Honda’s finally confirmed what the moto-press has been speculating about for years: Finally, there’s a new CBR600RR supersport coming to market. The teaser video above is the proof we’ve been waiting for, and spy photos have emerged as well.
Why is this a big deal? It’s because we’ve been waiting for the new CBR600 for what feels like forever. The 600 supersport market was blistering-hot in the early 2000s, as they had plenty of performance to offer experienced motorcyclists, but were also (mistakenly) seen as an entry-level machine for beginners, until they moved up to a real “leaderbike” like the R1. In reality, a 600 is as dangerous for a beginner as a litrebike. That caused problems with long-term customer retention, and then the market crash of ’08 happened. A combination of money woes and insurance complications meant fewer beginners were buying 600s, and the segment languished, while the 250cc-400cc sportbike market flourished instead (see also: Honda CBR250, Kawasaki Ninja 300/400, Yamaha R3).
Yamaha eventually overhauled its R6, and Kawasaki updated the ZX-6R, but Honda didn’t really upgrade the CBR600RR to keep up with the competition. It dropped the machine in some markets, as it didn’t meet emissions standards, and Honda never added a decent electronics package to bring it up to the level of the competition.
By the looks of the video above, that’s changing. Of course, to sell the machine in Europe, Honda would also have to bring the CBR600RR up to modern emissions standards. So what else can we expect—more horsepower, lighter weight? As Asphalt & Rubber points out, it looks like Honda is basically taking the current engine and frame and adding an electronics package and new suspension, similar to what it did with the last-generation CBR1000RR. We’d expect more details in the weeks to come, with a full reveal as soon as late August, prepping customers for a 2021 release.
But wait! There’s more weird news. Asphalt & Rubber also reports Honda’s American subsidiary says the new 600 will not be coming to the US market, as its pricing would be too high. It’s also supposedly not going to Europe. So, uh, where’s it going to sell then? A&R speculates it’s going to mainly be aimed at the Japanese domestic market, where 600s are already super-expensive anyway, so the pricier, updated model will still be seen as desirable.