Used Bike Review: Honda CBR 600 RR (07-08)
2008 Honda CBR 600 RR Review
The ultimate super sport machine?
This is a 2008 Honda CBR 600 RR Review.
The CBR 600 has been around now for over 30 years now, starting with the first CBR600F back in 1987 which was the first proper 600 super sport machine. Fast forward to 2003 and things got serious when the first 600RR was released, which saw the shift in focus from a practical sports bike to a machine built just for the track. In 2007 Honda brought us this revised version of the RR, this model range carried on until 2012.
But is it any good?
The bike looks great and for the most part only improved on everything that the first RR got right. The 599cc inline four at the heart of the bike is physically smaller than the previous generation, but actually produces much more usable power. The bike now sports a central air scoop between the headlights to aid the engine breathing, getting all that extra air into the engine has helped to eliminate the midrange lack of power that the previous model suffered from. The lighter engine was just a part of the RRs weight saving diet, the frame is lighter and more compact and the wheelbase is shorter. This saves just under 10kg on the previous version of the bike.
The preload, compression and rebound is all fully adjustable at the front and Honda’s own pro-link setup at the back, again fully adjustable. Hidden below the steering head is an upgraded version of Honda’s Electronic Steering Damper, or HESD, which also came on the Fireblade at the time. Upfront we’ve got dual radial mounted four piston calipers which are sat on 310mm discs, with a single piston caliper and 220mm disc at the rea
From the moment you throw your leg over the bike, it feels incredibly small and compact. Negotiating through towns is effortless really, the CBR never reacts in a way you wouldn’t expect. The clutch is light and the bite point nice and low, while riding through towns or cities you might as well be riding a scooter (it’s that effortless!).
Joining some of the bigger A roads on my way to the Lake District I got to experiment a little with the bike. Power is plentiful and available right throughout the rev range. Once you get to around 10,000 rpm things really get going and the bike seems to love being that high in the rev range.
Fast sweeping bends and slower technical corners are just as effortless as the town riding. If Honda know one things, it’s how to make a good sports bike. The CBR feels incredibly stable and balanced at all speeds, even without any rider aids that many of us have got used to on the modern era sports bikes.
The throttle is responsive but not overly aggressive, overtaking is a breeze with no need to shift down a gear or two (although the bike loves it if you do!). Leaving Penrith and joining the M6 southbound, I’m still ache free even after a good few hours riding. Even though you’re clearly in a racing position, it’s very easy to obtain a more “upright” posture when cruising which really helps keep the pressure from your wrists.
After spending the afternoon on this bike I can honestly say I’m struggling to pick any faults with it, pottering around town or stuck in traffic the bike is like any other commuter, get out on the A roads and it almost becomes a different bike. The build quality is very good, as you would expect with a company like Honda. The steering is fantastic, the bike feels so light you can really throw it in and out of corners, the feedback from the front is particularly good and really allows you to carry the brakes into corners. If I had to really pick a fault, the powerband is so high at 10k RPM it almost makes it unusable on the road. The bike is absolutely screaming once you get that high in the rev range and you’ll be carrying that much speed that it’s just not practical for the road. This is more a trait of the class of bikes though, rather than a problem with the CBR specifically. If you’re looking to use this as a track bike obviously that isn’t going to be a problem. You’ll just want to keep the bike at high RPM as much as possible. Even without getting into that peak area of power, the bike still has plenty of grunt all throughout the rev range.
A slipper clutch would have been a nice addition, especially being that other bikes in its class at the time had them from the factory. I’m not sure why Honda choose not to include one.
If you are in the market for a CBR600, the 2007 – 2008 model is favoured by many enthusiasts. It offers all of the improvements of the previous generation and benefits from more grunt before the bike was revised in 2009 to meet new emissions rules.
Be sure to check out our 2008 Honda CBR 600 RR overhaul series over on our YouTube channel.
The 599cc inline four paired with the gearbox in the CBR is first class. As above, the only thing to note is all of the power is really high in the rev range
Fully adjustable offerings up front and at the back paired with Honda’s electronic steering damper. Lots of feedback, especially if paired with a decent set of tyres.
The Dual radial mounted four piston calipers at the front are fantastic. Lots of feedback and really allow you to carry speed into the corners.
As you would expect with Honda, the build quality is great and everything is built to last. Some of the fasteners are prone to rust quickly if left in the wet. Fairing clips are prone to snap so proceed with caution when removing them.
The 2008 CBR 600 RR really has everything you could want from a sports bike. You can use it for commuting, rides out at the weekend or you could take it to the track and be competitive out of the box. A fantastic all-rounder.