After teasing us earlier this month, Honda officially introduced its updated 2021 CBR600RR for the Japanese market. That’s right, the updated CBR600RR has only been confirmed for Japan, with just 1,000 units being produced, while Honda’s U.S. and European arms say there are no plans to introduce it in their respective markets.
So, for those of us who aren’t in Japan, what are we missing?
For starters, there’s the new bodywork which blends a bit of the previous model with the CBR1000RR-R. The new CBR600RR sports a pair of winglets Honda says were designed to generate downforce to optimize stability while entering corners or turning while accelerating. Honda also designed the shape of the fairing to improve aerodynamics, claiming the lowest drag coefficient in the supersport class.
Other visual changes include a new, more compact headlight which now uses LEDs. In fact, all of the lighting except the license plate lamp are LEDs.
The engine remains a liquid-cooled DOHC four-valve Inline-Four, displacing 599cc, but internally, Honda used new materials for the camshafts, valve springs and crankshaft. The result is the engine now spins another 2,000 rpm before reaching peak power. Honda also increased the diameter of the intake throttle bore, tweaked the inlet port shape for the intake system and adjusted the valve timing while changing the thickness of parts of the the exhaust system. Honda claims 119 hp at 14,000 rpm and 47.2 lb-ft at 11,500 rpm for the 2021 CBR600RR.
The new CBR600RR is equipped with a five-axis IMU from Bosch to help modulate the cornering anti-lock braking and traction control systems. With a throttle-by-wire system and an ECU, the 2021 model offers five engine modes, nine levels of traction control (plus off), three levels of wheelie control, and three levels of engine braking control. A new full-color TFT screen displays all the relevant data.
An assist and slipper clutch helps lighten the clutch lever pull and reduce rear wheel hop during hard downshifts. A quick shifter is available as an optional accessory.
Honda made some tweaks to the chassis, changing the rake and trail from the 2020 model’s 23°55′ and 3.8 inches to 24°06′ and 3.9 inches, contributing to the wheelbase increase from 53.9 inches to 54.1 inches. Honda claims a curb weight of 428 pounds, a decrease from the ABS-equipped 2020 model’s claimed 434 pounds.
The suspension system remains the same as the 2020 model, with a 41mm Showa Big-Piston Fork and a Pro-Link rear shock, both offering adjustable spring preload, rebound and compression damping. The front wheel is equipped with dual radial-mount four-piston calipers and 310mm floating discs. The rear uses a single-piston caliper with a 220 mm disc. Nissin supplies the ABS modulator.
The 2021 Honda CBR600RR will arrive in Japanese showrooms in September with the tri-colored Grand Prix Red livery pictured above, with pricing is set at 1,606,000 yen ($15,177 US.) Honda Racing Corporation will follow up with a track-ready version in January (pictured below) with upgraded ECU, exhaust, suspension and brakes, and all unnecessary street-legal components removed.
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