If things in the UK weren’t bad enough, MCN is reporting 2016 to be the last year Honda will import the CBR600RR to Britain, as well the European mainland. “There’s still no official word from Honda about the future of the CBR600RR but MCN’s Japanese sources have confirmed there’s not going to be a European replacement for the ultra-focussed CBR600RR, while the existing model could continue to be sold in markets unaffected by Euro4 legislation.”

Although Euro4 emissions standards don’t apply to our stateside models, could this forebode a future devoid of 600cc supersports? Current sales of mid-displacement supersports in the US pale to their high-water mark prior to the great financial meltdown. OEMs have also been busy building lower-performance, less-expensive mid-displacement models that are more streetable, and less track focused such as Honda’s CBR650F and CBR500R, Kawasaki’s Ninja 650, etc. If you haven’t noticed, there’s also been a shift away from fully-faired supersports to naked hooligans that span the displacement and price spectrum from Yamaha’s FZ-07 to KTM’s 390 Duke and 1290 Super Duke R.

The last time Honda updated the CBR600RR was in 2013 (Track Impression, Street Impression). And MO hasn’t conducted an official 600cc supersport shootout since 2011 (Street, Track). More recently, our middleweight shootouts have focused on non-traditional engine displacements such as Triumph’s Daytona 675, Ducati’s 899 Panigale, MV Agusta’s F3 800, and Suzuki’s very traditional, lone ranger GSX-R750. You’ll note in the full MCN report mention of the Triumph’s 675 increasing to 765cc in the near future to make it a better road bike.

With Great Britain leaving the EU it’ll be interesting to see if Euro emissions standards still apply to bikes imported there, but with OEM’s increasingly building models for world markets it may not matter much. Sales figures and profits do the talking, and if the money and math don’t support the continued investment from OEMs to produce 600cc supersports we could see the retirement of the class. A future without the class is somewhat of a bummer, but not the end of the world. A product of racing, there was a time when 600cc supersports didn’t exist. As an industry, we’ll simply adapt by riding and racing other models until history repeats, at which time we’ll all be riding electric motorcycles.

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  • spiff

    600s lost their way. They were do it all bikes at reasonable prices. As a bonus they went real good. Both 600s and liter bikes were road bikes and the 750s were for racing. Now the 600/1000 are so focused most don’t want them. KTM realizes this and don’t even make a race bike (sans the RC390), and instead are focusing on road bikes. They will prove they can race, and develop new technology through MotoGP. For what it is worth I think KTM is ahead ofnthe curve.

    • spiff

      Also, if someone does want to race the 390 is a great entry level bike, that can still be ridden on the road by beginners.

    • spiff

      What the hell do I know? The very next click of the mouse brought me to an interview by someone in KTM giving a hint to a new superbike.

    • john phyyt

      Troy rode one in March and he said it was sorely lacking with only 100 hp! That still tickles me.

      • TroySiahaan

        When Evans’ bone-stock 13 year-old R6 makes more power than a brand new CBR600RR, doesn’t that raise an eyebrow?

  • JMDonald

    My first sportbike was a CBR600. At the time I hadn’t ridden anything that was as nimble quick or easy to stop. For the local riding I did I thought it perfect. I always lusted after a GSX750 though. I thought a liter bike would be too much for me. The insurance was a lot cheaper and it gave me 10 plus years of motorcycling happiness. It is a great class of bike. I also weighed a lot less back then.

  • Born to Ride

    The best news about this article is that Triumph will be bumping the displacement on their Daytona and presumably street triple. I have been waiting for a str800 for years now.

  • HeDidn’tWeDid

    I owned two CBR600s. One was the original ‘Jelly Bean’ 1988 CBR600 (I also, years later picked up a 1000cc Hurricane that only had 3k miles). The second was a 1993 CBR600F2. The F2 was perhaps the most well-rounded motorcycle I have ever owned. It wasn’t outrageously powerful, but it was still fast. It handled great. It was a motorcycle that could literally do it all. I can’t see Honda producing the current CBR600 for much longer. WSS really isn’t making an impact on sales. The MCN report stated that only 150 CBR600RRs has been sold in GB last year.

  • William Marvin Parker

    This is nuts. 600 supersport has traditionally been the best selling sportsbikes and they may go kaput? That leaves newbies pondering 1000’s (too much first bike) or 300’s (anemic).

    • spiff

      There are fz 07 etc. Better than the 600 SS from the get go.

    • Born to Ride

      There has been a resurgence in soft-edge sport bikes intended primarily for street use. I see more FZ07, CBR500s and nakeds on the street than new 600 class sport bikes by far.

      • William Marvin Parker

        Maybe. But riders, particularly younger ones, always like cutting edge and newest and fastest bikes…

        • Born to Ride

          If my college campus motorcycle parking lot is any indication of what young men are buying new these days, it’s the FZ-07, ninja 650, KLR650, and CBR500/F. And of course well-used (crashed) 600s.

          Also Givi top-boxes are all the rage right now for sport bike commuters.

  • schizuki

    “If things in the UK weren’t bad enough”

    They improved dramatically last week.

    “Japanese sources have confirmed there’s not going to be a European replacement for the ultra-focussed CBR600RR, while the existing model could continue to be sold in markets unaffected by Euro4 legislation.”

    See what I mean?

  • schizuki

    “As an industry, we’ll simply adapt by riding and racing other models
    until history repeats, at which time we’ll all be riding electric motorcycles.”

    Or unicorns!

  • spiff

    I say screw it, as technology moves on things get better and better. I think it is time for a new class. 400 super sport. I figure the bench mark can be 400 for I4s and let someone with an engineering degree figure out the thumper, twin and triple equation. Let’s be honest. Most of us can’t maximize the potential of a Honda F3 race bike. If manufacturers want us to play and do track days (and evolving into race days) they need to give the weekend warrior a tool they can enjoy. 600s are probably putting in faster lap times than a liter bike from a decade ago.

    I know I’m not fast, I’m good with it. Now if you give me something I am comfortable riding hard it is fun. That is the point. Fun. I don’t need 100 plus hp to have fun on the track.

    We have all heard it before, “it is fun to ride a slow bike fast.”

    Track guys will want it for, well the track, and youngsters will want it for the street. That equals sales.

  • Alclab

    This topic really picked up on Motorcycle sites all over the world. And I believe that’s in part due to the the love that a lot of us (perhaps most of us) have for the class.
    So many riders that enjoy sport riding or are fans of road racing grew and hone their skills on these bikes to be able to pass on to “the next step”, which usually meant 1000cc Superbikes.

    I get that sales have really come down, and the 2008 recession, but maybe a lot has to do with a new market and that’s okay. Maybe we’ll see a new class of displacement for racing, or maybe these intermediate classes will vanish as we know them. But it seems to me that manufacturers are very much responsible for this lack of sales, if like Honda, you’re basically selling the same bike for more than a decade. People who walk into a dealer might just decide to go for that hot new bike that all the magazines are raving about.

    Also since they were a “learning step” for 1000cc Superbikes, with today’s electronic rider aids, a new buyer might opt to buy a literbike, and ride it in rain mode or whatever and rationalize not having to sell them in the future.

    Lastly I’m sure the negative image of sportbikes to the general public (associated with squidding and doing stunts in the freeway) has had some impact on people looking into getting a new Supersport.