Product Type: Honda motorcycles
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Why did I ever get rid of my CBR?
Member Name: Jonny_L
Advantages: Sportsbike performance in a comfy package. Comparable to none, it's beautifully perfect
Disadvantages: I don't own one any more, and Honda are no longer making them. Plenty of used ones about though!
So I was faced with the decision of the many sports 600's available. The R6? Bit too revvy for the sort of road riding I do. The ZX6-R? Likewise. Which left me with the rather tacky feeling GSX-R600, or the CBR600 catagory. No contest really.
The CBR's at that time came in a variety of different guises. The standard F model is the one I opted for. It was red, white and blue, and had a nice comfortable seat and riding position, in comparison to the F-sport and the recently introduced and now superceeding CBR600RR.
So the CBR600F it is then. The first thing you notice when you cock a leg over the CBR is that it's not quite as racy in ride position as it looks. It's comfortable, perhaps it doesn't quite have the all day comfort of the VFR, but it comes pretty damn close. My weight was spread evenly through seat and bars, so after a few hours in the saddle there were a few generalised aches and pains, but no severe pressure points. This means that on a long tour, after a quick rest for a coffee you can get back on and do it all over again.
Thumb the starter and the CBR is remarkably civilised. Mine had a Remus exhaust on, but even with that it ticked over with a nice quiet burble, just hinting at what the bike's capable of. The first thing I noticed was the lack of vibration. Honda's 598cc inline four is so unbelievably smooth that if it weren't for the noise, you'd hardly know it was running.
Once you get going at a steady pace, you realise how comfortable the engine is with just cruising around in what is most likely the wrong gear. You can trundle along in 4th quite happily at 25-30mph and still just about have the torque to get a shift on without having to change down. It's great round town, the clutch is light and the fueling is spot on, resulting in expert-like throttle control, even for those of a ham-fisted disposition.
It really is a bike that anyone can ride smoothly. It'll help out and nurture those just starting out, and at the same time it'll flatter an expert rider. If this thing could go off road (and it probably could if I didn't get sticky tyres on it), I really think it'd be the best motorcycle ever built. Honda's build quality is second to none, and the bike just oozes quality. Yes it seems rather plasticy on appearance, but at least it's good quality Honda plastic! There were no rattles to speak of, and the bike really just does the job it was intended to do, and rather well. It's even got a reserve fuel gauge, nestled in the digital speedo, just next to it's nice clear rev counter.
But enough of that. Reading that first part would make anyone think that this is just some sort of all rounder. A Fazer or a bandit of some description. But no. Oh no. Don't let that comfy riding position and gentle throttle control fool you, this is a sports bike.
OK so the power and revs are rather linear, but there is still a noticable boost in performance once you get over the 6000 revs mark. The bike goes from being a comfy sport tourer to being somewhat of an all out racer. The engine gets so lively that it'll get the front wheel up in no time. It's beautifully controlled by that fueling again, but it's just got a sense of urgency to it, and while I don't like to admit to such tomfoolery, I never really found another rider who could keep up! If you so wish, this bike will do 70mph in first gear. It'll go on to well in excess of 160mph too.
So it's fast. At over 100bhp of course it will be. The thing weighs about 180kg dry, it flies. But that's not all. That 180kg is carried so well, the bike is perfectly balanced. All the weight seems to be held right in the center of the bike, both in height and length. Cornering is effortless, however still involving enough to never get tiring. You'll be dragging knees and toes on every dry roundabout if you feel so inclined, and thanks to that perfect balance, beautiful suspension and hopefully a decent set of tyres (I found Contisport attacks to be brilliant), you'll be giggling like a schoolgirl every time you go out on the thing. Oh and even if you go too far, just lean it over and hope for the best. The CBR will handle it, seriously.
Of course, what's a decent bike without good brakes. These things will quite happily pull your face off given half a chance. There's loads of feel there too, but if you need to stop in a hurry, those big twin discs on the front will do that without a worry. The only brakes I've found that are better are on the servo assisted BMW's, and bear in mind that the Honda's not servo assisted.
So overall then, it's wonderful, for beginner and expert alike. Damn, I'm actually quite smitten. Why oh why did I ever get rid of it. I want my CBR back! That'll be me looking through the MCN classifieds this afternoon then.
Summary: A no compromise all rounder. It'll do everything, and do it well.
|on skiddy terrain:|
|on dry terrain:|