Riding the 929

I never did get around to mucking around with the SVS’s clutch last night, so when I woke up to a sunny morning today, I decided to take Cat’s 929 to work. It’s the first liter-sized inline-four that I’ve ridden, so forgive any first impressions that are old hat to the rest of the world. 😉

The best thing about the 929, and the first thing I noticed, is that I can actually fit on it. The seat isn’t really what I would call “comfortable” (in fact, I’d call it “sitting on a board”), but it’s narrow at the front and thin. With my riding boots on, I was somewhere between my tiptoes and the balls of my feet — it’s lower than even the Superhawk.

I can finally say that I learn from my mistakes, as I remembered to adjust the clutch before taking off and almost killing myself. Even when I borrow bikes, I can’t escape the clutch adjustment.

I never did get a completely smooth take-off from a stop; maybe it’s an “inline-four vs v-twin” thing, or maybe it’s just an unfamiliar bike, but letting out the clutch and rolling on the throttle always made a sputter or two before I matched the RPMs correctly.

Once the bike was moving, though, it was a ton of fun. Peter had commented earlier that it sounded like a Swiss watch — high pitched “precision-sounding” revs — and he’s absolutely correct. I had my iPod playing for most of the ride, but listening to the engine in between songs was a treat. It definitely sounds like an inline-four, but it doesn’t have the annoying dog-whistle high-pitched revs of a GSX-R. It’s more of a WHIRRRRR than a WHEEEEE.

Shifting was a little disconcerting, but not for the usual reasons — every time I upshifted on the highway, I magically found myself travelling 10mph faster with no discernable difference in feel. At one point, I swear all I did was upshift, and I was suddenly going 95mph. I think I said “erk!” and downshifted back to a safer 80mph. 😉

The posture is a bit more race-like than I’m used to, but it was still pretty comfortable. The clip-ons are at a “conservative aggressive” angle, if that makes any sense — not as wide as the SVS’s, but far less aggressive than the Duc’s. I can see where someone with broad shoulders might have trouble, but since I’m narrow, I could tuck my elbows into the tank and still successfully push out on the bars to turn. The bars are, of course, lower than my SVS’s raised handlebars, but it wasn’t uncomfortable on my wrists. The tank is pretty wide, and I found it easiest to squeeze my knees into the tank and hold myself up with my thighs and abs. That posture may get tiring long-term, but for my 15-mile commute, it was fine.

Peter had mentioned some sort of “jumpy” feeling between 2k – 6k RPMS, as though it shot right from 2k to 6k in a sort of jerky manner. I didn’t notice that at all, maybe because I was busy trying not to wheelie away from stoplights. *grin*

That’s all that popped immediately into my head. I’ll try to come up with more on the return trip; if anyone has any specific thing they want me to look out for, let me know. 🙂

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