generally better bikes in every way.
While the Honda CBR600RR felt very small and firm underneath, it was still definitely a CBR. The same semi-committed riding style, compact bars and firm suspension.
An experimental tweak of the throttle on the first long straight was perplexing. The all-new, hyper-compact engine felt smooth and strong at the top end, but seemed to rev for so long in first gear. The face of the tacho is covered pretty quickly, but there are so many rpms to get past that it's hard to calibrate your brain.
Not unlike the similarly engined Hornet 600, the CBR600RR is revy, but not peaky, and once you get used to that expanse of revs, it all falls into place. Tip-toeing around in Malaysian rural traffic, the Honda CBR600RR is a dream to handle. There's predictable drive all through the rev range, so if you get a gear choice less than spot-on, you'll still make it round.
The PGM-DSFI fuel injection is impressive, too, metering the power in a slick, professional fashion. Honda adapted to the new 600cc engine, including modified intake- and exhaust-port shapes, smoother port walls, changes to the intakes' velocity stack lengths and taper, and enhancements to the ECU program governing the control of the two-stage PGM-DSFI fuel-injection system.
The gearbox is slick on the move; too, although this bike is surely no "light" on low on fuel consumption, this is my first big bike-riding day for a few months, after I hurt myself. But as the day wears on and I jump between all the smaller bikes, I'm starting to get the bit between my teeth. Feeling the engine to be a little lax on first-gear throttle wheelies, I dip the clutch and give a big handful. The world goes red and black as the Honda's fuel tank blocks my view, and it's all I can do to stamp on the now-vertical rear brake lever and bring the wildly beast back to earth. Nasty, and a clear warning not to underestimate the CBR600RR's power.
The new Honda CBR600RR is clearly a beast, with at its heart a 16-valve, 4-inline cylinders 599cc engine. The engine is smaller and lighter than it's predecessor, it is in fact so small that it is hard to belief it is a 600cc engine. Honda manufacture claims 118hp (88 kW) at 13,500 rpm for the CBR600RR, and, with still shacking hands, we belief them
Many of the new technologies developed in Honda's motorcycle racing bakes have been adapted to the CBR600RR engine, including modified intake- and exhaust-port shapes, smoother port walls, changes to the intakes' velocity stack lengths and taper, and enhancements to the ECU program governing the control of the two-stage PGM-DSFI fuel-injection system. The CBR600RR also boasts a new, lighter-weight stainless steel exhaust system equipped with an inline exhaust valve to tune exhaust pressure for maximum performance.