With the help of Hotbodies Racing, Power Commander, K&N and Michelin, we’ll begin the process of transforming the mellow middleweight CBR600RR into a a street and track ripper.
The evolution of the sportbike takes place over a very short period of time. In the four years that Honda’s CBR600RR has been in existence, it has set standards for its unflappable chassis, rider-friendly suspension and, of course, its slick appearance.
All good things must come to an end, and we believed that once the all-new 2007 CBR600RR was released. We’re sure that some of you would assume the version it replaced would then be rendered obsolete. Well, we could not sit around idly as one of our favorite supersports is sent into mothballs.
Not everyone can just dash down to the local Honda dealer and buy a brand new bike, and there are so many cool things you can do with a venerable steed such as the this, so we finagled an RR out of the dark recesses of American Honda’s press fleet and set about putting together the 2006 CBR600RR project for your viewing pleasure.
Our testers almost unanimously agreed that this is one of the better looking Supersports available, so as far as the aesthetics go, we’ll start with the easy stuff and then see what we can come up with after that.
The orange CBR600RR we abused during our 2006 Supersport Shootout really polarized opinions among the testers regarding the color scheme. Still, Honda reported it was the most difficult version to keep on showroom floors. Maybe that’s why we got stuck with the black version for our project bike?
Using our most valuable online resource, MotorcycleUSA, we did a bit of research on the performance window of the CBR since the first one rolled through our paddock back in 2003 so we can determine exactly where we might direct our efforts in part one of this long-term project. After gathering the numbers and re-reading the previous tests we did on the CBR the picture got a little clearer.
HP: 105.4 hp @ 14,000 rpm
Torque: 45.2 lb-ft @ 11,000 rpm
Quarter: 10.87 @ 130.1 mph
Weight: 418 lbs
HP: 102.0 hp @ 13,300 rpm
Torque: 43.4 lb-ft @ 11,100 rpm
Quarter: 11.11 @ 128.6 mph
Weight: 420 lbs
HP: 101.81 hp @ 13,500 rpm
Torque: 43.21 lb-ft @ 11,000 rpm
Quarter: 10.99 @ 125.4 mph
Weight: 398 lbs
HP: 104.1 hp @ 13,400 rpm
Torque: 44.5 lb-ft @ 10,600 rpm
Quarter: 10.71 @ 134.9 mph
Weight: 398 lbs
What you can see in the data above is that the bike, no matter what year you might purchase, is going to be pumping out at least 100 hp and is capable of tackling the quarter mile in under 11 seconds. The CBR was a bit portly the first two years at about 420 lbs. The two latest versions tipped the scales at just under 400 lbs with the tank empty, and that was still on the heavy side of the supersport spectrum. On the performance end of things, we need to shave a few more pounds and see if we can squeeze a pony or two out of the 599cc mill without dumping a ton of cash into it.
Replacing the OEM tires of our 2006 Honda CBR600RR for some Michelin Power Race rubber was the first order of business.
Like any other respectable manufacturer, Honda has steadily refined the CBR like the ’06 version we have in our garage right now, but what else can be done that Honda R&D hasn’t already thought of? Everyone has an idea of what exactly is cool, so we took a poll of riders around the office and here’s the list of changes we plan to address first.
Tires: The stock Dunlop D218s are pretty good tires, and we logged a few hundred street miles on them just for good measure. But since we made plans for our first trackday on the bike, a set of Michelin Pilot Power Races were spooned on for extra grip.
The aftermarket exhaust industry is the second change everyone suggested, and we decided to go with a slip-on first. The Hotbodies Racing CBR600RR Exhaust is a slick-looking set-up that actually conceals the entire canister within the tail section. We couldn’t pass this up so we have one of those on the way. A Power Commander can help tune a fuel-injected bike with an aftermarket exhaust system, so we ordered one of those to complement the changes we make. K&N agreed to provide a new air cleaner to round out the internal changes for this initial part of our project.
Next up: Appearance. The Hotbodies undertail set-up already sets the stage for a clean, unobstructed look at the CBR’s rear end, as the rear fender/blinker/license plate holder bracket is 86ed in one fell swoop. Flush-mount front blinkers and a tinted Hotbodies Racing Windscreen were the final pieces of the appearance puzzle.
Although the stock CBR undertail exhaust is pretty clean, the Hotbodies Racing version is even better looking. Plus, it eliminates the stock license plate bracket and blinkers.
The next order of business is getting acquainted with our new toy, and attending trackdays is something more and more street riders are doing. We took the CBR to three decidedly different tracks in three different states over the course of two weeks. It’s a grueling effort on our part, but we do what we have to do to get the job done.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our 2006 Honda CBR600RR Project Bike when we install all the new components, weigh and dyno the bike before we set out for a few days of rigorous product testing.
In Part 3 we will let you about how all of our new goodies worked out during some street riding and three days of thorough flogging at three of the sweetest tracks in the Pacific Northwest.
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