Black Cycles Australia builds a CBR street tracker…
Historically, the 600cc sport bike class has remained one of the most competitive segments of the market, where race-replica supersports perform double duty as sharp-edged track weapons and practical street bikes. In 2000, Honda introduced their new 2001 CBR600F4i, which moved the needle toward the more aggressive end of the spectrum.
The CBR’s compact, high-output 599cc four-cylinder engine was cradled inside a light but stiff twin-spar aluminum chassis. This was the first year the CBR gained fuel injection, and it worked flawlessly. The F4i weighed 370 pounds (dry) and the 16-valve inline four engine made 108 bhp — with solid midrange for a 600:
“The torque-rich motor of the F4i makes street riding a pleasure. Combined with this year’s stiffer chassis, the F4i feels bulletproof, predictable and stable.” —Motorcycle Daily
Recently, we heard from our buddy Noel Muller of Black Cycles Australia — builder of the immensely popular Triumph Preunit bobber we featured last week — who was on the hunt for a shop project in late 2019 when he ran across a used 2001 CBR600F4i:
“From my understanding, it’s still one of the best power-to-weight CBR600’s ever built? So don’t ask why, but I decided it would make a great little ‘flat tracker’ 😅”
De rigueur for any street tracker is a set of 19-inch wheels, so Noel started with a set of custom-built KKE spoked wheels wearing Dunlop K180 street-legal flat track tires. The wheelset required machining new axle blocks, as well as new bearings, crush tubes, and spacers. Rebuilt links lowered the rear end 60mm, while Chris Jones (@x.x.x.rated.suspension) internally lowered the forks to suit.
Noel frenched an Acewell speedometer into the original fuel tank, rebuilt the subframe, fabricated a new tail section, and his buddies at Carmans Auto Trimmers whipped up a saddle to match. He built the front number plate out of aluminum, insetting a pair of 50mm Highsider LED headlights. Then came the retro Honda CR-inspired color scheme:
“We then tackled the deep red paint here at the shop and decided to dull down but not hide the unusual perimeter frame with a satin bronze paint, including the modified swingarm.”
The nickname for this 108-hp CBR street tracker? Noel calls it “The Thing That Should Not Be.” Ha! But he’s damn pleased it is, and so are we. Below, we talk to Noel for the full story on the build. Photos courtesy of Alexander Mena (@itsalexmena).
Honda CBR Street Tracker: Builder Interview
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
This bike is a Honda CBR600F4i — I think it’s an ’01 model.
• Why was this bike built?
In late 2019 I was looking for a shop project to build (a bit of a promo build I guess). I came across this bike for sale and from my understanding, it’s still one of the best power-to-weight CBR600’s ever built? So don’t ask why, but I decided it would make a great little “flat tracker” 😅
So the concept was basically as flat tracker as possible with this as a donor and finished in retro CR colour scheme.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
First of all we needed to get the wheels sorted, a set of custom-built KKE wheels in 19″ front and rear to suit a CRF450…using Dunlop K180 street legal track tyres. So I needed to adapt them to the CBR with new bearings, crush tubes, and spacers. We then needed to machine up new 35mm longer rear axle blocks, because of the overall bigger diameter from the original 17″ to the monster 19″ wheel (we couldn’t even get the wheel and tyre fully in originally).
Next was to clear the subframe of clutter and rebuild it to fit the styling better! The original fuel tank was pretty heavily modified including a frenched-in Acewell speedometer, then a new tail piece and seat were fabricated to suit as well.
Next was the front race plate made from aluminium and a pair of Highsider 50mm headlights were built in. The triple trees had the cast marks removed and were then drilled to take the new low-rise alloy motocross bars and RHK risers.
The exhaust headers were wrapped and a new stainless pair of modified reverse cone mufflers were attached together using dimple died plate.
The rear suspension links were rebuilt to lower the rear by around 60mm, and the forks were lowered by Chris at @x.x.x.rated.suspension. Indicators and tail lights are Kellermann micro all-in-one items.
We then tackled the deep red paint here at the shop and decided to dull down but not hide the unusual perimeter frame with a satin bronze paint, including the modified swingarm. Special thanks to @carmans_auto_trimmers for the rubber wrapped seat.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
The nickname for this one is “The Thing That Should Not Be”…
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride?
It actually feels very nimble and lightweight! The upright position is comfortable and the power delivery is very smooth with plenty of torque on tap (more than enough 😀).
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
I’m proud of the fact we built a believable “flat tracker” from a full on “sports bike”???
This bike actually sold to a great Aussie guy who lives and works in Indonesia, but the bike is kept local in Brisbane with his brother for when he gets to come visit 😉
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Photos by Alexander Mena: @itsalexmena