Thursday, September 1, 2016

2011 CBR600RR Review — I've Turned.

You meet the nicest people... on a Honda.
The last Honda I owned was a '91 CBR1000FL, she'd done a few miles, had a few cracks in the fairing but that old beauty took me round Europe, in comfort, with no worries at all. The old timing tensioner mod was the only real engine work it ever received. I traded it on a new Hayabusa in 2000, and stuck with Suzukis ever since.

I've owned the GSXR1000 K6 for seven years now and it's been absolutely superb. No real issues, just general wear and tear, and it's still as quick as ever. But my last stint at the track on a Gixer 750 made me realise how much extra weight I was fighting with, not to mention the power I could never really get down (I'm a wuss). It was time to trade. 

A quick road test on a 5,000km only (honest guv), 2013 model GSXR750 with squared-off tyres at Team Moto soon put me off — for the price they wanted anyway. No history or books whatsoever, it was in desperate need of some tyres with a round profile, but they weren't interested in putting any on. The whole experience was disappointing to be fair, and I walked away... until I tried a 2011 CBR600RR Tri-colour, and within fifty yards of the dealership I was in love! Holy F*#k this thing is nimble, light, smooth with a gear shift I could barely feel. Want... now.

A process started, which could only be described as painful. In vehicle salesmanship, as with any type of sales, there should be a bit of effort from the people who are trying so hard to get that, well, sale. They should go that extra mile, make you feel like it's an easy process, put your mind at ease. Not at Team Moto it would seem, going through ten hours of labour would be easier. But it's done now and hopefully remains a distant memory.

Enter the CBR600RR.

She's a minter guv'nor.
To say I was a fan of its looks in an understatement. In this colour scheme I was blown away. They had an orange X-ray version too, but it wasn't a patch on this little baby. Shod with brand new Bridgestone BT-016 Pro's, I think we're track and road ready.

How does it ride?
After all, it's five years old! It should be getting tired, but maybe, just maybe the 18,000km's are actually accurate. Could it be?
Well it rides beautifully. The preload on the rear shock was wound right the way off so six clicks added gave me the perfect 25-30mm rider sag needed (easy to adjust too). The forks just needed a little setting up too and our basic settings are sorted. 

Just how does Honda, or Showa, manage to give compliance on the road as well as track-ready suspension (for the novice anyway)? Whatever genies are holed up in those forks and shock, I'm keeping them there. Obviously the bike is light compared to the K6 and it doesn't need the same kind of commitment level in a corner. QR is going to be an interesting next visit.

The front brakes are leagues ahead of what I was used to and I'm seriously looking forward to checking them out on the track. Bryan's told me he's going to zoom past me on his GSXR750, but he knows he'll struggle against the KTM Superduke now the sag has been set correctly and has new Pirelli Rosso III's fitted.

In fact we all have new tyres: 
  • Honda CBR600RRA — Bridgestone BT-016 Pro's
  • KTM Superduke 990R — Pirelli Rosso III's 
  • Suzuki GSXR750 L2 — Dunlop Q3's
No excuses. Not until I've thought of a few anyway... shortfall in power, excess drag from the number plate hanger, more will come.

I love this colour scheme! The paint is gorgeous. There's only two stone chips on the front of it and I'm a bit paranoid of getting more. My Gixer got peppered over the years and it wasn't pleasant (luckily it takes more effort to get that close to the other bikes now).

I'm very taken with the CBR, although I'm having to learn how to use the revs more than before. Riding with the other guys at the moment is a bit like having a bungee cord attached. They disappear initially and then you drag them back again, corner after corner. It puts the fun factor back into riding.

One of the more noticeable aspects was the gearshift. Going up through the gears without the clutch is so smooth it's like there's nothing connected. A big improvement on the GSXR750 and the new Yamaha MT range I rode recently.

Only been able to get a few hours riding in so far so more updates will follow. I'll probably get a 15T sprocket for the front and see how it performs. Currently geared with a 16/41 combination, it'll probably need a little more oomph on the track.

All in all, the little Honda has won me over.

Short writeup, but more will come as I learn about this bike, including the servicing, gearing etc. Keep tuned.