My second impression of the Hornet 900 (919) - Wrist Twisters
 
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post #1 of 5 Old 07-10-2008, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
Al
 
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My second impression of the Hornet 900 (919)

I've now owned the Hornet for about a month and it's near its first service check time, about 1000 km (approx 620 miles). I didn't break it in like a slug, I used the revs meaningfully, allowing the engine to spin freely in the lower gears and seldom using 5th or 6th gears at all for the first 250 kms (150 miles). I chose the roads I rode, carefully, making sure they were winding with some short straights so I could chop and change gears as much as possible. I slowly built up the revs as I accumulated miles and every now and then, gave small blasts in 1st, 2nd and sometimes 3rd gears after about 100kms (60 miles) were burned,, in other words I tried my best to allow this bike rev well and free in normal riding once it can be considered "run in".

I remember reading an article some years ago in a bike mag, by Vance and Hines, who said the ability of a road bikes engine to develop horsepower and good torque will be determined in the first hundred or so miles but the first oil change is the MOST important thing to do after about 50 miles (80 kms) just to get rid of any ground metal the engine will have shed by then. After that, engine revs and heat are the two prime considerations - short blasts, then letting the engine cool off, slowly but surely building up those revs over those first few hundred miles,, etc etc etc, I'm sure you guys have heard similar... In short, that's the recipe I have tried to follow when running in a bike,, only,, with service checks and more complicated warranties and insurance, I have to stick to a few factory recommendations. That first thousand kms has to be ridden before the first oil change can be done etc but I don't mind. I did however stick to rev policy...

Because of work and rain (both universally despised) whenever I had the little time to get out and ride, that first few hundred miles came around very slowly, so slowly that I almost forgot how the bike felt since the last ride, but yesterday my brother and I got the sunshine and took a day off (we both work for ourselves) and headed into 'thum thar hills' for a 4 or 5 hour ride. After the first little rides during the intial running in, it was nice to actually "ride" the bikes. We both had about 600 kms (370 miles) on the clock which had been done over 4 or 5 short blasts after work so we thought it was time to try them out...

My, how these bikes have changed since we first rode them home. The brakes work better, the engine has freed up, and with our devotion to the suspension settings, the bikes handle quite well, not perfectly, but adequately. They are a lot softer than our previous VTR1000's but once we found that magic spot where front and back match each other, they handle the roads every bit as well, even better in a few areas. We both noted that the Hornet handles ripples and/or bumps and lumps in the road much better than the VTR, which had a tendency to bounce over them and even lock up the rear mid flight on occasions. The VTR in my opinion felt great mid turn and exiting a corner with the V twin power spread whereas the Hornet felt ok but I could never get it quite right going into a corner,, and having to lean the bike from the upright position is a definite disadvantage in cornering, well at least until I can get totally used to it. Exiting corners in a hurry can promote a bit of nervousness for me as I just cannot find the best roll on of the throttle to get that power into the ground. These bikes have freed up immensely since the first ride and there is quite a lot of low end power there to be had. I reckon there is far more low end grunt than the VTR had and combined with the fuel injection, it can come on in a rush, which makes me feel a little nervous flying out of tight corners. The VTR's slow carburettion made it lethal negotiating and exiting corners. A few times I had nearly run into the bike infront of me as I came out of a corner during a boy race session but on the Hornet I will have to do some more riding before I get game enough to try that. On the positive side though, if you overcook it going into a corner and have to brake mid corner, it wont try to stand up on you like the VTR did and it has a tendency to take "you" into the corner with its turn in steering,, just lean it and away you go,, very easy...!!! In all other aspects of road handling, I can't really fault it at this point in time. It has good usable grunt for traffic, enabling you to rocket past cars, trucks and buses between even the sharpest corners. During one such episode, I went to overtake a Nissan Primera, and the next corner was about 50 metres away, which can disappear really quickly at these speeds. It was one of those "should I or shouldn't I" overtakes. Yes, I will..!!! Only, a Mercedes coupe came roaring into view just as I opened the throttle and since the road was a little damp, I was not going to touch those brakes, so I kicked it down a cog and caned it and the whole thing was over in the blink of an eye. I had to brake carefully into the next corner but that was no big deal.

Comfort on this bike is absolutely great for me. I rode the whole distance and when I got home, I think I could have gone for another ride,, not quite so long but maybe into the city and back quite easily. Seeing that it is mid winter here, the only bitch about the whole trip was that I stupidly grabbed a pair of thin summer gloves without even realizing it. Just over the first hill we hit fog and I got cold, real cold, fingertips,, so cold I almost turned back for thicker gloves, but then we hit sunshine again and I slowly got the feeling back. Overnight temperatures in the area had gone sub-zero and it showed. We have both fitted Givi wind shields which are terrific for throwing the cold air slightly above the helmet line. It helps...

Gas mileage is ok, I got about 19 km/litre which equals 54mpg Imperial or about 48 mpg US +/-... That's a bit better then the VTR and we weren't sticking around so the mileage may get better if I take it easy (Huh...!!!). I still have the standard Bridgies BT56 tyres on and I can't say they caused any distress at this point. They seemed up to the task. The chicken strips are almost non existant on the rears and the wear has just semi touched the edges so they must be hanging in there for me...

The ONE incident that gave me a shock was as follows... Brother infront of me in the real windy twisty stuff, gets a break and overtakes a painfully slow car. I decide to follow. I change down into 1st (told you it was slow) and flicked the bike into the middle of the road and yanked hard on the throttle and at the same time the front wheel went over a real nastily big catseye which was like a launching ramp as the front wheel started to rise with ease. I had to back off and start again, chucking it into 2nd and powering past...

The whole day was a pleasure and I hope there will be more of them real soon, but today the rain has returned. At least I have the day off today...

I really like this bike...

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post #2 of 5 Old 07-11-2008, 02:28 AM
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yip gotta watch em cats eyes,
and the the white lines @ 100 ks in second gear, spinning wooo hooo.

Your getting 19k'spl? i struggle to get 16...




these are bloody awesome bikes,
(shudder )i think i could say i'm getting close to loving it.

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post #3 of 5 Old 07-11-2008, 03:07 AM
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Great write up! Thanks for taking the time to share. Glad you are liking the Hornet!

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Four wheels move the body. Two wheels move the soul.
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post #4 of 5 Old 07-11-2008, 03:07 PM
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We gotta lotta kiwis in the forum, I'm one also!

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post #5 of 5 Old 07-11-2008, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
Al
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nallac View Post
yip gotta watch em cats eyes,
and the the white lines @ 100 ks in second gear, spinning wooo hooo.

Your getting 19k'spl? i struggle to get 16...




these are bloody awesome bikes,
(shudder )i think i could say i'm getting close to loving it.
Normally, I wouldn't take much notice of catseyes in the middle of the road but this one seemed to be placed maybe on the edge of a small rut or dip in the road and it just looked out of place. I remember seeing it briefly and thinking "sh*t, that's a bigg'n". I definitely felt the bike ride up over it then up in the air slightly. As soon as the front end got light I throttled off then instantly changed up a gear then throttled back on. I have never been one to purposefully lift front wheel off the deck as this is best left to the other guys who can handle that sort of carry-on. I did however try out the VTR1000 on 3 seperate occasions and managed to do so. I was new to V-Twins and was merely seeking that thrill of instant V-Twin grunt which everyone raved about,, and I never really found. The first front wheel lift I did was just whacking the throttle wide open from a standstill and it never went vertical,, it just hovered on about a 30 degree angle for about maybe 20 metres or so. The second and third time were at the lights when taking it over for its first service check. I was late and simply accelerated quickly as soon as I saw green. Again, the VTR seemed to hover gently just above the ground for a few metres.

As far as the gas mileage goes, from Drury to Whitianga via Coromandel,, I did 178 kms and filled right up to the last drop and it took 9.35 litres, which equals 19 km/l. My brother got identical mileage in his too. While we weren't in Valentino Rossi's league we weren't out for a Sunday driver either. We left Whitianga and on one of those one way bridges by the Cocoglen Pub, we stopped behind a couple of what looked like those large capacity half road/half off road BMW bikes (big UGLY looking things that looked like Battlestar Gallactica's). When traffic cleared, they took of like bats out of hell, and five minutes later, we couldn't even see them on some of the long open stretches,, but about 3 quarters through the hilly bits I looked up ahead to see them not too far away and we ended up about 100 metres behind them once we came out at Tairua. Anyone can go fast on the straights, but I prefer not to because of those nasty cars which have blue and red flashing lights and make funny sceaming sounds and want your money, and, they seem to appear from nowhere at times too. We prefer to slow down only as much as needed for the bendy bits. I am not totally used to the Hornets upright position but the bike is so damned easy to ride. I just have to get used to having to move my body that much more when leaning it over than when you are prone on a sportier bike. It'll happen...!!!

Howdy to all the other kiwi's on channel... Yea, I have see a few...

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