Aug 15, 2002
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<BR><BR>Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>By David Swarts<BR><BR>The 2003 Honda CBR600F5 will be new from the ground up, lighter, faster, more aggressive and bear more than a resemblance to Valentino Rossi's RC211V MotoGP bike, say inside sources.<BR><BR>Thanks to a new under-seat exhaust system, angular bodywork and a revised rear suspension, the newest Honda middleweight Supersport bike will look "like the RC211V at 50 paces," said our source, "and makes the F4i look like a dinosaur." <BR><BR>"It's pretty special," one Honda mechanic told Roadracingworld.com at VIR.<BR><BR>Unlike the CBR600F4i's angled rear shock, the new bike's rear suspension will be mounted vertically and fitted to a new, massive swingarm. The new rear suspension set-up is said to allow the use of a lighter/softer spring rate and gives more precise suspension control.<BR><BR>Triple clamps will be reinforced, but the F5 will not get inverted forks. World Supersport race teams have tested the F4i with inverted forks and found them to be too stiff. <BR><BR>No engine details were available, but the new 600cc Honda is said to weigh 163 kilograms, or just under 360 pounds, completely dry. The claimed dry weight of the CBR600F4i is 168 kg, or 370 pounds. <BR><BR>In private testing at the Sugo circuit between the San Marino and Laguna Seca rounds of the World Superbike Championship, a race version of the F5, ridden by Honda test rider Shinichi Itoh on World Supersport-spec Pirelli race tires, lapped under the current World Supersport lap record for the Japanese track.<BR><BR>Our source said that Honda plans to release the CBR600F5 in a worldwide press introduction following the September 6-8 World Superbike/World Supersport round at Assen rather than wait until the Intermot show in Munich the following week. Several new sportbike models are expected to be released at the Munich show, and Honda does not want to share the spotlight.<BR><BR>Early reports indicate that Honda is also considering selling a "softer" version CBR600 alongside the F5 in 2003.<BR><BR>