The most prominent update to Honda’s 2009 sportbikes is the optional electronically-controlled Combined Antilock Braking System. Honda’s C-ABS technology uses a brake-by-wire system to electronically control the amount of braking force applied.
Honda says the C-ABS will not affect performance in sport riding as it will only kick in when the rider approaches the limit.
Based on its tests, Honda says the average rider on a conventional braking system will need several braking attempts to attain the same level of performance of the C-ABS. Honda claims its tests found that in racetrack situations, more experienced riders could outperform the C-ABS but still require several attempts to reach that level consistently.
One benefit of the C-ABS is the reduced risk of rear-wheel lift under extreme braking situations. Honda says that the C-ABS reduces the amount of forward pitching while still allowing enough total weight transfer to the front wheel for maximum braking.
The 2009 CBR600RR has also received changes to its pistons, cylinder head and exhaust that Honda claims will increase torque delivery between 8,000-12,000 rpm with a 3.5% increase in torque at 10,000 rpm. The CBR600RR’s engine also received a new high resistance valve lifter and a popup valve system inherited from the CBR1000RR.
Honda says the new CBR600RR has added stability and lower noise emissions due to a new undercowl, more precise sculpting and new air vents. The change to the fairing required the use of new materials, but Honda says that adjustments to the engine, exhaust and chassis keep the 2009 CBR600RR’s weight close to the 2008 model (though the C-ABS version will be slightly heavier due to its additional components).
Apart from the C-ABS option, the 2009 CBR1000RR received fewer revisions, as the 2008 model already received significant changes.
The 2009 model does come in a pair of new color variations to mark Honda’s 50 years of racing history. The CBR1000RR with C-ABS is available with Honda Repsol racing livery to mark its ties to Honda’s MotoGP race bike, while the non-C-ABS version is available in a tricolor red, white and blue scheme with a commemorative ’50 Years of Racing Special Edition’ sticker.