Some motorcycles raise the bar. Others rewrite
the rules. In the 1987 sportbike game, Honda's CBR®600F, better
known as the 600 Hurricane,® was clearly one of the latter.
along with its big brother the CBR1000F, Honda's 600 Hurricane
was a revolution. The reason was clearly visible in the Hurricane's
aerodynamic, full-coverage bodywork. Less visible was the
technological paradigm shift that blew away every other middleweight
sportbike on earth and forever changed the way sportbikes
were designed and built.
engineers wrapped the Hurricane's engine and chassis in full-coverage,
interlocking bodywork for more than aerodynamic reasons. Beneath
the Hurricane's slick plastic skin, engine and chassis surfaces
appeared unfinished, almost industrial. Development dollars
saved on hardware beautification were spent instead on components
that would redefine sportbike performance.
the Hurricane's double-downtube, box-section steel-tube frame
may have looked plain, the balance of agility and stability
provided by its 54.6-inch wheelbase and racy 26.0-degree rake
was beautiful. The Hurricane's trio of disc brakes were the
best in the business, and at about 450.0 pounds wet, the bike
was 20.0 pounds lighter than its nearest rival.
came from a dramatically oversquare, liquid-cooled, twin-cam
in-line four-cylinder engine. With half the cylinder and head
castings of the 500 Interceptor's® V-4 engine, the in-line
CBR mill was less expensive to produce. The Hurricane engine
redlined at 12,000 rpm and cranked out 85 horsepower at eleven
grand—enough power to make the Hurricane the first 600cc sportbike
to cover a quarter-mile in under 11 seconds.
the magazines of the day discovered, no other sportbike could
match the Hurricane's marvelously balanced, accessible mix
of horsepower and handling at any price, let alone the Hurricane's
affordable sticker. The esteemed Cycle magazine dubbed
the Hurricane "The best Japanese motorcycle we have ever tested"
in its May, 1987 issue.
Hurricane's humane ergonomics and compliant ride proved that
track-sharp handling didn't have to hurt anybody but the competition.
Backed by Honda's investment in one of the richest contingency
programs in history, Hurricanes filled club-racing grids all
over America, launching 600 SuperSport racing into the limelight
as one of the most popular and hotly contested road-racing
series in the world.
more powerful is the enduring and endearing nature of Honda's
original CBR concept: the same basic concept found in the
current CBR600F4. Other ideas have come and gone, but CBR600s
have been the best-selling sportbike in America since the
original Hurricane. From rookie sport riders to 2000 Daytona
600 SuperSport winner Kurtis Roberts, no sportbike has ever
provided such exceptional versatility as Honda's revolutionary