Last month, Honda held its press introduction of the 2001 CBR600F4i in Las Vegas, Nevada. We had intended to incorporate the report on that press intro (which was entirely on a race track) with our street riding impression. We won’t be receiving a test unit as quickly as we had hoped, however, so here’s our report on the press intro.
We will save the details of Honda’s changes to the 2001 CBR600F4i for our more in-depth street review, but here are the highlights. Fuel injection is the most obvious change, but Honda also focused great energy on increasing chassis stiffness in key areas and reducing unsprung weight (lighter wheels and brake rotors, for example). A larger air box compliments the fuel injection and, together, the engine performance improvements were quite surprising.
Track time on the F4i revealed that Honda’s engine changes had substantially boosted mid-range torque and horsepower. Additionally, the sometimes herkey-jerkey power delivery associated with fuel injection systems is completely missing from the F4i. The off/on throttle response was excellent (i.e., smooth). Our track tester was none other than Jeff “Hoss” Whitmer, who is an experienced roadracer and normally races a Yamaha R6 with aftermarket suspension. Jeff was extremely impressed with the race track performance of the bone stock CBR600F4i. In addition to the surprising engine performance (including a strong pull from as low as 6,500 rpm), Jeff definitely felt the effects of the reduction in reciprocating and unsprung weight.
The bike felt light, and was quick to make direction changes with little effort. The bike was extremely stable, even on the transition from the banking to the flat, infield section of Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Jeff’s comments included “The bike makes you feel like a hero“, and does “exactly what you tell it to do.”
Jeff felt Honda may have traded some top end for the huge mid-range, but this would be a good trade for most street riders (we’ll tell you more when we get our street test unit).
Basically, the press intro just whet our appetite for the test unit Honda has promised us. The ergonomics are slightly more race oriented, but Jeff’s overall impression was that the bike was comfortable (a hallmark of Honda 600s). We’ll have a much more detailed report later.