It's already been brought up briefly in here, so I guess I'm alright for talking about it.......
Went surfing the big 4 websites this evening looking at the '04 models. And I have to say I'm excited and disappointed all at the same time.
First off, the kawi's. Not really impressed by anything they've done for '04. Other than the orange color (ORANGE KICKS A$$!) they all seem pretty blah to me astetically. The uppers are starting to look a bit too much like the Yams for my taste. Not that I'm knocking the yams uppers at all, but I think kawi could have done something a bit different. I've never really been a big fan of the way kawi's look (although riding them is something COMPLETELY different) especially the late 90's early 00's uppers on the big bore monsters. The ram air on them just looked atroscious.
Then there's the 'zuki's. I like 'zuki's. I don't own one, but if I didn't have my F4i, I'd probably have a gixxer 750. There's just something about the way 'zuki has found the way to match power with rideability that I like. But come on guys! The 'busa is ugly, most of us tend to agree with that. Unique for sure, but damn ugly. And it seems for '04 they've modeled all the gixxers after it.
I certainly hope the performance stays as it has been in the past to make up for that nasty mono-headlight.
Yam's. What can I say about the yams? They've always had some of the most radical body work out of all of the big 4, and the '04's are no exception. I did a lot of looking at the R1 and damn near started sporting wood. DAMN near. I LOVE the headlight and upper design. One word....SA-WEET! And from the side it looks so damn sexy I almost wanted to make sweet love to it like I would Meg Ryan. Even the cockpit set up it outstanding. But the more I got to looking the more nit-picky I got. What's up with that rear fairing styling, undertail exhaust and rinky dink passenger seat? Looks to me to be a cross between the Honda 600rr, Mille, and Duc. Granted, those of us who actually do fork out our Benjamins for this machine are probably not going to ride two up very often, but the way it looks, the only way you will ride two up is at the passengers expense of comfort.
And then my biggest gripe. Honda. Where to start? It seems as though the F4i has fallen to the wayside with the intro of the 600rr. Virtually nothing has changed on the F4i since it's production in '01. But now they go back to the F4 style rear fairing with the single piece seat. This plus the re-introduction of the bare aluminum frame (sorry, I'm partial to the powder coated 01-03 frame) make the 04 F4i disappointing to me. The 600rr's seem practically unchanged barring a new paint scheme. But, hey, the 600rr did well in 03 and I'm sure it will do better in 04. But at the same time, I think they need to do a little something to the 600rr to give it a bigger boost above the Gixxer and R6. Honda also needs to decide the bore on their open class competitor. 900, 929, 954, 1000. Make up your mind, gents. For some reason I feel like Honda is trying to remake the wheel every couple of years by introducing a brand new open class bike built from the rubber up. Here's a clue: how are you suppose to build a successful large bore machine if you only keep it around for 2 or 3 years? And as far as bodywork goes, I'm sorry, but the new designs just don't do it for me. Sure sure sure, the 600rr, 954, and now the 1000rr do look damn hot, but I've always liked Hondas for their fluid looking body work. The F4i, XX, and super chicken all seem to have a nice flow to them from the front to the rear of the bike. The RR's just don't seem to have that with angles thrown in (seems to me, at least) haphazardly. Some of you are probably going to protest saying the yam's have a similar style to them with the sharply angled fairings. But that's yamaha. Radically angled fairings have not been Honda's fair. At least not until now, and this is one person it just doesn't work for. I sincerely hope that with the introduction of the 1000rr with the suspension upgrades, HESD (Honda Electronic Steering Damper for those of you who haven't done your homework yet), and over-all engine rebuild will make Honda more of a contender against the Gixxer 1000 and R1. It's been a long time comming that's for sure. Oh, almost forgot. The RC-51's. Although I think that the RC is hands down the best of the big bore V's, once again, NOTHING has changed except for the addition of the HRC sticker package modeled after the "Hayden/Duhammel" bikes. With this they've upped the "sticker" (literally) price $600. WTF?!? Do they really think that I'm going to fork out 6 extra Ben Franklins for something I can get off the 'net and do myself for less than half that? Come on, Honda......what are you thinking?!?
OK, I'm done with my rant. I'd like to know what everyone else thinks. I'm sure some of you will wait to argue when all the 'numbers' come out in the spring with the shoot outs. 'Numbers' have never really meant much to me for the simple fact that I don't track my bikes. Not to mention those numbers are with someone else on the bike with many more miles under their belts than I have. Not to mention I'll never be able to ride each and every one of these machines to go by anything other than looks alone. But that's a completely different rant.........