On the road again

Published: 15 December 2004

The CBR600F is back on the road at last after finally getting a new chain and sprockets fitted.

The Renthal set that I fitted back in May had really suffered hard after doing around15,000 miles but replacing them wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped.

When I got back from my trip to the south of France to go on a European Superbik school at Nogaro in September the chain was starting to get a bit long and I could see the teeth on the rear sprocket were very worn. But after phoning several suppliers of chains for the CBR it seemed that everywhere was out of stock.

Being my only form of transport I had to carry on riding it and by the end of November I was having to adjust the chain every couple of days just to keep it from jumping off the sprockets.

It got so bad that MCN road tester Trevor Franklin declared it unsafe to ride and handed me the keys to his ZX-10R to tide me over till the parts arrived.

Now most people would be only too happy to be offered the chance to jump on one of the best road bikes around, but riding such a powerful bike on roads that seem unusually slippery this year didn’t really fill me with joy. And there was also the constant pang of guilt at what the salt was doing to Trev’s pride and joy.

The new RK chain and PBR sprockets finally arrived from Feridax (www.feridax.com) and the CBR was booked straight in with R&N motors in Peterborough (01733 231 000) to get them fitted as quickly as possible. But, as ever, it wasn’t quite that simple.

It should only have taken the day to fit the chain and sprocket and get the bike serviced as well but the chain wasn’t supplied with a connecting link and by the time they came to fit it and realised the link was missing it was 4pm Friday - too late to get to the wholesalers who didn’t open again till Tuesday.

When I finally got back on the road the first thing that stuck me was how much softer the CBR was compared to the ZX-10R.

I know, I know, the two bikes aren’t even in the same league so it is a bit unfair to compare them. But I have to say that I am much happier riding the Honda than I was on the Kawasaki.

The riding position is just the right balance between sporty and comfortable, the weather protection is much better and although the CBR has got enough power to keep up with most bikes on the road there won’t be any more of those heart stopping wheel spin moments that had become all too common on the litre bike.

The only worry now is how I’m going to keep it clean over winter. My regular route to work leaves the bike looking like a motocrosser after just one trip.