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Few or no sports bikes have had the popular impact of the Honda CBR600F, especially that 1991 model, which succeeded the also popular CBR born in 1987.
The first CBR600F (PC19) made a big impact, with its closed fairing called Aero, something that Massimo Tamburini had already exploited with his Bimota DB1 first and with the Ducati Paso 750 later.
The inline four-cylinder engine had central chain timing, 32mm carburetors, advertised 85 hp at 11,000 rpm (59 Nm at 8,000).
The chassis was diamond type in steel; the fork, with 37mm stanchions, could be pneumatically adjusted in preload, as was the case on the VFR750F introduced a year earlier, while the shock had only positional preload adjustment and a progressive Pro-Link linkage system. It weighed 201 kg with all full, 185 kg dry, an excellent figure.
The next version, called PC23 (1989-1990) fixed many weaknesses of the first CBR: the compression was increased by three tenths (up to 11.3: 1) and mounted carburettors of greater diameter (32.5 mm), thus that power rose to 90 hp at 11,000 and torque to 62 Nm at 10,500.
The rear shock absorber was adjustable in hydraulic rebound. The fork reduced its travel from 130 to 120 mm, while the 276 mm brake discs with Nissin two-piston calipers and the narrow rims (2.5 × 17 “front, 3.5 × 17” rear) remained. with 110/70 and 130/70 tires in speed code V and diagonal carcasses.
The big 1991 CBR600F
What was probably the most popular version of all arrived in 1991: the PC25, known as the F2. A new engine, with a shorter and more compact stroke, and already with a lateral distribution chain, carried the official power figure to 100 hp at 12,000 rpm and torque to 64 Nm at 10,500, to move 213 kg with all filled them.
It had a chassis similar to the previous one, also of the diamond type, but much more rigid. The fork became 41/130 mm, with adjustable spring preload, and the 110 mm shock absorber had preload and rebound adjustment.
The rims became 3.5 “and 4.5” in throat width, so that the tires, finally radial, grew to be Michelin A / M 59 X radials in measures 120/60 x 17 “and 160/60 x 17 “. This aspect alone has already meant a great dynamic improvement for the Honda.
The ’91 and ’92 CBR600F (the graphics varied and little else in ’92) was an excellent sports car, easy and tremendously effective to drive, which won many championships of all levels, but also won on the streets, being the absolute best-selling motorcycle in many markets, also in Spain. The CBR made it easy to corner, but at the same time was comfortable enough to ride, even in duo.
1993-1994: Better suspensions
The saga continued with the internal designation PC25, and since the base had been so good, it only needed small changes in the suspensions to continue being the queen of the 600 on the streets and on the circuits.
An external reservoir was added to the rear shock absorber, and it also had the possibility of adjusting the compression speed. For its part, the extension adjustment option was also added to the fork, with which the possibilities of customization in sporty driving grew remarkably.
In 1995 came the forced air intake and in 1999 the aluminum chassis, abandoned for the first time the closed Aero fairing.
In 2001, the first injection CBR600 would arrive, with a special version ‘Rossi’, which at that time raced with Honda in the 500cc with an official motorcycle and the colors of Nastro Azzuro.
The last version of the CBR600F was produced between 2005 and 2007, before disappearing for a period of five years and being reborn as a faired version of the naked Hornet. However, I would no longer have the charisma or the success of that wonderful F2, of which almost all of us had one …
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