The Honda CBR 600 F4, the Last of a Generation
The Honda CBR600F4 launched in 1999 and was a complete redesign of the CBR600F3. It had an aluminium frame making it 14kg lighter. The list of changes is long: engine, carburettors, breaks, silencer, wheels, immobiliser, headlight and fairings. This makes it much faster than the F3.
The F4 was the last bike from the CBR family to be carbureted, making it the last of it’s generation. The F4’s upgrades made the bike a lot faster. So much faster that the words, “Dedicated to Super Evaluators Dirk Vandenberg and Josef Boyd”, are embossed in raised letters on the inside of the Honda CBR600F4’s fairings. This dedication was made because two of Honda Research & Development’s senior product developers were killed during the final testing of this model.
The updates seen in the 1999/2000 CBR600F4 saw a noticeably different ride to the F3 and a major upgrade from the F3. The updated CBR 600 F4 was a very comfortable bike, the suspension has a great balance for the road. It is hard enough to enable the bike to be ridden vigorously, but soft enough to enable a smooth, comfortable ride. The GSX-R 600 would be able to out corner the F4, but the GSX-R is a more focused machine and requires a more experienced hand. However, F4 is good for inexperienced and relaxed riders, where the GSX-R is more aimed towards the more crazy riders that get their knee down at any opportunity.
With a top speed of 160mph it can still compete with the fastest of bikes. This bike is still heavy compared to the current bikes, but obviously with the massive change in materials available over the last 20 years bikes are now lighter and easier to throw around on the track. Compared to a 600 RR this bike is very heavy, but when you know how to control it, there is still a lot of fun to be had with the F4. The carburettors on the F4 are smooth, enabling it to easily be controlled on one wheel. The CBR600F4 fairings were updated to make the fuel tank slightly larger and put it up to 18l. This enables the bike to be ridden for around 200km without the need for a fill up.
Like the F3 the F4 is pretty much bombproof, even after 15 years. Still going strong after around 150,000 miles with electrical system being very reliable and the gearbox having no troubles. The problems with the chain after 30-40,000 miles on the F3 were addressed and as usual with regular oil changes and keeping the revs away from the red line there should be no trouble with the rest of the bike.
The CBR600F4 built upon one of the best bikes of the 90s and made it even better. It was the last carbureted bike of the CBR range and was soon to be replaced with a fuel injected model to send the CBR range into the 21st century. The CBR600F4 was truly the last of a generation.