Motorcycle Forum

Motorcycle Forum (http://www.motorcycle.com/forum/)
-   MO Reader Feedback (http://www.motorcycle.com/forum/mo-reader-feedback/)
-   -   2006 Honda 599 (http://www.motorcycle.com/forum/mo-reader-feedback/3140-2006-honda-599-a.html)

killer5280 11-30-2005 07:04 AM

Re: 2006 Honda 599
 
You nailed it again, Sean. My '91 F2, which was the pinnacle of middleweight performance in the early 90's, has less power and performance than the 599. Before I sold it I routinely rode away from guys on the latest and greatest sportbikes in the curvy roads around here. Now I do that on my '98 Superhawk.

A street bike ain't a race bike and the 599 is a nice street bike. I've seen them at the dealership and they don't look boring to me; pictures don't tell the whole story.

kawazuki 11-30-2005 04:17 PM

Re: 2006 Honda 599
 
I'd happily pay just as much for a "CB600" as the current model CBR600RR, if it came with the same motor, same level of front and rear suspension intelligence, and a frame that was as comfortable as an old CB750 or KZ1000, but as advanced as the race counterpart.



Power. Handling. Comfort. Is that so much to ask for?

Easyenough 12-02-2005 09:20 AM

Re: 2006 Honda 599
 
I bought a 04 599 in May 05 with 300 miles on it for $4900 and after checking it out, I had lunch and then rode it 800 miles back home.



When I got off I realized I'd just bought a motorcycle that'll be with me for the very long hall. This bike is like a trusty dog or the old six shooter your grandpa gave you that never sticks.



I mostly thrash it around the city. Once a month I take it on a 500 mile round trip to another city and the highway and backways both treat me fine. I have fat saddlebags that fit perfectly (heat shield works even in 95 degree gridlock) that I load up for longer trips or grocery runs even with a passenger. I don't even own a car.



The standard suspension arrangement means I never have to ask the girls that ride on the back what they weigh and my trusty 599 never grudges me my judgement in ladies. And the ladies, unlike some of you, seem awful excited about how it looks and feels when they get off (but that might just be me). They sit upright, look over my shoulder and have a decent seat. They can even lean forward and put a hand on the tank when the very satisfying brakes are called into action. I have never wished for more breaking power, even with a passenger. But I weigh about 165 so I'm easy. Not quite ready for a stoppie, but when I am, I'll let you know.



Although I love reliability and the fact that my shop manual and I can get into almost any system on the bike, my favorite attribute is the incredibly forgiving low center of gravity and balance. I toss it around because it always forgives me. I get to be wild because it's smarter than I am. Oops, have to break into a corner? That's alright, the bike says, I won't stand up on you. (And if I ever do go down on it, it won't take a road crew to pick up all the plastic.) Oil slick pop the the rear end loose sending it dangling to the right? 'ats ok, just ease it out and we'll bring it back in. I've never been on a more trustworthy bike and that means we are developing a very tight relationship. The more I push the envelope the more this bike says, I've still got a little more for you. When I meander passed a sportbike in the twists, I wonder what kind of a relationship that rider has with his bike. Do they trust each other? Does the bike realize that it's owner thinks it's a disposable husk for today's tech?



(As Gabe writes, the lack of a linkage is the one chink in the incredible trustworthiness of the 599 story. But even a great dog has one attribute that you, as the owner, have to make up for.)



Like a damn good dog, I don't need this bike to impress my ducati riding friends (though the 620 Monster-riders grudgingly admit it's a better Italian bike for less money), it just has to impress me. And it does that every day. And, I'd like to point out, because so few of these bikes are around, it's a lot more exotic than many of the Italian, so-called exotics. I've certainly never seen a 599 on the road, and a lot of other riders want to talk about it when they see it.



My first bike, a used '78 Honda cb750K had around 40,000 miles on it when I sold it for the same price I bought it for. I could be wrong but I'm not confident that a fuel-injected bike will have that same staying power. I'm planning on growing with the 599 for a long time, but if I ever give it up, there's going to be a lot of bike left. I don't have to remind any of you that aluminum stores all stress and eventually (whenever that is) fails catastrophically while steel recovers and only fails incrementally. I won't want to get on a 15-year old sv650 but the steal backbone of the 599 is going to last forever and so is that carburated engine. Total cost of ownership over the lifetime of this bike will be very low.



The fact that Honda has kept it simple using well-understood and reliable systems tuned to the point that they outperform bikes like the sv650 that rely on much newer technology is a miracle. And worth a big premium to me. I don't like testing out all of an engineer's new ideas. I like riding on a collection of the best, tried-and-true ideas, especially if my performance sacrifices are minimal, and I challenge anyone to find a better collection of well-integrated, race and real-world proven engineering strategies at a lower price than the 599.

SlowJeff 12-03-2005 01:53 PM

Re: 2006 Honda 599
 
<blockquote>The standard suspension arrangement means I never have to ask the girls that ride on the back what they weigh</blockquote>



So the lack of adjustability means the suspension doesn't need adjusting under different weights? While I am not a rocket scientist nor do I play one on TV, but I do know that all vehicles, whether they be motorcycles or semi-trucks, require adjusting the suspension when you increase the load. The suspension ought to be adjusted for the weight the vehicle is carrying, not doing so is unsafe, and potentially dangerous.



<blockquote> I have never wished for more breaking power, even with a passenger.</blockquote>



You have also probably never experienced more breaking power.



<blockquote> Oops, have to break into a corner? That's alright, the bike says, I won't stand up on you. (And if I ever do go down on it, it won't take a road crew to pick up all the plastic.)</blockquote>



Actually standing a bike up while breaking is the safe thing to do. Since a given lean angle requires a given radius and speed to maintain, if you remove some or all the speed your lean angle will be affected proportionatly to the radius you are turning. Therefore, on a constant radius corner, if you slow down you will not have enough momentum to maintain your angle and subsequently causing a lowside crash. To remedy this hazard stand your bike up while turning in the corner.



As for how much damage is caused in a lowside, sans fairings (plastics); a 599 will bend the handlebar ($80), bend/break the clutch lever($20), dent the pretty gas tank ($800), scrape the tail fairing (~$400), scrape the engine case ($100) and the tip of the pegs (not replaced to "look tough", ie drag peg). So if that sounds like a cheap alternative to scraping plastic go at it! (Plastics also protect the metal parts from being damaged).



<blockquote>When I meander passed a sportbike in the twists, I wonder what kind of a relationship that rider has with his bike.</blockquote>



A safe and sane one. Since a 599 is a low-tech old sportbike itself. If you are passing other sport bikes, you may want to slow down and follow one of them for a while to see why they are going slow.



<blockquote>Does the bike realize that it's owner thinks it's a disposable husk for today's tech?</blockquote>

"This makes uh-no sense". So technology not used to the extreme is technology gone to waste? That is like telling a BMW GS1150ADV to use ABS at every stopsign/stoplight. Technology makes vehicle operation better, safer, more in control. Purposefully not adding/purchasing "safety" technology is asking to be hurt by situations that could have been avoided.



Check the MSRP on a Monster 620 and then again on you Honda, then compare technology to technology... they have to you beat in almost every category (except sevice cost, Honda is better).



Comparing the SV650 to a 599, I wouldn't bet that the value of a 599 15 years from now would be very good, especially since people that sell them second hand right now in the USA can barely get rid of them for half their retail value of the previous year. Where the SV has a larger following in the USA and will probably be marketable 15 years down the line.



As for the Aluminium vs. Steel frame question, I have an aluminium framed FZR400/600, its over 15 years old, been down on the ground dozens of times (ex-track bike for class racing) and the frame is still very solid. But then again is very sturdy aluminium frame where the steel box tube is only about 2"x2" on the 599. What is easier to bend/break? 2"sq steel tube or twin spar 6"x1.5" aluminium frame.



As for your line saying that the 599 is " tuned to the point that they outperform bikes like the sv650" that is the complete opposite of how the bike is tuned. The bike has been DETUNED for low end torque and easier acceleration on the street. While the SV650 dominates AMA Thunderbike class.



As for you "best tried-and-true ideas", I will agree with you. .............if you mean tried-and-true as "worn-and-outdated".



You should really study up on th physics mf motorcycles before you get yourself or your passenger injured or killed.

SlowJeff 12-03-2005 03:08 PM

Re: 2006 Honda 599
 
To keep from sounding overly harsh, I will restate that I owned an '04 919 (which had adjustable suspension, but still retained the lack of linkage to the swingarm).



Knowing that the 599 was way down on performance from the 919, in light of the new suspension I was planning on purchasing one.



Then I realized that the "new" suspension would need serious aftermarket help but would still suffer from the bolt to the rear swingarm.



Then I read the above article and everyone elses input and came to my senses and desided to buy something where my investment was worth more value.



In the end one can conclude that this bike is a European hooligan bike which in the USA that market is dominating by Gixxers and the like.



As much fun as hooligan riding is, I tend to be more sensible and tend towards the sport-touring market. So maybe I should start looking for a sport-tourer for myself.

Easyenough 12-05-2005 05:46 AM

Re: 2006 Honda 599
 
I'm astonished that someone who seems to have had some experience riding would write the things you have written.

1) All other factors held equal, a lower center of gravity will cause a smaller change in lean angle when a bike decelerates in a turn. Relative to other standards, the 599 has a very low center of gravity.

2) Satisficing, a concept for which Herbert Simon won a Nobel prize, describes a human tendency to do well enough rather than optimize. I have never met anyone that adjusted their suspension when taking a girl home five miles through the city. (I guess I don't know anyone with electronic suspension adjustment).



To be honest, the following is speculation, but I have never seen anything that disagrees with it. The size of the tuning sweet spot for motorcycle suspension can vary. In most cases the size of the sweet spot is inversely proportionate to the optimization of the tuning. I think the (admittedly primitive) suspension of the 599 is tuned to handle, non-optimally, a wide range of loads. I think other standards and certainly most sport bikes have a smaller range of suspension tuning which will result in a serviceable ride. These bikes clearly make up for it by having much better suspension relative to the 599 when optimized. The 599 is tuned to do "good enough" at wide range of loads. It is numbingly obvious that if you optimize a bike for a given load, a large variance from that load will de-optimize that suspension setting.

3) I have ridden, though never owned, bikes with supposedly better brakes than on the 599, and despite pushing the bike to what I think are its breaking performance limits I have never needed more breaking capacity. With two fingers I bring the bike to the performance limits of the front tire and front suspension. Although upgrades could be made to improve breaking performance, the brakes are not the weak point.

4) Understanding and being comfortable on the bike you are riding has a large impact on your performance. In some cases, greater than the impact of the technical specifications of the bike itself. An amazing case in point is the 600 vs open class comparison moto just did. In my experience, my friends who upgrade bikes often to take advantage of improved technology including power, don't have a long enough relationship with their bikes to understand how to optimize that bike's capacity. In my experience, this is true even for experienced riders.

5) Relative to supply the 599 is not in great demand and this has resulted in significant retail discounting. If you know of a consistent source for $3500 used but like-new honda 599's please share, I'll even give you a $500 commission. At that price, there is a great deal of demand, particularly abroad. Not that this has any statistical relevance but on ebay today an '04 599 with more than 6000 miles is asking $6000 (by a bmw dealer). That's basically retail and exceptional resale. The sv650's, which are a stunning value to start with, aren't doing any better and the market for used Ducs is relatively worse.

What are you thinking when you consider total cost of ownership without maintenance, as you do with the Duc? That's crazy. That's the whole point.

6) Aluminum stresses badly. This can be engineered around by adding strength and weight, which might be one of the reasons the sv650 weighs more than the 599. Nonetheless, when aluminum fails, it fails without warning and catastrophically. This might be an academic point since when those stress levels are reached you're probably dead anyway. But when I have had aluminum fail on me (twice), with bicycles, the aluminum shattered and in once case I had to have the shards removed from my body. Overbuilt aluminum stems are famous for exploding under repeated stress. I have also seen an aluminum bicycle frame shatter obscenely. Steel doesn't behave that way. I'm not arguing that motorcycles shouldn't be built with aluminum, but I am arguing that there are significant properties of steel that will become advantages over aluminum in the long term. The long term isn't much of a consideration in most motorcycle engineering, though.



7) To the same extent that the sv650 dominates here, the Hornet dominates club racing in Europe. In the US people choose to race the sv650 because it's a cheaper platform to make aftermarket improvements on, but what's raced on has very little to do with what rolls out from the dealer. And racing performance is a lousy litmus test for street performance anyway.


SlowJeff 12-05-2005 01:07 PM

Re: 2006 Honda 599
 
<blockquote>I'm astonished that someone who seems to have had some experience riding would write the things you have written.</blockquote>



I aim to please! Oh wait, you weren't giving a compliment. Either way, what I wrote is true, with enough added mustard to elicit a reply.



<blockquote>1) All other factors held equal, a lower center of gravity will cause a smaller change in lean angle when a bike decelerates in a turn. Relative to other standards, the 599 has a very low center of gravity. </blockquote>



This is true, but it doesn't negate what I said regarding braking while corning.



<blockquote>2) Satisficing, a concept for which Herbert Simon won a Nobel prize, describes a human tendency to do well enough rather than optimize. I have never met anyone that adjusted their suspension when taking a girl home five miles through the city. (I guess I don't know anyone with electronic suspension adjustment). </blockquote>



I read a report from a traffic accident investigation consortium in Japan that concluded that people riding two-up are less likely to get into an accident. This of course was not due to the inherent safety of "added weight" or "tuned suspension" but to being less likely to take risks.



However, to say that some "nobel prize" winner said, quote "suck up and deal with it" (ok, its a paraphrase). Is not an adequate manner or mode of thought on how one should approach riding.



Even my Harly riding neighbors take the time to pull out the wrench for increasing rear preload before they take their gals out for a ride. Why? Because the ride sucks if you don't.



Now you, weighing 160, and your lady friend, weighing less then you (hypothetically), yeild nearly 300lbs. Do you believe the ride quality of the stock suspension settings are so well built to support a 160lb rider or a 300lb rider with the same relative ease?



I hope your answer is not a "yes, factory settings are engineered to fit everyone". Oh wait. You did reply to my first posting and reclaim that the settings did not matter whether you are a featherweight or heavy weight. Well, that's ok. I can still help you.



I weigh 250-255lbs depending on the time of day. Roguhly the same weight as you and your lady friend, if not less than the two of you. I will let you know that at my weight I wallow suspensions in their stock settings on the 599/919. While I "could" believe what your nobel prize friend believes and say "screw it, I'll just deal with sub-par", I don't. Why? Because it is like loading the dice against you, if you are already taking a chance only a fool would reduce their chances in the already risky business of riding a motorcycle.



Your point number 4 is not very controversial and generally accepted by everyone, so I won't say anything more on that subject.



As for the resale value, that number is hard to set firm due to the fact that there weren't that many sold and the ones that were sold many dealers didn't back fill with a replacement unit because the floor space investment did not yield sales, except for the "get people in the door" factor.



At the end of the day the TCO of a 599 versus a Duc, is the Duc is still a Duc. You may have heard you "meet the nicest people on a Honda" but you have also probably heard "Never sell your Ducati". Duc's are known to be keepers, and the people that buy them know before hand that their bike will A: cost more to maintain B: will need to be maintained often.



Do I want I Duc? Heck No! I don't like the sound of a dry clutch, it sounds like marbles swirling in a porceline bowl.



As for the destruction of an Aluminium frame bicycle, yeah I have heard of it happening. That's why my rode bicycle is made out of steel. Heavy people + ultra lightweight bicycle frames = ugly road rash with little metal shards in your scabs. So have I heard of bicycle frames failing: yes. Have I heard of aluminium motorcycle frames failing: No. Motorcycle frames undergo stress testing for DOT certification, bicycles don't get DOT certified. If your fear of a motorcycle failing is stemmed from bicycles failing then I think your fears are not properly based.



7) babble babble babble babble, I don't like SV650's babble babble.... ZZZZZzzzzzzz......wha... huh? Racing is a lousy litmus test for street performance?!?!?



Wow! Nice claim! It is designed to nullify your own point you are making regarding club racing in Europe and yet effectively separates the 599 from any performance asperations. So I guess being a street fight/hooligan/squid is not one of the prime markets for the 599.



Geeez, someone should go tell Honda to stop marketing the bike as the "No. 1 bike in European sales". Surely the people that buy this bike don't have asperations of "racing".



Oh, wait.... Look Papa, on the TV set! Its Valentino Rossi riding a 599 while his GP bike is in the pits during vehilce testing.



Or did you not see any of the advertising that Honda has put out on this bike? Would any vendor race at all if it didn't sell more street bikes? Do not "repli-racers" gain bigger sales numbers when they incorporate more race derived technology?



FACT: RACING IS THE LIMUS TEST OF ALL MOTORCYCLE TECHNOLOGY. (including street stuff)






spombe7 12-09-2005 11:44 AM

Re: 2006 Honda 599
 
I think Honda should know that many people are interested in a naked/standard bikes in the 500-600cc range that offer both fun and practicality in commuting. The Suzuki's SV650 is a good example in the demand for such bike. The 599 is not selling big is NOT because we are not interested in this type of bike but because it is simply too expensive due to the facts that it is built in Italy, which is not known for low labor cost, and that the Euro is higher than the dollar in exchange rate. If 599 is priced closer to SV650, I will buy one without hesitation. Personally, I find the 599 very attractive to look at and a power plant that is smooth and unlikely to get you into trouble.

BigODave 01-02-2006 06:53 PM

Re: 2006 Honda 599
 
Very interesting that the 599 is made in Italy, if only because I had no idea Honda makes bikes in Italy.



Is the 919 made there too?

neu 01-04-2006 01:03 PM

Re: 2006 Honda 599
 
Yes, the 919 is made at the same assembly plant as the 599.


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:56 PM.