VERDICT ‘Classier, faster, do-it-all Honda’
MICHAEL NEEVES SENIOR ROAD TESTER the CBR sets the pace
Think of the new 690 Duke R as a snarling supermoto with a dash of practicality. It dances through B-roads and stunts like only a KTM can when you turn the electronics off, but leave them on and you’ve got all the safety and piece of mind of traction control and ABS. It wears all the right designer labels, is good on fuel and is roomy, too. But we think nine grand is stretching it just a bit too much for such a single-minded machine, especially when you compare it to the classier, faster, do-it-all Honda. that engine in an Rc-style race replica – it would be fantastic. But it loses out with its chassis. The suspension feels crude on track, which makes it hard to trail brake and commit into corners.
“Although the CBR is faster it could still be loads better – the ABS really intrudes. It’s far more stable entering corners and mid-turn, and has more accurate steering. We saw 118mph at the circuit’s fastest point – 14mph more than the KTM.
“But it’s only when you ride the Honda against the other 600s that the CBR starts to feel a bit stodgy, safe and slow-steering. I was in second for most of the lap and you have to keep it howling at 14,000rpm.”