If you are looking for a reason to survive the coronavirus outbreak (not that by any means you should giving up hope at this point) then let it be to see whether this rumor pans out to be true or not, as internet chatter is pointing to a Honda CBR600RR-R model for the 2021 model year.
The rumor comes from Japan’s Young Machine magazine, which posted the news on the cover of its latest print issue.
Young Machine says that Honda will debut the so-called “CBR600RR-R” at the end of this year (though, one has to wonder if the coronavirus outbreak could have already scuppered those possible plans).
Young Machine goes on to say that the CBR600RR-R will visually look similar to the CBR1000RR-R that just debuted for the 2020 model year, complete with aerodynamic winglets.
The Smell Test
Now, before we go further, we should point out that Asphalt & Rubber cannot confirm any of this rumor, and we give it 50/50 at best…but, it is an interesting idea to ponder.
If Honda was going to release a 600cc supersport model, the 2021 model year would be a likely timeline to follow.
This all comes down to one big factor, and that is the European emissions homologation requirements and schedule.
For those that don’t remember, Big Red stopped making the Honda CBR600RR for a number of markets because of the changing emissions standards, namely the move from Euro3 to Euro4.
The Honda CBR600RR is Euro3 compliant, and the Japanese manufacturer did not think it was economical to spend the money making it Euro4 compliant.
There was also some discussion that the European sport bike market couldn’t support the R&D for a new 600cc supersport model, so when Euro4 came online, the Honda CBR600RR was left to sell really only in the US market.
While the market situation for sport bikes hasn’t really changed, other manufacturers have found reasons to develop various sport bike models, with Yamaha refreshing the YZF-R6 and Kawasaki making a strong value statement with its Ninja ZX-6R.
Add into the mix the surge for streetfighter bikes, high-horsepower adventure-sport models, and a booming business in the middleweight-twin category, and we begin to see that the “sport bikes are dead” argument was never really true.
Now it seems the time is right to come out with a new 600cc supersport, especially as the category has been underdeveloped by competing brands, and the homologation for Euro5 is just now becoming a true factor.
All of the reasons not to build a Honda CBR600RR-R are at their minimum right now, and we are sure that Big Red is seeing a strong interest in its new Honda CBR1000RR-R, which only fuels the rumors more.
Of course, such a motorcycle must have been dreamt up several years earlier from now…that is, if any of this rumor is to come true.
With the coronavirus though, all bets are off on when we will see any new bikes that have been teased through rumors and other means, so take that as a caveat.
Otherwise, we shall see what materializes in the next 12 months. Hopefully it is something interesting.