Acting my Age
I got my cruiser last year because I love the look, and it’s a really nice ride. On the other hand, I found myself spending lots of time and money on performance upgrades to a bike that will never be a firecracker. I was also riding my cruiser much harder than a cruiser was ever meant to be ridden, and such behavior is just asking for trouble.
So I decided to finally start acting my age. Rather than spending more effort and cash to get tiny gains out of the C50, I realized that the most cost-effective upgrade I could do to my bike is to just get another one.
Say hello to my 1995 Honda Fireblade CBR900
I’d like to follow this announcement up by saying that there’s no way I’m giving up my C50 just yet. I’ve just gotten her modified to suit me perfectly. I love riding her to work, taking long relaxing rides, and sharing the experience with passengers. What this does mean, however, is that when that devil finds it’s way up onto my shoulder, I now have a proper machine to handle the extremes that I like to push. I’ve already bottomed out the frame on the C50 a few too many times, so sparing it the really rough scraping runs will probably be the best for its (and my) health in the long run.
Without further ado, a little about my new (to me) bike.
I’d been casually looking at crotch rockets for the last few months, getting a feel for what was out there, and what they were going for. I was tentatively planning on purchasing one this fall once they got cheap and I had the money to spare. For some reason, I was particularly motivated a few Sundays ago, and spent about an hour on Craigslist, narrowing things down and making a few calls.
I scheduled a few showings later in the afternoon, and rode out to them on my C50. I figured that showing up on a bike lent me a much better chance of being granted a test ride if I saw something I liked. The first bike I saw, a 1997 GSX-R750 was a bust. It didn’t look to be in really good shape, and it wasn’t really screaming my name.
The second bike I saw was my CBR900. As soon as I saw it, it made me happy. It’s got a bunch of scrapes, dings and cracks in the plastic, but from about 10 feet away, it looks fine. The biggest clincher for the bike is the performance upgrades. I don’t have a TON of info about this bike’s history, but I can infer a lot.
It’s obviously got a steering damper on it, along with a Two Brothers carbon fiber slip-on exhaust. The rear tire is oversized by 1cm, and the clutch is shortened. The seller let me know that the owner before him had the headers ported and installed a high-performance intake filter. The whole setup was jetted and dynoed to run on 93 octane. I really wouldn’t be surprised if there was significantly more work done to the bike than I know about.
The seller (who said he weighed 220 lbs.) claimed that he once got the bike going 170mph, uphill. I weigh 150 lbs., so I don’t think speed will be an issue for me. A stock ’95 CBR900 is supposed to have ~124hp. With all of the modifications done to it, putting an estimate of its current power at 130hp is probably a gross understatement. Add this to the fact that the bike weighs 400 lbs, and I feel that this bike easily has a 5 times faster pickup than my C50. No joke. I could probably do 0-100 in like 6 seconds. I’m not sure if I want to try timing that…
Because of the expensive modifications (several thousand dollars worth, at least), the entire lack of a passenger seat (or passenger pegs), low mileage (11,000mi @ 15 years old) and the custom paint job (with promotional logos), I’m inclined to believe that this bike has history as a track bike. I doubt I’ll ever know for sure, but for what I’m looking for it is perfect.
After taking the bike for a test drive and thinking “Holy shit! This thing is unreal!!” I decided that this bike would be mine. $4,200 later, and I’m now it’s proud owner. I’m quite sure the bike is worth more than that, especially given how much work has been done to it. For now, it fits the bill of “performance machine, not show-room looks.”
At the very least its making me think a lot less about the performance limitations of my C50 (except when riding two up, then I just feel bad for it struggling in first gear.)