The CBR600RR was introduced in 2003 as race replica alternative to Honda's more street oriented 600-class sport bike, the CBR600F4i.
 It was based on technologies used in the Honda RC211VMotoGP bike, and was given a similar appearance. It was the first Honda to use Unit Pro-Link rear suspension and Dual Stage Fuel Injection (PGM-DSFI), both were taken directly from Honda's MotoGP bike. Honda said the use of its new 'Hollow Fine Die Cast' frame technology, in which sand casting molds were given a ceramic interior coating, made it possible to reduce the five-piece aluminum frame thickness from 3.5 mm to 2.5 mm.
The 2003 model carried over to 2004 technically unchanged, with only the addition of an oxygen sensor.
In 2005, the CBR600RR received a major revision with new bodywork, fully adjustable inverted front forks, disc brakes with radial-mounted four-piston calipers, and a new aluminium frame, swingarm and rear shock. The midrange power was also increased. These changes along with additional refinements to the engine and exhaust system brought CBR600RR's wet weight down by 10.0 kg (22 lb), and dry weight by 4.1 kg (9 lb) The 2006 model was unchanged from the 2005 model.
On September 6, 2006, Honda revealed an all new CBR600RR for the 2007 model year.
The CBR600's most radical redesign since the introduction of the RR in 2003 is highlighted by a whole new engine, frame, and bodywork that results in a smaller, lighter, more-powerful CBR600RR with a class-leading power-to-weight ratio and unparalleled performance.
Weight was the primary focus of the redesign. The result was a 9.1 kg (20 lb) reduction in dry weight over the 2006 model, from a claimed 163.7 kg (361 lb) to 154.7 kg (341 lb). Tested weights without fuel were 182–182 kg (401–402 lb).
In redesigning the CBR600RR for lighter weight and increased performance, Honda's engineers started with the engine. The completely new engine was smaller and lighter than its predecessor, the designers having used careful positioning of all internal components to achieve reductions in the motor's length, width, and height, as well as reducing weight by 2 kg (4.4 lb) compared to the 2006 model's powerplant. Horsepower increased to about 105 hp (78 kW) measured in independent tests.
The frame was lighter and more compact than the 2006 CBR600RR. The handling of the new bike was sharpened by its 22 mm (0.87 in) shorter wheelbase, as well as by the designer's focus on strict mass centralization. Despite the shorter wheelbase, the 2007 model's swingarm was 5 mm (0.20 in) longer than that of the 2006, made possible by the more compact dimensions of the new bike's engine.
The suspension of the 2007 model was carried over almost unchanged from the 2006 bike, with the same 41 mm (1.6 in) inverted fork in front, and Honda's Unit Pro-Link rear suspension configuration damping the rear wheel. The new three-spoke cast aluminum wheels were also lighter than those on the 2006 bike, which further contributed to the enhanced performance of the suspension. The brakes had dual radial-mount four-piston calipers and twin 310 mm (12 in) discs at the front, and a single-piston caliper and a 220 mm (8.7 in) disc at the rear. Hidden below the steering head was an updated version of the Honda Electronic Steering Damper (HESD) system, which was also available on the CBR1000RR.
The smaller, sharper-edged new front upper fairing was dominated by the large central ram-air duct which fed the airbox through an opening in the steering head section of the frame and was separated from the sides of the fairing by a large gap which Honda said was for air management purposes. The tail-section was similarly smaller and sharper-edged, riding atop a heavily restyled under-seat muffler.
Combined ABS prototype
On June 9, 2008, Honda revealed a CBR600RR prototype that had an all new braking system branded as Combined ABS which integrated combined braking, anti-lock braking, and brake-by-wire systems. Combined ABS used a computer control unit to ensure the correct balance of front and rear brake use and also controlled when the ABS should engage. The system was designed to be as unobtrusive as possible by delaying the engagement of the ABS until the last possible moment. Combined ABS was not made available on the production 2008 CBR600RR.
On September 5, 2008, Honda introduced a revised CBR600RR for the 2009 model year. Combined ABS became available as an option under the model (CBR600RA). Other changes included updates to the engine such as changes to its pistons, cylinder head and exhaust that Honda claims will increase torque delivery between 8,000–12,000 rpm with a 3.5% increase in torque at 10,000 rpm. The CBR600RR's engine also received a new high resistance valve lifter and a popup valve system inherited from the CBR1000RR. It looks were the same as last year apart from some extra mouldings added to the fairing mid-sections that enhance stability and reduce noise emission levels by now totally enclosing the clutch and gearbox. Although all of these changes involved the addition of some materials, the overall weight of the 2009 CBR600RR remained the same as the 2008 model. This was achieved through weight savings in the engine, exhaust, and the chassis.
The CBR600RR carried over for the 2010, 2011 and 2012 model years.
The 2013 CBR600RR includes new 12-spoke wheels, revised ECU settings, and a fine-tuned ram-air system to increase torque. It also gets a new Showa "Big Piston Fork" and retuned rear shock in a new bodywork. The model continued unchanged through the 2017 model year. Motorcycle.com said that while the CBR600RR's performance specifications, particularly the horsepower, were "pretty tame even for the middleweight class", and it lacked the newest technologies like cornering ABS, traction control and mobile apps, it remained a comfortable and good handling sport bike for the street.
According to Motor Cycle News, an unnamed Japanese source at Honda said that CBR600RR sales in Europe and the UK will end after the 2016 model year due to the redesign costs necessary to comply with Euro4 emissions regulations, which will come into effect on January 1, 2017. Sales of 2017 model year CBR600RRs in other markets are unaffected.
For the 2008 model year, the CBR600RR continued to compete with the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R, a revised Suzuki GSX-R600, the Triumph Daytona 675, and a Yamaha R6. Even with no technical changes from the 2007 model, the CBR600RR continued to win middleweight shootouts including Sport Rider's middle weight shootout, Motorcycle-USA's middleweight comparison, and Motorcycle.com's middleweight comparison.
^Blain, Loz (10 June 2008). "Honda announces 'brake by wire' supersport motorcycle". Gizmag. Retrieved 22 February 2014. Lever inputs at both ends of the bike are input, analyzed by a braking ECU, and then braking force is distributed optimally between the wheels, with the goal of preventing the bike from pitching forward into a 'stoppie' under hard or emergency braking, as this forward roll often unsettles riders and prevents them from applying maximum braking force where required.