First Impressions after switching from 6th Gen to 8th Gen After many years and miles of happy riding I recently sold my 6th Gen, but for a few fun weeks, I owned both 6th and 8th Gen models and had an opportunity to compare them on back to back rides. I realise the comparison to the my 6th Gen which was largely stock may be somewhat unfair as the previous owner of my 8th Gen had already fitted pretty much every option available in the Honda catalogue. Overall the 8th Gen is a clear improvement on what was already a very good bike which is hardly surprising given how much R&D was spent on the updated model. The biggest gain is the 8th Gen is noticeably lighter and especially the lower centre of gravity means it requires less effort from the rider and is less likely to take an unplanned nap. On the 600 mile high speed run on the 8th Gen with lull luggage from the Alps to London the 8th Gen was noticeably less draining than previous trips done on the 6th Gen. It is narrower. – Again no surprise – but especially with OEM luggage fitted this is a huge plus when it comes to filtering through traffic and rider comfort and rider safety. Also gone are those difficult to bleed side mounted radiators and the underseat exhaust which can feel like you are sitting on a volcano when stuck in traffic queues and watching the coolant temperature soar as the 6th Gen fan struggled to cool the bike and instead would send a blast of hot air at your legs. When fitted the OEM 8th Gen panniers stick out far less than the OEM 6th Gen set up by eliminating the need for a pannier mounting frame. To be honest it was always a right faff to remove and refit the pannier mounting brackets on the 6th Gen whenever you wanted to use the panniers hence the mounting brackets quickly became a permanent fixture on my 6th Gen and rather spoiled its looks. The smaller 8th Gen fuel tank saves weight but inevitably means a few more fuel stops, and for reasons mentioned below I suspect my actual fuel consumption on the 8th Gen is much the same. The vtec switch-over is still there - just less noticeable. This has plusses and minuses as a rider can now stray into vtec range without noticing, indeed if you are not paying attention to the revs you may find you have been guzzling fuel for the last 100 miles riding in 5th Gear. Doh! Previously the vtec engagement on the 6th Gen was so marked that you always knew when you crossed the vtec threshold hence it was easy to keep the throttle just below the threshold and efffectively hyper-cruise, with the bike barely sipping fuel whilst still making decent progress at around 80mph. Anyone making the 6th/8th Gen swap will pretty much have to re-learn braking. Gone are the linked ABS brakes on the 6th Gen which to be honest had made me lazy, and meant I rarely bothered using the brake pedal since Mr Honda automatically applied the rear brake every time I used the front, which proved a bad habit as I also tended to forget the rear brakes when riding my Street Triple. Thus far the unlinked system on the 8th Gen has not inspired anything like the last minute braking confidence I have on my Street Triple let alone the 6th gen. I do hope a brake fluid refresh will sort this out, so for I will reserve making a final judgement on which has better brakes. Ergo’s? – Different, and again plusses and minuses. The 6th Gen fairing and screen blasts a wider hole through the air, meaning anyone of average height could move around quite a lot whilst still remaining clear of the passing turbulent airstream. This proved useful on really long trips when the stock 6th gen seat became really uncomfortable. The area protected from the airstream on the 8th Gen is noticeably narrower. Part of this may simply be down to the aftermarket double bubble screen fitted by the previous owner, but it also means you have to remain fairly central and low on the bike or get buffetted. The 8th Gen is more also a lot more comforable due to the custom GEL comfort seat option. Controls/Bar position. - Despite a lot of adjusting I have not found a comfortable position let alone the ideal span for the brake and clutch levers. This is partly down to the after-market levers fitted on the 8th Gen and partly down to the 6th gen having Helibars and standard Honda levers compared with the riser pads fitted on the 8th. I was surprised to find the gear change pedal position does not feel the same. I rather suspect it has been impact adjusted at some stage. I am also missing the Vista throttle lock which I had on the 6th Gen for longer trips. Noise? - The Akropovic exhaust makes a lot more noise than the stock 6th Gen pipes. Whether this is a good thing depends on your perspective and means early hours departures are not appreciated by neighbours. Grumbles reduced significantly once I fitted installed the missing baffles, but even so the 8th Gen is still stupidly loud. Stability – The 6th Gen feels more planted and less affected when passing trucks or fighting cross-winds. I guess this is mostly down to the extra weight – but on balance I still prefer the lighter 8th Gen even if it is marginally less stable in really adverse riding conditions. Buttons – Whoever decided it would be a good idea to put the horn button quite so close to the indicator switch on the 8th Gen should be shot, as it is now far too easy to hit the horn button instead especially wearing winter gloves. Likewise it is far too easy to accidentally activate the heated grip button – these are not improvements Mr H. Mirrors – Are fine for me, however larger riders may struggle to see anything but their elbows. Inevitably I have my doubts about the motives of incorporating expensive indicators and led daylight running lights into the mirror housing - which just happens to be the most frequently knocked/damaged item on almost all motorbikes. Doubtless Mr H’s parts department sales have been doing very nicely out of this “improvement”, however I see that a firm in France is now offering far cheaper clone parts if you need a replacement mirror. The rear of both bikes continues to be covered in gunk when riding in heavy rain and the rear wheel hugger appears more for show than effect. Plastics – relocating and wiring in my GPS entailed removing fairing panels on both bikes. This remains a fairly simple task, albeit with a rather more alarming amount of force required to release some of the clips on the 8th gen. I so wish Mr H would just use one type of fairing bolt fitting for all the panels rather than weird asortment of clips, bolts and fasteners on the 8th Gen. Electrics – Come on Mr H this is an expensive touring oriented bike and many owners will want to install electrical extras like a GPS. So why not realise this is going to happen and provide at least one spare relay controlled electrical feed under the seat to make it easy? Instruments – increasingly these reflect the inexorable march of computers. Which is fine, but means frequent reference to the owner’s manual, and then endless button pressing to eventually get the bike set up how you want it. Anyone crossing regularly into Europe will find it a right palaver to adjust the clock and change the speedo to show Mph / Kph. A copy of that section of the manual is now glued inside the top box lid.