Since I'm new here I thought I'd just say hello and also give some first impressions on my new (to me) 919. I've only owned it a week and ridden about 200 miles but I love this bike so far.
The last few years I guess I've started to really appreciate the naked/standard style more and more. I've owned a '01 SV650S (fairing / clip-ons model) for 10+ years and a '06 Boulevard S50 for the last 3 years. I had been thinking about selling the SVS and picking up a standard SV, but I decided this summer to just keep my bike and make the changes myself. The purpose was as much to make it more comfortable (I have an achy back and bad wrists) as for changing the look to something that I liked more. After the conversion I really fell back in love with that bike...at the expense of the S50, which never quite felt right to me. The S50 was nimble enough to have fun with in the twisties, especially if you never had something else to compare it to, but it was nothing like the lighter, snappier SV. Single front disc and drum rear brakes didn't help its cause either. At the time, I chose it because it seemed like the most "standard-ish" cruiser I could find and I wanted something more comfortable for 2-up riding than the SVS. Anyway, I started looking around the last couple months at some possible replacements for the S50 and came across the 919. I instantly loved the appearance of it, but then I read 100+ HP inline-4 and dismissed it as too much bike for me. I kept reading and came across the 599, but the more I read about that the more it seemed like it would be too much like having a second SV in the garage. I came back and read some more about the 919...no harm in looking, right? And then I really started to see myself riding one. It had a smooth, predictable powerband...like my SV. You didn't have to rev the crap out of it like the smaller I-4's. It was big enough and comfortable enough for long rides. There were guys out there even riding them on trips across the country. It might even be a better 2-up bike than my S50 with its antiquated suspension. Sure it was a jump in HP from what I was used to, but not so big after Honda re-tuned it for more usable torque, and besides I've been riding for 10+ years...I should be able to make that adjustment.
And then I saw they were discontinued in '07. If I wanted one in good condition / low miles, I might not ever find one if I waited a few years. And looking around at the new models out there now...where had the standard/naked bikes all gone? No more naked SV. No more Honda 919. Sure, there are those ultra-modern looking goofy headlight alien/wasp/transformers style bikes out there that they call naked bikes, but those are just not for me. So I made up my mind and listed the S50. I wanted this bike while I could still get one.
Well, I sold the S50 after about a month and bought my 919 the next day. I'd had my eye on a few on CL and pulled the trigger on a '05 black with only 3300 miles. I'm still learning and getting more comfortable on this bike for sure, but I'm really happy I went ahead and made this "swap". This seems like a bike that I will keep for many years to come. It's comfortable. I love the style and appearance of it. Some may call it simple. I call it what "a motorcycle should look like". It's a fast bike for sure; faster than anything I've ever ridden at least. But it's smooth and predictable. It only pulls as hard as I tell it to. I would definitely never recommend it to a newer rider but I think it's a great bike for someone who's learned the ropes on something smaller. As much as I like it, I'm not wasting any time making a couple changes. New pipes are on the way, as well as PAIR block off plates to stop the backfiring I'm sure would accompany the new pipes otherwise. The only thing I don't love about this bike right now is the sewing machine sound it makes, so that's getting fixed right away!
I will miss the heat shields on the stock exhaust though. Something about those just looks really sharp to me. The Delkevic pipes I'm getting look good too though and I'm sure I'll be happy with them.