The first few days the bike unfortunately sat in the garage, having been picked up on the 8th April, and as of the 13th only had the 15kms racked up between the bike shop and home. But yesterday I had the chance to take it for a run into Parramatta, and get a chance to get a real feel for the new bike. I’m going to make a number of comparisons compared to my older 2004 model CBR, as after 5 years i think I have a pretty good feel for how it rides, making comparisons easier. Side by side the newer bike definitely looks the part, with a more aggressive looking front end. The older bike doesn’t look a slouch by any means, but stand them side by side and you can see how good the newer bike really is.
The first thing I noticed is the seat height is lower. My feet never used to sit flat on both sides previously, but now I can sit on the bike with both feet planted firmly on the tarmac. The engine starts with more pep, and runs smoother at idle purring away happily at around 1500 RPM. The throttle response is excellent, and you can really feel the extra low down torque on acceleration. Obviously with a new engine I have to take things easy, but I’m keen to run this baby in and really see how it goes. Deceleration is also stronger, and even at 3000 RPM you can tell the bike really wants to pull up faster, which means less use of the brakes. Speaking of brakes, this model has the ABS option, as indicated by the bronze coloured (and massive) callipers and brake sensor inside the disc. I haven’t needed to use them yet, but from what I’ve seen on the ‘net, they work an absolute treat. Another difference from the 2004 model is Honda’s Electronic Steering Dampener (HESD). “A steering dampener on a 600?”, you may ask, but it really makes the ride so very different. The dampener really smooths out the corners, taking out any twitch that bumps in the road may cause. This really gives you more confidence as a rider, and once I worked out what was happening and why the ride was different, I admit it brought a child-like grin to my face under my helmet.
So was it worth trading up to a newer model in the same line of bike? In a word: yes. I have no regrets about getting the new bike, and as sad as I was to see the older bike ride out my driveway, I couldn’t wait to get on the new one and take it for a run. this really is an excellent bike from Honda, and I really look forward to runing the engine in and putting it through the paces a but more. This weekend sees a few of us heading up to the Jenolan caves for a day trip, so I can’t wait to see how it goes up Bells Line.