2009 Honda CBR600RR-ABS

Staffers' Rides

Photography by Scott Darough

Honda CBR600RR-ABS
Ringleader:
Joe Neric
MSRP (2009): $11,499
Miles: 2622-4025
Average Fuel Mileage: 41 mpg
Accessories & Modifications: RG3 Suspension, Shogun Frame Sliders, Zero Gravity Windscreen

From the beginning, my plan was to treat the CBR as if it were my own. To be successful, I needed to be smart with my modifications. Function had to take precedent over form-not the easiest task for an art director.

After four months of getting to know the Honda, it was time to iron out a few bothersome suspension issues. The rear would squat under acceleration, making it difficult to finish corners without running wide. Since I probably outweigh the average 600cc sportbike pilot by 65 pounds, I started with the no-cost cure and tried dialing-in the stock suspension. Adding spring preload and fiddling with the damping helped, but I thought it could be made better.

A call to RG3 Suspension (www.rg3suspension.com) in Anaheim, California, turned out to be the solution. Since I'm still within the adjustment spectrum of the stock springs, shop tech Heath McCormick suggested re-valving the fork and shock. For $480 I got a complete rebuild, plus new damping internals specifically tailored to my personal dimensions, skill level and riding style. No cookie-cutter approach here. Turning my input into the correct specs meant crunching a lot of numbers, but the guys at RG3 came back with all the right answers.

Dollar for dollar, this is the best modification I've ever made to a motorcycle. Not only did the suspension re-valve solve my initial problems, it solved problems I didn't even know I had! Freeway dips and bumps disappeared, but the way the bike handles rough pavement when I'm hard on the brakes is what really impressed me.

With the suspension cured for one third of what I expected it to cost, I turned my attention to some minor issues. I spend the majority of my daily commute on the freeway, where the standard windscreen literally comes up short. A Zero Gravity (www.zerogravity-racing.com) replacement helped. They offer three sizes for the '09 CBR, and I went with the Double Bubble ($89.95)-right between the stock replacement and the tall Sport-Touring screen. I chose smoke, but all Zero Gravity screens come in an array of colors. Installation was incredibly easy using the existing hardware, and everything fit perfectly.

Next up: an exhaust system.

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