2011 Honda CBR600F: the return of the practical 600

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The flying Dutchmen from Oliepeil.nl have managed to infiltrate the EICMA show in Milan a day before it opens, scooping these photos of the 2011 Honda CBR600F. Only making 100bhp and 47lb/ft, this Honda won’t be giving an R6 any trouble around the track. But that’s not the point because this CBR will be comfortable.

Beyond looking at these shots and these images, we don’t have any further info on the F other than what can be logically inferred.

The arrival of the CBR600RR in Honda’s range in 2003 represented a new high watermark for the class, for the first time making a 600 as desirable as a liter bike. It did that by sacrificing any pretense of practicality in the pursuit of all-out performance.

To compliment it, American Honda kept the CBR600F4i in the range until 2006 as sort of a practical, more affordable alternative for people that occasionally wanted to strap luggage onto their supersport and do a little more than trackdays.

The 2007 CBR600RR redressed some of that balance, re-introducing comfort, if not much more in the way of practicality. This CBR600F should again give us a Honda 600 that’s a little more affordable, a little more comfortable and a little more practical for things like commuting and touring.

This is exactly the kind of high-value, clever, but still high-performance bike we want more manufacturers to offer. First the CBR250R and now the CBR600F, could this be a return to form for Big Red?

via Oliepeil

  • ike6116

    I like it.

  • robotribe

    “Only making 100hp”.

    Har.

    If they’ve kept the weight closer to 400 lbs than 500 and the seat height closer to 30″ than 32″ high, they could have a winner (if the price is right).

    • Chuluun

      I think you hit the nail on the head, weight is going to be crucial. Obviously it’ll be somewhat heavier than an RR but if they can keep the dry weight of the ABS version at or below 200kg (say 450lb) they’ll be doing well. My old F3 is 410lb dry but the weight on the new bike should be more centralized.

      The other big issue is suspension, needs to be half-decent and adjustable. Even after the RR came along the original F was a sports bike first and foremost and regardless of what else it can do the new bike needs to feel that way too. If it’s too heavy or poorly suspended it’s going to end up competing in an already crowded market of 600cc all-rounders; if they get it right it’ll be in a class of one.

  • Shinigami

    “Only making 100bhp and 47lb/ft, this Honda won’t be giving an R6 any trouble around the track.”

    Now hold on a moment- the current CBR600RR spec is a real-world, at the tire ~98/42 and it holds its own against the R6 very well (I should know, I have an 07 RR and an 08 R6)

    So what exactly does your comment mean?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      clearly the numbers are crank dude. Let’s not get all pedantic here, the CBR and R6 both claim 120+ crank.

  • robotribe

    Another thing: is this made in Japan or in the same Honda factory that produces the Hornet 600 in Italy? If it’s the latter, forget about this making States-side.

    • http://www.davidfolch.com david folch

      It might be build in Brazil where Honda produce a lot of 125 and 250cc there…

      • Random

        Probably not. Brazilian Honda still doesn’t build big bikes from scratch, some components and processes are still made elsewhere (probably the operation is only economically viable because of the tax rebates for local production).

        Maybe there’s still hope, because the 599/Hornet is almost 100% done locally, and there are striking similarities between the Hornet and the new bike (exhaust pan/ rider and passenger footpeg support/ lower frame).

  • Bald Shaun

    100hp is plenty if they keep it lightweight and and fit a decent suspension.

  • Cyphear

    I’m guessing it’s headed stateside. From the cities I’ve traveled, almost nobody rides faired bikes in europe.

    Hopefully it’s actually comfortable, not just a cheap sport bike with a banana seat.

    • MikeD

      God forbid that…what will i whine and bitch about ? lol. But yeah, u make a valid point.

  • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

    Umm…yes. Yes, please.

    Unfortunately, I doubt it will be in tri-colors, but the red-white looks sexy enough.

  • stratkat

    i love this time of year!

  • http://www.twitter.com/beastincarnate Beast Incarnate

    This is definitely a step in the right direction for Honda. It’s been awhile since they paid any attention to this segment, while Yamaha’s brought in the FZ6R and Kawasaki’s run the 650R for years.

    • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

      I’d say this thing has a few advantages over the FZ6r and ninja 650. First of all; read clip-ons. The Ninja 650 feels like a dirt bike more than a sport bike.

      Oh, and yeah, the extra 30 or so horses makes a difference too! Pricing ~$8k maybe?

      • http://www.twitter.com/beastincarnate Beast Incarnate

        The Honda number is likely claimed from the crank, so the difference won’t be quite 30HP. Beyond that, I’d have to wait for more details. I agree with you, though, Honda could come out with a really solid bike that’s well above the bikes it will be compared to.

      • MikeD

        I’ll say it looks better than the India Slums cheap looking put togheter FZ6R.
        NOW, about the 650R feeling like a dirt bike, well…thats totally subjective.
        Clip ons don’t make for more comfort than dirtbike bars…unless ur a masochist liying to urself and trying to win a piss contest.

        • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

          Ha, obvious the dirt bike analogy is hyperbole, but there is something about seeing a full handle-bar on a faired motorcycle that rubs me the wrong way. The seating position on the 650r seemed way too upright to me, and while I’m sure it helps normal commuting, I like to be able to tuck in on the highway without my wrists above my shoulder.

          This CBR seems like a better compromise between a workman’s bike and a sport bike. But, yes, I do often lie to myself (“Self, you look great tonight! You’re totally going home with that girl!”), though I’m no masochist. As for the pissing contest, you’re on :)

  • Chuluun

    I’m still riding a ’98 CBR600F3 (105hp, and tricolour!) and am always telling anyone who’ll listen that the only thing I’d swap it for is a newer model — an F4i or a brand-new RR. This new F just went to the top of my list.

    Thankyou Honda, I was starting to lose faith.

  • Random

    Hard to believe it took so long to add a fairing to what probably is a 599/Hornet derived bike. Even the other jap manufacturers had already jumped in the bandwagon – GSX650 for the Bandit, FZ6R/XJ6 Diversion for the XJ6, Ninja 650 and 1000 for their respective naked counterparts. All is well though since our prayers were answered…

    The new bike may influence CBR600RR development too, forgiving daily rideability (covered in the new bike) for pure racetrack performance – just like the original division between 600F and 600RR.

    • Random

      Looking at the other pictures (showing the right side) it totally seems this bike have the Hornet side can. If it really is based on the Hornet it is good news, as the bike is almost universally praised, and recently has been fitted with adjustable front suspension and optional ABS.

  • Les

    Strange to say, since the hornet is just an f3i motor and wheels (at least my 04 carbed model). It’s going full circle :)

    The seat looks very much like a hornet. Which means it’s not bad, not too soft or hard, but too low.

    Why do seats keep getting lower? Are we getting shorter?

    • MikeD

      “Are we getting shorter?”…Nope, maybe the rest of the world is?

      Or… maybe they are trying to get more of the ladies aboard. Kinda like H-D with the Sporster SuperLow strategy.

      • Random

        Or is the target market getting older to the point that lifting a leg seems to be a problem?

    • swfcpilot

      I had an 04 599 (Yellow is fastest) and I really liked it. I only upgraded to a VFR800 for more wind protection and the hard bags. When the new, edgier Hornet came out (07 maybe), it went from the F3i motor to a detuned or torque-optimized version of the CBR600rr motor. The killer of the 599 and 919 in the USA was the Euro conversion because the motorcycle was entirely made in Italy. If I remember correctly, you could even look at the ignition module and rectifier and see where they had “Ducati” stamped on them.

      The Euro to dollar rate added almost 30% to the cost of a 599 headed to the US. So if this is based on a model that’s still made in Italy it may have some of the same price problems because Honda said they wouldn’t sell the 599 at a loss. I couldn’t see them doing any different with this one.

      • http://www.twitter.com/beastincarnate Beast Incarnate

        Old 599 riders are threatening to take over every Honda article with our lamentations of Italian pricing. Too bad there weren’t enough of us to really make a difference.

  • Rob

    Having just had my ’87 Hurricane out today in all of it’s nicely tuned 85-90hp and ~400lb… coming home to this news is truly exciting.

    Being only 5’7″ and 150lb, there’s nowhere in the real world that I need a litre bike… or a 600 with as much power as a litre bike from 20 years ago…

    Fingers crossed this comes stateside… the ‘Cane might be getting a little sister!

  • Liquidogged

    Actually… this looks kind of awesome. Reasonable, good looking, functional bikes from Japan in a year of god-awful monsters from Italy? Strange days.