Is the 919's Strength its Weakness? - Wrist Twisters
 
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post #1 of 37 Old 08-03-2007, 11:08 AM Thread Starter
 
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Is the 919's Strength its Weakness?

I've had my 919 a little while now, and have done some of the inexpensive (and easy) mods... but all in all it is still pretty much stock.

The strengths of the bike that "sold" me were:

1) One of the better looking naked Jap bikes
2) A fairly powerful bullet-proof 900 engine
3) A fairly comfortable riding position
4) Easy to ride, easy to handle, predictable
5) It's a Honda... no expensive problems (such as a Duc or BMW)

I rarely respond to most of the posts, but I do read all of them and sometimes post new threads that are hopefully interesting.

It is funny that the Weaknesses of the 919 are actually some of the strengths that we (I) were (was) "sold" on...

1) fairly powerful, but let's squeeze the last 10% out (in our dreams)
2) fairly comfortable riding position -- but maybe a little boring
3) good looking bike -- but just a little plain as well
4) Easy, fun to ride "touring" bike -- but let's make it a sports bike!
5) It's a Honda -- not as sexxy as a Duc, Triumph, BMW

This is just an observation that I (and I am sure others) have made. All in all I really do like the 919... but for what it is... not what it isn't. I ride all over Los Angeles on a daily basis. It handles most things very well. It has ample power for aggressive driving and freeways, but it ain't no sports bike. I never worry about the bike being stolen... it doesn't get that kind of attention... I think that I would worry about a Duc or S3.

Yep... the 919 is a good bike for the money.

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post #2 of 37 Old 08-03-2007, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 05919er View Post
The strengths of the bike that "sold" me were:

1) One of the better looking naked Jap bikes
2) A fairly powerful bullet-proof 900 engine
3) A fairly comfortable riding position
4) Easy to ride, easy to handle, predictable
5) It's a Honda... no expensive problems (such as a Duc or BMW)

It is funny that the Weaknesses of the 919 are actually some of the strengths that we (I) were (was) "sold" on...

1) fairly powerful, but let's squeeze the last 10% out (in our dreams)
2) fairly comfortable riding position -- but maybe a little boring
3) good looking bike -- but just a little plain as well
4) Easy, fun to ride "touring" bike -- but let's make it a sports bike!
5) It's a Honda -- not as sexxy as a Duc, Triumph, BMW
I pretty much agree with the strengths

Here's my responses to the weaknesses:
1.) Yea, more power is good. If, however, they chose to give us the last 10% at the cost of a low-RPM, nice torque curve, I wouldn't want it. It's my daily driver and tourer, and I don't want to have to have to ride @ 10k+ RPM just to get some decent power.
2 & 4.) I like the riding position. If I wanted to lean over, I'd have bought a full sports bike. Anyone who buys this bike expecting a sports bike hasn't done even a small amount of research.
3.) I love the look. I dislike most of the other naked bikes cause they are trying too hard to look like some cutting edge sports bike. The 9er blends it's classic heritage with some modern touches (dual tucked exhaust, etc) while remaining classic and timeless. I saw my first 9er in 2002 in the Honda shop and was instantly in love. I was looking at CBRs, and saw the 9er sitting quietly by itself, and I said to the salesman "What is that?!". I couldn't get my mind off of it for the next four years until I bought a brand new '06, and there was no bike that I wanted more than that one, in a decent price for all those years, or since I bought it. I love the hidden frame, the classic front end, etc. That being said, any bike can use some custom touches, and the 9 is no exception.
4.) See above
5.) Again, if you bought one expecting it to be exotic, you didn't know what you were buying. I get a lot of people looking and smiling at my bike, or asking me "what is that?". I'm sure I'd get more if I were on a Brutale or something, but I love a good sleeper...always have.

After a year's ownership, I still believe the bike is the best bike that I could own. I don't believe that it will be the best bike for me forever, but I love it, and will always have a fond spot in my heart for it.

Just my opinion, but I like my opinion...

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post #3 of 37 Old 08-03-2007, 12:05 PM
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I agree with both of you. When I first saw the 919, I thought "Now that should be the natural evolution of the Honda Nighthawk", which in '83 and the intro of the 650 and 700s Nighthawks, was a perfect blend of a sporting "Standard". But nowadays, they call them "nakeds", which is still cool by me. I was surprised by the low sales, though, and thought "What if Honda had called it a 900 Nighthawk?" I bet its sales would have been strong and steady. Even the tamed 750 Nighthawk was a strong seller, with a great resale market.

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post #4 of 37 Old 08-03-2007, 01:36 PM
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I wasn't even in the market for a new bike (never considered one, always bought used cheap bikes) and about a year or so ago came across the term 'naked bike' on the net. I poked around a bit and found a nice clear pic of an '05 919. It truly was love at first sight. I started making plans right then to get one. I ended up selling my favorite car I've ever had (a civic, of course) and my bike at the time ('82 Honda CB900 custom) to get it. $7200 out the door, easiest no-hassle deal I've ever made. Absolutely no regrets.

That said, outside of some things to personalize it, I wouldn't change my bike at all. Although taking a cbr1000rr and stripping it down does sound damn interesting. Maybe I'll do that when my bike blows up at what, 50k? 75k?

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post #5 of 37 Old 08-03-2007, 02:00 PM
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"blow up at 50k"

what, are you NOT going to change the oil? i defy any of us to blow up a 919 without concerted effort in 50,000 miles. i'm running a poorly-mixed wet nitrous setup with over 100 drag runs "on the bottle" and i haven't lost a half a mph when i'm running off the bottle. ie, i've not damaged the rings, bore, or valves/seats one iota yet. all hail Soichiro !

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post #6 of 37 Old 08-03-2007, 02:39 PM
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Thumbs up Why the 919?

Cmelnic, I can't add one thing to your post. I have people saying nice things about Lil Red every time I stop anywhere.
I had a few days in the Ark mtns this week. Hwy 88,198,8,and Hwy 7. Went across Talimena Dr on Rich Mtn. Great riding,and scared myself once in an increasingly sharp turn. I didn't get in the guardrail, but, sure chewed up some rocks and grass. Sometimes I think I'm only 59 again and get a little deep.

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post #7 of 37 Old 08-03-2007, 03:08 PM
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Yeah, that about sums it up.

One other thing I noticed - a cute girl smiled at me the other day while I was riding my 919. That never happens when I'm on my ratty old bike.

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post #8 of 37 Old 08-03-2007, 03:34 PM
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My first bike was a Norton Atlas in 1966. if you had a bike that ran 11 sec 1/4 miles it was a stripped down no lights, mufflers or anything drag bike. The 919
does that with turn signals and mufflers.Plenty fast for this dirty old man.
Now back to getting them new Conti Sport Attacks on this thing. Breaking the
bead off the old tires is a bitch.

Later
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post #9 of 37 Old 08-03-2007, 03:39 PM
 
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You guys seem to have a great grasp of the 919's character. I just started another thread asking people to design their dream 919 and some people got mad thinking it had to be "make it into a sportbike". Other than some much needed adjustable but still not inverted forks the new 08 919 is not much different from my 02 model. When Honda revamp the 919 what will they do to keep the character the same but make it better?

They will have to invert the forks not for handling but for looks. They are right out there on front in plain sight with naked bikes and even the cheapest Ducati has them. They could use a detuned 1000RR engine but probably will just add about 10 horses to the stock 919 engine. Probably other than that and a few styling changes it will stay the same.

What would be more interesting is some 919 based bikes of other styles like an adventure tourer or retro CB750 clone. Imagine a replica of the 69 CB750 with a 919 engine and dual rear shocks?

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post #10 of 37 Old 03-05-2008, 08:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob919 View Post
I agree with both of you. When I first saw the 919, I thought "Now that should be the natural evolution of the Honda Nighthawk", which in '83 and the intro of the 650 and 700s Nighthawks, was a perfect blend of a sporting "Standard". But nowadays, they call them "nakeds", which is still cool by me. I was surprised by the low sales, though, and thought "What if Honda had called it a 900 Nighthawk?" I bet its sales would have been strong and steady. Even the tamed 750 Nighthawk was a strong seller, with a great resale market.
My thoughts exactly. I had a 85 Nighthawk S in red. I loved that bike and kept it for 11 years until I sold it after I got my 99CBR600F4. Regretted that everyday for the past 8 years. Then I took a test ride on a 919. Nighthawk forgotten. The 919 fixes everything I didn't like about the Nighthawk (air cooled, double springs in back, drum brake, weak motor) and kept all the things I love (comfy, fast, sexy, dual exhaust (sort of) and even weighs a bit less.

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post #11 of 37 Old 03-05-2008, 08:47 AM
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Here's what makes me scratch my head:

You take the VFR: It's a sporty bike with a slightly relaxed riding position and slightly lower performance (than a hardcore sportbike) and it gets tons of praise and recognition as a "great all arounder" and the bike to own if you want to carve, commute, and sport tour.

Now you have the 919. Costs less, makes more power than the VFR, weighs less, and is generally a "better" bike by most objective measures but it gets no love. Go figure.

The problem in the USA is so far, we only buy niche bikes. We buy crotch rockets, we buy cruisers, we buy tourers, etc. Everything is sold to us as a category. The 919 does not stand out in any category so it does not sell. In Europe they have no problem selling these things.

The 919 is not a great sport bike. The 919 is not a great tourer. The 919 is a fantastic commuter. But is good at all these things.

David

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post #12 of 37 Old 03-05-2008, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djs_tx View Post
Everything is sold to us as a category. The 919 does not stand out in any category so it does not sell.
I think that djs_tx raises an interesting point. American culture is a very high-context society where strict definitions and details are the norm. Forgive my oversimplification here, but most consumer products are strictly classified. This could be one reason the 919 hasn't seen the success that it has in other areas of the world.

djs_tx notes that many of todays motorcycles are in a specific niche and no doubt I agree. Many showroom floors struggle to find enough usable space to display bikes; beyond that, many others simply cram bikes together to maximize space. The result is one that all of you may be familiar with: 919's stuck in corners, placed in back adjacent to used inventory, whatever...

I thought about going on and expanding on this but... I suppose this means there will be a few more 919's left for those who really want them.

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post #13 of 37 Old 03-05-2008, 11:06 AM
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Since my opinion resonated, I'll expand. The 600 hornet is a much better example. Why does it sell like hotcakes in Europe but horribly here?

Many reasons:
European culture regards motorcycles as legitimate transportation options. American culture generally regards motorcycles as "toys".

Europe has generally higher costs of operating a vehicle. Economics force many people to make motorcycle choices based upon practicality and economics. Most americans make motorcycle selections based upon ego gratification.

I bet if you asked a large sample of the (American) populace to name what kinds of bikes there are, you would get Sportbikes, Cruisers, and Dirtbikes. All of our advertising is heavily categorized. How many times have you heard "Best in class"?

The 919 can carve better than any touring bike. It can tour better than any sport bike. And it is a great commuter.

David

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post #14 of 37 Old 03-05-2008, 11:24 AM
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I did not fall in love with the 919 because it was a best all already bike, but I truely fell for it by appearance first and then the more a learned about it, the more I loved it!

I must admit, I was a sheep that thought there were only a couple different type of bikes: sportbike, cruiser, etc... Since I have owned my 9er my eyes have been opened to a "Whole New World" (sorry for the lameness here) of bikes. Even with my Honda Shadow I was ignorant... the 9er has really opened up my eyes to the GREAT bike that it is!

I'm a newb so take what I say with a grain of salt, but I think the 9er is the BEST bike around... at least for me!

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post #15 of 37 Old 03-05-2008, 11:58 AM
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Excellent analysis progression djs_tx. When is our class presentation again? 20-30 pages should provide sufficient data to substantiate our preliminary claims.

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post #16 of 37 Old 03-05-2008, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 05919er View Post
It has ample power for aggressive driving and freeways, but it ain't no sports bike.
Definitely one of it's strengths in my opinoin. It's not the fastest bike made (so what), but I love being able to ride at a reasonble RPM, and not have wrist and back pain an hour or two into a ride.

The 919 was my first street bike and I'm ready for another one!

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post #17 of 37 Old 03-05-2008, 04:10 PM
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post #18 of 37 Old 03-05-2008, 04:54 PM
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I bought my niner for the looks, reliability, and I have to admit that I liked the fact that I had never seen one on the road. After having it and putting about 5000 miles on it since August, I would buy the same bike all over again.

I still love to look at it, its easy to maintain, and I know it will be many years (if ever) before my riding skills will let me push the bike to its limits.

One day I'd like to get a sport touring machine, but that'll be when I got plenty of time for leisurely travel

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post #19 of 37 Old 03-05-2008, 05:13 PM
 
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I loved my Blackbirds, traded the last one for an 07 ST1300, wasn't my style but very enjoyable, the 07 1000RR was plenty comfy for me and a riot to drive but there's just too damn many people down here that got no business on fast bikes, scared me to death too many times. These big south Fl. roads are a blast for cruising up around 180+ with a couple folks you know real well until a handful of squids start trying to pass you on your right or both sides at the same time ! The 919 has a built in governor with no wind screen or fairing to hide behind that suits me just fine, I Love It!

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post #20 of 37 Old 03-05-2008, 06:34 PM
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Finally. A post that is rational and realistic.

I go mine because I loved its looks. When I want naken I don't want a g-string. In other words, no little bobble head faring like the fz1. I also got it because it seemed like it would be a good first bike. And it was. It started as a toy, turned into a great economical comuter...track bike...touring bike....ect....

It does it all. Now I have a new obsession and havn't done a car track day or driven to work between April to Nov since 2003 when I got her.

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post #21 of 37 Old 03-05-2008, 07:22 PM
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It was the other squid that was going 180+, I swear!!!

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post #22 of 37 Old 03-05-2008, 10:42 PM
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When I bought mine, I just wanted a cheap commuter, that at least, looked good.
After riding it for a few miles I fell in love with it.
I couldn't believe how well it worked. for what it was.

That's what makes the 919 such a neat bike.
Like the muscle cars of the 60's & 70's.
Sure it's not the top of the line Italian piece of art work extraordinar'.
But it works for us, & the price is right.
Everyone likes it & it fits into a large category of what people like.
We all like it's looks & style, but some want a little more, some a little less.
Some like to change it up for personal needs & or desires, & some want to keep it bone stock.
Some want a sleeper to shock the Un-suspecting.
Some want to make it as race ready as it can be to have something different on the track.
We need to make our bikes ours, what we like & what makes us happy.
That's all that matters.

But if you place every one of our bikes side by side.
There all going to be just a bunch of good looking 919's.
And I'll bet they get more attention than a group of everyday full fairing race bred sport bikes.

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post #23 of 37 Old 03-06-2008, 01:47 AM
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http://photobucket

The true predecessor of the 919

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post #24 of 37 Old 03-06-2008, 03:52 AM
 
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my girlfriends like how it vibrates...........

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post #25 of 37 Old 03-06-2008, 04:05 AM
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Quote:
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my girlfriends like how it vibrates...........

You should try the Corbin Ribbed Model

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post #26 of 37 Old 03-06-2008, 05:39 AM
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After I joined the navy I got stationed in Japan and started looking at bikes while I was there. I must've looked at every bike with a fairing at least a hundred times. Finally decided on a Kawi look wise. Then when I came back to the states and walked into the first dealership (which was Honda), I saw a 919 sitting in the back corner. No one around it. It wasn't even well lit, but she had an aura around her. "That is the bike I want. No. I need." Is what I heard in the back of my head. One of the salesmen came up to me, and before he could even say anything I asked him about "that bike over in the corner". He didn't know much about it, but said that is generally for the older crowd. Then tried telling me about the crotch rockets. Told him that I have no intrest in any of them. Told him thanks for the info and sought out for the best deal on one.

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post #27 of 37 Old 03-06-2008, 05:57 AM
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they probably would have sold a lot more if they called it a cbr 900f4i which is basically what it is.

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post #28 of 37 Old 03-06-2008, 11:59 AM
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loves me some Comstar rims !
thanks, Snipe.

my first street bike crash involved Comstars on one of their first applications: cx500custom.

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post #29 of 37 Old 03-06-2008, 01:03 PM
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Comstars. My brother used to call them "those funky pop rivited things".

That was a really nice bike. Fat. 525 lbs dry. Rode like a Caddy, tho. The 919 is the same concept, modernised. The old 900 had a couch for a seat. Would put any Corbin or Seargent to shame. An old Shoi FM5 instead of a Givi. Kerker instead of Satos. Re-jet instead of a Powercomander.Honda European Sport Kit bars instead of a Coherce. Same gas mileage. Same thing..... sort of.

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post #30 of 37 Old 03-06-2008, 01:43 PM
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betcha miss all that downforce from the rear spoiler.

in fact, one of those would probably cure "the stink" for those of you w/ oem location mufflers.

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post #31 of 37 Old 03-06-2008, 03:50 PM
 
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Add me to the list of re entry riders all because of the 919 looks, My age is showing but a short list of the old stuff , 1972 Yamaha XS650, 1974 Norton Commando, 1977 Ducati 900SS, 1982 Suzuki Katana 1000, 1982 Suzuki GS750,. Any way, quit bikes when I got married in eary 1991, 9 years of that mistake and a few life style corrections and I am back with a 919 in 2008. This is my re entry bike, next will be a new ??, was never a huge Honda fan, am certainly willing to change my tune on that front because of the 919, it works stock great, why change it to something it never was intended for, ie , sport bike extreme etc. it works , it works, leave it alone and detail the little things, anyway just my 2 cents worth

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post #32 of 37 Old 03-09-2008, 11:14 AM
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When I first saw one in 02 with the matte finish, I fell in love. Call me a sucker but it makes the bike look mean! It may be nothing exotic, but you just don't see many around. I bought mine because I thought it looked cool. The bonus for me is that its fast in bursts, well, fast enough for me!

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post #33 of 37 Old 03-09-2008, 12:21 PM
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RE:

I read with gleaming eyes about why ya'll like the Lil bugger. It seems that Honda must tell the Stores to place the 919 back in a corner,out of sight. That's the only place I've ever seen one. The magazines must not even read what they wrote about the specs, like it will whip 98 % of the bikes sold in the USA, from 60-80 in high gear
( AS in passing cars on the road )This is real world power, not waiting for the motor to spin up to 14,000 rpm. It is what Japan had in mind for bikes in the 70s untill the USA " I wanna Racer" folks changed their mind.
The Hornet, Bandit, and ZRX are the only type of bikes that interest me. You won't find these thoughts engraved in stone, they are just my likes and thoughts .

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post #34 of 37 Old 03-09-2008, 12:23 PM
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post #35 of 37 Old 03-10-2008, 12:36 PM
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the 919 is good evidence that numbers are MUCH too simple to capture the essence of a beast. even dyno: it doesn't tell you how the bike feels.

for example, a bike with a soft midrange feels like a wild stallion on meth when it hits its upper range, even if it's slower or has less peak power than a comparable bike. a bike with little flywheel effect seems to charge up the rev range, even if it's less powerful than another bike with heavier "flywheel".

this is a bike to which numerical magazine comparison tests don't do justice, jaded professional road testers that regularly ride the latest hypersports bikes can't get juiced about, and so it just fades out of production.

take a zen lesson from this bike, this spiritual gift from Soichiro, and apply it elsewhere to your life. stop chasing numbers.

sincerely, the guy who's going to crack a nine second quarter mile this year, or throw pistons down the track trying.

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post #36 of 37 Old 03-10-2008, 04:26 PM
(Quintus) Pilus Prior
 
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"Stop chasing numbers." That's poetry right thar.

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post #37 of 37 Old 03-10-2008, 05:12 PM
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and it didn't even rhyme or mention that guy from nantucket !

this time...

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