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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Although I picked up my Grom over a week ago I just got around to firing it up and riding it last night. I got busy with other projects and didn't have time to finish up the final prep I do to all new motorcycles. These preps include checking all the fasteners, making sure moving parts were actually greased from the factory and in the case of the Grom switching to red plastic since Honda couldn't supply one to my dealer. (As a word of warning to all Grom owners the steering head bearings barely had any grease in them and taking time to smear some waterproof grease on them while it's new and clean is a good idea.) With the bodywork off I was flat amazed at all the hoses and wires supposedly necessary to make such a simple motor run. I'm sure that things like the charcoal cannister will likely find it's way to the "Grom Parts Box" before long. I also switched over to a DID "O" ring chain for reduced maintenance and mess.

It's the first horizontal Honda motor I've ever ridden with an e-starter and that's kind of nice. It fired up immediately and settled into a nice idle. Clutch pull was light as was the throttle despite the fact it's got one of those silly dual cable setups. It's incredibly quiet so riding it around the neighborhood at midnight definitely won't wake anyone up. I thought it sounded like a scooter.

I left the house in the darkness and started with my usual break-in proceedure, up and down through the RPM with short bursts of throttle followed by coasting back down. These bursts will get longer as I put more miles on it leading up to an oil change around 100 miles.

It's a typical Honda--everything well put together and functions perfectly. I was surprised at the zip it had up to 30 MPH. I'm 5' 6" tall, weigh around 155 and it fits me very well. I initially tried moving the handlebars forward but found I prefer them back as was delivered. The seat is indeed firm but no worse than a typical dirt bike. Again from experience I expect it to break down with time and miles.

They're still in my own break-in mode but the brakes seem to be adequate. We'll see how they do once bedded in.

Immediately upon my return from another break-in loop on the Grom I jumped on my Lifan 125cc powered rat Honda Passport. Initially purchased on eBay for .99 (!!!) I installed the Lifan semi-auto motor and a replica hydraulic Chinese Honda 90 front end (around $100 delivered and highly recommended, by the way) the Passport is well broken and much lighter than the Grom. While a totally different motorcycle than the Grom it serves as a daily commuter bike (my intended use for the Grom) and even recently served as my transportation to Chicago from Indy to see the Allman Brothers Band.

The Passport sets a high standard compared to the Grom for it being just a compilation of parts. It has excellent acceleration, the brakes work flawlessly and it delivers around 100 MPG. Ugly as it is with it's firmed-up suspension the critter is actually a lot of fun to ride. I'll be riding it on my 15 miles route to work alternating with the Grom once it's broken in. Will the Grom prove to be worth the $3000+ more than I have in the Passport from a pure function point of view? We'll see...
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
This evening I reinstalled the bodywork. I rode it around yesterday without it and it took me a few minutes to figure out where all the tabs, screws and push-pins went along with chasing down a dropped center pin. Apparently the left rear "nut" came off while out riding so I couldn't put that screw in yet. I highly recommend buying a few extra push-pins, screws and maybe even the nuts so you'll have spares in the event you need to remove the bodywork and manage to lose or damage one.

While it fits well and doesn't vibrate the plastic on this critter reminds me of the stuff you see on sport bikes or scooters. The subtle metalflake in the paint is nice to look at but honestly I'd just as soon have molded color flexible plastic like you'd see on a dirt bike. It's just too fragile and complicated for my taste. Giving credit where due it does fit together pretty well and really looks nice. A shame it serves absolutely no real function, though.

The right side silver thingamabob that matches the seat lock is pretty bogus. I'm obviously a function-over-form kind of guy and if it doesn't have anything to do with making the bike go forward I don't think it ought to be on it.

A quick ten minute ride finished out the evening's work session. Maybe tomorrow or the next day I'll ride it down to the shop and see about getting the missing body panel nut.
 

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Good critical(but honest) review woodsrat! People will have diff opinions about the function over form comment but that totally fine! thanks for the review
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Indy's enjoying a record spell of warmth and when I got home from work I parked the XR-650L, jumped on the Grom and went into town for a quick ride in what will likely be the Grom's typical environment, the urban jungle. Given it's Wednesday there were a few people out and about but for the most part traffic was extremely light, perfect for doing more break-in riding on the little bugger.

Maybe the horn is more important and used more in Thailand than it is in the U. S. Whatever the reason the Grom's horn button is where every other bike I've ever owned had their turn signal switch. I'm constantly beeping the horn when I'm trying to use the blinkers. If the Grom was my one-and-only I'd get used to it but something tells me I'm going to be embarrassing myself hitting the horn when I'm trying to let folks know where I'm headed.

Unlike every other Honda I've ever owned where the clutch is more of an on-off switch the Grom has a very progressive clutch engagement and is very smooth in it's operation. I'm of the opinion that if Honda wants to appeal to new riders and/or people coming off scooters they need to offer a semi-auto version of the motor. I'm going to have to give the nod to the rat Passport in this respect--it's a helluva lot easier to use in stop-and-go traffic since your left hand doesn't get a workout the way it does on the Grom.

The ultra-quiet pipe on the Grom is a good thing in an urban environment. While most folks here will install loud pipes the stock pipe allows you to do all kinds of silly things without drawing the wrong kind of attention.

I'm still amazed at how smooth this motor is. The Passport's Lifan motor is almost as smooth but produces enough of a vibration that it sings through the pressed steel frame whereas the Grom has a very smooth and polished feeling.

I rode about twenty-five miles this evening and found that the seat is definitely sloped too far towards the front. When I got home I got the level out and found that it would take about 2 3/4" more foam towards the front to level it out. Tall guys would especially benefit from this mod but runts like myself (5' 6") and smaller would find the bike a bit tall in the seat height. I've had Sargent do this to two dually bike seats for me and it made a HUGE difference in comfort at the cost of being a bit awkward when I'm stopped. I think it's a fair trade-off.

The other thing I noticed was that the subtle metalflake in the paint really stands out under the city streetlights. Looking down upon the bodywork you can't help but wonder what kind of range the Grom would end up with if all that plastic was a gas tank. You'd be able to go twice as far before you needed to stop for gas.

Tomorrow I'm going to strap on the Airhawk seat pad to see if that'll help improve the seat's comfort and do a 40 mile loop down to the shop and back.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
As I mentioned on the seat thread the Airhawk pad made a huge difference. An affordable fix that you can transfer to other bikes as needed.

Someone on another thread suggested dropping a tooth on the front as the bike felt like it was overgeared. I agree. One less tooth on the front (or three more on the back) would definitely improve acceleration and likely improve your top speed as the motor may not be able to pull the stock gearing. I think I read that the speedo drive is on the C/S sprocket and changing it will mess up your speedo's accuracy. Supposedly there's a fix out there for it if you do this modification and it's something I'm definitely going to look into.

One thing I've noticed on my nighttime rides is that the headlight works awesome!!! I'm not sure how this headlight compares to the projector beam used in other countries but I'm pretty happy with it's performance so far.

I put a zip-tie around the fork tube so I can see how much suspension I'm using on my rides. So far I don't find the bike all that soft but again I only weigh around 155-160 and I'm not doing wheelies or stoppies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
At least by the zip-tie around the male slider I'm using a good portion of the front suspension. It's usually within an inch of the bottom. I'm curious as to how much actual travel the fork has--anyone know? Am I actually bottoming out the fork between braking and the rough streets here in Indy? Ideally suspension experts say if you're not bottoming your suspension at least once on a typical ride your suspension is too stiff so maybe it works great for my weight and riding style.

The oil change at 100 miles revealed a metalflake in the oil similar to what you see in the bodywork. I highly recommend changing your oil frequently in the first thousand miles as the motor breaks in and sheds microscopic metal particles. Oil type and the mileage between changes is pretty much a subject like religion and everyone has their own ideas about it. My thought is you can't change your oil enough (especially on engines where the gearbox shares the oil with the motor) and air cooled motors like the Grom are extremely hard on oil.

I use Shell Rotella because it's 1) cheap--about $13 a gallon--and 2) is NOT an "energy conserving" oil that could cause clutch slippage. The same additives in this oil that help protect diesel engines are also good for motorcycle engines. I plan to dump my oil every thousand miles or less depending upon how often the bike is ridden.

My buddy, another long-time motorcyclist, rode the Grom back-to-back with my rat Passport and much preferred the Grom. He felt the suspension was far superior but power-wise about the same. He also felt the front brake worked better, too. He's a whore for a pretty face, though and I think he's put off by the Passport's ugly appearance and really didn't want to be seen on it...
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
One of the reasons I bought the Grom was to use it as a learning tool about F. I. so I've been carrying the shop manual around wherever I go and studying it when I have time. One interesting thing I learned about this motor is that the rocker arms are not only roller tipped but also have needle bearings on the rocker shafts. The only place I've ever seen this on the small horizontal motors is on high-end hot rod parts. Very cool.
 

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I am using the AirHawk (cheap version) and it makes a huge difference!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I ordered up another stock seat today and will be shipping it off to Sargents for a leveling job. I guess this means I'm going to keep the little bugger. While it's way too pretty to be in the hands of a ham fisted clod like me with a seat and a rack it should make a fine commuter bike. It may even do some backroad rides. The Blue Ridge Parkway sounds like perfect Grom territory, too.

Assuming Honda reps are reading this site my sincere thanks for taking the chance and bringing this bike in.
 
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