Ringleader: Joe Neric
MSRP (2009): $11,499
Average Fuel Mileage: 37 mpg
Accessories & Modifications: Dunlop Sportmax Q2 tires, Competition Werkes footpegs, FP Racing levers, Leo Vince SBK Factory Titanium slip-on
I've put 10,000 miles on my long-term Honda CBR600RR-ABS already? How did that happen? I really don't want to give the bike back, if only for the simple reason that it gets better every time I ride it. Or maybe I'm getting better? I had my doubts at the time, but choosing a 600cc sportbike was definitely a good idea. The CBR has been an excellent teacher.
The stock Dunlop Qualifier rear tire was worn square after 5500 miles, so I took the opportunity to upgrade to better rubber. In a previous update I wrote that suspension work was the best bang-for-the-buck alteration I'd made. Well, I'd like to amend that statement: Installing a set of Dunlop Sportmax Q2s ($121.99 front, $156.99 rear; www.dunlopmotorcycle.com) was no less an improvement. I couldn't believe what a difference the new buns made! The CBR felt planted everywhere, and was much easier to tip into turns. I was also impressed with their wet grip, which combined with the bike's Combined ABS made riding in the rain infinitely safer. The Q2s are wearing faster than the stockers, but they're still going strong after 4000 miles so I would definitely buy another set.
As if riding in the rain weren't challenging enough, the stock metal footpegs proved slippery when wet. I took care of that problem with a set of more heavily serrated footpegs from Competition Werkes ($54.95 from www.competitionwerkes.com). The pegs have a machined surface that really bites into boots. I was surprised by how big a difference they made while sport riding; I really felt connected to the bike while cornering.
The CBR's stock brake lever was reach-adjustable, but adjusting the clutch lever meant inc
Having properly adjusted hand controls is crucial. A set of FP Tactical levers ($249.99; www.motomummy.com) let me adjust the reach on both the clutch and front brake, and they look "gangsta." The levers have a clever hinged blade that allows them to pivot up or down in the event of a tip-over, which I've tested first-hand. Installation on the clutch side was easy, but the brake side was a little tricky. Care must be taken to ensure the master cylinder piston slides into the recess of the lever.
LeoVince exhaust is a fine piece of equipment and mounted up easily. No need to break out
Shortly after my first racetrack foray at Infineon, I decided I had to have an exhaust. Hearing the CBR scream at redline was amazing, but it sounded bunged-up. A LeoVince SBK Factory Titanium slip-on with carbon end cap ain't cheap ($799; www.leovinceusa.com), but damn, it made my bike sound good! Installation was simple, and while I didn't actually weigh the parts, I couldn't help but notice how much lighter the Italian tubing felt while sliding it into place.
So, now that "my" CBR is going back to Honda, what's next? Living with a sportbike was a lot of fun, but I think my next long-term ride is going to be something very different, and better for commuting. A touring bike perhaps? We'll see...