The biggest change you'll notice with the Honda during street riding, however, is just how good the engine is. Lower-end acceleration is worlds better than on the previous version (or almost any other 600, for that matter), allowing you to take off briskly from a stoplight and holeshot traffic without sounding like you're on the starting grid at the Daytona 200. That spunky low-end transcends nicely into a very stout midrange pull starting at 8000 rpm that is strong enough-dare we say it-to rival even the former 636cc Kawasaki ZX-6R. It's that strong. While we're certain the CBR's light weight plays a big role here, even that advantage only goes so far in the acceleration curve; after the initial jump, horsepower and torque take over, and the Honda continues to flex its considerable muscle well up into the rpm range.
In fact, that stronger and quicker acceleration maintains its pull deep into the higher reaches of the powerband. That advantage was amply demonstrated at Barber, where riding the '06 model against the '07 version proved to be a lesson in frustration; no matter how good a drive you made off a corner, the best you could do with the '06 model was hang in the draft of the '07 CBR. And if you made a mistake anywhere, forget it; the '07 would inexorably pull away.
The dyno chart reads that...
The dyno chart reads that the '07 600RR has much more and better power over the previous version.
The dyno chart we've published with this test is deceiving, because our regular SuperFlow dyno is still in the process of being moved and we've been forced to use alternate dynos that have different characteristics. Thus, the '07 CBR graph printed is actually slightly lower than it should be. But note that even with that caveat, the '07 still towers over the '06 graph by a considerable amount.
The same superb chassis that impressed us at Barber becomes even more of a sweetheart at the lower velocities of street riding. The agile steering of the new CBR is much more pronounced on public pavement, where there's less tarmac and more unforeseen hazards to deal with. With such a short wheelbase and steep rake angle, midcorner line changes become a mere thought process, and steering is sharp and precise. And yet there's none of the instability you'd think would accompany chassis agility like this. Over rough pavement at any lean angle, the 600RR tracks straight and true without breaking stride. Honda apparently has had enough time to play with the settings of the HESD so that it doesn't seem to affect high-speed steering, while keeping the front end from coming unglued.
Suspension action from the revised 41mm inverted fork and Unit Pro-Link shock was likewise practically fault-free. The slightly stiffer damping and spring rates are a welcome change, allowing a little more compromise between track and street without being forced to change settings. Traction feedback from the very grippy Dunlop Qualifiers was tactile and sharp, instilling boatloads of confidence in every situation we encountered. And braking from the slightly revised, radial- mount/four-piston Tokico calipers (now actuated by a radial master cylinder) was just as strong, progressive and feedback-rich as we remembered from Barber.
Can You Tell We Like It?
In case you haven't figured it out by now, we're pretty impressed with the new Honda CBR600RR. While the previous CBR was by no means a slug or wobbling backmarker, Honda seems to have taken all the complaints we had with the former model and not only fixed them, but ended up with a finished product that goes beyond what we would have expected of a middleweight redesign. The new CBR packs performance that is head and shoulders above the old model-high enough that we easily predict the Honda will at least be in the running for top honors in the 600 class.
How good is the new Honda CBR600RR? Let's just say that when we get everyone together for our '07 middleweight shootout, the other manufacturers had better bring their A-game. We can hardly wait.
Honda finally upgraded the...
Honda finally upgraded the CBR's saddle with thicker and more supportive padding, making longer trips much more bearable.
Spring preload on the front...
Spring preload on the front fork requires accurately counting the number of turns, as there are no indicator rings to show your exact preload position.
Dunlop Qualifier tires seems...
Dunlop Qualifier tires seems to have better wear rates and is substantially lighter than the off-the-rack Qualifier.
|HONDA CBR600RR |
|MSRP $9499 |
|Type ||Liquid-cooled, transverse, inline, 4-stroke fourValve arrangement: DOHC, 4 valves/cyl., shim-under-bucket adjustment |
|Displacement ||599cc |
|Bore x stroke ||67 x 42.5mm |
|Compression ratio ||12.2:1 |
|Induction ||Honda PGM-DSFI, 40mm throttle bodies |
|Transmission ||6-speed |
|Front suspension ||41mm inverted-cartridge fork, 4.7 in. travel; adjustments for spring preload, compression and rebound damping |
|Rear suspension ||Unit Pro-Link single shock absorber, 5.1 in. travel; adjustments for spring preload, compression and rebound damping |
|Front brake ||Two, four-piston calipers, 310mm discs |
|Rear brake ||Two-piston caliper, 220mm disc |
|Front wheel ||3.50 x 17 in.; cast alloy |
|Rear wheel ||5.50 x 17 in.; cast alloy |
|Front tire ||120/70ZR-17 Dunlop Qualifier PT |
|Rear tire ||180/55ZR-17 Dunlop Qualifier PT |
|Rake/trail ||23.7 deg./98mm (3.8 in.) |
|Wheelbase ||53.8 in. (1367mm) |
|Seat height ||32.3 in. (820mm) |
|Fuel capacity || 4.8 gal. (18L) |
|Weight ||12 lbs. (187kg) wet; 383 lbs. (174kg) dry |
|Instruments ||Analog tachometer, LCD panel display for digital speedometer, coolant temperature, fuel level, odometer/dual tripmeters/fuel tripmeter, clock; warning lights for neutral, high beam, turn signals, EFI problem, shift point |
|Roll-ons ||60-80mph/3.68 sec.; 80-100mph/3.42 sec. |
|Quarter-mile || 10.434 sec. @ 132.78 mph (corrected) |
|Top speed ||NA |
|Fuel consumption ||35 to 42 mpg, 37-mpg average |