For the first time since the economy highsided in the late 2000s, things are beginning to rumble again in the middleweight sportbike category. The once hugely popular class, which was hit hard by the recession and then pretty much ignored by all of the manufacturers so they could design and produce more efficient, practical and economical motorcycles, is showing signs of life again, first with Kawasaki’s re-introduction of the 636 and now with Honda sprucing up its CBR600RR.
Unfortunately, we can’t quite call the CBR600RR “all-new,” but the latest edition is somewhat new and it’s definitely enough to warrant some much-needed excitement. The CBR600RR, which made its debut in 2003, has not seen a lot of love since its last makeover in 2007. In a normal world, that would be an eternity in what is normally a highly competitive class that often defined the term cutting-edge. Obviously, times have changed.
Honda was careful about what it did to the 2013 CBR600RR After all, it was already a much-loved machine and Honda wanted to keep it that way. While it might not be considered by many as the number-one 600cc track bike of late, no one denies that it is already one of the best everyday middleweight sportbike out there, thanks to it outstanding high-performance capabilities and good-natured personality. No matter what they ever do to the CBR600RR, Honda always makes certain that it doesn’t stray too far from its roots – streetbike first, racebike second.
While there might not be a long list of changes, what few upgrades the new CBR600RR did get are significant. For starters, there’s the new 41mm Showa Big Piston Fork (BPF), which was first introduced on the CBR1000RR last year (but with 43mm legs). The BPF fork was such a big hit on the 1000 that it naturally found its way onto its little brother.