The story of my '04 Honda CBR600RR-  After a self-imposed seven year sabbatical from riding motorcycles, I felt in the mood to own and ride again.  Like all of my passions, this one came on strong and unstoppable.  My wife was initially against me purchasing another motorcycle and riding it on a regular basis but I assured her that in my life riding a sport bike was the least dangerous thing that I would be doing and when she understood that all of her protests were put away.  But which bike?  Honda built the best all around bikes year after year with the occasional offering from the other three managing to show up Honda one year or another.  I had owned three Hondas, two Yamahas, one Kawasaki and no Suzukis.  Out of all of the motorcycles that I've owned, it was the Hondas that were built the best, performed the best and had the best track record for longevity.  Still, there was the fact that the Suzuki GSX-R was a hot bike which was giving Honda fits on the showroom floor and the street.  The fuel injected 2001 GSX-R 1000 (or "Gixxer" but fanboys hate it when you call a GSX-R a "gixxer" which is why I do it every occasion I can) was an epic icon and the black / silver model was something that I lusted after but never got around to purchasing.

So, for a sport bike, I started looking at the offerings from Suzuki not because it was the better bike but because I had never owned one and I felt that in my life I needed to sample the offerings from all four of the great Far East manufacturers.  So, I went looking for a Gixxer.  The only problem I faced was that the sport bike offerings for 2004 were bleak and bland.  The colors for that year were horrid in the bikes that I wanted and nothing stirred my soul with any alacrity.  After looking online and in local showrooms at all of the offerings, I almost gave up and steeled myself to wait a year until the big four could hire better designers in the color coordination departments.  Still, I wanted a bike, a new sport bike not a used one, and with my heart set on a Suzuki GSX-R600 and so it came down to deciding which poorly arranged color I wanted to live for the next five to ten years with on the street.

So, there I was, about to purchase a brand new, '04 Suzuki GSX-R600 when I thought to give my Honda dealer one last chance to stir my soul. I'm a Honda man from way back (try 1984 VF500F Interceptor followed by a 1993 VFR750F ... hell, my first paper route scooter was a Honda way back in 1980) so I knew the bikes were both fast and well made. Basically, I walked into the Hattiesburg, MS Honda shop on Friday, after lunch, not really expecting to find anything I was interested in.  My wife had asked me to even look at a cruiser or a standard, so I entered the shop with the last thing on my mind being a new CBR.  I was interested in what a '04 Shadow or VTX might offer.

Lucky for me, the black / silver '04 CBR600RR was parked right near the front door, so close, in fact, that I almost tripped over it walking in. I walked into the Honda shop and walked around the black CBR600RR as it grabbed my soul like a tractor beam. I didn't even wait on anyone to help me with the bike as I walked right back out with the instant inner understanding that this black CBR600RR was my next bike and I would be riding it home in the next few days.  My life is like that ... sometimes its a lot of fun and sometimes it can be so unnerving.

On Saturday, I went to my hometown Honda dealer in Columbia (trying to spend some money locally to help the economy, you know) to see if he had a CBR600RR. He did, but it was an '03 model, a red / black paint scheme for $7499 but that wasn't the color I wanted because as nice looking as the red / black skinned Honda is, everyone has one.  I wanted a color that no one else had, or at least no one else had locally.  I know he had a black and silver one just a week before, but he didn't remember it, even though I had seen it in the window and now there was a very tell-tale vacant space between a 600F4i and a 954RR where the black 600RR USED to be. No, he didn't have a black 600RR but he said he would try to get me one and that he'd have to trade a bike for it from another dealer. When I asked him what the price would be, he was very non-committal about it. I told him that I knew there was a black CBR600RR in Hattiesburg, but the local dealer said he didn't deal with the H'burg people (there's some really bad blood between them because this dealer actually worked for them ten years ago). I've always dealt with the H'burg people, they're the best in local Honda dealers, so I decided to go back to them instead of deal with the local guy since he's a flake.

Well, to make a long story short, I picked up the 2004 black / silver CBR600RR (in Hattiesburg, MS) like I said I would, like I knew that I would.

The Honda shop was closed on Mondays, so Tuesday, June 15, 2004 I went in as soon as they opened.  Thirty minutes later, the ink was drying on the paperwork as I rode the brand new CBR600RR home.  Truly love at first sight for this bike in this particular (locally rare / never seen) color scheme.


Ram air box and fuel tank detail

Fake fuel tank cutaway showing ram air box, upper mounted secondary fuel "enriching" injectors (x4, eight injectors in all) and fuel tank.  Think of these injectors as the afterburners because once you get over about 6000 RPM at WOT, these extra four injectors go into shower mode.  That's what gives the 600RR it's afterburner-like kick that keeps on kicking all the way to the stratospheric 15,000 RPM redline.  What a rush!  What a ride!

Engine view showing air box (with upper mounted fuel injectors), thermostat and lower fuel rail.

16 valves, 8 fuel injectors, 6 gears, 4 cylinders, 2 overhead cams, 1 purpose:

115 horsepower 599cc (36cid) inline 4, liquid cooled, DOHC, 16V
You'll never see anything this powerful or advanced coming out of Milwaukee ...


Specifications 2004 Honda CBR600RR
Engine Type 4-stroke liquid-cooled In-line four cylinder
Displacement 599cc (36cid)
Bore x stroke 67.0 x 42.5mm
Compression ratio 12.0:1
Valve System chain driven double overhead cams, 16 valves
Induction Dual stage fuel injection- PGM-FI
Ignition Computer-controlled digital transistorized with three-dimensional mapping
Starting Electric
Horsepower 115 hp @ 13,250 RPM
Torque 44.5 lbs. / ft @ 11,250 RPM
Transmission Close-ratio six speed
Frame Type Aluminum, extruded
Rake / trail 24.0 degrees / 3.7 inches
Wheelbase 54.7 inches
Suspension- Front 45mm HMAS cartridge fork with spring-preload, rebound- and compression damping adjustabtility
Suspension- Rear Unit Pro-Link HMAS single-shock with spring-preload, rebound- and compression damping adjustability
Tires, Front / Rear Tubeless radial; 120/70ZR-17; 180/55ZR-17
Brakes- Front Dual 310mm discs with four-piston calipers
Brakes- Rear Single 220mm disc with single-piston caliper
Seat height 32.3 inches
Fuel Capacity 4.8 gallons
Dry weight 370 pounds
Performance 10.63 @ 130.22mph
Top speed 165mph
MSRP cost $8499.00 USD