The Bullshit Argument That It’s Time to Say Goodbye to the Honda CBR600RR and Other Supersport Machines

06/30/2016 @ 10:47 pm, by Jensen Beeler107 COMMENTS

2003-Honda-CBR600RR-yellow

British magazines MCN dropped a bombshell on the motorcycle world today, reporting that Honda was set to discontinue the Honda CBR600RR, with no supersport replacement in sight.

According to their reports, the main impetus for the Honda CBR600RR being discontinued is the Euro 4 emission standards, which the Honda CBR600RR does not meet.

Honda feels too that the demand for a 600cc sport bike is too low to warrant updating the CBR600RR to meet Euro 4 regulations, let alone building an all-new machine for the market that would be Euro 4 compliant.

Of course, Euro 4 emissions only apply to bikes sold in the European Union; but there too, MCN says that Honda seems to feel that the world demand for the Honda CBR600RR is too lacking to continue with the machine.

As of right now, the Honda CBR600RR remains on the books for 2017 in the USA and other markets, though it is painfully obvious that we won’t see an update for the supersport machine for next year.

It is important to note that rumors of Honda getting out of the sport bike business are nothing new, particular when reported by MCN. The demise of the sport bike, especially in Europe, has been a popular topic for the past five years or so, and it’s an interesting one to digest.

Ouroboros

The argument here often centers around the idea that the sport bike market is disappearing, and that no one buys superbikes or supersports anymore. Honda’s name is almost invariably tied to this opinion. There is more than meets the eye to this, however.

A quick look at Honda’s sport bike lineup and we see that the Honda CBR1000RR hasn’t been meaningfully updated since 2008. The Honda CBR600RR is even worse off, getting only minor updates since its debut in 2003, the most meaningful occurring in 2007 – right before the economic recession.

There is a case of the chicken and the egg here, and the recent global recession plays a large role in it.

If it’s true that Honda is abandoning the Honda CBR600RR because of a lack of sales and interest, is that because of the changing tastes of motorcyclists? Or is that a function of Honda letting its products lapse with a decade’s worth of neglect?

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

In many ways, this seems like a problem of Honda’s own creation, and on a more macro-level, a result of the Japanese manufacturers failing to bring new products to market, in a segment they dominant.

A key component to this issue is the fact that the Japanese manufacturers did a turtle maneuver when the economic downturn that started in 2007, diving back into their shells, afraid to develop or release any meaningful new products.

From where we sit at Asphalt & Rubber, this whole situation feels more like a negative feedback loop, where correlation and causation have gotten confused.

That is to say that our perspective is that Japanese sport bike sales are down because the Japanese manufacturers packed up shop for the better part of a decade. But, they packed up shop because sport bike sales were down…and so on, and so forth. A death spiral ensued.

A Rebuttal Argument

It should be noted however that during the same time period, we saw brands like BMW and Ducati report record sales years, pumping out intriguing new sport bikes in the process, like the BMW S1000RR and the Ducati 1199 Panigale, both of which had strong sales.

It should be noted too that Yamaha saw a strong response with the Yamaha YZF-R1 superbike last year, showing that this trend is not just one for European brands.

Is this trend really that hard to understand? Updated models continue to sell well, while out-dated machines languish on the dealership floors? Hmm…

The superbike and supersport segments are highly competitive, another creation of the Japanese OEMs who for a long time fell into the pattern of releasing new machines every two years. If you’re not fresh, you’re not relevant, and the sales data supports this.

This is why it is interesting and important that Honda is set to bring a new superbike out for the 2017 model year, finally.

Perhaps, the success of the new Honda CBR1000RR (or whatever it is called), will show Honda and the rest of the Japanese manufacturers that there is still a market for these highly competitive machines, but it is a fire that they will have to fuel.

That statement goes beyond just developing and releasing new machines, but extends into supporting marketing efforts like domestic and international racing.

After all, should we be surprised that sport bike sales are lagging, when we something like 1.5 manufacutrers competing in our own MotoAmerica Championship?

It’s something to chew on, because all of this is inter-connected.

Source: MCN

  • Ur Momma

    Hasn’t the rumour that the Daytona will be dropped by Triumph been floating around since 2013?

  • Charles Quinn

    There’s definitely an element of self-fulfilling prophecy where Honda are concerned. But bikes have also evolved to the point where the cons of sportbikes have started to outweigh the pros. No one ever needed all the power a sportbike offered but we’ve now got to the stage where they don’t even want it. Most of the electronic advantages are now available on more practical bikes. Maybe the factories can keep throwing new tech at sportbikes but the years since the GFC have shown them there’s more profit in selling cheaper bikes that don’t need to be updated continually.

    Personally I think the CBR600RR is one of the best all-round bikes ever made, and I’d rather see the 600s survive and the litre sportbikes die out, but the money now is in using a single engine platform for multiple different bikes and that’s not going to happen with a modern 600cc four.

  • appliance5000

    The article’s premise is that liter bike costs as much as a 600cc to design and manufacture, and has higher profits.

    The liter bikes are doing fine. Pretty much what you’ve stated here.

  • james h

    I think the super-nakeds are a smarter alternative to supersports & could replace them altogether. Manufacturers can convert a super bike to a super-naked at a lower cost than to build a supersport (BMW?). Also, super-nakeds provide a lower hp & lower cost alternative to someone who doesn’t want the power of a superbike. As for racing, super stock, super bike, & motogp provide plenty of entertainment without 600’s even needing to put fuel in their tank. My apologies to PJ.

  • Ricardo Piedade

    Mid-range motorbikes have became far too expensive. The 600 prices are now too near the 1000cc’s. So most people who can purchase them, now spend the bit extra and take the 1000 instead.

  • LeDelmo

    I agree with what you are saying. But, On another side, I am also getting a little tired of seeing so many squids running around on the streets thinking they are on real race bike.

    To me the whole Sport Bike segment is kind of a odd area. I mean very few of these bike ever actually see a track…

    On the other hand, Being that Sport bikes ARE so competitive its nice to see that development trickle down to the other models. Even though all the GOOD stuff is held back from public hands in-order to maintain advantages in Pro level Racing.

    Because lets be serious here, modern age Sport bikes are nothing but Street bikes made to look like race bikes and that’s it.

    On a side note. I do hope Honda hasn’t thrown in the towel just yet. I would still love to see them make that new RC bike. Because even if I don’t ride Sport bikes. Its always exiting to see new things being tried.

  • Benteb3nt

    The problem isn’t supersports per se, notice how the successful bikes from BMW and Ducati are 1000cc or more. It’s the midrange supersports that are suffering, because they cost almost as much as their larger siblings, be it in development, manufacturing and sales price. Customers don’t want to pay premium for a mid capacity supersport when they can buy a big supersport for similar money.

  • LeDelmo

    Also, I would like to add. I don’t believe this whole idea of Middle weight bikes being obsolete. Or too expensive. If anything smaller more compact middle weight CC bikes are being even more popular than they used too.

    I for one feel the best CC range for mid weight bikes are 400-800. But, they need to be done a certain way. I would like to see manufacturers really focus on making compact engine design.

    Small light weight Mid range CC bikes. It can be done. And its what consumers want.

    I also feel like part of the problem are these motorcycle reviewers. When was the last time you read a review where the bike with the most House power didn’t win? I mean heck reviews are putting 600cc bikes against 800-1000cc now. Of course the 600 isnt going to beat a bike nearly twice its CC. It doesn’t need too. Manufacturers are just going to keep playing this game of who can inch out the most displacement. in hopes to win those very important reviews. That can ether make someone decide to buy the bike or not.

  • grindathon T

    im currently a owner of a ten 08 600rr love the bike can get through the twisties as fast as my mates on there 1000s. i dont feel the need personally for more than the 116hp or whatever they have, also dont care for how fast a bike can go in a straight line and im not very good at wheelies. the only thing stopping me from getting a new one, or the gsxr 750 for that matter (which is about all i would like extra power wise) is that all of the bikes minus the zx6 is like the article said atleast realistically 10 yrs old so why waste my money on them. most have less hp and weigh more with all the polution gear that got added a few yrs after mine.
    i have owned hondas all my life and if they dont pull there finger out fast and bring some new bikes out that arent designed for new riders (pretty much all of their bikes apart from a few) i will be jumping ship for the first time in 20 yrs. they spent so much money to dominate motogp for so long only to bring out crap like 300r, 500r, 650r an overweight and under powered vfr800. so uninspired!

  • Wayne Thomas

    Jensen,

    I’ve said this for some time now. It takes an expert to tell the difference between a 2007 Honda sport bike and a 2017 Honda sport bike. There has been no appreciable development. This also goes to me comment calling bullshit on racing improving performance in regards to the winglets. Sport bikes, especially those from Japan, have hit a development wall where they are very little different than bikes from a few years ago.

    The Japanese have created a self-fulfilling prophesy and are now caught in the inevitable feedback loop.

  • Cookie Monster

    As a Ex-owner of two Gixxer 600 as i’m aware 1000cc bikes are too much for me, and as a European, this hits me hard. But at this time with the evolution bikes had, sporty Naked bikes have more market in the EU than Sportbikes, my ex-gixxers (srad and K4) they were user friendly, then start to became radical and hard to drive on daily basis, soo people move to naked because they also start to came with proper brakes and suspension ( forget MT-09/FZ-09)
    One important thing is, 10 years ago japonese bikes sell in the EU because they were cheaper than the european bikes, and more reliable, now they have the same price which made people look to European bikes in a different way.

  • D3

    You’ve mentioned the S1000RR, Panigale varients and the new R1, but there is also the Kawasaki offerings too, which I’ve seen the most of around where I live. Even an H2 which I wasn’t expecting to see.

    Suzuki and Honda are the odd ones out it seems, but from the sounds of it Suzuki should be bringing some new tech with their new model. If that sells decently well, then I reckon Honda will be forced to follow along. With their resources, you think they would be the first to be pushing new models out after challenging times, even with their factory disruptions.

    They seem to move between breaking ahead of everyone, then falling behind later. Bring the Fireblade to market, kick ass. It gets a bit porky and old, refresh it, to the point of it being an odd 954cc machine. “We don’t need a litre bike”. Meanwhile the R1 and GSXR1000 were getting into their stride.

  • D3

    “Because lets be serious here, modern age Sport bikes are nothing but Street bikes made to look like race bikes and that’s it.”

    Not sure of your sentiment here. Were you around when the GSX-R750 came out? “Bloody hell, a street sports bike that looks like the race bikes!”
    And from there, we have been getting ever more focused on the track side of things as the years go by. Fairings thinned out as aero work developed, smaller engines, more revs, more HP, less weight, better chassis and components. Now electronics and dataloggers for track use.

    Stuff that is held back is stuff that isn’t going to be practical on any kind of normal use machine. Dry clutches, pneumatic valves, gear driven cams, extremely heavily tuned engines, frames designed around track racing specifically, brakes that work only when decently hot. Not to mention the costs of said work.

    There’s not much other than money stopping you from building some form of SBK build, if you can cough up 10K for forks and brakes, build up an engine, etc.

  • Joe D

    IMO, The Honda is bland. It is lost in the mix with other Asian offerings of which only Yamaha seems to be the choice of local riders. The European factories have their own individual Identities and accept the notion that they appeal to a specific personality and therefore do not use a cookie cutter design approach.

  • Jason Bishop

    I could see this happening. The fact of the matter is that 600cc sportbikes are no longer accessible to their target customer base, younger riders. They are expensive, the insurance rates for the category have sky rocketed and their performance is that of liter bikes 15-20 years ago. You can’t really compare their projected sales to the bigger bikes either, the customer is very different with respect to age and income. What we need is something more in line with what this category used to be, a decent amount of performance, around 80-90hp with a sub $9k price point and reasonable insurance rates. A reboot of the “supersport” category if you will. Despite the source I can see Honda’s thinking on this one, it’s one of the highest R&D cost products in the industry and the retail trends simply don’t support the investment anymore.

  • coreyvwc

    Is it also a bullshit argument to suggest that the manufacturers should keep producing them because a select few people still have a soft spot for them, and an even fewer amount of people are still buying them? It all comes down to dollars and cents, so it seems logical that Honda would be the first to go this route.

  • coreyvwc

    Dropping the 675cc engine and putting in the new 765cc engine that will be in the new street triple. Basically the same thing MV has done with 800c F3 and Ducati with the 899/939cc Panigale. Not race legal bikes at all, but better road bikes.

  • Superlight

    Interesting topic. I’ve owned many bikes over the years with differing displacements from various manufacturers in the Standard, Sport Touring and Sportbike categories.

    It seem to me the sales slide for Supersports happened coincident with the recent recession. All of a sudden many of their young buyers lost their jobs and/or couldn’t get loans, plus Supersport prices kept escalating as manufacturers chased racetrack glory.

    I believe there is a renewed place for Supersports, especially as the Superbikes have also escalated in power and price, making them overkill for street usage. The Supersports bikes have all of the “look” of Superbikes and more performance than most buyers will ever need at less cost. Yes, $11k for an R6 is a lot of money, but $15k for the least expensive R1 is quite a bit more and doesn’t factor in the insurance difference usually based on engine size.

    Despite other comments here on this issue, there will always be demand for hot looking, high-performance motorcycles that emulate race bikes. Adventure bikes and Nakeds are more practical, no question, but they gain that advantage by trading off appearance and dynamic capabilities.

  • MrDefo

    Anybody want to go in on an investment with me? Float me some cash for a brand new Daytona 675, and when I sell it 10 years from now I’ll give you your money back, plus 20% of the leftover from the elevated price?

  • sburns2421

    I have posted this before, but some time several years ago sportbikes stopped being the “poor man’s sports car”, meaning young people could afford to buy them as relatively cheap transportation that also had great performance.
    The reasons for this could be argued, because on an inflation-adjusted basis they are about the same price today as they have been for at least a couple of decades. However, most everything else has went up substantially: housing, insurance, and specifically autos have doubled in price in adjusted dollars since 1975. Almost everyone also has to own a car in addition to their bike, and that more expensive car eats up cash each month to spend on a sportbike.
    In short, motorcycles may cost the same but fewer people, especially young people typically attracted to sportbikes, have the money to spend on them. So the demographic of a typical NEW sportbike buyer is older and more affluent, a kid isn’t buying a CBR600RR with only a paper route or washing dishes. Older buyers that see these bikes as toys not transportation, and they have the extra $$$ to spend on what they really want: a liter superbike.

  • sburns2421

    Imagine the irony if Honda drops the CBR600RR worldwide yet still supplies the engine for Moto2. The “prototype chassis” is the same for all the front-runner while the “production engine” has to be made specifically and only for that class.
    And world supersports? Triumph is a bit player in the series. But what happens when the Big Four all make their engines larger to meet Euro 4? Up the four displacement limit to 700cc and triples get 800cc while twins get 955cc?

  • Superlight

    Sportbikes (including Supersports) are still the “poor man’s sports car”, in that a lot of performance is available at a relatively low purchase cost compared to cars. What has changed is that the literbikes performance capabilities have far exceeded what most riders and streets can handle. To me, the Supersports category is a good answer to this issue, the “mama bear” choice, so-to-speak.

  • MrDefo

    I disagree that having a car is required. With a little ingenuity you can make a motorcycle work. Especially for a young person who doesn’t have a family to cart around, a motorcycle is a great way to get around and look stylish. It just takes a little planning, a little thinking, and investing a bit into quality riding gear; something your body needs anyway.

  • sburns2421

    We are talking two different things I think. We agree there is a place for 600s for sure, as well as 1000s being too much for the road and most riders if they were honest. My point was they are less affordable new (both sizes) so the actual buyers these days are the guys higher up the income scale and they can afford the liter bike so that is what they buy.
    My guess is very few buyers of new bikes are willing to spend $12k for a 600, but cannot afford $15k for a 1000.

  • sburns2421

    A person without a family, in a warm dry climate, with a job that does not require dress clothes or business travel, and the person rents so they never spend any time on home projects.
    in other words a student or someone living at home that can borrow mom & dad’s car when they need it.

  • Gary

    I really love the dialog this has generated. I sincerely hope the guys down in marketing are frequenting A&R. There are a lot of passionate folks on here, who understand motorcycling.

  • MrDefo

    See you aren’t even trying here. Let’s go down this list, shall we?

    Warm climate and dress clothes can be answered in one – get an Aerostich Roadcrafter. I rode in to work today wearing one and my dress clothes look great. Waterproof, too. Are you afraid of riding in the rain? It’s not that hard.

    Traveling for business on a motorcycle becomes a little more tricky, but it really depends on what you have to carry with you. For myself, I have a work laptop that fits just nicely in a waterproof bag that sits on my pillion seat. As a matter of fact, I can put a weekend’s worth of clothes, toiletries and the laptop in the bag without any issue.

    As for the person renting, I’m not sure what you mean? Rents an apartment? It’s true that most apartments have rules against working on your vehicles in the parking lot, but that’s true of cars as well. Many people ignore that little rule, or of course you can always take your bike (or car) to a mechanic to have work done. In some larger cities you will find shops that will rent work space out to motorcyclists to work on their own vehicles as well.

    As for the times when a car is needed – okay I happen to live in a climate that does get snow and ice in the winter. There are a few ways to approach this. An expensive option is to get a cab or rent a car. You could bum a ride with a co-worker. Or use mass transit. Failing all of those as options for yourself, get a beater car. Save up a few grand for something that stays parked 80% of the year, put treated gas in it (just a few bucks for a stabilizer that will treat an entire tank) and hook the battery up to a battery maintainer. Still in the apartment? Remove the battery and set it up inside. Also makes stealing the car less likely.

    So all in total – roughly $1000 for a Roadcrafter, or something like it. We’ll see $3-5k for a beater car, if you really can’t get anything else going for you. $30 for a battery tender (which you should have anyway for a motorcycle, it’s a great thing) and $5-6 for fuel stabilizer.

    Incidental car uses (you need to move something big) you can go to friends who have cars, or hire a UHaul. So occasionally you are out $50 or so. Or rent a car, for a bit more, but really not much more. Totally manageable.

  • Gary

    I am one who, after decades of superbike ownership, has switched to a street fighter. I see them as the rational man’s sport bike or performance bike for the real world. (which can also be interpreted as the alternative for someone whose getting too old to ride his superbike for more than 30-minutes at a stretch) ;-)

  • Moon

    They should bring back the RD350 !

  • sburns2421

    So you don’t live without a car, you only bum off buddies or rent something when you need it. The point is you do need it, not the means that you get it.
    You already mentioned no kids, no argument there as that rules out a large number of guys if they ever have to carry their children.
    How about significant others? Girlfriends or boyfriends? January and its 20 degrees with blowing snow…here honey is your Roadcrafter suit we are having a hot time on the town tonight? Get real.
    I get that this is your thing, and if that is how you define yourself so be it. You see crusaders like this in many areas not just motorcycles but understand you are the outlier for sure.
    Was in Sweden this February (try packing for a week trip and humping that to the airport, they don’t even ALLOW motorcycles to park in long-term at my local airport). Freezing cold but I did see a few motorcycles dodging the patches of ice. Almost exclusively new Ducati and BMWs, these are not cheap there by any means and roughly double the cost in the US. Later saw a guy in the central station with helmet and full Ducati one-piece leathers getting on the train, maybe he had had enough or he wasn’t as committed as you. Maybe I should have asked him if he also owned a car…

  • Gerald Irish

    Unfortunately there are a couple of things at play here, not all of them bullshit.

    To start with, pre-2008 a lot of 600 cc buyers were buying those bikes with manufacturer credit card deals and other high risk, unsecured credit. After 2008, the manufacturers drew back dramatically on that type of financing. Combined with the job losses that contraction significantly reduced the number of buyers in that segment.

    Then consider that the markets that are growing the fastest for the Japanese moto manufacturers are in SE Asia. It only makes sense for them to invest in models for those markets where they can sell orders of magnitude more bikes than they’d sell of 600 cc supersports. Not that they can’t invest in entry level models and supersports at the same time, but that is what they’ve chosen to do.

    Kawasaki and Suzuki have actually come out with an all-new 600 cc supersport since the economic collapse and it doesn’t look like either have returned to pre-collapse sales volume. I haven’t seen numbers for US sales, but with just a cursory look at the UK, the picture is grim:

    ” In 2015, registrations of the CBR600, ZX-6R/ZX-636R, GSX-R600, R6 and Daytona 675 – the main players in the supersports class – could only struggle to 1198… In recession-gripped 2008 each of the Japanese supersports 600s managed British market registrations of over 1100, and back in 2003 they each easily topped 2000.”

    I’m sure Honda has looked at that and surmised that the writing is on the wall.

  • Daniel Croft

    Having owned only a GSXR-750 but ridden a few of the super sport 600s (and Ducatis etc.) my opinion is that the trade offs in design for super sport motorcycles make them not that much fun to ride unless you’re on a track or ripping up some twisty roads. Unless you’re constantly riding like that, they’re awkward. They don’t get updates as much so, they don’t feel leading edge for very long and, the actual middle weights (750 4 cylinder, 800 triple, ~900 twins) make much easier and fun road bikes.
    There’s a constant theme in motorcycle reviews “the new hotness is the best” but, if you watch middle weight reviews, almost without fail, the reviewers say something like “this is the best, most balanced, most practical, and my favorite”.
    Personally, I now own a 800 triple which I think is such a well balanced motor. I “down graded” from a 1200 twin.

  • MrDefo

    I think you misunderstand my position. I have a car, and it is convenient, but I can afford to have one. So I choose to use it for its convenience.

    And ultimately convenience is what it comes down to. Using significant others as an example, if they really aren’t into riding on the back with you, chances are they have a car. If you both don’t, you can work something else out, but it’s inconvenient. I’m just challenging your assumption that someone really and truly needs to own a car. The challenges to living on two wheels only are pretty easy to surmount, if you’re willing to do them.

  • sburns2421

    It is possible to only own a motorcycle for some people, but it is not practical for anyone.
    And while you say the challenges to living on two wheels are “pretty easy” to surmount, if you’re willing to do them. And yet you own a car “for convenience”. Making the point for me perhaps?
    I have thought about a few years from now when kids are gone and we lived in a warmer climate, a motorcycle might be my transportation of choice the majority of the time, but I promise you I will also own a car. Just like you.

  • MrDefo

    Cool beans. If you can afford having a car, go for it. I have zero desire to ride my bike in the winter over ice.

  • cvma131

    You know the first time you rode the S1000RR in 2010, and you tried Rain Mode and said to yourself “wow, this is S600RR mode!”? Thats when 600s days became numbered.

  • Christopher Ring

    The article was specifically about the demise of the 600cc class and didn’t say that 1000cc bikes were being discontinued. The current trend for supersports has been to up the displacement and make a bike that is more road focused, Kawasaki, triumph, MV, and ducati have all moved away from the 600cc formula. European tiered licensing means you can’t ride a 600cc supersport till you’ve got a A class license and have been riding for 4 years. If you’ve been riding that long and have the money, since a 600cc is almost as expensive as a 1000cc bike, most people just buy a 1000cc bike. The supertwin 650cc class is selling very well and will be updated for euro 4 because you can ride on a A2 license and its about half the cost of a 1000cc bike, plus the addition of the supertwin racing class in IOM TT and road racing has added additional interest in the class.

  • Paul McM

    Need a track day toy? By all means have at it on a great-handling 600 supersport. But for 90% of other actual riding applications, these machines are severely compromised. Worthless/miserable for passengers. Head Down Ass up is not a good riding position for city streets. Expensive plastic to replace even in minor fall-downs. Very high insurance costs. Uncomfortable seats. Peaky powder bands. Poor ergos and wind protection for all-day riding. I’ve owned a couple bikes in this category in 600, 800, and 1000cc versions. I don’t miss them at all… OK, maybe on a few stretches of road where they were in their element. For nearly ALL motorcycle riders (at least those who have a girlfriend), they would be much better served by walking right past the 600cc supersports and looking at a completely different category of bike.

  • Robert Kwolek

    I completely agree with you. It’s not a surprise that the CBR600 doesn’t sell. The current one is super ugly – no one in their right mind would get it over an R6, for example.

  • Superlight

    Your opinion. When you rev that 1000 normally through the gears and look down to see well over 100 MPH without it breathing hard, say to yourself “This is going to get me jailed”. The literbikes have become too powerful for their own good, at least on the street.

  • Superlight

    OK, the Superbikes/Supersports bikes are impractical, just like top-level spoirts cars. So what category do you suggest we buy? Nakeds? Better ergos, but little/no wind protection. Adventure bikes? Very practical, but ugly and too tall for many riders. Now the BMW R1200 RS, that starts making some sense to me.

  • awwshucks

    I think cvma is saying that electronics and limiting modes can basically emulate 600cc power. Then at a push of a button you can pop back into 1000cc power if you wanted to.

  • roma258

    With the only new supersports being developed in the middleweight class: D765, F800 and the Duc 899 can we see a resurgence of that class as a racing series? Might get Suzuki to pump out a new 750. And Kawi has experience with pumping out bigger bore I4s.. Hey, a boy can dream….

  • roma258

    Supernakeds ftw!

  • n/a

    EU caused all these problems…

  • Superlight

    No wind protection.

  • Superlight

    Oh, sure, customers buy a 1000cc Superbike, pay the extra cost over a Supersport in purchase price and insurance and ride around in “Rain” mode all the time. Ain’t happening.

  • Superlight

    I don’t think design is the CBR600’s problem. That’s subjective and many of us (me included) hate the R6 look. Now the MV F3 (which I own) – now that’s good design!

  • Maybe part of the problem comes down to this: In any development process — it really doesn’t matter if you’re developing a 600cc sport bike or lifting weights in the gym — there comes a point where the effect of marginal improvements tends towards zero.

    In the last decade or so, the literbikes have seen fairly big increases in ride-ability mainly due to more sophisticated engine modes, traction control, ABS, etc. Those things have less impact in the 600 class, which was — if anything/IMHO — even closer to its “genetic potential”.

    Measurable improvement was hard to come by, by the mid-2000s. It was difficult to make a case for engineering improvements after the recession, but even leaving economic/business concerns aside, it must’ve been frustrating when development chiefs looking at mid-2000s Supersports-class bikes, searching for the next (increasingly tiny) step in performance.

  • Bruce Steever

    I’ve never owned a car. Should i add anything to this discussion?

  • Bruce Steever

    It is happening, constantly. It’s called BMW’s S1000RR marketing strategy, and comes straight from their marketing folks.

  • Bruce Steever

    Time to work on yo neck muscles, son.

  • Superlight

    S1000RR Owners aren’t riding around in “Rain” mode when it’s dry, no matter what BMW’s marketing folks say.

  • roma258

    I don’t get the wind protection argument. Most windscreens do nothing but create buffeting for my head. Unless you’re riding a Goldwing or something, I’d rather have no windscreen at all, or a bikini fairing to reduce some windblast on the torso, but leave the head in the clean air.

  • Bruce Steever

    Here’s what i know, from my old life where i reported on dealers and OEMs extensively.

    Not only was BMW aiming for broad appeal with the S1000RR, they purposefully tuned the low-power modes to enable less-experienced riders to own them, rather than going to the expense of building an entirely new middleweight machine. That’s more or less a direct quote.

    At the same time, dealers were literally selling this as a primary feature for newer and younger supersport buyers.

    So maybe you’re right, and very few S1000RR owners may be cruising in Rain mode, but the facts are thus – that’s how BMW built and sold this machine.

  • Superlight

    You forgot the MV F3 800 which has done well is WSS in 675cc. I hope the parent company can resolve their financial issues.

  • Superlight

    Either you don’t ride any distance or you’re a really tough dude. Fighting the wind for hundred of miles is no fun. My MV F3 has low clip-ons that put stress on your wrists, but at least the fairing deflects the wind pretty well.

  • Superlight

    BS, Bruce. My neck muscles are just fine, but I ride distance and don’t want to fight the wind for hundreds of miles. I just sold a 2014 Monster 1200 and part of the reason was that no attractive wind protection was available. The tiny bikini fairing on the Stripe and R models looked good, but didn’t do much to deflect the wind.

  • LeDelmo

    I cant tell if you are trying to agree with me or disagree… At the start it sounds like you are disagreeing but than you yourself kind of point out allot of the differences.

    Being a fast bike doesn’t make it a race bike. Heck, this is one of the key points as to what the article is even talking about.

  • Superlight

    Could be, but the Supersports manufacturers could have focused their efforts instead on weight reduction and aerodynamics. No way a 1000cc bike could be as small or as light as a properly done 600cc bike.

  • Bruce Steever

    I understand the desire for wind protection around the end of day two of a week-long tour, but never felt a need myself for a shield much before 1000 miles in a row.

    To each their own.

  • Rightwheel

    I think there’s much to what you say. In racing incremental development continues to benefit. But modern superbikes and supersports already so exceed what can be done safely, legally, or even sanely on the street that development has essentially nowhere to go, at least in terms of getting faster.

  • Gerald Irish

    Nobody’s buying R6’s either.

  • Gerald Irish

    I think the war of incrementalism in the 600 market also resulted in a homogenized landscape where everyone was just iterating on the same inline-4 cylinder formula. Any buyer of a 600 doesn’t have many differentiators to help them make a choice.

    At least with 1000’s there’s big differences in style and powerplant to choose from. Inline-4, super-charged inline-4, crossplane inline-4, v-twin, and V4 means there are big differences to experience and a compelling reason to try something else every few years.

  • Superlight

    You must be a tough dude!

  • MrDefo

    I think it won’t really matter, because sburns and I are talking about different things. I think we both agree that there are times when a car makes sense to use over a motorcycle, however I disagree with him that owning a car is a requirement. I’m getting the impression that he equates occasionally using a car when it makes sense with requiring one.

  • If we’re blaming countries, I’d start with Japan…or even the USA. Thanks Obama.

  • BMW R1200RS??! Eww! Gross.

  • I don’t think anyone is buying a sport bike based on practicability…

  • HTFU. ;)

  • Exactly! But, we’ll keep hearing about “how no one wants one” until another brand takes a chance, develops a kick-ass bike in the 600cc supersport segment, and then we’ll see everyone pile on again, like nothing happened.

  • Jason

    Honda CBR650F: $8500 or $9000 with ABS. 460 lbs / 87 hp

  • Superlight

    You’re forgetting the Euros – Triumph 675, MV F3 and Ducati 848/899/959, none which are inline 4s.

  • tony

    do not go up against bruce…you will be…assimilated.

  • Superlight

    I rode the BMW down near the Dragon in May this year; a pretty impressive bike, especially if you like to ride any distance comfortably. I’m not as keen on that engine configuration or the brand, but there are very few choices in Sport Touring currently.

  • Honestly I find Moto2 and WSS much more entertaining than MotoGP. The big bikes are impressive for what they are, but slower bikes usually make for closer, more action packed racing.

  • Superlight

    I think not.
    I’m not arguing that BMW did/did not market the S1000RR as a middleweight based on the ride modes, but it’s likely the owners don’t ride them that way.

  • n/a

    To a lesser extent than the EU though? Whatever Japan or the USA did or didn’t do, the EU with their series of ‘euro’ regulations is a killer.

  • Bruce Steever

    LOL, no. Just stating my 1.5 cents.

  • tony

    bmw marketed them as the ultimate litre bike, and they were correct. as far as the owners go, they absolutely ride them that way! in fact, i went round the outside of two of them in 1 corner at streets of willow. on a 98 cbr900. believe it…

  • BDan75

    Completely subjective, based-on-almost-nothing opinion here, but I feel like we’re right now seeing with ADV bikes what we MIGHT see with sportbikes in the not-too-distant future. People are getting beyond the hype and the Charlie/Ewan dreams and realizing that the great big monster ADVs actually aren’t what works best…it’s the mid-sized models. My local BMW dealer has an absolute glut of R12GSs, both new and used.

    I’m thinking that eventually many folks will start to realize that a 600/700/800 is a better fit for the riding they do than the 200hp liter bikes.

  • MikeD

    A drop in the 600cc Ocean.

  • MikeD

    Hey…some of us are Hardcore Masos and willing to compromise…LMAO.
    “If you want to look good you have to suffer”…or something like that someone pretty & famous said one time. LOL.

  • MikeD

    WHAAAAT ! ? How DARE YOU ? ! That’s a perfectly fine motorcycle and has some very basic and nice creature comforts. Too bad i have a “Chinese Scooter” budget, otherwise i would own one.
    P.S: Ducati SF’s are FUGLY !

  • MikeD

    LMAO.

  • TheGreatViking

    So the entire world can use bikes as transportation, but you can’t in the US? Its like the first time I went to Hawaii, and all the locals were driving in huge lifted trucks. YOU LIVE ON A DAMN TROPICAL ISLAND!

  • roma258

    I rode from Philly to Austin in 3 days on an Aprilia Tuono (the twin) and it was fine. Honestly the wind never bothered me. When I borrowed my buddy’s BMW F800ST to take it to Nova Scotia (long story), I actually ended up taking his aftermarket windscreen off, the buffeting was bothering me so much. I dunno, windscreens annoy me more than anything.

  • sburns2421

    Viking have you ever spent time in the US? It is a big place. Decent mass transit is effectively non-existent except in large cities. People often live far from their workplace.
    There are fuel-efficient cars out there, but gasoline is so cheap most cars that people actually buy get less than 40 mpg. Very few trucks and SUVs do that well on fuel, and millions are sold in the US each year.
    It is funny because of all the things I said in the original post, the last thing I though people would get their panties in a wad about was that most people need a car in the US.
    This brings up another point regarding the fallacy of bikes as cheap transportation: bikes and specifically sportbikes can actually be more expensive than a fuel-efficient car when you factor in the total cost of maintenance and tires.
    Maybe 40 years ago when a Cadillac got 8 mpg and a “big” 500cc twin motorcycle got 50 mpg the cost equation favored motorcycles. Today you can get reasonable cars that can match fuel mileage than a CBR600RR and overall would be cheaper to run.

  • Jason

    Very true. 2 sportbike tires cost as much as a set of 4 tires for a compact car and only last 5K miles instead of 50K.

  • TheGreatViking

    I agree a car is needed in certain conditions like snowy/icy, but otherwise its Always the same excuses. Most commute in this world by motorbikes, which are extremely fuel efficient and cost dramatically less than a vehicle. Its actually more cost effective than bicycling. It boils down to lifestyle choices. You build terribly planned suburban sprawl with zero public transport, but then complain all day how terrible your traffic and commutes are. Ride the bus? God no, thats for poor people. I ‘have’ to drive my SUV. We have the widest, flattest roads in the world but lane splitting is illegal. Its the quintessential excessive US thought-process where you actually think there is no alternatives. Let’s look at obvious examples. Los Angeles. Perfect year round weather. Lane splitting is tolerated. Yet, extreme gridlock traffic. Have you looked around? Full of SUV’s, solo commuters. It’s pure insanity. Road rage to the max. All anyone complains about there is traffic. Hawaii. Again, perfect year round weather, beach island culture, yet every other vehicle is a lifted truck. Traffic is awful. 2 wheels aren’t even a thought. They are lucky they have amazing waves and topography, otherwise yeah. Its peakcocking and ego. Me riding a motorbike or bicycle to work? Either I’m gay or an alcoholic right? Bah. Anyone that complains about traffic in the US I just laugh.

  • Superlight

    It depends. On relatively calm days riding on naked bikes is just fine, but not all days are like that.
    If the manufacturers do their job correctly when designing bike windscreens, you won’t get buffeted

  • grahluk

    As someone who bought a brand new yellow one as pictured in 2003 over the equally new Ducati 749 and most recently owned a 2012 600RR I am hugely disappointed. I hear all the arguments against modern supersports from the manufacturer and rider perspective but call BS on some if not all of it. There are some questions and thoughts this brings up.

    1-So Honda say they’ll discontinue the 600RR due to Euro4 noise & emissions regs? Well then what about the forthcoming new liter bike? Seems they’re figuring on meeting those regs on a bigger more powerful engine than a 600.

    2- The development costs on a 600 are the same as a 1000 but don’t reap the same ROI? They said exactly the same thing when they killed off the techno wonder 400 race reps in the late 90’s. Cost as much to develop as 600’s but can’t sell them in numbers worldwide to make sense. In this day and age why couldn’t they have developed a sports platform that shared basic design and a huge portion of the parts bin across 1000/600/400 sport, touring, and naked bikes? The smaller euro manufacturers such as Ducati, Aprilia, and MV have been doing that for years now out of necessity.

    3-Honda is lame. There, I said it. As someone who’s owned 6 Hondas to the two Yamaha’s and 1 Ducati in my riding life I as much as anyone bleed Honda red and have sported their winged logo on and off the bike. Myself and other Honda fans though have been feeling for years that they’ve lost the magic. Their offerings while always competent have been wholly uninspired and uninspiring. Other makers have upped their game in the fit, finish, & reliability dept so the old saying “it’s a Honda” doesn’t hold as much water as it used to. Other makers (Ducati, Yamaha) have been bringing out model after model of new and interesting bikes (MT, Hypermotard) while still holding down the blue chip categories. Honda? Even their traveling exhibits at the winter moto shows have been the most half assed displays. Hate to say it but I think I’m breaking up with you Honda. You’ve given me lots of joy in the NSR’s, RC’s, and CBR’s I’ve owned but you’ve changed. Yes, it’s not me, it’s you.

    4- Not that Honda cares (much) but that leaves a huuuge hole in roadracing if high spec 600’s were to disappear from the earth. Hopped up budget bikes like the cheapo parallel twins making their way onto the roads and tracks do not cut it. As said above, they are developed along the wrong track as stepping stones towards top tier & level race machines. Ok, back when the first CBR’s came out they were more well rounded machines but Honda also made production race bikes in the NSR series track bikes. Now I’d forgive them if they went that way again. If they started making sporty non track focused road bikes but also developed “not for public roads” race machines again such as a ground up Moto2 design then that would show some sense in the world. I’m not holding my breath.

    5-The public is at fault. Honda among other manufacturers have put all their sport focus on expensive, electronic gizmo laden, liter bikes because they sell to the idiots who are the two wheel relatives to the people who buy Corvette ZR06’s. We’ve all heard it ad nauseum where people choose a 1000 over a 600 as a financial rationale saying that for not much more you get a lot more bike and that they won’t have to sell the 600 when they grow out of it to buy a 1000. I roll my eyes right out of my head there. I can afford a 1000. I can ride a 1000. Not barriers of ability and finances there. I CHOOSE a 600 because it’s what I want. I choose light and flickable over power every time. Then again I’m obviously a minority. I’m about flowing through track & back road twisties not burnouts, wheelies, freeway 5th gear roll ons, and posing while making a big noise. So this is what we get. Ever more powerful, expensive, liter bikes with all the electronics to keep them composed enough for their idiot riders who have more testosterone than skills to have some modicum of life expectancy on the roads. In my world the perfect sport bike is 100hp and 300lbs of taut chassis & stable suspension. You don’t need all the electronics in that formula. With a 200+ hp bike tipping closer to 500lbs you see what results.

    6- So Honda makes great fanfare releasing a watered down RCV saying they wanted a halo offering to rekindle the power of dreams but kill off the dream in reach of the common man. I’m done with you Honda. It’s over.

  • MikeD

    I could probably do the same……………………………..if i had a cooled/warmed armored suit and could shrink and stash away my bike in one of my pockets.
    Where i drive and ride is a WET and MUGGY jungle full of silver backs and chimps who bought their licenses and all of them have a masters degree on stealing goods (motorcycles).

  • MikeD

    I can’t believe i red the whole thing…lol. But you have your reasons.

  • azboy

    There will always be Honda attempting to dictate to the buying public what it is they really want…just like there are people who say that the supersport bikes are too fast, they attract squids, blah, blah, blah. If you don’t like supersport machines, ride a Vespa…it’s “your” choice, however, if you feel safer on a Vespa, don’t try to make choices for others with opinions that won’t effect you personally.

  • Paul McM

    This reaction is understandable because most of the mid-sized windscreens available on current models are very bad. FJ09 — awful. GS1200 — too narrow and noisy. KTM Adv bikes — hard to see through and turbulent. But, if you ride with an INTELLIGENTLY designed windscreen (hello KTM and Japanese engineers Wake the “F” Up), it makes a world of difference. One of the best windscreens fitted on a do-everything bike was on the FJ1100/FJ1200 series. I had the pleasure of owning an FJ1100 for 22 years. The fairing provided good protection, no buffeting, no turbulence, and make high-speed long distance trips WAY, way better. Note how the top is curved smoothly — that’s what creates smooth airflow. You’ll find the same smooth curve design on the R1200RT which probably has the best windscreen ever fitted to a motorcycle.

  • Paul McM

    “Too powerful for their own good”. Honestly, just use your left foot and upshift! It’s as simple as that. I much prefer the “have it anywhere” passing-power torque of a literbike. I actually think, if you keep the revs in a reasonable range, a 1000cc bike is EASIER to ride smoothly than a high-output 600cc bike. And if you are talking about riding two-up, screw the 600s, I’ll take more displacement and more torque any day. The second bike I ever owned was an 1100 with 80 ft/lbs of torque. Never had a problem. Owned the bike for 22 years. Going too fast? Rotate right hand counter-clockwise…

  • Superlight

    No question the torque of a large-displacement bike is nice, but typically extra size and weight comes with the bargain. Now if you’re riding distance or carrying a passenger, “bigger is better”, but that’s not what every rider does. Once you prioritize braking and cornering highly and ride in the twisties, the smaller, lighter and more maneuverable 600 size bike makes more sense. Horses for courses.

  • Jason Bishop

    Not a true supersport bike which would have an aluminum chassis, clip-on bars, better suspension, etc. Something more track focused that slots in where the 400cc bikes did 20+ years ago.

  • Jason

    I suspect a CBR650F would stack up just fine against a CBR600F3 and it is quite a bit cheaper. (A CBR600F3 cost $7300 back in 1996 which equals $11,200 in 2016)

  • Jason Bishop

    I don’t disagree but it’s still not a supersport bike. The appeal to younger riders (the few that are left AND interested in bikes) is the “track ready” performance of a true supersport machine. Handlebar sport machines like the CBR are doing well with the older demographics who don’t need the look but they aren’t doing a great job of attracting new riders.

  • Jason

    I guess they will need to pony up the cash then if they want a track ready bike instead of a street focused bike. Today’s 600 supersports don’t cost any more than they did 20 years ago when I owned them.

  • The_Real_Stinky

    I guess Ducati would be ahead of the curve then…

  • BBQdog

    I live in Europe and there is hardly any use for SuperSports or SuperBikes.
    Except for circuit use /track days. There is no fun using them on highways. There is no fun using them on the larger provincial roads full of speed camera’s. What is left are the twisty back roads where a nimble bike is much more fun and a SuperSport is already overkill.

    They should re-define ‘SuperSport’. I would like to see something based on an Aprilia 550cc v-twin, a small and nimble Ducati V-twin or SuperMono but not those heavy SuperSports. The current 300+cc japanese twins are also useless because they lack that last bit of power AND they are too heavy. KTM is doing the best job at the moment with the Duke 390 and 690 range. I would like to see a major manufacturer have the balls to create a small very lightweight sports bike stuffed with top suspension parts and carbon etc.
    I would pay serious money for that. So far they don’t have the guts.

  • henry

    what’s the obsession with electronics packages anyway, i can’t think of any company in the 600cc class with a completely functional electronics setup, the traction control & abs on most of them are better left turned off if you ask me cause they just don’t work as well as the 1000cc.

  • henry

    yeah but they did what consumers asked for, people keep complaining about no electronics this or no abs that, you just can’t have a decent package of these things on ANY bike & expect a certain price-point. perhaps reviewers & consumers should ask themselves how important these features are when we’ve gotten on without them just fine, not to mention up until 2015-16 models, the bloody electronics hardly worked as well as say the 1000cc.

  • brittonx