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.