I’ve said more than a few times that the Honda Goldwing is to Bikers what retiring to Florida is for old people with no imagination.
I’ve been wrong and I admit my mistake. I could own a Goldwing. This one.
Honda, and every Cycle Rag that I’ve looked at lately are all spouting off that this new commuter standard is a “Game Changer”.
Okay, I took this at face value the first couple times I heard it. Its an interesting looking bike. Clean lines. Some nice MPG numbers. A trunk where the fuel tank should be. I wanted to like this bike.
And then I took a close look at one in person.
I don’t like it.
If this is a game changer, I don’t want to play this sport anymore. But I don’t know why that is. But there is something about it that is off-putting.
The engine is just fine for the intended purpose… but it doesn’t offer anything more. “Spirited” is something it will never be accused of being. The engine is pretty much the engine of a Honda Fit cut in half. You’ve probably seen the Honda Fit rolling around, when I was out in SLC last week, you couldn’t throw a rock without hitting one. Being based on an automobile engine does have some advantages perhaps. Commonality of parts, cheaper parts. Really, Honda was quite clever in this. The engine is lower revving than most bikes, getting much of it’s torque well below 3,000 RPM’s. And that’s a great thing, as I like to keep the revs down anyways.
And the 680cc engine allows for a very narrow bike. As there are only two cylinders side by side instead of the normal 4 that’s popular in many street bikes. My beloved Magnas for example had 2 side by side… of course there were also 2 more in a V going in a different angle, but still. I loved my last Honda Twin… My Superhawk. I loved how narrow that bike was. It was a 996 that felt as skinny as most 600’s, if not more so.
I like the trunk, but I don’t want to sacrifice performance for something that a tank bag can do. I don’t see myself storing my bucket in the trunk anyways. I’m in the habit of taking it with me anyways. I guess this is from having a few helmets stolen. BTW, who the hell would steal someone else’s helmet? That’s a very low level of scum. If you catch someone stealing a helmet – that should be justifiable homicide right there. Anyways, but having a nice storage compartment would be handy. A couple DVD’s a can of Xing Tea or two, some snacks. That’s something that would indeed be handy.
Of course Honda also has number of other add-ons. Such as hard luggage. Turning this little commuter into a nice little Touring machine. Notice that Center Stand. Handy that. I had a bike once that had one. I liked it. Of course I wrapped that bike around a tree so hard the engine popped out and they had to cut the tree down to get the bike off it. But that’s another post for another time. Anyways, yeah, that luggage… That top truck unit… that’s 600 bucks for that one trunk think alone. And you can’t buy just any aftermarket trunk for it, because then you couldn’t refill your bike because of the fuel cap location under the passenger seat. (Talked to the dealer about it. Evidently that was a problem for a guy.) So you have to buy it from Honda. I’ve never seen a plastic box worth 600 bucks, but there it is. Still, even dressed out, you still have a nice bike that rides about as relaxed as you can get, turns in great fuel economy…
But I just don’t like it. In fact, I kinda hate them. It’s too… “Nice”. It’s almost a Scooter in it’s Civility, and I hate that. It is about as Sporty as a Guy that wears Cardigan Sweaters. It’s a bike for a guy that has had his balls cut off. In fact, they should call this bike the Honda Eunuch.
One of the motorcycles I had in the past and truly enjoyed, was the VFR. It uses THAT engine… that one that I just can’t help but to love… Honda’s V-4. Lots of power at the low revs, lots of power in the middle, and lots at the top. Honda has put this engine in the Magna, and made them in a couple different sizes… all good.
My first was a 500CC, then later a 750, and then an 800. The 500 wasn’t my first bike, my first bike was also a V-4… the Saber.
But the Saber pretty much became a cruiser, and Honda used the badge on the Shadow line of bikes… pity… But the V-4 lived on the Magna… I’ve had a few Magnas. One of each Generation. The last was the best, undoubtedly.
The Intercepter though… that became known simply as the VFR. And it’s lived it’s life as a dedicated sports bike, then went the path of the Sports Touring as Honda decided to bring the inline-4 out as the dedicated sports machine. I used to hate the CBR because of that. It’s Commercial Airliner looking fairings and Non-V-4 engine. The VFR kinda became tired. The sporty looking bike for Old Guys. Well, now I’m an Old Guy. And it’s looking good. It’s looking really good.
It’s not a perfect Sports Touring Bike… It has it’s flaws. But it’s got some great points. A new double clutch system, that V-4 engine in a 1200 sized Value Pack of Moto-Goodness. It’s also fairly heavy, and people are saying it’s not as powerful as it should be. But I think this is forgivable giving the fact that the power delivery is low and mid-range designed for what it’s for… Sports Touring.
|Engine type||l-c V4|
|Valve train||SOHC, 16v|
|Bore x stroke||81.0 x 60.0mm|
|Clutch||Wet, multi-plate slipper or dual-clutch automatic|
|Front suspension||43mm Showa inverted fork with adjustable rebound damping|
|Rear suspension||Single Showa shock with adjustable spring preload and rebound damping|
|Front brake||Dual Nissin six-piston radial calipers, 320mm discs|
|Rear brake||Single Nissin two-piston caliper, 276mm disc|
|Front tire||120/70-ZR17 Dunlop Roadsmart|
|Rear tire||190/55-ZR17 Dunlop Roadsmart|
|Rake/trail||25.3 deg./4.0 in.|
|Seat height||32.1 in.|
|Fuel capacity||4.9 gal.|
|Claimed wet weight||591 lbs. standard, 613 lbs. automatic|
|Warranty||12 mo., unlimited mi.|
I think I’m going to post a Motorcycle every Monday… Just for my own amusement. A bike that I would love to have or have had or maybe do have? I don’t know yet, but to kick it off… My bike choice of the moment is this.
Honda’s CBR1000RR. The Liter Class Leader.
|Model||CBR1000RR / CBR1000RR C-ABS|
|Engine Type||999cc Liquid-Cooled Inline Four-Cylinder|
|Bore And Stroke:||76mm X 55.1mm|
|Valve Train||DOHC; Four Valves Per Cylinder|
|Induction||Dual Stage Fuel Injection (DSFI)|
|Ignition||Computer-Controlled Digital Transistorized With 3-D Mapping|
|Final Drive||#530 O-Ring-Sealed Chain|
|Suspension||Front: 43mm Inverted Big Piston Fork With Spring Preload, Rebound And Compression Damping Adjustability Rear: Unit Pro-Link Balance-Free Rear Shock With Spring Preload, Rebound And Compression Damping Adjustability|
|Brakes||Front: Dual Radial-Mounted Four-Piston Calipers With Full-Floating 320mm Discs Rear: Single 220mm Disc; Optional Honda Electronic Combined ABS (CBR1000RR C-ABS)|
|Tires||Front: 120/70ZR-17 Radial Rear: 190/50ZR-17 Radial|
|Rake (Caster Angle)||23° 3’|
|Trail||96.0mm (3.8 Inches)|
|Seat Height||32.3 Inches|
|Fuel Capacity||4.7 Gallons, Including 1.06-Gallon Reserve|
|Estimated Fuel Economy||TBD|
|Colors||CBR1000RR: Red, Black, Pearl White/Blue/Red CBR1000RR C-ABS: Red|
|Curb Weight*||441 Pounds (CBR1000RR) / 467 Pounds (CBR1000RR C-ABS)|
The Superhawk is now operational again. Headlights, tail and brake, and all the instrumentation is working again. I took it for a test ride, and it seems fine. Took the Hawk into town and picked up some new Fuses and I think I’m good.
I need new turn signals and a new Shifter. The shifter right now is folded back on its self and hard to shift with. This is a part that will have to be replaced. Attempting to bend it back will break it. I look at this as a time to upgrade. Racing parts, and I’ll get some LED Turn Signals, I think.
There is something about this Honda Superhawk… It’s very different from other bikes I’ve ever ridden. I guess its because I’ve never had a V-twin sport bike before. The bike is very deceptive… It feels like a 600, its light and narrow, and is very agile… More like a 600 or 750 than a 996. But the torque… It come on like a force of nature and the speed builds so effortlessly. It’s amazing.
I’ve had other sportbikes, I’ve had cruisers… I’ve never had a machine that I enjoyed riding so much as I enjoy this one. This bike is my favorite out of everything that came before it. I don’t know what could top it in terms of pure unadulterated pleasure.
Thanks to Horde Member M… Had a brisk ride home after he helped me tighten my chain. He’s rolling on a sports bike too. Hooliganism makes one feel young again for a moment. And that’s a good thing when taken in small doses. My Chain, once to a proper tension, is at the maximum length of stretch. I’m going to replace it. The Sprockets are in better shape than the chain… the chain is in ugly shape. With my Chain Break History, I’m just going to remove that nagging doubt.
Not everyone of my friends understands the Motorcycle thing, and even fewer understand the “Rice Burner Crotch Rocket” thing. What’s funny is that the guys giving me the most crap about also own Japanese bikes and one even drives a Honda car. So “Rice Burner” isn’t exactly holding water… but it is certainly a rocket.
Guys, no, as much as many have said or are thinking… I don’t want to die. Yes, I understand I hold my mortality in my hands, but I don’t want to die. I’m just not afraid of dying. There is a difference, an important difference. I’ve done performance driving courses… I think I would really like to take a Performance Riding course. I’m still green on a Sport Bike, and still learning this bike… I think a course would really be a good idea.
Well… I did it again. After looking at Kawasaki’s, Suzuki’s, Yamaha’s, and a couple Hardly’s… I came home with another Honda… another Red Honda. This is the Superhawk 996, a V-Twin. Yes, I sold a Honda with 4 cylinders, 4 Carbs, 4 Pipes… and bring home a Honda with 2 Carbs, 2 cylinders, and 2 pipes… and it’s Twice the Bike. I am not nearly as fatigued from the ride from Orem, and admittedly I got home a lot quicker.
This bike really and truly is a Torque Monster. In Orem, on State Street… about 5 blocks from where I bought it, I was nearing an intersection that had turned Yellow. So I just goosed the throttle like I always did on my Magna… expecting a quick burst of speed, nothing big, just enough to get through the yellow light. That’s not what happened. What happened was this hairy beast of a monster let out a roar and I wheelied through the intersection like a madman. Thankfully there was no Law Enforcement around to witness this because I don’t think they would buy my excuse.
Carving up the canyons on the way home was pure enjoyment.
What’s funny though… the motorcycle “Wave”. I saw a lot of motorcycles out today… passed by tons of them going the opposite direction. I used to always get “The Wave” from other bikers. Not One. Not that I cared or expected it. But there it is.
The Superhawk is a strange bike, I’ll admit that. Very light and narrow for a 996cc machine. The bike wants to cruise at 80 MPH at 4K RPM’s. Just really sedate compared to the Magna at the same speed. It just burbles along… singing it’s song… and then I downshift and open the throttle… and the Superhawk gets straight up PISSED. The whole tone of the engine changes and the power comes on in a huge way. 110 horses and 80 pounds of torque come to bear… this is a great deal more power than the Magna had… and the Magna is considered a “Muscle Bike”. Huh. The Speedo on the Superhawk goes up to 180 MPH. I didn’t test that… but I believe it can get up there. I did inadvertantly hit a triple digit speed making a pass on a long straight. The speed rolled on effortlessly and the bike felt solid as a rock. I was shocked when I looked down and saw how fast I was going. I instantly pulled that in…. One doesn’t want a ticket on the first day of ownership… that’s bad luck.
Overall, I am full of Happy Happy, Joy Joy feelings with this motorcycle…. and it looks so good… I don’t think I could ever get tired of looking at it. In fact, I sat on the porch of Ogre Range just looking at it for the longest time. Gorgeous bike.
Made a handshake deal on a Honda Superhawk. A big v-twin sportbike. Should be a good bike for me.
I couldn’t lock down the other bikes I wanted.
We will see how this plays out though.
Saturday I unexpectedly made a deal with a family to sell my beloved Honda Magna. The day before, I was having lunch with my Bride and we talked bikes. I decided to just keep the Magna and tweak it to better suit my needs. Seat, tank, pipes. Simple enough.
Then after lunch on Saturday some folks come in to the gun shop and we come to an agreement. I’m actually kinda torn on selling it. The VF750C’s engine is truly one of the very best engines ever put into any motorcycle. Honda really needs to bring back the Magna, but with some more modern upgrades. But as I say farewell to this bike, I’ll be able to make acquaintance with a new bike. There are three main options.
First option, is a Kawasaki ZX-1100. Full sized sport-touring bike. This is a long range road interstate warrior… exactly what I want and need. This bike has the range that I wish I had invested in off the bat when I got the Magna. But it had been awhile since I rode, so it was wisdom to get into something to get my Biker Blood flowing again without spilling it. But a bike like this… it’s a lot of machine. It’s a Starship that can cross the country at Warp Factor 10 like other bikes cruise at 60.
Second option, if the first one is taken before I get to it… is a Yamaha FZ1. A Standard Liter Bike, all around easy bike to run on, but with good sized fuel tank that would get me where I wanted to go. Not the most exciting of machines, but an all around solid bike that would do very well for me.
The third choice actually surprised me. A Zuke Boulevard. It’s not much bigger than the Magna, but it does have the fuel tank that I want. It lacks the Hasty that the Magna has, but with the better fuel economy, bigger tank… it doubles the range that the Magna had. Electronic ignition, computer controlled fuel injection… it would be a very nice machine. And it’s larger, more comfortable than the Magna… I could deal with that happily but it would be settling.
A lot of guys are telling me that I need to get a Harley. Sure, I could do an XR1200. Or a cool Dyna set up like Jax Teller’s… but I don’t want a bike that is loud, and you are just not finding them for around three grand, because that’s all that I’m spending. I don’t want to Bank Roll a Bike. I’m not going to carry a note on something that can so easily be ripped out from under you by an idiot in a Cage.
I’m crawling all over KSL.com’s Classifieds. But if anyone out there knows of a GOOD bike for around 3 grand… hit me up. I’m open to good suggestions.