When I started motorcycling four years ago, it seemed like streetbikes were all either cruisers or sportbikes. The 919--along with the SV650, ZRX, and FZ1--is really signalling that things are turning around and headed back to all-rounders. The above bikes are also reminding people that, yes, all-rounders CAN be sexy.
As for the 919 specifically, SEXY SEXY SEXY. I _love_ the looks, though it's more displacement and pricetag than I'd go for right now (hello SV650). I'm not sure about the practicality of the twin high exhaust (even with heat shields, it seems like they would cook the passenger), but the exhaust system looks beautiful. I vote the 919 the most attractive new model this year.
What is it with Honda America and naming? Everywhere else in the world, this bike will be the Hornet 900. But No, that's not good enough for you good-ole-boys stateside. Gotta be different, eh? Well, there you go, lads. Same with your -named CBR929-RR vs FireBlade, and what the heck is a Night Hawk?? Is it a VTR1000-F Firestorm? I dunno, change for the sake of, IMHO.
As for the Fairing, you can bet that next model year they will have one with a poxy M900 replica screen, and once again IMHO, that is the worst excuse for a screen you ever will find, aesthetically speaking. Oh, but don't forget the Buell copies in the same style. Quite.
Here in Canada, we go by the Brit names (Fireblade, etc.)
I have no idea why here it's different than the States which we are not that different from in all other ways.
Anyway, another weird thing is the naming of the Fireblade. In the states it's the 929RR. Here it's the 929 Fireblade. And in England its 900RR Fireblade despite it's actual displacement being 929 cc just like over here.
This is one bad mamajama. I bet it's loads of fun. I'm glad to see the manufacturers continue with the muscle standards that perform nearly like sport bikes, but with better ergos. Now where's the GSXR1000 based Bandit? Any one at Suzuki listening?
Perhaps in bikes, but in cars it's sometimes the other way around. Mazda's sports car is badged both "Miata" and "MX-5", but is universally called a "Miata" in the U.S. and an "MX-5" in the UK. Go figure.
That's esentially what Honda themselves did with the Valkyrie. I read one magazine describe it as "they started taking the crap off a Goldwing to see if they could find a motorbike underneath..." I reckon they seem to be going back the other way with the full dresser Valk. Agree? But now it's a different styled bike, i admit.
And the big Nighthawk is still called the CB750 by we who are old enough to remember the first superbike.
And right under the part where Honda tells you that the NAME of the new bike is 919 (please say "nine-one-nine") they tell you that the MODEL DESIGNATION is "CB900."
And nevermind Hornet or Nine-One-Nine. If this bike has a lineage, a heritage, if you will that it is carrying forward for the big red wing, then well, you can tell me it has the in-tes-tines of a FireBlade (ahem) but it's Daddy goes by the name of CB.
Harley and the Catholic Church aren't the only folks who spell tradition with a capital "T."
As the wise-beyond-his-years Student said, MO doesn't need to sportify this lovely piece as Honda already builds the CBR-RR.
The Asphalt color (aside: If they TRULY wanted an "asphalt" color scheme, shouldn't they have made it a worn-down white-ish limestone grey on the sides with just a black stripe down the middle?..Hmmm.)
Anyway, the asphalt color makes a perfect match to my new Hi-Viz Lime Yellow Roadcrafter, and won't clash with my black-jacket-and-jeans, either.
So whilst MO are spinning their wheels wondering why it just won't go FASTER, I am planning a tour, and saving to pay cash on the barrelhead, which should be just about the time the hype dies down and I can get one.
BTW, Student, I've been reading your posts for (I think it's been) two years now, and I've learned a bunch from the thought and consideration with which you post. Good Man.
I collected my Hornet 900 from the dealers last Wednesday. Here in the UK we have a choice of gloss black, blue or silver. I couldn't decide which I wanted but, in any event, it had to be black if I wanted it this side of Christmas. Now I've got it I wouldn't have any other colour anyway. I think it's a beautifully styled bike - see http://www.btinternet.com/~Andrew.Janet/wusi.htm
I got out a few times this weekend for brief rides, though I couldn't push the tyres (TX15/25) as it was only a couple of degrees above freezing.
I'm only 5'6", albeit with a fairly long inside leg for my height, but it seems like a nice size for me. The only place it becomes hard work is lugging it off the sidestand, as it sits unusually low onto it.
The riding position is as neutral as it gets and the handling is neutral but quick. Brakes, clutch and gearbox are all about as good as they get and well matched to the bike.
Some roadtests I have read have criticised the low-down fuelling. Personally I can't fault it, even though my bike is still new and tight. It is extremely easy to ride it smoothly at low revs in first gear in heavy traffic and it copes with small throttle openings very predictably, much better than the Cagiva Raptor I had before.
I'll know better when I've done a few more miles, but so far I love it.
I have always been atracted to sport-orineted bikes that have no fairing or a minimal fairing. But the thing is, you have to have SOME wind protection, especially with high bars. Cruising on an unfaired bike, especially with high bars gets tiring fast. I rode my SV650 from San Diego to San Francisco, and boy was I sore!
I soon put clubman bars on, and a Buell windscreen. I also painted the whole bike flat black. It makes the bike less desirable to theives, and is easy to repair and touch-up.
So there is a niche between sportbike and standard. The "Sport-Standard" should have clip-ons, a small fairing, reasonable power, and be very light. The suspension should be basic, but set up for sporty riding. And don't skimp on the frame! No "tuned-flex"! "Tuned Flex" is Honda-ease for "We're too cheap to give you a decent frame, so hopefully you won't notice."
Think about the favorite bike or cars in history. Seems to me that they are almost always affordable. That's why this bike will be a hit. Monster potential at a cheap price. (Less than a 600!) Sounds like the suspension sucks, but most riders that can feel the difference bin the stock shock and revalve forks in a month anyway, rightafter they burn-out the stock rim protectors into oblivion.
Judging from the intrest my bike garners from other riders, I think there is a market for a bike with a good frame, good suspension, good brakes, light weight, and a mid-sized, not too powerful powerplant, at a cheap price. Cutting-edge tech isn't as important as reliability, handling, and affordability. Kinda like the SV. Kawi could easily crank something out based on the EX500, making 60 HP and weighing under 390 dry. It would be cheap as hell, too.
I think a 600 standard, lighter than the Bandit would sell well, too. Bring 'em on!
I'm not sure if you are attacking Honda, or America ? Well this good-ole-boy(card carrying Life NRA Member) likes to call bikes by names. I ride a Nighthawk, and a Thundercat(sounds better than YZF600R). I think these manufacturers listen to marketing folks who haven't a clue about Americans. If they asked me, the 919 would be imported as the half-fired BLUE Hornet.
The best thing about this Honda is that it is the first naked bike to offer fuel injection. The presence of fuel injection does not make up for the fact that this bike will be the only one without a fuel gauge. Let it be known too that due to the design of the frame, you can forget about installing sliders or engine case guards. The exhaust looks nice but will seriously limit your use of saddle bags. It is a nice bike, but I would not buy one.
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