First Look: RS Performance's Honda RS600 EvoRR -

Hertfordshire, UK, November 24, 1999 -- Russell Savory has built the bike that Satoru Horiike, the designer of the Honda CBR600F4, wanted to build. Horiike has admitted that he wasn't just impressed by the efforts of the Hertfordshire firm RS Performance, he was envious.

Unfortunately, emission standards and the compromises of the mass-production process mean he'll never be able to produce a pure, all-out, full-on performance motorcycle for Honda.

Glenn Le Santo visited the RS Performance workshops to take a look at the machine that drew crowds to the Honda stand at the NEC last month in Britain.

RS Performance is a company that is close to racing.

They run the British Sanyo racing squad which races CBR600F4s in British Supersports and Fireblades (CBR900RR) in the British production series. Russell Savory of RS Performance has a long history of involvement with British racing. He once worked for the Loctite Yamaha team when it was owned by Steve Parrish.

RS Performance has taken the stock CBR600F4 and removed all compromises. The stock F4 is an excellent bike in its own right but one that some feel has been overshadowed in outright track-day performance by the YZF-R6. The RS Evo package for the Honda 600 does a lot to address this, and the result is a bike weighing 165 kg (364 lbs), 10 kg less than stock, making 112 hp at the rear wheel and a claimed top speed of 178 mph.

The list of changes reads like a performance parts catalog with top-shelf names appearing regularly: Brembo, Ohlins, Micron, Harris and Dymag. Many other modifications are carried out by RS Performance, and they often build and fabricate parts themselves.

"RS Performance has thought this through and worked hard to improve style and performance."

The resulting machine is not simply a case of throwing quality parts at a bike and hoping they make it better. RS Performance has thought this through and worked hard to improve style and performance. Evidence of their efforts can be seen in the air-ducting. The standard F4 has a ram-air system but it's not without its problems; not the least of which is the fact that the standard ducts are where clip-ons should be for racing.

Savory has re-routed the air ducts, taking them under the clocks, over the enlarged radiator and into the airbox for a more direct route. Not only does this increase the bike's ability to breathe but it also allows clip-ons to be fitted.

To ensure that the re-routed ducts are not going to waste, their bike features RS Performance high-lift cams, 37 mm Keihin flat-slide carbs and a Micron exhaust system.

Along with carefully blue printing the engine, these mods lead to a claimed rear-wheel horsepower of 112 hp. The Micron titanium can fits onto a steel exhaust system developed during last year's race program.

The ram-air system, dubbed ACS (Air Charge System), is a radical change over the stock system.

The side scoops have been moved to under the headlight, providing a more direct path than the stock system which is hampered by kinks in the ducting. At 5.5 liters, the airbox is 1.5 liters larger than stock.

Despite the bigger airbox the fuel tank has more capacity than stock, holding an extra three liters of fuel.

The reshaped tank distributes the extra fuel carefully, with much of it being held low and to the middle of the bike so as not to upset the bike's low center of gravity.

The extra fuel will make a lot of difference in road races where fuel stops are allowed, such as at the Isle of Man TT.

The firm's racing experience shows here again: The tank has a two-piece cover that allows access to the airbox, spark plugs and carbs without having to remove the fuel tank itself.

Power is nothing, they say, without control. Control is dictated by weight, generally, and for the most part, the less weight you have the better the performance of the bike.

Road bikes are heavy, even the lightest is still around 50 kg (110 lbs) heavier than a GP 500. RS Performance has left no stone unturned in order to drive down the weight of the Evo 600. Carbon fiber is everywhere, but most notably in the rear subframe.

"Real racer clip-ons and racer-style foam seat padding add to the ready-for-race look."

Savory has completely removed the CBR's stock aluminum rear section and replaced it with a monocoque style rear section made entirely from carbon fiber that bolts to the lower frame by four bolts. The unit very strong and saves 2.5 kilos (5.5 lbs).

Dymag, who helped Savory design and build much of the bodywork -- including the subframe -- has also supplied wheels that save another 2.5 kg and help the bike turn-in faster. The rear wheel has a race-style underslung brake which stays in place -- with all the spacers -- when the rear wheel is removed.

A set of Brembo Goldline components grace the front wheel while four-pot calipers grip twin 320 mm disc rotors. All of this is held together by a pair of inverted 43 mm Ohlins forks, complete with titanium-nitrade sliders similar to those found on the new Ducati Superbikes. An Ohlins mono-shock helps keep the back wheel under control. The front and rear suspension set-ups are both fully adjustable.

Details don't go astray on the Evo 600 as they often do on many "specials." Footpegs are from Harris, machined from billet aluminum. The top and bottom yokes are also machined from billet. Goodrich steel brake lines and Stack digital instruments help keep the spec sheet top-notch. For example, while the carbon fiber hugger and front guard may simply be mudguards, the quality of their construction stands out. Anyone who has spent a frustrating five hours trying to fit an aftermarket hugger will appreciate this.

The bike looks right. The John Keogh-designed graphics are smart, although Suzuki-esque, and the Padded Cell paint job is excellent. The look is racey but not too garish, and the bodywork style, in particular the seat hump, is pleasing to the eye. Real racer clip-ons and racer-style foam seat padding add to the ready-for-race look.

Russell Savory was guarded about the role of the RS 600. The bike was designed to be raced but the rules governing Supersport racing in Britain might not allow it to be entered. However, it is likely that the bike will see action at the Isle of Man TT. If you have a F4 and you want a bit more out of it, the RS conversion is an obvious choice if you don't mind parting with a few thousand pounds (1.00 US Dollars = 0.61 British Pounds).

Those more worried about performance than exclusivity might want to opt for something else. But exclusivity is a very marketable commodity, so expect to see a few CBR600 RS Evos on the road next year at well-heeled biker hangouts.

Glenn Le Santo, Contributing Editor
Glenn Le Santo, Contributing Editor

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