Honda confirmed a remodeled CBR600RR is on the way. Full details about the 2021 Honda CBR600RR will be released on Aug. 21, but the manufacturer released a preview of the supersport’s new look along with a teaser video.
UPDATE (Aug. 11, 2020): We contacted American Honda about the new CBR600RR and a spokesperson responded saying: “If you are talking about the teaser that Japan released last week, we do not have any plans to sell that model in to the US.” Our original post remains below, but with new analysis of this development.
From the single released photo, we can see a much sharper headlight design. It’s hard to see clearly from the angle of the photo but the fairing has a single winglet on each side, right below the HRC logo. The side panels are new, looking like a blend between the previous CBR600RR and the CBR1000RR-R. Eschewing the current trends, the new CBR600RR will continue to have an undertail exhaust instead of a low-slung unit.
According to Honda, the updated CBR600RR will continue to use a 599cc liquid-cooled DOHC Inline-Four, but it will have received some changes to meet current emissions requirements. Though the current-generation CBR600RR continues to be sold in North America, it has been discontinued in most of the world including Europe and even Japan because it didn’t meet Euro 4 standards. It’s worth noting the teaser image and video were released by Honda Japan; Japan’s emissions rules are in line with Europe, so it’s a safe bet the new CBR600RR will meet Euro 5 standards.
Honda also confirmed the new CBR600RR will be equipped with the latest electronics. We assume this includes using an ECU with a six-axis inertial measurement unit with traction control, wheelie control and cornering ABS, though we’ll wait for official confirmation from Honda. The video confirms the CBR600RR will have a color TFT display.
We’ll have to wait until Aug. 21 for further information on the 2021 Honda CBR600RR. Check back here on Motorcycle.com for the latest.
UPDATE (Aug. 11, 2020)
Since we published this story, we have learned that the new CBR600RR may not be reaching all markets. The BikeSocial reports the revamped supersport will not be offered in Europe. The British publication also reports that the revised model will have improved emission levels but not enough to meet Euro 5.
We contacted American Honda, which provided a similar denial, saying there are no plans to offer the model in the U.S. As it stands, the only market that is confirmed to offer the CBR600RR is Japan, where the previous generation model had been discontinued.
American Honda’s statement is both disappointing and surprising. The U.S. is one of the few remaining markets where the CBR600RR continues to be sold, mainly because its emissions requirements are not as strict as Euro 4 which was why the CBR600RR was discontinued in Europe and Japan in 2017. We initially assumed the new CBR600RR would see some improvements to its emission control systems to allow its return in those markets, but that does not seem to be the case.
Even then, it’s puzzling that the bike won’t even be offered in the U.S. Honda clearly felt the demand for the previous CBR600RR was strong enough in the U.S. to continue offering it the last few years, so it’s odd if there’s not a strong enough business case for the 2021 update. It’s hard to believe there’s enough of a case to produce an update just for the Japanese market, but at the moment, that appears to be what’s happening.
This raises the question of what will happen to the existing CBR600RR for the U.S. American Honda has not revealed much information about returning 2021 models. There’s also little information about 2021 Hondas from certification documents from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As of this writing, the only street-legal Honda motorcycles certified for 2021 are the CBR1000RR, the Fireblade (a.k.a. the CBR1000RR-R), the CB300R, the Super Cub C125, the Monkey, the Grom, the ADV150 and the CRF450RL. Of course, it’s still early and Honda has time to certify further models. It’s possible the previous CBR600RR will be returning, unchanged, but it’s also possible it may be dropped altogether.
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