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Boilermaker in B-town
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248 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm helping my son buy his first motorcycle.
He's interested in a 2002 Honda CBR 954RR. I'm not very familiar with this model (I ride a 919). Are there any known "trouble spots or issues" for this model machine?
My overall experience with Honda's is that usually design issues are small and can be dealt with.
But, without asking, who's to know?:yes:
Tell me what you think I should be evaluating with a critical eye on this bike....
 

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The Cripple
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8,772 Posts
I'm helping my son buy his first motorcycle.
He's interested in a 2002 Honda CBR 954RR. I'm not very familiar with this model (I ride a 919). Are there any known "trouble spots or issues" for this model machine?
My overall experience with Honda's is that usually design issues are small and can be dealt with.
But, without asking, who's to know?:yes:
Tell me what you think I should be evaluating with a critical eye on this bike....
first off, great project!

second off, you say this is your son's first motorcycle? may i suggest you guys look at a smaller bike for a first bike?
 

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Boilermaker in B-town
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248 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Pvster, you may suggest a smaller bike, but it would probably fall on my son's deaf ears:surrender:
He's the most level headed guy his age I know. Not much if any squid in him. Otherwise, I'd alarmed, as you're suggesting.
I personally feel larger bikes are easier to ride, but that's just me.:laugh:
 

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duc duc GOOSE!
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946 Posts
u know your son better than anyone, but there is a lot of throttle in that 954, not as forgiving as a 919, or a ninja 500, or an sv650 as suggested.

other than that, they are sweet bikes! and they are honda's, nough said.
 

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The Cripple
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8,772 Posts
Pvster, you may suggest a smaller bike, but it would probably fall on my son's deaf ears:surrender:
He's the most level headed guy his age I know. Not much if any squid in him. Otherwise, I'd alarmed, as you're suggesting.
I personally feel larger bikes are easier to ride, but that's just me.:laugh:
while i respect your position, i must point out that any bike bigger than 600cc is going to be "too much" for ANY new rider, regardless of age or maturity. the fact of the matter is, he does not have the experience to handle that kind of power to weight ratio, let alone the experience needed to handle getting out of a situation with that size of a bike. 600cc is plenty as it is to get yourself in trouble as a new rider. i know because my 2nd bike (after a LONG stretch from the 1st bike) was a 600 cc vtwin and i got into tons of trouble lol.

i can tell you right now, no one "outgrows" a ninja 250, and anyone who says otherwise clearly thinks they need "better equipment" to be a "better rider" and are clueless.

the fact that suggesting a smaller cc bike "falling on deaf ears" screams squid, and lack of a level head to me personally. that 954 has got not only weight, but that oooomph that is pretty addicting, very sporty rider position, and high center of gravity thrown into the bag of "novice rider" and is asking for trouble.

nonetheless, i wish you both the best of luck and hope you encourage him to at least take a rider safety course.

oh, and pix of the build, you know better :flowers:
 

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The fun thing with a powerful bike is that when you want less power, you just go easy on the throttle. With a small bike, you can't turn the throttle past the stop screw to get more power.
 

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That's nacho cheese!
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17,718 Posts
No 954 or anything like it.

I don't care if he is as level headed as Jesus.
One mistake on that kind of power and you may be in for total heartache.


I urge you to get him to consider something forgiving as a first bike!
This comes from a 56 year old guy who learned to ride a 90 at 12 years old.

Don't gamble with his life.
 

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Back in the day
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270 Posts
I have to agree.
Do not let you son get a 954 as his first bike.
When I was looking for a sport-bike it was between a 954 and RC51. I chose the RC51 but I really liked to 954. The 954 is very light and as smooth as it gets. A bit twitchy but a steering damper cures that.
Probably the biggest issue is that an inexperienced rider will take there eyes off of the road ahead and look at something else and by the time they get there vision back to the road a head the closing distance is way to short and an accident happens. Also they do not look far enough ahead. This is learned from experience. A 954 has a lot of acceleration and smoothness so you do not feel the speed that you are going. That is what gets the inexperienced riders into the most trouble and just riding the bike to fast for conditions.

I would suggest a SV650s. There are always a lot of them for sale at reasonable prices. They are very reliable and easy on maintenance. With some suspension work it can handle with almost anything on the street. If his ego cant handle a SV650s then his maturity level is not what you think it is and a 954 would be a very costly.

I would also recommend MSF course and my be some track instruction.
This is my best advice. It would be the advice I would give my own son and I did.
 

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Super Moderator
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7,665 Posts
No 954 or anything like it.

I don't care if he is as level headed as Jesus.
One mistake on that kind of power and you may be in for total heartache.


I urge you to get him to consider something forgiving as a first bike!


Don't gamble with his life.
This is a true statement(s). Has he ridden anything at all before now? Unless he's very experienced in the dirt or on two wheels of some sort I think it's a mistake starting on a 954, sooner or later he will grab a handfull and wish he didn't. Do this, buy the 954 AND a $500 beater to learn on and let him graduate.
 

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The Cripple
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8,772 Posts
The fun thing with a powerful bike is that when you want less power, you just go easy on the throttle. With a small bike, you can't turn the throttle past the stop screw to get more power.
perhaps so, but its no longer fun when you exceed your capabilities on a more powerful bike and pay a high price for it. a novice rider will most certainly exceed their capabilities.

as for a "small bike", i've had a huge blast on the 250 ninja, some of my best cornering was done on that bike, and i intend to get another one! the 250 ninja is just as fast as most bikes in the twisties when in capable hands. that bike is a hoot!
 

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Woodward Ave
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130 Posts
Everything said in this thread has been spot on. I have been on the street for 5 years. Started on a 83 kz550, then went to a 99 vz800 marauder, then stepped up to the 919. Even with 5 years of experience I still feel like the 919 was a huge jump from the cruisers. I understand the cool factor of the 954, but you need to earn your stripes on 2 wheels.
 

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Wow,big call letting your son get a bike that big. Hope your not having a (my sons better than most other kids)moment.Be a hard thing to live with if he came unstuck:sad:.I even worry taking my daughters for a ride on my bike , in case they one day get onto the back of another bike and the rider is not as careful as me. But i'm over cautious. All the best.
 

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Boilermaker in B-town
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248 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I've done my son a disservice in this thread. There's nothing squidly about him.
He's thoughtful, careful, and together.
He has eyes for the 954 because of it's appearance.
No, he has no real bike experience.
And maybe I've spent too much time on *slow* big bikes:laugh:
You have all given me some food for thought.
I've revisited the situation with him and suggested he consider something smaller....
I owned a V65 Sabre in '84.....fastest production bike made that year.....then, I imagined what it would have been like if someone had handed me a *more powerful* bike than the Sabre in *'74* when I first started riding.....that helped get things in perspective:eek:
Thanks guys.
 

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Why's everything on fire?
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2,361 Posts
I am just going to cut and paste some stuff I've posted to another forum in the past to save time.

Newbies should get something 500cc or less, preferably 60hp or less, older, naked, fairly light, cheap and Japanese. (There are some few exceptions to these that were built specifically to be starter bikes - the later Nighthawk 750, Yamaha Seca II 600, Suzuki Bandit 600 among others) When equipped with the appropriate crash bars it will shrug off the usual newbie drops with minimal to no damage, they will be cheap to buy and repair, they're cheap to insure, and if you do total it nobody will care. More importantly, they will be pretty forgiving (due to weight and engineering) and won't go fast enough that you don't have sufficient time to correct any errors (most of the time). Most importantly, unlike sportbikes they won't teach you that the throttle is the answer to all problems - because it's not. It's really sad to see newer riders who started out on a sportbike get into a situation that they can't throttle out of who suddenly discover they don't have a ready answer to the problem (or worse, discover that the throttle made the problem worse and now they're really, really screwed); usually it ends up with them going to the hospital or worse when actually learning to use the rest of the bike other than the throttle would have saved them.
The number one worst thing about a newbie learning to ride (and make no mistake, for the first six months you are still learning the basics in the real world) on a hypersport/high power machine is that they only ever seem to learn that applying the throttle is the solution to every problem that presents itself.

Yes, the throttle is an answer to quite a few problems.
No, it's not necessarily the best answer.
A thousand times no, it isn't the correct answer to a number of problems.

Those who start out on less powerful and more forgiving machines learn that there is more than one solution available to them to apply to problems on the road - such as maneuvering and brakes. They also learn conservation of kinetic energy and how to keep their speed up in turns better. All of which makes you a better rider, so come the day when that idiot cuts you off, you have more than one tool with which to deal with them. -snip-

"When in doubt, throttle out" does not necessarily apply to bikes and can actually get you killed.

Additionally, anything over 599cc will get you hammered on insurance as a newbie rider (with some few exceptions such as that Nighthawk 750) and you don't even want to think about a non-cruiser over 1000cc. -snip-

Edit: I'd also point out that despite the power and speed advantage (among a host of other advantages) the 919 has over my 700 I still find the 700 to be far more entertaining to ride. Raw power is not necessarily everything, especially when we're talking about bike speeds - a 'slow' bike is still faster than 90% of the cars on the market today.
I wish I had a dollar for every newbie rider I ever heard of who said, "It's okay, I'm responsible, I won't wreck it" when told that a sportbike was the wrong thing to start with, ignored it, then proceeded to totally destroy it in one or more wrecks in the first six months.
 

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As someone who started riding with limited dirt bike experience on the 599 I can tell you he could be very easily overwhelmed by the power of a 954.
After my 599 was totaled and I found a 919 for sale I was kinda anxious about it, and realized quickly the power of the 9er could get away from me very easily. He may be very level-headed, I like to think I am, but that power tempts you. You always want to use it, after having the 9er for a few days I just had to pin it and see what she had, with the power of a 954, sitting in that racey position it'll be begging him to put the hammer down.
 

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Super Moderator
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7,665 Posts
I've done my son a disservice in this thread. There's nothing squidly about him.
He's thoughtful, careful, and together.
He has eyes for the 954 because of it's appearance.
No, he has no real bike experience.
And maybe I've spent too much time on *slow* big bikes:laugh:
You have all given me some food for thought.
I've revisited the situation with him and suggested he consider something smaller....
I owned a V65 Sabre in '84.....fastest production bike made that year.....then, I imagined what it would have been like if someone had handed me a *more powerful* bike than the Sabre in *'74* when I first started riding.....that helped get things in perspective:eek:
Thanks guys.
Good decision! FWIW, my first street bike was a Yamaha XS400, I looked like a polar bear humping a football riding it... I had a chance to ride a CBR900RR and scared the $hit outa myself and kept the 400 for a while.
 

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Le So Cal Troll
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5,766 Posts
I've done my son a disservice in this thread. There's nothing squidly about him.
He's thoughtful, careful, and together.
He has eyes for the 954 because of it's appearance.
No, he has no real bike experience.
And maybe I've spent too much time on *slow* big bikes:laugh:
You have all given me some food for thought.
I've revisited the situation with him and suggested he consider something smaller....
I owned a V65 Sabre in '84.....fastest production bike made that year.....then, I imagined what it would have been like if someone had handed me a *more powerful* bike than the Sabre in *'74* when I first started riding.....that helped get things in perspective:eek:
Thanks guys.
Thats a big flag IMO...

Im 22 years old. Rode dirtbikes since i was 10, i have EXTENSIVE experience off road and a mastery of the workings of a bike (ie all functions, shifting clutch braking steering are ALL second nature) as well as 10k miles on a moped around the neighborhood between ages 13-18. My transition to actual street at age 18 was STILL a big shocker... being amongst cars etc etc. I was glad that actually handling a motorcycle was second nature so i could concentrate on the navigation / surroundings at hand.

There is NO way i would even want to start a motorcycle riding experience on a 919, let along a 954rr ...

Its just some food for thought. This is not to say your son cant do it, but if there isnt much / no experience there to begin with it might not be the best path. Power does get to the best of us ALL even experienced riders, but much MUCH more so to inexperienced riders.

Next question, how old is your son?
 
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