Here at modern MO, we probably wouldn’t publish a road test of a new Honda without a few photos of the thing in action. Twenty years ago, though, there was probably a perfectly reasonable-sounding excuse: My dog ate the film, a bear ate the photographer… Most probably, somebody slud the shiny new Honda 919 down the road on the way to the shoot, and the show had to go on. Who knows? They shouldn’t have called the color “Asphalt.” In any case, this CBR900RR-based naked has become something of a cult classic, well loved by people who love Hondas. Enjoy the tiny studio photos and full spec chart.
An old wolf in sheep’s clothes.
Torrance, California, – We, as a people, must be getting soft. Maybe its the years of feel-good politics that have done it to us, or maybe its the antibiotics in our milk. Whatever the case, there are more people than ever who just can’t bear the thought of riding a narrow-focus sportbike. “Too uncomfortable,” they’ll say. “Too peaky,” opine others. “Too complicated,” say yet another group of malcontents, fed up with the current crop of superbike replicas. Still, insists Honda, these folks are a far cry from trading in their daily adrenaline fix for a bottle of Geritol. For these people, it’s Honda’s 919 that seems to be tailor made. In fact, the bike may even appeal to some crossovers who want a bike that should be almost as quick as any pure sportbike on a back road, carrying out said duty with the sort of street-fighter flare and old-school charm only a bike like the 919 can possess.After all, its motor is based on the same powerplant that once made the CBR900RR such a popular track machine in 1993.
Back then, 893 cubic centimeters were all Honda needed to turn the sportbike world on its ear with a class-leading power-to-weight ratio. Today, for this new-old crowd, the mill has grown to 919 cubes and pumps out even more torque, though the peak power numbers are, not surprisingly, lopped off in favor of more around-town drivability. But then again, that’s the focus of this bike whereas its predecessor’s goal was much more narrow-focus.
But just because the new 919 isn’t a race bike doesn’t mean it has to have as much torque or weigh as much as a milk truck. Its claimed dry weight makes it the lightest naked bike in the open class. And even though the motor doesn’t have class leading peak power, Honda is more than happy with the output, insisting that the gobs of torque and lithe feel will entice more buyers than peaky dyno charts.
Under the Hood