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Restyled CBR600RR due for launch in August

Honda has confirmed what we already suspected – a restyled CBR600RR is to be launched on 21st August but it’s a visual and technological tweak rather than an out-and-out redesign for the age-old supersports model.

Able to trace its history directly back to the original ‘RR’ branded CBR600 of 2003, the new model still has a derivative of the same 599cc DOHC four-cylinder engine that debuted 18 years ago, bolted into a variation of the 2007-on version’s chassis. The suspension, wheels and brakes are all shared with the current generation, so don’t expect a revolution in terms of handling or performance.

Although Honda has released a teaser video and a couple of initial pictures of the bike, it hasn’t revealed any detailed specifications. We’re told by well-informed Japanese sources that the new model has been re-tuned to meet Euro4-equivalant emissions standards, extending the bike’s life in some markets, including Japan, but not enough to allow it to return to the European market which has now adopted more advanced Euro5 standards. The cost of making the CBR600RR meet Euro5 is considered prohibitive, and since European sales weren’t high enough to justify the upgrade to Euro4 back in 2016 when that standard was introduced over there, Honda is unlikely to have opted to invest even more to meet stricter Euro5 levels.

The visual changes to the CBR600RR clearly give it a connection to the latest CBR1000RR-R, although it doesn’t join its big brother in gaining an additional ‘R’ in its name. The addition of winglets mean it’s the first four-cylinder 600cc supersports model to jump on the downforce bandwagon, but the decision to stick with the existing, and rather outdated, under-seat exhaust shows that Honda’s investment in the new model has been limited.

Technology is relatively cheap, though, so Honda has added a whole raft of electronics to the CBR. It was already an early-adopter of ABS brakes, which first appeared on the 2009 version, but the CBR600RR has lagged behind in terms of traction control, riding modes and the endless setup options that have become a hallmark of modern bikes over the last few years. A new LCD dashboard, revealed in Honda’s own teaser video for the bike, includes indications of riding modes, as well as revealing a 15,000rpm redline that matches that of the current model.

Our Japanese sources say that the engine’s power is slightly reduced by its Euro4 retune, with a peak of around 85kW. That’s around 10kW less that Kawasaki’s 636cc, Euro4-compliant ZX-6R  and a couple of kW under the peak of Yamaha’s YZF-R6. They also reveal that Honda currently considers the 2021 bike to be the CBR600RR’s swansong, with no further development scheduled.