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929RR Press Intro Day Two – Part One

Editor Dirck Edge on the 929RR at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Editor Dirck Edge on the 929RR at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

We just finished the morning session of riding the 929RR at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This afternoon, now that I know the track better (this is my first time at LVMS), I can push the bike harder. Nevertheless, I have some fairly strong impressions that I will share with you.

The 929RR, as you might expect from Honda, has a very smooth and linear power delivery. You dial on as much power as you want and, this characteristic, coupled with an extremely well-sorted suspension and chassis, makes you feel comfortable on the bike after just two laps.

How much power does it have? Well, let me put it this way – the 1999 CBR900RR I also rode this morning felt like a 750 by comparison. The increase in power over the 1999 bike is very significant everywhere. The 929RR pulls much harder from bottom to top. Although the horsepower peaks at 10,500 rpm and torque peaks at 9,000 rpm (see yesterday’s article), exiting turns at just 4,500 rpm results in smooth but strong acceleration.

LVMS has three very high speed sections that require hard braking before a tight left turn. On at least three occasions, after I got more comfortable with the track, I tried braking late into these corners. I learned that the brakes (both front and rear) provide excellent power and feel. The front brake, in particular, has phenomenal power. In fact, if the feedback from the front brake wasn’t so good, it’s power could easily get you into trouble.

One other striking contrast between the 929 and last year’s 900 is the shape (particularly, the width) of the gas tank. The new tank looks and feels much slimmer. The bars also seem a little bit closer (although, perhaps, lower). Overall, ergonomically the bike feels very much like the CBR600F4, although more aggressive in it’s riding position. The handling is also reminiscent of the F4.

Time to ride some more. More later today.