Motorcycles Honda CBR600RR Update Coming For 2021
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Coronavirus fears shut down the show, but automakers debuted these viral rides anyway.But even without a physical venue, the show must—and did—go on. Many new cars that were set to make their debut at the Geneva auto show were still revealed digitally online, and some automakers even put on virtual press conferences live-streamed to the web. Geneva has historically been the show where automakers debut their fastest, most exclusive, most high-tech, [insert any other relevant superlatives here] new production models and concept cars, and this year's remote event was no exception.
Rumors of a neware getting increasingly strong with Japanese sources saying an updated machine with -inspired styling will be unveiled later this year. While vague whispers of a new have been circulating for a while, the latest information seems to be much more solid. Well-placed insiders say the will be an updated rather than an all-new model, with particular attention on the styling and electronics to give it a new lease of life without incurring the expense of a clean-sheet redesign. Our Japanese informant suggests the update may be a final fling for the CBR600RR, because it’s getting increasingly difficult to make cost-effective 600cc four-cylinder engines that can meet ever-stricter emissions restrictions.
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The key visual change to the 2021 bike is said to be a new fairing that mirrors the developments made on the new CBR1000RR-R. That suggests we can expect some downforce-generating aerodynamics and smaller headlights on either side of the central ram-air intake. The smaller CBR will still be instantly recognizable, though, as it will retain the current model’s underseat exhaust layout. The bike’s frame and rear suspension was designed with that layout in mind, and since those major mechanical parts are believed to be getting carried over to the 2021 model it makes little sense to move to a belly- or side-mounted exhaust design.
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While many of the mechanical parts are believed to be getting carried over, the next CBR600RR should still be a very different machine thanks to a massive upgrade to its electronics. A new inertial measurement unit is the key to those changes, including lean-sensitive traction control and cornering ABS, bringing the CBR600RR’s tech into line with current expectations from sportbikes. In terms of performance, the 2021 bike is expected to make around 115 hp, roughly the same as the current model, despite tweaks to improve its emissions performance and extend the model’s life.
The Last CBR600RR?
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While the improvements to emissions will give the CBR600RR several years’ more life in some countries, those refinements aren’t expected to be enough to bring the bike back to the European market, ascan’t make the engine—which, along with the chassis, dates back to the —comply with Euro 5 emissions rules without vastly increasing costs.
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The Euro 5 emissions rules are particularly difficult for small, high-revving, high-performance engines to meet without the addition of expensive technology. The current CBR600RR along with Suzuki’s GSX-R600 disappeared from the European market in 2018, unable to meet Euro 4 regulations, leavingand as the only remaining 600-class supersports models on sale there.
The cost of designing and manufacturing an all-new CBR600RR that’s able to meet the latest Euro emissions rules, allied to shrinking sales of such bikes, means such a machine just isn’t feasible anymore. As such, our Japanese sources say the 2021-on CBR600RR will probably be the last to carry that badge.
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