The future of 600cc sports bikes had looked gloomy since 2014, sales dwindled at their lowest numbers and rumours circulated of discontinuation for different brands. This year the rumours were proved to be true when the first manufacturer announced the end of their 600cc racers, this was Honda with the CBR600 and it soon became clear that 2017 would mark the end of the 600cc racer with new emissions laws coming into play in Europe. Soon to follow were the likes of Kawasaki and Yamaha cutting off production of some of their most legendry machines. This class of racers has always been an iconic one but the combination of sales simply not being there and the cost of manufacturing 600ccs not differing much from 1000ccs for a much lower price has led to the death of the 600ccs for good.
So, where do we go from here? 600s were always go to racers for sports bike lovers, weather you were a first time trying to get into the racing scene or a seasoned racer with a tried and test machine but now what will replace this entire class? We have a few predictions for what the race bike world will look like after the departure of the 600 class.
Like I said earlier manufacturing 600cc bikes just isn’t worth it for the big brands anymore so 600’s were already dying a death before the Euro 2017 Regulations were announced. It’s pretty interesting when you discover how much profit manufacturers were losing out on 600’s compared to 1000cc bikes so it begs the question, will 1000cc superbikes fill the gap left by 600’s? I doubt it, 600’s are such a universal bike that many different riders of different skill and experience can ride which isn’t the case for 1000’s. By no means am I saying a 600cc racer is the best bike for beginners but it’s certainly a lot more accessible for a wide range of riders then 1000cc’s. Although a lot of manufacturers have opted to increase displacement to the magic number 1000 so I guess we’ll just have to see what happens…
300cc bikes are another story however: Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha have all had huge success with lower displacement bikes in recent years so a shift towards lower cc bikes, the reason this might take the place of 600’s is because young people love them and the future of the racing world depends on younger generations getting on to the track. Why 300cc? Because most young people can’t ride higher displacement bikes due to license restrictions in the UK needing an A license to ride the more powerful bikes which can’t happen until they’re 21- 22 years old preventing any future rising stars of the race world. This means it only makes sense for lower powered bikes to fill the gap left by 600’s. Price is another factor most young people can’t fork out the money for a really powerful bike (at least most young people I know) so going with lower displacement bikes is just common sense.
In reality no one can know for sure what the loss of 600 racers will really do to the racing class whether it causes an influx of more powerful or less powerful bikes you can’t be too sure. Will it encourage more people to sling a leg over a race bike or discourage? One thing we do know is that the loss of the 600cc race bike will have a massive impact on the racing world!