Renewed Romance: Honda CBR929

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Lieback’s Corner (#7) / 6.17.2011

With June halfway over, my plans for purchasing a 2011 Ducati 848EVO by summer have suddenly vanished. Well, unless I hit the lottery by the Summer Solstice this Tuesday. But since I no longer play the lottery, this is 100-percent doubtful thinking.

Maybe my new goal will be an EVO by this winter or spring…who knows. This thing called life sometimes gets in the way of my motorcycling madness, and the “Ducati Coffer” quickly dwindled.

But with these motorcycle blues came about a renewed romance for my 2001 Honda CBR929RR Erion Edition, which I was originally keeping in top-stock condition for my future sportbike collection. I’ve never forgotten about her, and occasionally used her for hardcore sportbike riding around my “Mountain Course” and various back-country roads. But with all the sport-touring on the “budget builder” VFR, and track days on the R6, there simply wasn’t time for the 929 in my riding life.

That was until all these emotions of yesteryear returned late last week as I changed the oil and brake pads on the Viffer. While starring at the 929 I had to do some slight restoring to, that whole Y2K sportbike era reappeared in my head as if the first day the 929 hit the showroom floor in late 99, finally replacing the CBR900.

After that thought, another one: the first time I rode my buddy’s 929. I remembered the immediate affection I had upon twisting the throttle, feeling the front end rise in third gear. The 929 was everything needed back then, the size and agility of a 600 with the power/speed of a liter bike. And it had fuel injection, which placed it leagues ahead of Yamaha’s R1 at the time, the Yamaha still running those things called carbs at the time.

And although I never owned a 929 until four years ago, the bike continues to bring back those feelings of my falling for the world of sportbikes, which eventually turned into falling for the entire world of motorcycles, from cruisers to dirt to sport touring to trials. But sportbikes were and will likely always remain number one, and it was the 929 that started it all.

So back to 2011. Last week, when I had this Y2K sportbike epiphany in the garage, I figured I’d put some time/money into my beloved 929 and actually ride it like its meant to be ridden. As stated before, my Erion was 100-percent stock, which is the way I wanted to keep it for a future sportbike collection. But when motorcyclists have passion brewing inside, things always need improvement. More horesepower, better looks. And a second look at the stock undertail got my head going.

The thing was downright ugly, and had to go. After some research, I found a sleek one on eBay, which incorporates LED lights, adding safety. I envisioned a white undertail, and that’s what I went with. After Mr. UPS delivered the part this past Tuesday, I spent three hours that evening installing it.

Like the old Y2K days, everything at the moment was sidelined so I could finish upgrading my motorcycle. The only problem is nowadays I don’t sideline meeting a friend out at the tavern or some concert; I sideline sleeping.

The project was not simple; rather, it was dremmel-tool breaking work (I cracked eight cut-off wheels while trimming the old undertail), and time consuming. But with that kind of work arrives additional gratification for the finished product, even if it means only four hours of sleep.

And also like the Y2K days, the upgrades are not going to stop at an undertail. It’s time for a Corbin seat, some rearsets and a double-bubble windshield. And I’m sure the list will grow…

Yes, the Y2K sportbike romance has returned, and I’m seducing the model that helped ignite my passion for everything motorcycles.

Now if only the 929 can return the favor and rocket my metabolism back to 2000…

Stay twisted; throttle yr soul

– Ron Lieback

Lieback’s Corner is the Online Editor’s weekly column, which delves into RL’s recent motorcycling mind breaths and wanderings. 

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