The 2009 CBR600RR, and like new Fireblade, the big news on the
600 is ABS. the Honda’s new 600RR will be available with electronically
controlled anti-lock brakes as an option. Honda’s C-ABS not only prevents wheel
lockups under very hard braking, but also modulates brake force between the
front and rear wheels, and is probably a big advance in safety for sportsbike
Other changes on the 2009 Honda CBR600RR include an engine that’s been fettled
for better low-rpm power delivery, radial-mount monoblock brake calipers at the
front, minor changes to the fairing for a reduction in wind noise and for better
high-speed stability, and new paintjobs. Power output stands at 120bhp and the
new 600RR weighs in at 184 kilos, so performance should be quite nice…
Honda factory accessories for the 2009 CBR600RR include a tinted bubble screen,
rear seat cowl, various carbonfibre bits, and anti-theft alarm. Again, like withthe 2009 Fireblade, not much seems to have changed on the new 600RR, but we
still expect it to be the best 600cc supersports machine in the market in 2009…
NEW FOR 2009
- Increased mid-range power.
- New bodywork for a sleek, race-ready look.
- New lightweight turn signals.
- Radial-mounted monoblock four-piston front calipers.
- CBR600RR ABS equipped with patented, electronically controlled Combined ABS,
delivering the benefits of Combined Braking System (CBS) and the benefits of
Anti-lock Braking System (ABS).
- Exciting new colors: Red/Black, Black/Bright Green Metallic, Metallic Black,
Phoenix, Pearl White/Pearl Blue/Red (2009 special color†).
- Exclusive, MotoGP-derived Unit Pro-Link® Rear Suspension (see Technology
- Dual Stage Fuel Injection System (PGM-DSFI) features two injectors per
cylinder (see Technology Section).
- MotoGP-derived Honda Electronic Steering Damper (HESD) (see Technology
- High-revving engine redlines at 15,000 rpm.
- MotoGP-style center-up exhaust system.
- 41mm Honda Multi-Action System (HMAS) inverted front fork (see Technology
- Centrally located fuel tank increases mass centralization for a more compact
- Line-beam headlights feature three-piece multi -reflector design.
ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN
- Liquid-cooled DOHC 16-valve 599cc four-stroke inline four-cylinder engine
features oversquare bore and stroke of 67mm x 42.5mm.
- Idle-Air Control Valve (IACV) minimizes torque reaction and smoothes response
to small throttle changes through gradual reductions of air and fuel intake.
- Oil jets located beneath the pistons for extra friction reduction and cooling.
- Iridium-tip spark plugs improve fuel combustion and performance.
- Non-resonance knock sensor maintains optimum spark advance while constantly
monitoring combustion performance during mid- to high-rpm operation.
- Nose-mounted, two-stage ram-air system provides high volume of cool air to the
airbox for linear power delivery and incredible engine performance.
- Lightweight magnesium head cover.
- Cylinder head features angled valve insets to improve airflow.
- Cylinder head features two springs per intake valve and one spring per exhaust
valve for optimum high-rpm valve operation and durability.
- Direct shim-under-bucket valve actuation ensures high-rpm performance and
durability with 16,000-mile maintenance intervals.
- Lightweight, forged-aluminum pistons incorporate special shot peening for
- Nutless connecting rods contribute to reduced weight and quicker acceleration.
- Light neodymium magnet ACG.
- Lightweight stainless-steel four-into-one exhaust features inline-exhaust
valve to control exhaust pressure for increased performance.
- Double-pivot tensioner for cam-chain durability.
- Smooth-shifting close-ratio six-speed transmission with ratios closely matched
to the engine’s powerband.
CHASSIS / SUSPENSION
- Hollow Fine Die-Cast (DC) frame uses four large castings for ultra light
weight (see Technology Section).
- Light aluminum steering stem.
- 41mm inverted HMAS cartridge front fork features spring preload, rebound and
compression damping adjustability for precise suspension tuning (see Technology
- Exclusive, MotoGP-derived Unit Pro-Link Rear Suspension (see Technology
- Radial-mounted monoblock four-piston front calipers feature chromium-plated
aluminum pistons and squeeze lightweight 310mm floating discs in front and a
220mm rear disc with a single-piston caliper for exceptional stopping power.
- Vertical-piston master-cylinder system produces superior leverage ratio at the
front brake lever for higher braking efficiency, excellent feel, and
controllability. This layout permits the use of a longer brake lever, which
means more braking force with less effort from the rider.
- CBR600RR ABS features Honda’s electronic Combined ABS. This all-new
ECM-controlled, hydraulically actuated system provides accurate braking force
distribution to both wheels. ABS is controlled by a hydro-electronic unit and
stroke simulator to ensure precise operation. Benefits include consistent lever
pressure without the pulsing often associated with ABS systems. Application of
rear brake does not result in immediate front brake activation unless lock-up is
sensed, allowing an experienced rider to use rear brake in a normal manner
during spirited riding. Combined ABS components are smaller and lighter than
conventional hydraulic ABS designs, and have been located closer to the center
of the machine, enhancing mass centralization and reducing unsprung weight.
- Industry-leading ergonomic design features maximum rider comfort for minimum
fatigue in all riding conditions.
- Centrally mounted 4.8-gallon fuel tank is positioned low in the frame,
increasing mass centralization and allowing a more compact design.
- Plastic tank shell cover protects tank and airbox.
- Line-beam headlights feature three-piece multi - reflector design utilizing
two H7 bulbs for optimum light distribution and a unique compact design.
- Instrumentation is very compact and features LCD panel with tachometer,
odometer, twin tripmeters, speedometer, fuel gauge and clock.
- Attractive, hollow-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels feature race-spec 3.5 x
17.0-inch front and 5.5 x 17.0-inch rear dimensions.
- One-piece fan assembly for maximum cooling efficiency.
- Maintenance-free battery.
- Compact rear-cowl storage compartment for U-type locking devices under the
passenger seat (lock not included).
- Pivoting, aerodynamic mirrors.
- Integrated ignition-switch/fork lock for added security.
- Convenient push-to-cancel turn-signal switch.
- Transferable one-year, unlimited-mileage limited warranty; extended coverage
available with a Honda Protection Plan.
- Purchase of a new, previously unregistered Honda USA–certified unit by an
individual retail user in the United States qualifies the owner for a one-year
complimentary membership in the Honda Rider’s Club of America® (HRCA®). Visit
www.hrca.honda.com for details.
Skilled sport riders have historically been quick
to discount the safety merits of an anti-lock braking system, viewing it as an
unnecessary luxury feature best suited to the sport-touring set. Honda now aims
to convince us otherwise, offering optional C-ABS (combined anti-lock brakes) on
its 2009 CBR600RR and CBR1000RR models.
Having sampled a wide variety of bikes over the
years that offered ABS, linked brakes or a combination of both, I could be
counted among the sport-minded community content without the added cost, weight
or, often, intrusive operation of previous assisted braking implementations.
Scattered showers and damp pavement provided
ideal conditions in which to gather first impressions of a C-ABS-equipped
CBR600RR during the bike's press launch staged at the Honda Proving Center of
California. Following a technical brief detailing the system's sophisticated
components and operation, I put in a few dozen laps around the HPCC road course,
exploring the capabilities of C-ABS.
My conclusion? Years spent developing feel and
finesse through my right fingers and foot have been rendered obsolete by this
system. Grabbing a handful of brake or standing on the pedal results in nothing
less than strong, controlled braking action. Although a momentary initial
release in braking force is detectable, pulsation is not felt through the
controls once the system detects impending wheel lock and enters an anti-lock
state of operation. Neither does the chassis buck like a rocking horse, another
characteristic of many slow-cycling, grab-release-grab ABS setups. The CBR's
ECU-controlled plumbing makes extremely quick and near-seamless adjustments in
The combined or linked aspect of the RR's setup
is a vast improvement over earlier-generation linked arrangements dating back to
the CBR1000F and CBR1100XX of the 1990s. There's no sudden front-end dive when
lightly applying rear brake at low speeds, allowing riders who dab the rear
brake when making U-turns to do so without ill effect.
Although Honda spokesmen make no claims regarding
the system's effectiveness beyond straight-line use, trail-braking performance
is a natural question on the minds of many sport riders. I found the smooth
nature of the CBR's ABS and its combined brake effect allow fairly aggressive
rear-pedal application mid-corner without unsettling the chassis. I used this
technique in a series of left-hand bends at HPCC and was able to confidently
check my speed and tighten my line. Another experiment I conducted was
trail-braking deep into corners, easing off the front lever while remaining on
the pedal down to the corner apex. Although I came away unscathed, I advise
readers looking to try this to carefully ease up to this technique as I did.
This is not a fail-safe system; it does not rewrite the rules of physics.
Following the launch, we obtained a pair of
CBR600RRs for further study on the street and test strip, one with C-ABS and
another without. Drained of fuel, the standard bike weighed 386 pounds on CW's
scales, while the C-ABS model came in at 411 pounds. Both bikes produced 102
peak horsepower and 45 foot-pounds of torque, but the additional 25 pounds
accounts for a quarter-mile time 0.2-second off the 10.59 seconds at 129.16-mph
pass set by the non-ABS model.
That's a fair trade-off, we think, for all but
the most track-day-driven. Every CW staffer who has ridden the C-ABS model on
the street sensed the feeling of invincibility that this system imparts. We
found ourselves actually seeking out slick surfaces, such as paint lines, oil
spots or loose sand, to brake across. To a man, we were amazed by how
transparently the system adjusts to variations in grip.
Looking to back our seat-of-the-pants findings
with hard data, we gathered comparative stopping distances from 60 mph on each
600RR. Back-to-back stops were performed on dry, bumpy pavement; we then
repeated the test in both wet and dry conditions on a smooth stretch of asphalt.
We also measured each bike's stopping distance when only the rear brake pedal
was applied, the results of which clearly display the huge advantage Honda's
combined system provides.
While the shortest stopping distance on dry
pavement came aboard the non-ABS bike, safely finding the limits on a bumpy
surface required four attempts. Only a second pass was needed on the more
predictable smooth surface to beat the ABS. Mulligans, however, are not a luxury
one enjoys when faced with a real-world panic stop. The fairly close wet-road
stopping distance of the two can also be attributed to the consistent surface
condition throughout the stop. Once again, throw in variables such as a deep
puddle or a rain-soaked paint line, and there's little doubt that the gap
between the two bikes' stopping distances would increase. And remember, this
testing was done with a practiced hand/foot at the controls; less-skilled
operators will benefit that much more from this smarter ABS.
We came away very impressed with what Honda has
achieved with its latest-generation C-ABS. After years of riding bikes with
anti-lock brakes, we've come to expect compromises in the feel and function
during high-performance braking. Honda has made us rethink our position; to do
so with a pure sporting platform makes this doubly astonishing. While many
sportbike enthusiasts will stand to benefit greatly from the added safety this
system offers, the $1000 premium tacked onto a $9799 base price and the 25-pound
weight penalty can't be ignored. Having already invested countless miles in
developing a keen, if not infallible, sense of human-controlled ABS, I hope
Honda continues to give buyers a choice.
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