First released in 2003 as a racier version of the CBR600F-series, the Honda CBR600RR has been widely acclaimed from the day it rolled off the production line. In fact, since its inception it has won every single World Supersport title to date, all at the hands of Dutch tuning experts Ten Kate. With a perfect record like that, it’s no wonder the Honda CBR600RR is one of the best-selling 600cc Inline-Fours ever produced.
Honda’s Unit Pro-Link rear suspension and Dual Stage Fuel Injection (PGM-DSFI) found their way onto the CBR600RR and were MotoGP technologies that were made available for the first time on a production motorcycle. Because of its emphasis on racing characteristics, such as a braced swingarm, center-up exhaust system, and more aggressive riding position, the Honda CBR’s “RR” designation for “Race Replica” took on a whole new meaning for Honda, a company which up until then was more known for producing much more street-oriented sportbikes.
The 2003 model carried over to 2004 unchanged with the exception of new color schemes. With ’05 came the first update for the CBR600RR. Honda revised the bodywork as well as adding a fully-adjustable inverted fork, newly designed aluminum frame, swingarm, radial-mount front brakes and new rear shock. Mid-range power was said to be bumped up as well.
Two year later, in 2007, came a total redesign for the Honda CBR600RR. The main focus was reducing weight wherever possible, which resulted in a machine some 20 pounds lighter than the previous model. Power was once again bumped up slightly. Bodywork featured all-new and much more aggressive styling, with a very angular design compared to the previous model. A new frame made from Honda’s Fine Die-Cast (FDC) technology highlighted the chassis changes and was a big part in reducing the overall weight. The Honda Electronic Steering Damper (HESD) system also made its debut for the first time on the Honda CBR600.
A slight redesign came for 2009, the majority of which centers around new bodywork that covers more of the engine and updated color schemes. But the big news for ‘09 is that Honda has released the world’s first Supersport machine with an optional Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS). This Combined ABS (C-ABS) will be available in limited numbers on both the Honda CBR600RR and CBR1000RR for ’09 and depending on consumer response production will be adjusted accordingly for 2010. Honda expect European sales of the C-ABS CBR600RRl to be quite high as some countries are currently trying to make ABS a required feature for all motorcycles. Motorcycle USA had the chance to test the system at Honda’s HPCC proving grounds and we came away very impressed.