Honda’s RCV-inspired CBR600 revealed

Published: 09 September 2002

Honda has just released the first official pictures of its stunning 2003 CBR600RR.

Inspired by Valentino Rossi’s awesome RCV MotoGP bike the new middleweight looks set to take the battle to its rivals in the same way as the young Italian.

For more details and analysis of the CBR600RR, don’t miss the latest issue of MCN, out September 11.

The engine:

The new bike has an even sharper focus than the current ‘Sport’ designated CBR600F with a higher-revving engine, with sophisticated internals including new skirtless slipper pistons and super-thin top rings to resister ‘flutter’ at high rpm.

The fuel-injection system is also much revised for smoother, more efficient performance.

The chassis/ suspension/brakes

The big changes are in the chassis and suspension. Honda claim the new, die-cast, hollow frame is based heavily on the RC211V MotoGP machine. A similar process was used in the manufacture of the rear sub-frame, also redesigned to cope with the new underseat exhaust system.

The frame is stronger, but more flexible, for improved ‘feel’.

The fuel tank has been moved under the frame, again, just like the RCV. This reduces the destabilising effect of fuel sloshing around during cornering.

As a result of moving the tank the seat can me moved forward. This means the rider can be brought closer to the centre of the mass of the bike for better feedback and turn speed.

The top of the rear shock is mounted to the massive, braced swingarm, with only its lower linkage attached to the main frame – just like the RCV.

Fully adjustable 45mm forks – the fattest on a production Honda since the NR750.

The looks

Sharper, again thanks to aerodynamic work on the RCV, with a much lower screen. It also features the new " Line Beam " headlights, debuted by Mick Doohan at Suzuka on a special RCV.

Honda has moved the CBR away from the soft all-rounder and concentrated on a hard sports image in a range of exciting colours. Just when it looked as though Kawasaki had the 600 market stitched up with its ZX-6RR, the new CBR600RR has the bookies calling off the bets.

Specs:

Weight: 160kg

Top speed (est): 165mph

Power (claimed): 115bhp, 50ftlb

Geometry: 24 degrees, 9.5cm, 139cm

Price: £7500 (est)

Don’t miss the September 18 issue of MCN, when we’ll have the first pictures and details on the 2003 Suzuki range.