A few months ago it was all over for the once mighty middleweight sportsbike. The story that 600cc race replica’s sales across the world had fatally nose-dived in the preceding decade was confirmed by news Honda were ceasing production of the CBR600RR, and rumors circulated that Triumph were contemplating the demise of the Daytona 675, and that the other Japanese manufacturers were holding station to see who jumped first.
Turns out that’s not strictly the case. Honda isn’t stopping production of the CBR600RR – they’re just not going to import them into Europe. They’ll still be sold in outside the European Union, including some Southeast Asian countries – where, presumably, the hope is the millions of youngsters currently zapping about on step-thrus will one day be old enough and wealthy enough to buy the real thing.
Also Honda still have a contract to supply CBR600RR engines to the Moto2 racing series until at least 2018.
Yamaha is about to break cover of its new YZF-R6 – a series of teaser video trailers have confirmed its existence – and unless Yamaha have completely lost the plot, it’s inconceivable the new motorcycle won’t be lighter, sharper, more powerful and bristling with the same IMU electronics tech as the current Yamaha YZF-R1.
Triumph are also widely rumored to be building a sport-based 765cc motorcycle, although it might be a more road-biased sports package rather than an all-out race replica.
Whether such machines will sell or not is moot, but if used 600cc sportsbike sales are anything to go by the Yamaha will fly from the showrooms in Europe and US. In a dramatic turnaround from the situation just a few years ago, when sports 600s were clogging up dealers with stock they couldn’t shift for love nor discounting, now they can’t get enough used, mid-90’s Yamaha YZF-R6’s, CBR600RRs, ZX-6Rs and GSX-R600s.