Used CBR600S

Bag Honda’s bril­liant all­rounder for as lit­tle as £2k

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Jon Urry MCN GUEST TESTER

Why it’s still the ar­che­typal com­fort­able sports­bike What we said then But what is it like now?

In 2001 I was lucky enough to have a CBR600F (the Sport model, but they are es­sen­tially the same) as a long-term test bike with MCN. Be­ing young and en­thu­si­as­tic I rode more than 20,000 miles in less than eight months, in­clud­ing a few track­days, and aside from a cam­chain ten­sioner swap it never missed a beat. And shame­fully I have to con­fess the ma­jor­ity of that mileage was done with­out get­ting it ser­viced at Honda’s stated in­ter­vals.

But that’s the great thing about the CBR, you can throw all kind of abuse at one and it will shrug it off. They are metro­nom­i­cally re­li­able. If you want proof, just look at the own­ers’ re­views on mo­tor­cy­cle­ – 86 re­ports and all rate the Honda highly.

In a mod­ern con­text, and with a few years un­der both our belts, the CBR600F still im­presses. The rid­ing po­si­tion is sporty but far from un­com­fort­able thanks to clip-ons that are set quite high and a nice nar­row tank. You can ride a CBR for miles on end in to­tal com­fort, some­thing I hap­pily re­mem­ber do­ing so much back in 2001, and pil­lions are well catered for with a de­cent seat and grabrail.

And the en­gine re­mains a real joy. I’d for­got­ten just how smooth the CBR’S in­line four is. The ex­haust note is whis­per-quiet (I reme­died this with a race pipe) and the power is con­cen­trated in the mid-range, mak­ing it nice and re­laxed when you aren’t thrash­ing it. Go search­ing out some zing and it is cer­tainly there at the top end, but there is no need to con­tin­u­ally hunt the red line if you don’t want to.

Should you fancy a bit of a thrill, the CBR has some se­ri­ous track pedi­gree (it won the 2002 World Su­per­sport cham­pi­onship) and the chas­sis is more than ca­pa­ble of swift road rid­ing and even track­days. The brakes may not be ra­dial in their de­sign, but they have enough bite, es­pe­cially with some high fric­tion pads fit­ted, and the ad­justable sus­pen­sion can be eas­ily stiff­ened up for a bit more at­ti­tude.

Af­ter be­ing reac­quainted with the CBR I’m left won­der­ing if there is any­thing this fan­tas­tic bike can’t do. In 20,000 miles I cer­tainly never dis­cov­ered the an­swer.

Any ob­vi­ous faults?

Any­time a bike has af­ter­mar­ket electrics fit­ted it is a good idea to check how com­pe­tently they have been con­nected and routed and, sure enough, this 2001 CBR doesn’t go onto full right lock as some­thing is ob­struct­ing it. There are also a few elec­tri­cal lines lead­ing to the 12v socket not neatly tucked away. Ev­ery­thing me­chan­i­cally works as it should, but the bike has a few light scrapes, hint­ing at a very low speed tum­ble. The sus­pen­sion link­ages are a bit rusty, but don’t ap­pear seized.

Or handy ex­tras?

De­spite its low mileage, this CBR was al­most cer­tainly used as a com­muter as it has heated grips and 12v sock­ets fit­ted. The car­bon hug­ger is a nice ad­di­tion and steel braided lines and a bat­tery charger in­put socket show the pre­vi­ous owner had a de­gree of me­chan­i­cal sym­pa­thy.


This bike does it all – com­mut­ing, track­days, week­end blasts and even tour­ing. As a first large ca­pac­ity ma­chine it has more than enough per­for­mance while also re­tain­ing a very friendly and re­as­sur­ing at­ti­tude. Plus Honda’s solid build qual­ity means you know 100% that it will burst into life first prod of the starter ev­ery time. “Whether you’re look­ing for a ded­i­cated track tool or a sporty all­rounder, maybe it’s time to look anew at the CBR600. I for one am glad I’ve made its ac­quain­tance again.” MCN launch re­port, Novem­ber 1, 2000

2001 2002 2003

Thanks to Stevelin Mo­tor­cy­cles in Ram­sey. www.stevelin­mo­tor­cy­cles. 01487 711513

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