Ali­son Sil­cox

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Feature -


Har­ley-david­son 750 Street & Du­cati Mon­ster 695


Honda CBR600R, £8999

IÕM a fan of twin-cylin­der naked mid­dleweights, and switch­ing last year to the re­laxed, feet-for­ward rid­ing style of a Har­ley-david­son Street 750 was Ð against all ex­pec­ta­tions Ð a rev­e­la­tion. I loved it. With 2017 dawn­ing I made a res­o­lu­tion to con­tinue trying dif­fer­ent styles of bikes. Which is how I found my­self with a set of keys to one of the most fo­cused su­pers­port bikes of the last 20 years, Honda's CBR600RR. This track-fo­cused, rev-hun­gry an­i­mal is alien ter­ri­tory, and IÕD be kid­ding if I did­nõt ad­mit I was anx­ious.

Step­ping to­wards the CBR for the first time I was im­pressed by its com­pact di­men­sions and ag­gres­sive looks Ð the red, white and blue paintjob is par­tic­u­larly stylish. Af­ter an 8000-mile sum­mer on the semi-re­clined Har­ley, the CBR'S pegs seemed to be in a dif­fer­ent post­code Ð so high and rear­ward they forced my knees up to my ears.

I headed north from Peter­bor­ough on the A1, think­ing a stretch of straight dual car­riage­way would be the eas­i­est way to fa­mil­iarise my­self with gear changes and the rid­ing po­si­tion. But the CBR flew out of the traps and, with­out trying, I was quickly cruis­ing into li­cence-los­ing ter­ri­tory. The in­line­four's en­gine in­ter­nals felt weight­less com­pared to my Har­ley, and I found my­self feed­ing it more and more revs be­tween gears. I had to con­sciously tell my­self to ease back.

That much I had ex­pected, but not how easy it is to ride. Even in top gear the CBR is smooth and re­spon­sive enough to ease past traf­fic. The neat com­bi­na­tion of dig­i­tal speedo and dash and ana­logue rev counter is clear but I was dis­ap­pointed by the lack of gear shift in­di­ca­tor, es­pe­cially on a bike with such a busy gear­box.

I jumped off the A1 and headed for my favourite lo­cal roads, which I knew would be a good test for me and the bike. Tem­per­a­tures were just above freez­ing and the sur­faces wore the perma-damp greasi­ness of deep win­ter, yet it was amaz­ing how con­fi­dent I felt. Un­like my Har­ley the CBR searches the road out. It en­cour­ages you to have fun, even when the weather’s aw­ful.

Ad­mit­tedly rid­ing through tight town roads wasn’t fun at all. With no wind blast to lift the un­fa­mil­iar amount of weight off my wrists I be­gan to get mild pins and nee­dles in my hands. The steer­ing is heav­ier than I’m used to in town and I also no­ticed the hard, very un-har­ley seat and my slightly aching bum cheeks. But the more miles I did, the more ac­cus­tomed and ad­dicted I be­came to the whole ex­pe­ri­ence. Con­tin­ued over: Ver­dict, stats, ac­ces­sories and typ­i­cal PCP deals

Big change from the Har­ley but Ali­son’s def­i­nitely on it!

Not the ex­haust note Ali­son is used to…

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