|Two Hondas Are Better Than One! - Tuesday, May 20, 2003 at 08:35
©2002 By Peter Thoeming.
An F for the road, and this RR for the track.
I don't usually write about bikes I haven't ridden, but the new CBR600RR serves as an excellent example of the kind of thinking we will see in the middleweight class in the years to come. This is the future.
Over the 16 years since its 1987 debut, the CBR600F has won many racing titles with its hard-hitting combination of light weight and strong, responsive performance. It has been most widely praised for its smooth, unruffled power delivery and comfort, providing the best of both worlds: easy manners and predictable performance for day-to-day riding coupled with race-winning potential at competitive levels in Supersport racing.
But as competing bikes got ever faster, the gap between the CBR600F and the narrow-focused performance bikes required for circuit domination has widened. It would have been a shame to eliminate the F, so Honda decided against totally upgrading it to full race-ready spec. Instead, they set out to create an entirely new middleweight class machine designed for the competitive end of the class, while leaving the CBR600F to continue in its traditional role.
The result is this new CBR600RR, which more than anything else owes its existence to Honda's latest racing masterpiece, the RC211V Moto GP bike currently being piloted by Valentino Rossi, Tohru Ukawa and Daijiro Kato in the new Grand Prix racing series.
The new CBR's development team borrowed heavily from its Superbike and MotoGP racing efforts, with special attention paid to the revolutionary new RC211V. The result is a bike with a completely new engine with sequential fuel injection which revs out to 15,000 rpm. The new CBR600RR is not only one of the lightest machines in its class, its weight distribution has been totally revised to achieve a much more mass-centralised form designed to react instantly to rider inputs with faster, smoother and more easily controlled changes of direction. The radical new cast aluminium chassis sets a new benchmark in manufacturing expertise while realising a more accurately tuned balance of light weight and race-ready rigidity.
The new CBR600RR's power delivery is designed to come on stronger everywhere in its remarkably wide powerband, especially at the high engine speeds reached on the track. This was achieved with a major redesign and repositioning of many of the engine's essential components, as well as through the development of the new Dual Sequential Fuel Injection (DSFI) system that dramatically broadens its optimal range of operation.
Add the radical new, race-ready RC211V MotoGP styling to the more compact and powerful fuel-injected engine, the highly rigid hybrid aluminium chassis and swingarm, the revolutionary new Unit Pro-Link rear suspension taken directly from the RC211V, and a host of other 'quantum leap' advances in design, construction, power delivery and handling, and you have a bike that should set new standards.
The RR is not just stronger, stiffer and lighter. Other innovations include a fuel tank that shares the space underneath the cover with the airbox, making a critical contribution to mass centralisation. The CBR's sleek seat cowl flows back to a slimline LED taillight lighter and thinner by half than the FireBlade's. The cowl also mounts a small pillion seat pad that provides a perch for brave passengers. Just under it is the new Centre-Up exhaust system, while up front there's a radical new pair of 'Line Beam' headlights, less than half the height of the dual headlights on most road bikes.
To increase cornering clearance and banking angle, the engine's width has been reduced at the crankshaft. First, the starter gear was moved to the right, which allowed the ACG to move further inboard. This produced a 3 degree increase in bank angle for each side with an ample cornering clearance at racing speeds.
The engine was also shortened, allowing the swingarm to be lengthened and moving both engine and rider forward, closer to the steering head and the machine's centre of mass for quicker, more responsive manoeuvring and sharper cornering control.
As it has for the VTR1000 SP-2 and many other bikes, Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) is releasing an extensive range of specialised racing parts for the CBR600RR.
This complete racing kit includes engine, chassis, suspension and body parts designed for stronger power, lighter weight, sharper handling and better aerodynamics.
AT A GLANCE
Model: Honda CBR600RR
Price: MSRP $8,599
Warranty: Two years, unlimited miles
Power: 86 kW at 13,000 rpm
Torque: 63 Nm at 10,000 rpm
Engine: Liquid cooled inline four 4 stroke, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, digital electronic ignition, PGM-DCFI electronic fuel injection
Bore x stroke: 67 x 42.5 mm
Displacement: 599 cc
Transmission: 6 speed, multiple plate wet clutch, final drive by O ring sealed chain
Suspension: Front, 45 mm HMAS cartridge fork, fully adjustable; travel 120mm. Rear, ProLink, adjustable spring preload and compression and
rebound damping; travel 120 mm
Dimensions: Seat height 820 mm, dry weight 169 kg, wheelbase 1390 mm
Tires: Front 120/70 ZR 17. Rear 180/55 ZR 17
Frame: Diamond; die-cast aluminium
Brakes: Front, twin 310 mm floating discs, 4 piston calipers. Rear, 220 mm
single disc, single piston caliper
Colors: Italian Red, Pearl Flash Yellow, Black
©2002 By Peter Thoeming.