2002 Honda 919 First Ride

Here in modern MOs, you probably won’t publish a new Honda road test without a few photos of what’s actually working. But 20 years ago, there was probably a perfectly reasonable excuse. My dog ​​ate a movie, a bear ate a photographer … maybe someone sludged a shiny new Honda 919 in the middle of a shoot. The show had to continue. Do you know? They shouldn’t have called the color “asphalt”. In any case, this CBR900RR-based nakedness is like a cult classic that is loved by Honda lovers. Enjoy small studio photos and full spec charts.

Torrance, CA – We must be soft as human beings. Maybe it’s a pleasant political year that did it to us, or maybe our milk antibiotics. In any case, more and more people can’t stand the idea of ​​riding a narrow-focus sport bike. They would say “too uncomfortable”. “The peak is too strong,” he says to others. “Too complicated,” says yet another group of complaints, tired of the current harvest of Superbike replicas. Still, Honda claims that these people are far from replacing their daily adrenaline modifications with bottles of Geritol. To these people, what looks like TaylorMade is the Honda 919. In fact, this bike could also appeal to some crossovers looking for a bike that’s about as fast as a pure sports bike in the backstreets. Can be owned like 919. After all, the motor is based on the same power plant that made the CBR900RR such a popular truck machine in 1993.

At that time, Honda needed 893 cubic centimeters to realize the world of sports bikes with the best-in-class power-to-weight ratio. Today, due to this old and new crowd, the factory has grown to 919 cubes and emits more torque, but of course, peak power has declined in favor of more city drivability. doing. But again, that’s the focus of this bike, but its predecessor’s goal was a much narrower focus.

But just because the new 919 isn’t a race bike doesn’t mean it needs as much torque or weight as a milk truck. Its claimed dry weight makes it the lightest naked bike in its open class. And while the motor doesn’t have the peak power to lead the class, Honda claims to be happy with the output and the torque and supple feel mass attracts more buyers than the peak dyno chart. ..

Under the hood

Starting from the top, the motor is a dual overhead cam design with shims under the bucket. The valve is widened with a 32 degree angle, and the valve maintenance interval is as long as 16,000 miles to ensure the machine is easy to use. The cylinder has a bore of 71 mm, a stroke of 58 mm and a compression ratio of 10: 1.

Of course, Honda’s latest programmed fuel injection system supplies fuel that flows at 50psi through four injectors on each 36mm throttle body. Each injector nozzle has four laser drill holes for “highly atomized air / fuel charge for maximum combustion, efficiency and power”.

“It’s the liquid-cooled oil cooler and the lightweight aluminum radiator that keep things cool inside the motor.”

The exhaust system is of the 4 to 2 to 1 to 2 type and features an “extended diameter” tube that goes to two “center up” mufflers. It is the stainless steel muffler cover that keeps the rider’s feet safe and cool. Keeping things cool inside the motor is a liquid-cooled oil cooler and a lightweight aluminum radiator. There is also a lightweight one-piece alternator that produces more juice than the units found on older 893cc motors, helping to power multi-reflectors and twin filament headlights.

Like the motor, the 919’s frame is designed primarily for street use, is clearly less aggressive than the original CBR900RR, and employs some of Honda’s “tuned flex” theory. .. The frame is a square tube mono-backbone steel unit that uses the engine as a stressed member. A single box section down tube extends to the front engine mount with a cross member that links the frame to the engine’s sturdy front mount. The aluminum swingarm on the back of the bike features a large one-piece cast pivot block and an extruded triple box section spar.

The 919 suspension features a 43mm fork that works with a 4.7-inch move. At the rear of the bike, a single shock allows 5.0 inches of movement and features a remote reservoir. Unfortunately, there is no compression or rebound damping adjustment at either end. The only change a rider can make without breaking things apart is to increase or decrease the shock preload. Seven positions are available to suit each rider’s willingness to destroy.

The braking mission is handled by a pair of 296 mm discs in the front and one 240 mm rotor in the rear. Four piston calipers secure the front rotor and one piston caliper pinches the rotating disc behind. These discs are mounted on a three-spoke wheel made of hollow aluminum alloy.

The 919 instrument also focuses on rider comfort and relevant information, as bike target audiences tend to spend time in urban areas rather than rural stumps, looking for the perfect line through their perfect corners. I have it. The cluster features an analog speedometer with a black dial, a tachometer, and a white numeric water temperature indicator. There are also digital mileage meters and trip meters, indicator lights for turn signals, neutral, high beam, regular low fuel and hydraulic lights. Curiously, for a bicycle whose design is designed to be very “urban”, the watch doesn’t stand out.

Under the helmet

After pondering the specs passed by Honda at the 919 technical briefing, we weren’t impressed when their latest bike hit the road. For starters, the dyno chart they showed us looked like an old CBR900 graph with the top 2000 rpm clipped. “We have your’retuned for the midrange’,” we thought. Then there was the overwhelming lack of suspension adjustment and the steel frame that made me think of a “flexible flyer”.

So it’s good to know when our first instinct is wrong, and not be afraid to change our opinion when faced with new information that is strongly contrary to our false preconceptions. is. The first weight had to be discarded immediately. It’s amazing how small a bike feels when you’re sitting on it at rest. The photo suggests something along the height of the old CB1000, but the bike feels 20 percent larger than that.

The machine’s ergo is not redundant, it’s a classic standard. Sheets are all you need to protect your soft butt from the hard plastic pot underneath, but nothing more. Look elsewhere for the comfort of the Gold Wing. However, the 919 seats are much better than most sport bikes.

The bar is also fairly standard, made of steel and retracts to return the arm to its natural position. The elbows lie down a little and are a little forward. Of course, your feet aren’t too much under or in front of your knees, so you can comfortably put your feet down.

This gives you a slightly forward leaning posture, which makes it comfortable to mess around with the city or play with a little backstreets.

“Even at a low rpm of 2,000 rpm, the motor didn’t complain when I hit the throttle to open it.”

The very upright riding position makes it easy to reflect the light feel of the 919 in ergonomic appointments, at least initially. But if you roll the twisty, start the turn-in, just think about tightening the line, lightly pushing the bar in the required direction, the bike will follow your instructions and quickly return to specifications Chart and Honda’s “best in class” “Lightweight” claim. Undoubtedly, the bike’s 25-degree rake and 57.5-inch wheelbase play a role here as well as the low center of gravity.

But in the middle of the corner, things go a little wrong. If you have bumps or a series of bumps at the entrance to a corner, the stock suspension settings give you the freedom to move the back end of your bike up and down. This makes it difficult to hold the line at best, as the bouncing backend tends to do something awkward to the front feel. To fix the situation, I tried increasing the rear shock preload (the only option available) by notching up the tilt adjustment from the seven available second to fourth positions.

Soon the backend became stiffer, but I couldn’t control the bumps any further. In fact, the stiffer settings only raised the bike’s perception that rebound damping needed to be increased. The ride quality was choppy and there was a slight increase in control. In the end, I learned to live with things, lowering the adjuster by one notch (up to three-sevenths) and focusing on other, more positive areas of 919 performance.

For example, the motor is a great unit and has developed a serious case of scrunchie, which constantly strains the facial muscles at the exit of the corner. Any gear, any speed, and a 919cc motor pulls without hiccups. Even at a low rpm of 2,000 rpm, the motor didn’t complain when I hit the throttle to open it. You will rarely need to adventure there, but the same compliment can be paid for the performance of the motor at high revs. In most cases, you’re playing in the 5,000 to 9,000 rev range and don’t need more or less.

However, we sometimes shifted the gearbox just to sample the smooth gear changes and properly selected ratios of a good 6-speed transmission. This allowed us to hear the babur emanating from the dual muffler under the seat coming out just behind our own aft section. It’s neither loud nor completely quiet, but it’s completely fun. Running through the gear created yet another excuse to enjoy the application of the 919’s excellent Nissin Front Binder. Following a good first bite, a similarly great modulation is done, stimulating self-confidence towards every turn.

On the Open Highway, the smooth nature of the motor shines again, eliminating most of the in-line buzz you’ve come to expect. The only thing that prevents this bike from becoming a full-fledged all-round mileage eater is Yamaha’s FZ-1 style fairing, which produces enough blast deflection to prevent the best spoofing of human parachutes. increase.

Overall, Honda did a lot of work with their new 919. It’s already on a fast track to become a staff favorite. With so much love already flowing, this great machine is just a clip-on set, and it’s presumed to be a decent shock away from being a good bike, so I asked Honda as a long-term tester. Did.

Recommended retail price: $ 7,999 Engine type: 919cc Liquid-cooled DOHC injection 4-cylinder bore and stroke: 71.0mm x 58.0mm Compression ratio: 10.8: 1 Valve train: DOHC; 4 valve carburetors per cylinder: Manual enricher circuit PGM-FI ignition with: Computer controlled digital transmission with 3D mapping: 6-speed final drive: # 530 O ring seal chain front suspension: 43mm cartridge fork. 4.7-inch travel rear suspension: Single shock with 7-position spring preload adjustment. 5.0 inch Travel Front Brake: Dual Full Floating 296mm Disc Rear Brake with 4-Piston Caliper: Single 240mm Disc Front Tire with Single Piston Caliper: 120 / 70ZR-17 Radial Rear Tire: 180 / 55ZR-17 Radial Wheel Base: 57.5 inch Lake (Caster) Angle): 25.0 degrees Trail: 98.0mm (3.9 inches) Seat height: 31.5 inches Dry weight: 427.0 pounds Fuel capacity: 5.0 gallons Color: Asphalt 2002 Honda 919 First Ride

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