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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

I am a newbie here, and am in the market for a new bike. I had decided on the Honda 919, but recently saw a pic of the S3. Now, my problem is I can't decide which I like better. I have been gathering info on the 919 for a while, but never researched the S3. What are some of your opinions of it? Does anyone have any direct knowledge that could compare it to the 919? I like the 01-04 style (longer tail). I am also looking to stay at or under $4-5K, so it will be the 02-04 919 that I will be looking at as well. Are there any issues to look out for in the years mentioned? (like...watch the 01 for a fill in the blank issue)

Thanks,

Shawn
 

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I bought a used '03 triple... bada$$ bike. even my cruiser buddies are envious of the thing. Looks mean and has a triumph name behind it and can smoke most bikes around. Fun in the twisties, fast in the straightaways, and mean on the streets. If I had a choice to go back and do it again I wouldn't change a thing. Only issue I have heard of involves the connection from the gas tank to the engine. I think there was a recall at some point but I had to replace mine again anyway (seals weren't perfect). Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
2bugeyez,

I would like to test ride one, but the closest Triumph dealer is an hour away from here (it is in Austin) and don't show any used in stock right now.

birdman,

All info helps!! I am assuming most people here will be pro S3, but the more input I get, the more of an informed decision I can make. Thanks!!

Shawn
 

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This may make a lot of people angry, but Honda makes a really good product. Triumph has a high level of quality too, but not any higher than Honda. From what I know of the 919, it's a sport bike. The Speed Triple will be so much more comfortable, and it has more than enough power for any reasonable person. The Speed Triple is much more road worthy and useable with the up right riding position. As far as problem areas, I haven't heard of any. My 02 runs great. If you buy one of the 1050s, which you're not looking at, you would be better off just taking the brake rotors off of your bike, but in 2002 Triumph made the fastest stopping motorcycle on the market. Try to imagine how fast it would have stopped if it was that slow yellow color.
 

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I've had a 2002 Speed Triple for a few years and the mechanics have been almost bullet-proof, I think most others with the 2002-2004 will say the same. So don't let someone on a Honda forum tell you that part of your decision should be reliability.

Just by the numbers, the Speed Triple has the advantage. Stock 118 hp and 74 ft. lbs. of torgue versus the 919's 110 hp and 68 ft. lbs.torque.

Dry weight also goes to the Speed Triple at 416 lbs versus the 919's 427 lbs. So you have a fairly significant (depending on your definition) power to weight difference.

The one thing I like about the 919 is that great flat-black paint. But then again, you get a sweet single-sided swingarm with the S3.

I've read reviews that the 919 can be a little too buzzy through the handlebars and that it's suspension is not very adjustable and tends to be a little mushy. Again, I've not riden one, just what I've read.

BTW, the 2001 model of the S3 is different than the 2002-2004, so keep an eye out for it. It sounds like you want the 2002-2004.

Birdman made a comment about the fuel line. The original fuel connectors were brittle plastic. If you buy an S3 with them still on, new metal ones will run you $12...no biggy.

I second the motion to ride them both. You'll feel the difference and be able to make your decision. The 1-hour ride to the Triumph dealer would be worth the effort invested for a bike that I assume you'll be keeping for some time.

Good luck with your search.

Capt.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Capt RAT,

Those are some of the issues I have heard with the 919...buzzy handlebar and uncomfortable seat. Also, in that year range, the front susp was not adjustable. I would love to drive the hour to test drive one, just that they currently don't have one to test drive. I don't think test riding the new one would be comparable to the 02-04 (thanks for that info BTW). Isn't it a bigger motor...like 955 tp 10??.

Thanks a bunch for the info!!

Shawn
 

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Yes, there will be differences between the S3 955 and newer 1050. They weigh the same, but the newer version has slightly more power and different front suspension setup (USD forks).

Capt.
 

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Shawn, I can't help ya out a whole lot with the differences anymore than the capt did. But I can tell you this, you will be kick'n yerself over and over again :kck: if ya don't go with the speed triple. :-D I owned jap sportbikes fer 10 years before I made the switch to my speedy last year, and I can tell ya one thing, there is nut'n like that sweeeeet ass triple motor. I've never ridden a 919, but I'll bet the fun factor isn't half what it is on a speedy. :-D Instant torque as soon as ya release the clutch. :-D
 

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scgstuff,

I bought my 2003 S3 brand new in 2005.
I have about 15000 miles on her so far, and just love it.

Most of what I would say has already been said (fast, great handling, loves to wheelie, and ohhh that sweet sound) I believe the 919 could reasonably compare in most categories, but there is not an aftermarket pipe out there that will give the 919 that sweet triple sound.

Note: If you go with the Triumph, be prepared to constantly being asked questions about it from strangers. They can be quite the conversation piece. :)
 

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Two years ago I was offered a fantastic deal on a nearly new 919 by a dealer I know. I was looking for a naked bike at the time, and this offer seemed too good to pass up. So I took it for a test ride, and really didn't like it. Yes, it was buzzy, it didn't have the kind of grunt I was looking for, the looks didn't really do too much for me, and in truth, the bike just didn't seem to have any soul. It was like riding a sewing machine. I turned down the offer and bought a Kawi Z1000 instead, which I liked. I like the S3 even more.
 

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I wont rehash what others here have already said with more knowledge than myself. But I will offer this up...

I bought my first street bike just months ago, an 03 S3 with 4.8k miles on it. Only dirt experience beforehand on owned bikes. Limited exposure to rides on friends bikes. GSXR750s/Ninjas/ZX-7 etc etc.

I spent (imo way to long picking a bike) nearly all summer, was way to picky. I did try a 919 though I would say cosmetically challenged, one low side. While it seemed like a nice bike. After test riding a S3, it was game over for nearly all the other bikes I test rode.

With limited street experience, I was forced to go with my big gut instinct on how the bike felt on the first test ride. I then did the research online (lots of questions here... and annoyed and still annoy lots of folks with my basic questions I am sure).

If your considering a particular bike, S3 or not, IMO you have to throw a leg over it. Once this is done one of the bikes will cause you to have perma-grin. And as long as this bike fits all the other criteria your looking for, reliability, upgrades, looks whatever. This is the bike for you...

That said... a 4.5 mile test ride on a 03 S3 in the rain did me in. Smiling so hard when I got off the thing it was bought 2 weeks later.

Hope this helps.
 

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You really need to ride both to see which one fits you the best. All the "nakeds' have there own personality, I was in the same boat as you 2 years ago I rode several naked bikes the S3 won. One thing for sure is be prepared to get lots of stares and questions if you decide on the S3 not many of them around. If you are close to The Woodlands I have no problem letting you ride mine. Good Luck and Happy Motoring.

P.S. I have had no problems with my bike had the recall fuel fitting replaced...that's it.
 

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I had the opportunity to swap out with a friend on a 919 a while back, and I thought it was a nice bike. The clutch and shift action was a little lighter and smoother than the Triple, and everything else about it had that well-oiled Honda quality. The motor did have some slight buzzing at certain RPMs, and it didn't have the instant-on torque of the Triple, but the top end felt plenty strong. The suspension was a little soft, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing, particularly if you intend to use the bike as a daily rider or commuter. Ergonomics are very similar, but I was surprised to find that it didn't seem to have as much legroom as my Triumph. In the Honda's favor, it's got a much bigger national dealer network.

Bottom line - nice as the 919 is, I still wouldn't trade my Speedy for one. The Triumph is more involving in the sense that it has sharper handling, bolder styling; smooth, torquey power delivery and that unique triple exhaust note. By comparison the 919 just seems a little more homogenized.
 

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Never ridden a 1050 but I know I prefer the early 955i (01) to the later MY 02 onward. The early engine is much more fun.
 

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I smoked a 919 after giving him a head start this past summer. Its a nice-looking bike, but its no S3.

The benefits to buying an Jap bike or Ducati is that the aftermarket parts support is 10x better and often cheaper. The 1050 and 675 are catching up, but the <04 bikes are a PITA to find 'bling' bits for. HOWEVER, don't let this dissuade you from buying the bike if you can get it for an exceptional deal as the motors are bulletproof and you can bang off the revlimiter all day long practicing wheelies on my 03 without any BS. Just change the oil and keep everything else topped off and you're good to go. I even leave mine out in the rain sometimes with no major issues. The Speed Triple is a bike made to be ridden, and ridden HARD.
 

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The Lonestar Triumph and BMW guys are good peeps. I spent many hours there sitting on a speedy drooling about the day I would finally own one. Every saturday morning there are quite a few riders out front hanging out, and there is atleast one speedy there as well. One guy has a carboned out 955i S3 that looks out of this world... They can probably find you a used S3 for the price your looking for. I can't say anything bad about the 919 since my girl wants one, but I wouldn't give up my speedy for a fleet of them. If you go with the S3, you should probably wear some ear plugs to try to block out all the naughty thing's she'll try to talk you into doing :-D :-D
 
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