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Old 08-12-2008, 10:24 AM   #1
beardking OP
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Honda 919 recommendations - complaints

I've tried doing a search on the 919 but since it's only 3 characters, the search doesn't seem to dig on it too much. I'm (hopefully) going to be getting a Honda 919 next week, and while I've looked at them a lot and ridden one a little, I was wondering if any of those that have/had a 919 would have any input as to anything that I should look out for specifically. Anything that I have to worry about. Any good reviews of them would be accepted as well.

I'll mostly be using this bike for commuting to/from work with hopefully a few longer trips in the future (Dallas to OKC will probably be common). Any special suggestions related to this type of use?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:27 AM   #2
scar04
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_CB900F

In Europe it's called the Hornet 900 IIRC, that and the CB900F.

I havent ridden one but they are great looking bikes.
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:32 AM   #3
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Check out Wristtwisters.com

They have a ton of info on the niner.

I've had my bike for about a year and I really like it. Plenty of power and the riding position is very neutral. I haven't really had it deep in the twisties yet since I'm still riding on the original tires(03 model, bought it with 1500 miles). Some complaints are vibrations around freeway speeds and the relative crappyness of the seat. There isn't really a good helmet lock so you'll probably have to come up with something on your own. I did the 17 tooth counter sproket and found that's the best combo for commuting.

I have the matte smoke color, but the red one's are pretty cool looking.
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Old 08-12-2008, 11:27 AM   #4
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I just put 9k miles on one this summer. Link in my sig

The advrider site is still using prehistoric software, but you can point google at it easily enough to search for whatever you want

When I got my 919 I poked around wristtwisters and found alarmingly little useful information there but ymmv.

I wouldn't bother with most reviews as they are so subjective as to be a waste of time and reviewers tend to be sickeningly whiny.

The 919 needs nothing for commuting or touring, though it wouldn't hurt to fiddle with the seat as its not the best in the world (good density, lousy shape, but that didn't stop me from doing lots of miles).

As with any bike tires will make a huge difference in how well it rides and handles. When I first got on the 919 this summer it had a stock front tire and a conti rear tire. It had a bit of instability and was very fiddling in turns, requiring constant corrections. I fitted a pair of avon storms and it really transformed the bike. Made it drastically more neutral in turns and much more stable. I was instantly much quicker in the twisties and suddenly found the rearsets much too low;)

For hard riding the 919 needs at least stiffer fork springs and higher rearsets and could really use a new shock to go with stiffer fork springs. I would also look into upgrading the front brake and fitting an aftermarket exhaust to drop a little weight and a pcIII to dial in the fueling - but those are really only necessary if you wanna push it really hard and get the most out of it on twisty roads or a track.

I didn't notice any real vibration except in the left footpeg which developed some weird harmonics between 4 and 5k rpm.

There's nothing special to look at on these bikes, just look it over for general condition like you would any bike. They are extremely understressed and overbuilt and I don't think anyone will every wear one out. Later model years got marginally better suspension components, otherwise the only difference in years is the color.

I didn't like the bend of the stock bars, but didn't have time to do anything about it. They are extremely narrow and swept back. They would probably work well for a really small person. I'm 5'10" and 160lbs and found they put my wrists at an awkward angle and provided less leverage than would be ideal. Still, not a big deal and cheap enough to change.
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Old 08-12-2008, 11:45 AM   #5
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919.org

Check out www.919.org
There is info on mods and a pic gallery. The forums section links to wristtwisters. I too have comteplated this bike from time to time. I love that deep red color
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Old 08-12-2008, 12:01 PM   #6
beardking OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motocav
I have the matte smoke color, but the red one's are pretty cool looking.
The matte smoke color is actually what I'm looking at (03 w/ 8500 miles). Was originally looking at a nice silver 04, but the deal fell through (seller still owed on the bike).

Does anyone have any suggestions specific to setting this bike up for a fat guy? I'm what some would call "heavy", I on the other say I'm a fat ass. ;-) I noticed that the 919's that I've sat on so far didn't seem to sink as low as my 99 Nighthawk did, so that's a start right there.

As for setting it up for track, as much as I would like to do track days in the future, I think I'll have to get a dedicated bike for that. I just can't see a track setup being as comfortable for commuting nor a commuting setup as useful on a track. Besides, that means I'd be able to have another bike (and my wife is actually cool with that). Of course, before any of that happens, gotta loose some of that fat ass status. :)
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Old 08-12-2008, 02:57 PM   #7
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If you are even a little heavier than average you will really need stiffer fork springs and possibly shock spring depending on what you do weigh. The stock springs are noticeably soft for me and I'm 160lbs. Check out racetech's website, punch in your weight and it will give you a ball park figure for the spring rate you should be running.

If you are of a sort of wide chest wider, flatter bars will make a huge difference in comfort, there are millions of options. Renthal tends to be a popular maker. Their low or mid height street bar should be about right. You wanna shoot for about 25mm of sag front and rear (that's the total difference from fully extended to where it rests with you on it, geared up and ready to ride). Too much sag will dramatically affect handling for the worse and will also reduce much-needed ground clearance. I found the rear spring was more than up to the task of holding me up, even when I had a considerable amount of luggage. I think you'll probably be fine there, just dial in the preload till you get correct sag.
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Old 08-12-2008, 06:00 PM   #8
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A 919 was in my stable for a season and it was a great bike. Unlike the post above, I found www.wristtwisters.com to be a valuable 919 resource. For example: http://www.wristtwisters.com/forum/s...ead.php?t=1209

As for what to watch out for, I guess that depends on your needs and goals for this bike. Many owners complain about the exhaust stink. The older models do not have adjustable front forks. The ROI on performance mods is minimal. It's not particularly adept for touring. The clearcoat on the red models is thin and soft. The front brakes on the newer models are known to have an annoying harmonic howl that seems to only be cured by replacing the rotors.

On the other hand, it has a bulletproof motor. It does nothing better than other bikes but lots of things very,very well. It's a ton of fun to ride. There are lots of aftermarket goodies out there for it. Maintenance is cake. The resale value holds well. The price is right. The cost of ownership is dirt cheap. The cost of insurance is dirt cheap.

If you like naked, it deserves to be on the short list.
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Old 08-12-2008, 08:57 PM   #9
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I too tried to find out stuff about the 919 on advrider
Only to be stymied by the search engine.
I poked around with google and came up with not much anyway.
When this bike first came out I shopped it pretty hard.
But the deal breaker was the shortish range.
(I was coming off a superhawk at the time and the idea of traveling more then 120 miles between fuel stops look very good).
I rode one back then and I noticed a couple of things.
First the fueling was way off. Off throttle response would toss you over the bars if you weren't paying attention.
The second thing is that it was boring. Kind of like a nighthawk 900.

well toss in a very years a few bikes that are decidedly not boring.
And I'm looking at getting a 919 next week.

Here's what i've noticed in around about 500 miles of riding a low mileage but crashed bike.
There is no exhaust stink that many claim.
I get around 130 miles to the fuel light coming on.
The Honda fly screen does a good job up to about 60 mph.
The stock bars suck if you have wide shoulders.
The seat is very soft at first but you quickly sink to the pan.
I'll be running my airhawk.
You can get hard bag mounts from SW Motec so I'm able to use my GIVI bags that fit on my DL650, my BMW and now the 919 very very Handy.
The fueling still sucks off throttle is the worst but the bike takes some getting used to, so you can ride it smoothly.
It's cop stealth they just don't see the bike.
For a single round headlight the headlight works pretty well.
Suspension on all japanese bikes need help. This bike included.
The later models have a clock which is nice.
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:17 PM   #10
beardking OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenB
On the other hand, it has a bulletproof motor. It does nothing better than other bikes but lots of things very,very well. It's a ton of fun to ride. There are lots of aftermarket goodies out there for it. Maintenance is cake. The resale value holds well. The price is right. The cost of ownership is dirt cheap. The cost of insurance is dirt cheap.
Funny, that's just about exactly what I've read about Nighthawks as well (as noted by squish's comparison). I guess I'm just a boring guy as those points are actually what attracts me to the 919. One thing I'm liking about the 919 already even though I don't have mine yet is the aftermarket support does seem to be there. I'm not a super mod person or anything like that, but it's nice to be able to upgrade things here and there every once in a while.

Thanks for the information. I guess I'll have to look into the suspension work though because unfortunately Bikepilot, I'm definitely above average (right at 280 I believe, I avoid scales like Rosie O'donell avoids penises). Of course, maybe this will be one of those really good reasons for me to finally start losing weight.



Naaaaah.
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Old 08-13-2008, 06:36 AM   #11
Janet
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Eek Stinky!

I had a Hornet 900 for nearly five years and 13,500 miles. And I have to say that I loved it.

However, I'm one of the owners who had a really serious problem with the stink. When I first got it I had a ponytail. One day my husband went into the bathroom half an hour after I'd brushed my hair following a ride on the bike and immediately said "it stinks of your bike in here". Personally I just had to live with my bike clothing and hair stinking of exhaust fumes, but I knew of at least one American owner who found that the fumes got into his helmet and made him feel ill. It was so bad for him that, even though he loved the bike other than that, he exchanged it for a VFR800, which he didn't really like as much. Another owner had his young son pass out from the fumes (theyl contain carbon monoxide) when he was riding pillion, and nearly slide off the back. He, along with quite a few other owners, resorted to fitting a low-level exhaust from a CBR1000RR to it.

In the end my problems were resolved. I got in touch with Honda UK, and actually got to speak to one of their top technical guys direct. I still keep in touch with him in fact. He sent all my e-mails to the factory in Japan, and even sent samples of typical English petrol at one point, in case that was a factor. Honda Japan eventually decided that I should have a catalyst fitted to my bike, along with a different ECU to suit. These parts were already fitted on some European variants of the bike, so were readily available. Honda paid for the whole job, parts and labour, and said that I could have the old parts fitted back on if it didn't work, or if I didn't like the bike's performance with a catalyst. In the event it 90-95% solved the problem - there was still a trace of the smell, but to a completely acceptable level - and I actually found that the bike ran better with the catalyst and the new ECU, with a less snatchy throttle and a little more apparent mid-range.

However, Honda America consistently refused to offer the same fix for American owners.

To put this in perspective, it was pretty bad, but I still couldn't bring myself to sell the bike at the time, even though I wasn't confident that it would be fixed. It tends to become more of an issue for owners who have the problem but use the bike to commute to work where they need to be smart/meet clients. With the fix it's no worse than the 2006 R1 I now have. All bikes with high-level exhausts are prone to this problem to a greater or lesser extent, but if the bike has a catalyst it makes it much less stinky, plus cuts the chance of it making anybody feel unwell to just about zero.

Two final points: in the UK catalysts were fitted as standard from about 2004 I think, which meant that the problem no longer occurred on new bikes. You can tell whether a particular bike is catt'ed by the colour of the mid-section (Y-piece) of the exhaust, with very few exceptions. A black painted Y-piece is unlikely to have a catalyst, a stainless steel one almost certainly will have it. Finally, I note that you mention that you are of a generous build. It did seem that generously built riders were more prone to getting the stink problem (and yes, that includes me!).

But it is a great and charismatic bike, and that was its only downside for me.
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Old 08-13-2008, 08:01 AM   #12
PirateT7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BikePilot
... but you can point google at it easily enough to search for whatever you want
like so: http://www.google.com/search?q=919+site%3Aadvrider.com
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Old 08-13-2008, 08:51 AM   #13
beardking OP
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Janet, thank you for the insight. Hopefully I'll be one of the lucky ones that isn't overly bothered by "the stink". If I am, maybe I'll just follow in others footsteps and install a lower exhaust, althought I really do like the looks of the 919 exhaust where it is.

PirateT7, funny thing about the google search you posted, this thread doesn't show up until the 8th entry.
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Old 08-13-2008, 01:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenB
The older models do not have adjustable front forks.
The '04's and newer have the adjustable forks, for the older models CBR600F4i fork legs are a direct bolt-on, except you have to use the CBR fender.
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Old 08-21-2008, 11:11 PM   #15
beardking OP
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Well, with all of the recommendations that I've read about these bikes and the fact that I just plain freaking love them, I bit the bullet and did it. I now have a 2003 919 sitting quite cozy in my garage. I don't have better pictures yet, so this will have to suffice:

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