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Review in brief: 2006 Honda CB900 Hornet and 2007 Kawasaki Z

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' at netrider.net.au started by drdrei, Nov 2, 2008.

  1. #1 drdrei, Nov 2, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2015
    Continuing my lookout for bikes and wanting to ride every option before deciding on the final few I spent yesterday on a CB900 Hornet and Z750. What follows is the review.

    Still on the quest to road test a few more bikes before settling on a selection so today I spent a couple of hours tootling around on the VTR in search of a Z750, a CB900 and an ER-6n. The latter never eventuated, but lucky for me the first two were sitting in dealers in second-hand guise, ready for the picking.

    Approaching the Honda this example had tyres showing about half wear, but having only done 10K on the odo was still clean and tidy, with tight suspension and barely worn mechanicals. Coming from the VTR this thing look GIGANTIC and I wonder how I'm going to be able to hold it upright. Styling wise the thing is well and truly understated, walking the politically correct line more than Kevin07. Looking beyond this you see the powerhouse below which gives away the fact this is one very large bike in the naked category.

    With the HISS enabled key (Honda's form of immobiliser) the bike is able to fire into life, settling on that typical Honda 4-cylinder note - a blend of smooth sounding ignition and a gentle whine from the various mechanical orchestra. Definitely sticking to the conservative genre then. Jump aboard and you immediately notice this thing is short but wide backed up with a simple and almost classical dash layout. It kinda works, kinda doesn't. I'm still a bit skeptical about the way this thing wants to be aggressive but classical all at the same time.

    Give it throttle and the engine whines even louder with a subdues exhaust which is in desperate need of an aftermarket end-can. Clutch is smooth and light, all controls as per the VTR250 - well laid out and have a strong and sure feel about them. Definitely an improvement over that FZ6 from a couple of weeks ago. Pull out onto the street and suspension is softly damped but still well controlled. It doesn't feel like it'll get you into trouble at any point and as you pull away it's clear this thing is a bucket full of torque wrenches. Low revs and open throttle sees the thing pull away in a full surge of Newton's finest, throwing the tarmac behind you.

    What is in contrast to all this is the mirrors. "Things just work" might be Honda's catch cry, but I'm sorry Soichiro but these things are better used as ornate coffee coasters and not to see what's over my shoulder. Aftermarket exhaust and mirrors it is, then . Taking a turn into suburbia to find a straight piece of road finds this engine needing more breath, not the asthma attack it's been given when it was detuned. That's not to say it's short of power; far from it. It's just that, with all that torque low down you expect the power delivery to rise to a steady tunnel vision inducing view of the world and it never quite happens.

    So what is this thing then; a commuter, a naked street fighter, an open road tourer. Actually it's none of these and all at the same time. Honda has developed the Hornet with the attitude that it must do all things, rather than do one thing well. As an everyday proposition the Hornet delivers. It's the perfect one-bike garage option for someone who's after a naked - me! . And with all that it seems to be subdued and never overstates what it is or what it can do.

    So then I take to the road again and jump into the nearest Kawasaki dealer about 2 kms away to find the usual plethora of new ER-6n and Z750's and no demos. But, Hello!! What do we have here? A Z750 with the an odo readout matched to its name (750kms) ridden only a few times by its original owner and screaming for attention.

    Speaking of screaming those styling cues are written to yell out to traffic "Look at me! I'm a street fighter!" Immediately obvious that Kawasaki was out to create a one-way impression. A quick lift of the right leg you'll notice the high seat and flat bar layout. This thing is not only screaming out what it is, it's the li'l devil sitting on my shoulder telling me to act like a hooligan. Fire the engine into life and it continues the theme, struggling to hold a steady idle and putting out an exhaust note like no other. If you want to know what I mean take a quick visit to this Youtube link (http://au.[media=youtube]ZM4byrdPIf0[/media]) to hear for yourself. While not as loud as this open tube example you'll understand perfectly what this thing sounds like - screaming to be revved.

    Pull out over the car park kerbing onto the road and I compare this bike with the Hornet ... and there's no comparison, really. Where the Honda softly composed itself this thing bucks underneath like you're on a rodeo ride. Not to say it's over damped, but rather much more heavily sprung, with a short wheelbase setting the stage for even more shenanigans. It's the sort of bike you'd spend doing burnouts and wheelies and then dropping into the chemist for your next 24-pack of bravery pills.

    Seating is also kept in check with the theme, providing security of a two section arrangement and hard-as-a-rock padding that is not what you'd want if you're going to spend any more than an hour using. Once under way and this is all forgotten again, with the engine showing a tedency towards more and more RPM until the exhaust opens to a screaming symphony with all four pistons yelling to get out of the single tail-pipe. The wide bars give ease of control and sit well with the stunt bike theme.

    If this was a comparison between bikes then it would be a Jeckyl and Hyde one. The Hornet the inconspicuous average Joe Bloe, unassuming and content with how things are. The Z750 on the other hand is all about aggression, poise, attention, grabbing you by your jocks and ripping a wedgy in front of your mates. Respect it and it'll still cry for more attention and whisper into your ear, remarking that you really do want to do that donut next to that cop car. If I had a choice then, this Kwaka would be the pick of the two without a doubt.
  2. Good write-up. You never do 500+km days then? :-k
  3. i have the 750 and it is everything you say it is, but the beast can be controlled :) good reviews mate
  4. Nup :p
    It's going to be used as a daily commuter to work, and weekend warrior. Might end up on an epic ride of 500+ kms, but I'm up for the bugs, wind and lack of weather deflection. :)
  5. Regarding the seat comfort for long rides - After doing a few 500+ days on my old SRX the Z750 seat is like heaven.

    I have a Micron pipe on mine and I every time I hear it I giggle quietly to myself.
  6. 500+kays is not an epic; it's just a warm-up :p.

    Either way, a small fairing will make either machine a little easier to live with....
  7. Bear in mind this is a review by me, and based on my own objective take on things. But none-the-less I've posted here as I expect some interest. Note that I'm a skinny guy with not a lot of arse padding ... this may have swayed my statement about the seat comfort.

    On the exhaust note ... that would have to be one of the Z750's most outstanding features, if it only had one. It absolutely screams, and if you don't know what I'm talking about visit Youtube for the many recordings made.
  8. I know what the stock exhaust sounds like, I was just mentioning I have a Micron on my z750 and it screams on a whole different level - I might see if I can get something up on youtube one of these days.
  9. Please do. BTW, the youtube comment was aimed at the general readers on here. I reread my post and realised it's ambiguous ... obviously you know what your own bike sounds like :p