A few thoughts on my ownership of my CBR6RR-7.



I bought my CBR600RR new in March 2007. In all my 58 years of biking, (up to that date) I had never bought a brand new, zero miles, 'bike. I hadn't even intended to buy a new 'bike. As a previous Honda customer of Jack Machin in Lincoln I got invited to test ride the new CBR600RR and CBR1000RR. The 1000cc Fireblade is a great bike but out of my price range, the 600, however was tempting. Later, after the test ride, I was telling my wife how good the new 600 was, compared with my old CBR600FW and, a couple of days later, while we were in Lincoln I took her to see the new machine. To my amazement she said 'If you want it, buy it, it is your money.' Decision taken, I let her choose the colour and ended up with the Pearl White and Black machine - a choice which many bikers have admired and which I have never regretted.
I've had the 'bike now for nearly four years, so what do I think of it.

First Impressions.
At first glance the machine looks tiny. Although I am not all that big (5' 10" and 198 lbs) I was sure that the bike would be most uncomfortable to ride for any distance. I was to be surprised, once on the machine I found it was far more roomy than I would have thought and the test ride was quite comfortable. The bars are not too far away and are slightly nearer and slightly higher than the bars on the CBR600FW model. There seemed to be less weight on my wrists at town speeds which would be a bonus. Low speed torque was definitely better than on the old bike and it seemed quite happy pottering along at around three thousand rpm. Wind the throttle open a bit more and, at around seven thousand rpm, the bike came alive. That test ride ended with a big grin on my face.

The Reality.
The 1000 mile running in period gave me time to get used to the new bike. I was pleased to find that most of my first impressions were confirmed. By the time running in was completed I was more than happy with my new steed and put my stamp on it by the removal of some of the Honda matt black plastic which was replaced by Powerbronze Carbon Fibre goodies. As I don't carry a pillion passenger the pillion hangers were removed which improved the look of the back of the 'bike no end. There are a few photos of the 'bike in the EPA Photo gallery.

One thing which did surprise me was that, once I was used to the 'bike, I found the radial brakes disappointing. To be fair, all the other owners I have talked to thought the brakes were great. Maybe it is just me, I could not lock the front wheel no matter how hard I tried which told me that there was still some reserve braking power to be tapped. I swapped out the Honda OE brake pipes and pads for HEL stainless steel braided hoses and EBC HH pads front and rear. This made the difference I was looking for and I am now happy with the braking in both the dry and the wet.
Handling and road holding are, as one would expect from a Honda, superb. The bike will go exactly where it is wanted and will hold a line perfectly. Despite the high Land/Sea ratio of the Bridgestone OE BT 015E tires fitted I have found no problems with grip in the wet on road or on track. The 'bike is very flickable and will go from full left lean to full right lean in a trice which is handy round Cadwell Park's Mountain, Hall Bends and Hairpin section. The steering damper, hidden under the tank cover, works effectively when needed. The suspension is fully adjustable, unlike most owners who stiffen things up slightly, I have softened up the compression and rebound damping, front and rear, by one notch from Honda's settings. Preload seems about right.

Distance riding.
I get around 130 miles, on a fast run, before I stop for petrol and find the tiny 'bike is actually quite comfortable for up to around 200 miles before I need to stop for a while to stretch my legs. This is no problem as it is also around the time when I feel the need for a mug of good black coffee and comfort break. Very occasionally I get cramp in a calf muscle, but as I used to get it on the old bike as well I guess that is just me rather than the bike. I just hang the leg out in the breeze for a few seconds and it will ease off. The most miles I would normally do in a day would be in the region of 400 or so which, luckily, equates to one of our club 'Sunday' runs. Once the machine gets up to around sixty there is little or no weight on my wrists as airflow balances my weight nicely. Riding the mid-range torque reduces the number of gear shifts and also makes trickling around town in second gear an easy matter.
Depending on how I am riding I guess I get between 35 and 45 mile to the gallon. I've never tried riding for economy - on a sports bike, who the hell would? - but I would imagine a higher mileage would be quite possible with a light throttle hand. Generally I keep the revs in the five to seven thousand rpm band for group riding giving a nice balance between smoothness and response. The mid-range torque is impressive for a small engine and there is far less need to keep changing gear (on the road) than there was on the old CBR6FW.

On the track.
On track the little Honda is a delight. Get the tires warmed up - at least two laps - then let her go. On track I use all the revs, the engine comes alive at around seven thousand rpm and winds up rapidly to some fourteen and a half thousand when it is time to snick it into the next gear. The gears are close ratio and the engine revs build so quickly I found I was continually looking for a seventh gear. Also, a couple of times at Cadwell, coming down the steep hill to Mansfield I changed into first - second is best there - and had the back end hopping around. (Note to Mr Honda - slipper clutch next time please!) I invested in a HealTech Digital Gear Position Indicator, a very useful piece of equipment, not much bigger than a sugar cube that nestles under the fairing to the left of my dash panel. No excuse for mistakes now and, strangely enough, I find I am using it less and less on track but find it very useful on the road. The flickability of the 'bike is a delight and it will track true no matter where you want it to go. Go into a corner too hot, need more lean? 'OK no problem Sir' a nudge on the inside bar and another few degrees of lean are instantly available.

Overall the CBR600RR-7 is a small, yet comfortable, powerful, high performance 600 Sports-bike with excellent handling and roadholding matched with a good set of brakes. A very definite improvement over the previous model, it is as useful on the track as it is on the road - or should that be the other way round - and is as happy touring the countryside as it is hooning it around your favourite circuit.

HONDA CBR600RR-7 2007

Brief specification details
Liquid-cooled inline four with 4 valves per cylinder
Displacement - 599cc
Bore x stroke - 67mm x 42.5mm
Power output - 118 bhp/88KW (Crank)
Fuelling - Dual stage electronic fuel injection
Compression ratio - 12.2:1
Transmission - 6-speed
Final drive - #525 Chain
Tires - 120/70-17 front, 180/55-17 rear
Front suspension - 41mm inverted cartridge fork, adjustable for pre-load, rebound and compression damping; 4.7 inches of travel
Rear suspension - Pro-Link single shock adjustable for pre-load, rebound and compression damping; 5.1 inches of travel
Front brake - Dual 310mm discs, radial-mounted 4-piston calipers
Rear brake - Single 220mm disc
Seat height - 32.3 inches
Rake/Trail - 23.7 degrees/3.8 inches
Wheelbase - 53.8 inches
Fuel capacity - 4.8 US gallons/3.99 UK gallons
Dry/wet weight - 345 pounds/412 pounds