2013 Honda CBR600RR Review

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2013 Honda CBR600RR Review

“The 2013 Honda CBR600RR, building on the platform of the previous model, has taken its performance to a new level,” describes the project’s large project leader, Hirofumi Fukunaga. “It delivers and awesome ride on the circuit and is even more enjoyable to ride on the streets.” But, can a few minor updates to the fueling, suspension and bodywork really achieve all that?

Photos: Kevin Wing

What’s New:
The most noticeable change is the whacky new headlights and large intake. The central ram-air intake has been redesigned and now works in conjunction with the headlights, which lead air from the outside, in. This helps equalize duct pressure within the inlet tract and works in conjunction with revised ECU settings to smooth out throttle response and boost mid-range torque.

Like the ZX-6R and GSX-R600, forks are now Showa Big Pistons (BPF), in this case 41mm items. BPFs result lower internal pressures, creating smoother, more responsive fork action. The CBR’s are obviously fully adjustable.

Damper settings have also been updated in the Pro-Link shock.

Those funky new looks serve a purpose. Aerodynamic drag is reduced 6.5 percent, that along with the ECU changes, helps increase average fuel economy from 40 to 44mpg.

On the C-ABS model, some of the front bias at the rear pedal is dialed back, which should create less dive when using the rear brake, a change made based on race track feedback.

Wheels change from a 3 to a 12-spoke design, similar to those of the CBR1000RR.

For the first time ever, the 600 is also now available with Repsol replica paint.

The Ride:
The plan was to depart Honda’s Simi Valley hub and head up Mulholland Highway for some corners before hitting Neptune’s Net on PCH for lunch. I wasn’t looking forward to having to follow other riders around my home turf, but Ken Vreeke was more than up to the task. As soon as we pulled off Route 23 and onto Decker Canyon, the pace went from Upright Citizien Brigade to do-your-best-Marc-Marquez-impression.

When was the last time you rode a totally unfamiliar bike seriously fast? It’s harder than it looks, but the Honda’s friendly, accessible nature cut through most of the challenge.

By the time we’d reached The Snake, I was able to relax and pay attention to the bike. The ergonomics fit my 6’ 3” frame better than that 2013 Suzuki GSX-R1000 did. So, in a relaxed and familiar state, I began pushing the envelope.

 

The 600RR is willing and able to do anything you ask it to. I was able to throw it up The Snake at my usual pace and did so with no surprises and in total control. Power delivery was super smooth and predictable, which is incredibly important at these huge lean angles on such a tight road. There’s just no margin for error. Handling is also neutral, yet precise. Altogether, the CBR is simply confidence inspiring. Wringing its neck is pure delight.

I’m less familiar with the route from The Snake through the canyons to Neptune’s. With Ken and Danny Coe behaving like two teenage club racers, I latched on and was able to use them as reference for the unfamiliar corners. On these fast, dirty roads, the CBR now felt like an old friend, leaving me free to concentrate on lines and avoiding patches of dirt and gravel hiding in the blind corners.

You can really feel the enhanced response of the BPF forks, the transition from on-brake to off in really tight corners is dealt with exceptionally smoothly.

I did have a brief, two-wheeled slide in one corner, where I miss-judged my line, then had to roll off for a second while leaned way over. The bike was predictable, resulting in an easy catch and very little pucker.

You can really feel the effect of that smoother fueling, its fast, precise, but not snatchy action is part of the reason I was able to get back on the gas and save that slide.

That game came to an end when my injured knee finally gave up and I had to roll off and wave everyone else by. Rode the rest of the way to lunch with my leg out straight!

Continue Reading: 2013 Honda CBR600RR Review >>

  • Bruce Steever

    Hey Adey: you may want to reconsider publishing video of yourself doing 95 mph on public roads on a nationally viewed media channel. I’m all for riding just as hard, but you might want to think about covering that speedo next time…

    • yipY

      The digital display may well have had it’s flip-flop flipped to kilometres,and he may well plead the fifth.

    • Dan

      Now now, no reason to assume the worst. He’s actually doing 25mph on aftermarket 10″ scooter wheels, and just neglected to install a speedo healer.

  • Sean Thomson

    I am all for the next step in evolution for the 600rr, however, I must agree that the new looks are less than stellar. I had been considering a new 600rr to replace my F4i but I’d much rather look at the used market now. I feel like the 03 600rr and 03 F4i are two of the better looking bikes Honda has produced.

    • Bruce Steever

      F4 still looks good, i’ll give you that, but the 03 RR was a bit of a heavy ole girl and the new RR blows them both out of the water in any way you could categorize.

      • Sean Thomson

        I don’t doubt it! I rode a 08 CBR1000 and my mind was blown. Speed aside, the suspension was so much more composed than my older bike. It makes me curious about a minor upgrade for the F4i’s suspension some day.

  • Jeffrey Degracia

    Have you compared the new 2013 675R to the new 600RR? If performance is what you’re after I don’t think it’s even a comparison. $5,000 of top-spec Ohlins and factory quick-shifter for an additional $2,000 over the RR, my decision is pretty made up. Also, the riding gear report is off, you’re definitely wearing some Dainese leathers, I think the Laguna Seca Pro, most certainly not Alpinestars Race Replicas.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      The 675R’s amazing and a good deal, but it’s not going to be as easy to buy or own and not everyone needs too-stiff Ohlins on their bikes. Budget an extra $500-1000 to fix that before you really hit the streets hard.

  • joe shah

    Hey Adey I see your reviews on Motorcycles for this magazine. Other than some poor examples of your riding style posted on various youtube channels.
    I am curious to your resume of motorcycle riding.

    How long have you been riding street? Have you ever raced? Did you ride motorcycles growing up as a kid in NY? I am just curious to your experence.

    I tend to listen to people who have more experience than myself on issues I am not completely knowledgable upon.

    Watching your video’s, I see inexperience in your riding and lack of experience ther of!

    Please elaberate
    .

    Thanks

    • http://www.facebook.com/adeyemi.bennett Adeyemi Bennett

      There is no need to elaborate if you’re unhappy with my riding.

      Cheers

      • joe shah

        As I could have expected, your resume is as long as your response….

        “Short”

        Cheers

        • yipY

          Agreed.I think the first matter he needs to deal with is his attitude.Considering mortality,and then some semblance of responsibility should then be topics that occupy some of his study time.

    • http://twitter.com/TheVeeTwin Damo Von Maciel

      Don’t feed the haters!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Sweeney/501437288 Scott Sweeney

      Clueless

    • yipY

      It’s a fair question to ask if he’s qualified or experienced enough to offer valid riding impressions to sporting noobs online. I hazard a guess that he’s not. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LRKL4sLai0

      • http://twitter.com/TheVeeTwin Damo Von Maciel

        Wow it is a good thing “professionals” NEVER crash motorbikes. /sigh

        Seriously yipY, if you hate motorcycles and hellforleather so much (which you obviously do) why bother showing up and posting all your negative banter? It isn’t exactly constructive or insightful.

        • yipY

          A great deal of insight.If it’s constructive or not,I guess that’s your own call.

    • Ogre

      Aww, we’ve got a jealous one over here, guys. How cute.

  • Garry Yau

    Performance increases don’t mean much if the looks scare everyone away from riding it. The new Cbr600rr is like the one kid at the playground with cooties that no one wants to play with.

  • Ian Galvin

    Great review. Hey man, I’ve got a similar build to you, I bit skinnier maybe, and I have a hard time finding suits that fit my height. Do you get yours tailored?

    • http://www.facebook.com/adeyemi.bennett Adeyemi Bennett

      I shop off the rack buddy. At 6’3″, 190ish lbs I wear size 54 in Dainese suits. For whatever reason, 54 from Alpinestars is too baggy for me, so my Race Replica suit is a 52. How tall are you?

      • yipY

        This rack maybe? : http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1995-12-01/news/1995335058_1_shoplifting-baltimore-county-county-police .To be fair it may well be another guy with exactly the same name.

      • Ian Galvin

        6’3″, 180. I tried on a Dainese suit before but it felt crazy tight in the calves; like they’re only made for one body proportion. I ended up getting an RS Taichi GP1 which fits pretty well but it pulls at my neck when I’m tucked because the back isn’t long enough. I’d be up for an Astars suit but I don’t have the budget for the Race Replica.

        • Dan

          Have you checked out the Japanese sizes for Taichi suits? The JP sizes let you specify the height and width separately. A tall + skinny friend of mine just picked up a taichi and seems to be happy with the fit. My recollection was that Taichi also did custom fits for only an extra $100-200, which seems like a steal.

          • Ian Galvin

            Sportbiketrackgear.com only has euro/us sizing, where would one find the Japanese sizing?

            • Dan

              Check out the taichi website. I think my friend said he went through Taichi’s US distributor, whoever that is (that was also who told him about the custom option). The folks at STG also might be able to order it for you. Good luck on your hunt!

  • Jon Cibelik

    One part of me thinks the exact same way. The other cantankerous side however thinks that the bike has herpes in the front.

  • Tater

    Don’t think I’m biased because I’m not. I own a 07 600rr.
    Congratulations Honda you failed to upgrade the one thing that really needed it.
    The engines HP. You can keep claiming to boost the midrange all you want but it doesn’t stop all the other bikes from blowing by the 600rr coming out of a corner. If you want to make it more “Streetable” with more torque just up the damn cc’s already. This thing has been missing Horsepower for a long time.

    • Bruce Steever

      Blame the EPA… Honda had nothing to do with it.

  • keith berry

    How is the previous CBR6 a “R6 wannabe”?

    • Bruce Steever

      Not in terms of performance (i think the 07 CBR6RR bested the R6). But i think the whole pile-O-slots-and-vents styling was overdone on the R6 and overdone on the RR.

      • keith berry

        Still have no idea what you are talking about, even squinting, I’ve never mistaken a CBR600RR for a R6. I thought maybe you were referencing the central air intake (as many have), which looked more like the RC51′s than the R6′s (the RC51 came out years
        before the R6).

        • Bruce Steever

          Ignore the central ram air intake. I’m criticizing the side fairing designs that include all sorts of fairing edges and louvers and spikes, like some sort of sci-fi prop or something out of a teenager’s sketchbook.

          I don’t claim the R6 and RR look similar; instead i’m stating that both include this “origami” style of creased and edgy bodywork that is just too busy. it’s also a pain to clean or remove.

          It all comes down to taste of course. In my worthless opinion, the 06 CBR looked better than the 07, the 07 GSX-R better than the 08+, the 05 R6 better than the 06. And Kawi’s have never looked good.

  • stever

    http://www.honda-cbr600rr.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/2011_honda_cbr1000rr_and_cbr600rr_-_first_look_image_575_346.jpg

    I don’t see the difference. Are you dudes mad that the lights are Sarah Palin glasses instead of cat-eyes?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      This is what the MotoGP bikes look like this year: http://hellforleathermagazine.com/2013/01/this-is-the-2013-honda-rc213v/

      • stever

        oh I meant the difference between the front ends of the 2011/2012 and 2013 street bikes. I was exaggerating about not seeing the difference, but I don’t see it as making or breaking a sale. Personally, I like the parallelograms better than the robotic tear drops.

        • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

          Pictured above is a 2011 CBR1000RR. Reviewed here is a 2013 CBR600RR.

          • stever

            …that’s the point. adey and the people above talked a lot about the new front end, mentioning that the new lights and aerodynamics for the ram air make it uglier than the 2011 model, which I posted above for comparison. Did I come down with dyslexia or something overnight? Am I writing in Spanish without realizing it?

            • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

              You posted a picture of a 2011 CBR1000RR. Reviewed here is a 2013 CBR600RR. Different models, different styling.

              • stever

                well shit. I blame Google Image Search.

  • yipY

    This guy knows how your mind works,even though he’s been dead for years. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigmund_Freud Talk to your friends,it often helps with latent issues.

  • joe shah

    I never said I could do better, especially the editorial review.

    As far as riding a motorcyle and my resume. It is quite long with various styles and terrains I can transverse. I have raced: Motocross as a young boy/man, after injury I started desert racing and of course followed by years of Road Racing. My talent far surpasses what I see on his video’s.

    Now Danny Coe! His name and reputation predede his ability and his review would be of some merit.

    It seems my simple inquiry of his resume is frowned upon and deemed “A Hater”. It makes it clear to me that who are the “Sheepeople” that follow a Shepard with little or no experience. At least not any I have viewed from his media.

    • yipY

      I’ve got the same opinion of his riding abilities after viewing a few of his videos:wobbly,uncertain and minimal throttle around slow speed corners hanging off as far as possible for cinematic and dramatic effect.I know a few very old men and women road racers that would leave him ten corners in arears.He should go to a race track and collect some competitive lap times,but I doubt his ego could stomach the reality of that experience.But what would I know having lapped race tracks and earned a living as a professional rider?

      • Huan Ng

        Seems like everyone is a pro racer these days. Are there THAT many pro racers in the US?

      • joe shah

        True words of a Real Motorcyclist.

    • KevinB

      Looking at youtube, it looks like he’s intermediate group so it’s not like he’s completely clueless. Sure, he could be a lot smoother and ease up on the ego a bit (kind of surprising track days and serious injuries haven’t done that yet), but you don’t have to be stupid fast to review bikes. At the end of the day, he’s got access to a new, and what most of us would consider, exciting motorcycle plus he’s willing to write about it. What’s wrong with that? There aren’t many people with experience on a new 2013 600RR and I would imagine that journalist who get to try more bikes in a couple of years than most of us will ride in a lifetime are probably in a better position to note the disparities and make comparisons, regardless of outright ability.

      Besides, it’s always the responsibility of the reader to think critically and interpret what’s said. If you’re asking the question to assist you in that capacity, good for you, but stating your “credentials” seems to betray your desire for a pissing contest and nobody cares about washed up racers. I get that his egotistical statements draw it out, but interjecting to state you or someone else is more worthy of hero worship than he is doesn’t add value. Kids will still think he’s a badass, maybe with some luck they’ll be inspired to become motorcyclist, and hopefully they won’t kill themselves in the process. Those that know better will simply take it for what it’s worth and move on.

      • yipY

        “The CBR600RR is really fun to ride fast and stupid on.” (insert a pertinent comment relating to responsibility.) Washed up old racers can ride on the road at extreme speeds,in control and are experienced enough make valid comments based on that experience.There are very few washed up old street racers,maybe that tells you something.Pointing out the fact that this guy is slow,wobbly and a danger to anyone else using a public road has nothing relating to pissing contests or anonymous guys wanting to be heroes.Guys like Kevin Cameron or L.J.K.Setright and many more educated and entertained riders.The did not have to behave like cartoon superheroes to engage and entertain young men.

      • joe shah

        Kevin you have some good points. I only stated my resume as to respond to a comment. I have no interest in pissing matches. Nor Hero status.
        As far as “washed up racer’s” ask that to all the people that have raced, rode, camped, encouraged, helped, instructed and prayed with fellow motorcyclist along the way in life and racing. I believe those will say different.

        The new generation does need Icon’s… Thou, the ego does not match the qualifications. In public forums he badgers inexperienced riders and there riding. Rather than coach or give words of encouragement, he insults. This is improper as a role model for young motorcyclist.

        Let’s face it! Motorcycling is a dying industry. I say that with great despair.
        yipY understands the interest of my request.

    • roma258

      I’m not here to defend Adey’s honor, who you seem to have some sort of vendetta against. I’m just saying the if you’re the excellent rider you claim to be, strap a GoPro to your motorcycle and go to town. Otherwise you’re just going to come across as a keyboard warrior with weird sentence structure.

      • yipY

        The GoPro dream world has a lot to answer for.A lap timer transponder and its lap time printouts reflect reality.A Gopro video “is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”.A road racing club trophy or a few lap times on the pace are reality.

      • joe shah

        Vendetta? I ask a simple question to a guy’s qualifications! He does’nt answer the question. Again, I just want to know his experience to make a valid opinion of the bike he is riding and how advanced his talents are. It seems that yipY is the only one who gets it.
        Also I have nothing to prove. The people I ride with already know my abilities.
        Oh Blue Rider: Baaaahhhh…

        • yipY

          I once had a top five WSBK racer complement my riding skill.I guess he had nothing better to say that moment.

          • joe shah

            It seems people just don’t listen as well as they hear or see via media posting. Talent is easily hidden or promoted with media. I can see your a Racer at heart. Until you have rubbed elbows at speed you just can’t grasp the concept of racing or riding a motorcycle to its full potential. A question of an editor’s ability only tells us where his ability begins or ends. If Danny Coe, wrote the review (as mentioned in his article, possibly a washed up Road Racer no one cares about) I would not question his credentials as HE has proven skills and qualifications.

            I find tha Road Racing world is a great magazine to review motorcycles as they put them on the track.

            I need to realize that his reviews are for the Novice and intermediate riders out there. Enjoy the Ride yipY

            • H Ng

              yip and joe, y’all are one and the same right?

              Getting knees down and rubbing elbows are overrated by the way .

              • yipY

                I ride fast and smooth with no need to drag a knee or hang my butt off the seat on a road bike.Riding skills are expressed in riding at legal speeds,track days,dirt bikes,trials bikes and bicycles.Bike riding is not all about max throttle and balls.It’s about throttle control,balance and technique.I can’t speak for the other guy.

  • The Blue Rider

    Thanks for the review. It would be hard to choose a 600-class sportbike if I had an unused $13K laying around, because they all seem pretty great. It might come down to styling alone. I still like 1st-gen Daytona 675s the best, and I’m not a fan of the Transformer/insect thing that Kawasaki is doing for their latest design cycle… Honda is at least doing something a little different without making their bikes look like something out of “G.I. RoboTransformers Terminator 4: The Buggery of your Wallet”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Mason.Cruz504 Mason Cruz

    I personally don’t mind the new look of the bike. In the name of performance and aerodynamics, they can make the bike look however they want. I’m sure this bike is just as good in the hands of a capable rider as any other. Sure, 6.5% less drag over the older fairings won’t make a difference on a daily commute in traffic, but these bikes are race bikes in street clothes. Kudos to Honda for updating this bike. If one would argue that they should have or could have done more, you must also take into account that this year they are also releasing 6 other new bikes. Developing 7 bikes to be released in the same year is quite staggering. Again, kudos to Honda. I cant wait to get a chance to ride one of these. I’ll most likely be buying either this or a new 636. Kawasaki did an amazing job on that bike as well. Go ride one. The grin factor is quite huge on that bike. =]

  • yipY

    I sincerely think that if you need two wheeled riding heroes so badly in your life you should go to a BMX meet and watch a ten year old gun blitz the whoops:reality and talent all rolled into one.Think of it as something new……Asking a guy what riding experience he has is a”dick post”? Are you serious?

    • The Blue Rider

      His tone seems pretty dickish to me, yeah. Trollish, even, considering the internet penis measurement contest y’all seem to want to initiate.
      (I don’t know where this fantasy about me needing “riding heroes” is coming from. A guy rode a CBR and wrote about it, end of story. I’m not sure how I’ve morphed into a sheep who needs heroes.)
      Enjoy the article, and don’t troll the comments like a middle schooler. It’s not hard.

      • yipY

        Do your own research on the guy.Plenty of intelligent experienced riders have pointed out his failings many many times before.He is incapable of responding to his critics at the level of an adult:”Duck,dive,ignore or abuse.”