– Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

2002 Honda 919: Long-Term Update

We revisit our trusty Honda 919 long-term test bike for the last time. Yes, “trusty” is an apt description, as the 919 has been as reliable as an anvil.

We were excited about the 919 at the time we wrote our preview article, and more so after our ride review. First impressions are not always lasting ones, however. The purpose of a long-term test is to get to know the “character” of a bike, as well as its long-term reliability.

After several thousand miles on our 919, the bike runs perfectly — now augmented by the Erion Racing exhaust system installed just prior to our first long term update.

In fact, the most noticeable change in the 919 is an increase in power. The bike just seems snappier (can you say “snap wheelie”?), and that has at least as much to do with the engine loosening up after a few thousand miles as it does the Erion system. The same, smooth, hitless powerband described in our initial test is still there — it is just a little bit stronger, everywhere.

The new mufflers definitely gave the bike a needed attitude adjustment. It now sounds just as badass as it looks. Removal of the passenger grab rails (Honda doesn’t recommend this) smoothed out the tail section, and added to the bike’s attitude, a bit, as well.

Maintenance? What maintenance? Oh, that must mean the $11.99 oil filter and 3 quarts of el-cheapo non-synthetic. We don’t recommend synthetic oil for several thousand miles on your “tight” new Honda. No other costs incurred, except gasoline (at the rate of 40 miles per gallon).

Basically, no worries, just follow this program: ride hard, hang up wet, repeat next day.

Other than the pipes, we left the bike stock. Reasons? Well, there was no burning need to replace or augment anything else. Sure, the stock shock absorber isn’t the greatest, but it is more than adequate. The fly screen we thought about adding to the bike detracts from the naked look we like so much. Besides all this, we’re MotorcycleDaily, and we’re still not in a position where people throw parts at us (Someday, we’ll get calls like this: “Mr. Edge, please, please, please try our Ohlins shock on your long-term 919 . . . we’ll even throw in a set of Ohlins forks for your personal dirt bike.” . . . I will reply, “No, it’s too much trouble to install the shock, but I would reconsider if you send along a technician with a Swedish accent.”). David Edwards at Cycle World must get plenty of phone calls like this. We don’t. You get the idea.

The main idea of this article is this: Honda built pretty much what you expected with the new 919, and a little bit of what you didn’t. Dependability, reliability, good looks and a good dose of fun. For a “standard” with non-adjustable suspension, at a “standard” price, you won’t be disappointed. If you want more detail than this, read all four of our articles on the 919. If, on the other hand, you already know you want a modern interpretation of the classic Japanese standard, just skip all that and put the 919 high on your list.

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