Long-term Honda CBR600RR test update one | A fanTTastic start as Dan nips across to the Isle of Man

“That’s a proper motorbike…” a mantra I keep repeating to myself as I take in every angle of the 2024 Honda CBR600RR, cup of tea in hand. Standing in the doorway to my garage after our first cheeky 20-miler, I can’t help but grin as I take in its outrageous underseat pipe, subtle winglets, racy red paint, and scowling face. I may only be taking it easy during the running-in phase, but it definitely feels like love at first ride.

Despite being so new we’ve bonded over a drizzly 200-mile run to Heysham to catch the ferry to the TT, plus a few sneaky early morning laps to see off the rest of the running-in period. We’ve also endured high winds, rain, sodden roads, and (occasionally) some Manx sunshine. 

Although a focused ‘old school’ 600, that needs to be thrashed to get anywhere fast, it’s performed very well so far – even returning a tested 54.8mpg across 120 miles between fill ups on my run to the ferry. The engine is incredibly smooth, with decent visibility in the mirrors once you’ve moved your elbows.

Honda CBR600RR in the queue for the ferry

The suspension is firm but fair as standard – providing some give over bumps without losing that hard-edged sportsbike appeal. Other 600s I’ve ridden, including my own 2003 Kawasaki ZX-6R, were like riding an ironing board, but it’s not the case here. 

That said, I’d be kidding myself if I said it was truly comfortable on a motorway run and after 120 miles, I was keen to get off and give my bum a rest from the thin seat. I’d also like a slightly taller screen to take a little more wind off my shoulders.

The lack of fuel gauge is quite annoying – especially when there’s a beautifully finished full colour TFT dash up front that could so easily have accommodated one.

Honda CBR60RR on the Isle of Man for the TT

I’ve been resetting my trip after each fill up so far, to give me some idea of how much I might expect to get from a tank in varied scenarios – something I’ve not had to do on a new bike for many years. 

That aside, the CBR is ticking a lot of boxes. Yes, it’s not the most comfortable but I feel a million dollars every time I ride it. Although a mass-produced Japanese 600, it feels purposeful and special – perhaps because we’ve not had it in Europe since 2017 – and it makes a cracking burbling noise from its exhaust that I’m unlikely to grow tired of any time soon.