The MCUSA 2006 CBR600RR Project Bike underwent a metamorphosis after we tossed on a Hotbodies exhaust and improved K&N intake.
The first order of business is to uncork that politically correct exhaust system and replace it with a slip-on from Hotbodies Racing. The complete undertail kit includes a dainty steel slip-on muffler and finished bodywork that not only conceals the exhaust except for a tiny orifice where the top of the exhaust pokes out but it also has thin integrated turnsignals as well.
Hotbodies Racing provided instructions that recommend that a reputable dealership complete the install to maximize the potential of the system, but who really does that in this day and age? Most likely you scraped your last penny together to even buy the kit and are struggling to make the monthly payment and insurance bills. So we went about conducting the process in our own semi-pro fashion and learned a few useful bits of info that might make it easier for the rest of the do-it-yourself crowd.
Getting rid of the stock unit is the first step and that requires removing the faux fuel cell cover along with the rear seat and bodywork and unbolting four of the six sub-frame bolts (you can leave the front two in place). This, of course, requires removal of all six bolts holding the fuel tank in place. Unbolt the stock S-bend and the first half of the task is complete.
MCUSA’s Ken Hutchison used a red undertail on the black OEM bike to match up with the Tape Works graphics kit the bike is going to receive.
Installing the HBR S-bend is easy because it utilizes the existing mounting points so lining it up is pretty straight forward. The bike sounded great when we fired it up, but I detected an exhaust leak at the point where the slip-on mated to the OEM header. We used a strip of exhaust tape to snug-up the tolerance at the junction between the header and the HBR slip-on. That was the biggest legitimate problem with this part of the install process. The stock tin heat shield is unsightly so we opted to install a piece of ‘Versa-Shield’ heat shielding material between the OEM plastic that holds the wiring harness, and the Power Commander unit, in the hopes that it would cut down on the potential heat emanating from the exhaust to the rider or passenger seat. When the swap was completed we had a lighter and cleaner-looking exhaust that pared 3.5-plus pounds off our CBR600RR in less than an hour.
The second part of this install is attaching the slick pre-painted undertail bodywork and integrated turnsignals to the OEM tail section. You may notice that we opted for a red undertail although the bike is black. That’s because we plan on incorporating the color in with a Tape Works graphics kit later. This required wiring up the new unit to the OEM harness, and the HBR-supplied connectors accomplished the task quickly and tidily. When positioning the tailsection in place it seemed as though the mounting points were not lining up perfectly. Some strategically placed rivets secured the new bodywork and we haven’t had an issue with it since and there does not seem to be much, if any, additional heat seeping through the backside of the bike.
Without a doubt it really adds to the riding experience when you have the sweet sound of a hi-revving four-cylinder motor attached to the other end of the throttle.
The instructions seemed simple enough, but it took Duke and Hutch to get the K&N Air Filter fitted properly.
Like any experienced motorcycle owner will tell you, a K&N Air Filter is the cheapest way to improve a bikes performance. The extent of the improvement was not scientifically determined at this juncture but it is one of three necessary symbiotic changes. The instructions are easy to follow, but the implementation is another story. Generally you just pop the airbox lid and drop it in, but this one was an outright SOB. The fit was not perfect and it took two people to hold it in place in order to get the lid back on. We’ve never had an issue with the fit of a K&N in the past so we’ll chalk that up to bad luck. The final piece of the puzzle is the Power Commander III. Compared to the damn-near impossible task of getting the K&N filter to successfully line-up, the task of installing the PCIII was relatively easy.
Power Commander III
With so much electronica stuffed under the CBR bodywork, it is a tight fit getting the Power Commander wiring mated to the necessary OEM wiring harness – but we did it. Following the provided instructions is the key to a successful install, but practice makes perfect here since we’ve installed PCIIIs on a half dozen bikes in the last few years. Unless you have finger tips designed by vice-grip you should use a set of long needle-nose pliers to remove the F.I. sensors during this process. Once the PCIII is secured and located beneath the pillion pad it was time to give the CBR a test run and see if there was any noticeable performance improvement.
Tampering with the CBR600RR’s intricate electrical system to hook up the PCIII could be daunting, but it is possible if the instructions are followed carefully.
Our seat of the pants dyno tended to have us believe that the bike revved a bit quicker than before, but the most apparent change with a totally new exhaust note from the HBR slip-on. It sounds great, and the bike didn’t pop on deceleration, so we assume we did a decent job on the install and PCIII map selection.
A set of Michelin Pilot Power Race tires would ensure that the CBR600RR Project Bike would have the traction necessary to bring it home unscathed after hundreds of track miles and a couple hundred more street miles on the odometer.
On the track