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Picked up the bike on 9/25/2018
My Riding Credentials
This is so you can get an idea of where I am coming from as a rider.
I first got my MSF in 2013 and have been riding for around 4 years so I am a relatively new rider.
Im 5'11 with a 34 inseam.
My first bike was a Ninja 250 that did a few track days on and then moved up to a CBR600RR.
Two years ago I bought the Africa Twin, and quickly realizing I was out of my element the first time I rode on dirt, I decided it would be a smart idea to learn to ride dirt on something a little less expensive. Then from there I had a 02 CR125, 2014 CRF250R, and an 06 CRF450X. I have also ridden a tested a few of my friends bikes all the Japanese brands and KTMs. Overall I would say currently am an average dirt rider, especially for the short amount of time I have spent riding dirt, I can keep up and am faster than people who have been riding a lot longer than I have.
Having recently sold my Africa Twin due to not having any buddies to ride with ( I don't feel comfortable riding a big adventure bike out in the desert solo) and not really using it as much as I would like, I was looking for a bike that I could still ride on the street and have fun riding off road with my friends. The 06 450x was "street legal" but I also wanted to upgrade to FI and I enjoy having new projects to modify. Power wise I wasn't needing anything with more power, and the maintenance intervals were not such a huge deal with me considering the X has very similar schedules. Ultimately I was looking for a FI bike with a magic button, reliability, weight and power comparable to my current X and something that could take the AZ heat. I was pretty content with the X and had been looking at the KTM/Husky but was interested to see what Honda was going to drop. The 450x also was not a ideal for the street due to not having a rad fan, and no brake light or turn signals.
First impressions (Dirt)
Mostly rocky doubletrack and a little bit of singletrack (~35 miles) High of 101°
Coming from the X the bike feels a lot more smooth, refined and has a bit more power. (The X had a full exhaust, airbox mod, and proper jetting) . Due to the bike being so quiet it is not as apparent but it is definitely a bit faster. The power band is very linear like most people have been saying but starts to fall off a bit near the top of the range, this is most likely due to all the emissions and cat on the bike. I feel like once that is removed and there is a tuning option, there is some extra ponies available. The suspension is noticeably stiffer than the x, but because my ride was solo, I was taking it easy and didn't want to push too hard. Stock tires are meh but that is to be expected, i will probably move to something more aggressive. Weight wise it didn't feel noticeably heavier than the X but then again I was not pushing it that much.
First impressions (Street)
Highway (~25 miles +60mph ) and Street (~10 Miles) High of 101°
Bike is really great for riding surface streets within city limits and easy to get around, not a whole lot of vibration from 0-50 mph and has a surprising amount of get up and go. Once on the freeway speeds 60-70 its a little more serious, you can feel some vibration around 65 but once above or below it goes away. Nothing super bad but if you are death gripping the bars I could see how this would cause some fatigue. There is obviously very little wind resistance at that speed but its to be expected and livable. I don't really see making any really long distance trips with the bike due to the relatively short tank range but its possible. There is some riding areas north of Phx but I see myself trucking the bike up for the hour 1:30+ trips, once its cooler in the valley I will be able to simply ride to the local trails with no problems. The headlight is a big step up from the X and shows a decent V from the front of the light, the high beam just adds a bit more light but nothing crazy. I can put my tip toes down on the bike but its nothing that feels too "tall or unconformable for me.
The fit and finish of the bike is really nice, everything is really sturdy and seems to be put together really well. (Only time will tell). The transmission is really smooth, gives a nice click when putting it in gear and does not feel mushy or vague at all. The spedo is awesome, I really like the estimated gallons used feature and is probably one of the cooler things on the bike. The turn signals are cool, they are small LED and can be bent 90° and just spring right back into place.
Not a big fan of the fuel cap and the huge plastic on the bottom of it, the throttle feels a bit twitchy and light compared to the 450x but its something I need to get used to, it reminds me of the Fi 250. The seat is pretty stiff, most likely due to it being fresh and my x seat has 12 year old foam that had time to soften up. Not coming stock with a fatbar is a letdown but something I plan on changing.
Why did I not buy the KTM / Husky?
I didn't feel like the power jump was some thing I really needed or wanted, they seem like great bikes but I like sticking with things that have worked for me in the past. I do like all the options they come with (fatbar, no cat and a lot less emissions bullshit, fuel capacity is a bit larger, handguards stock) but most of that stuff I am planning on swapping out anyways on the L so its not such a huge deal for me.
Am I a Honda fanboi ?
I have owned a lot of different brand bikes/cars in the past but recently have been on a Honda kick. My previous Ridgeline had 300k miles with practically no issues, and between my girlfriend and I we have had multiples. (Integras,S2000, K and B seriers swapped Civics, Fit, Insight). The reason I keep coming back is because of their reliability quality and are easy to work on. Once they stop making nice products, I will stop buying them.
I will post a bit more once I get some more seat time, let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks!