Before passing my Direct Access test, I cast around for a motorbike that would be a good starter machine and needed a little work. In my misspent youth I rode 125’s and 200’s, some road bikes and some trail bikes. I was lucky that the areas I lived in had lots of off road trails and old remains of mines which gave excellent opportunity to go off road.
I found an ER5 locally, it came with a restricter kit fitted, dropping it down to 33 bhp which made sense while I was getting used to the size of the bike and also gave me the option of resitting my bike test on a smaller machine if I didn’t pass first time. After un-seizing the back brake and replacing the parts, sorting out the clocks, fitting a new speedo cable and flushing out the ancient engine oil, it goes quite well and I’ve been using it for commuting as well as taking the missus out for Sunday lunches. For a pillion, there really is nowhere to hold onto and with such a flat seat, when I am accelerating quickly, the missus sometimes slides back a little and feels like she is sliding off. Hmmm, not ideal.
It is classed as a “naked” bike, meaning that it didn’t come with any kind of fairing. This is fine at normal speeds but above 70mph (not that I would ride above that speed, honest officer) feels like the wind is trying to pull you off the bike. I fitted a mini fly screen which helps alot but kind of spoils the look.
As part of my giving up smoking, I am putting the cash that I would have spent aside and this extra money will go towards a newer, bigger bike. As I’ve been getting back into this biking lark, I have been reading alot and had initially thought aout something like a Yamaha R1, as they are zippy, look great and hold their value well. Then I realised I really dont need something that can do 100mph in first gear and I dont want to spend half my time tickling the throttle to avoid wheeling it. I’d also really like to stay alive to enjoy my riding!
What I would like is a kind of trail bike and tourer combined, with the intent of getting over to the continent next year for a wander around. I cannot see myself going for anything like a Honda Goldwing – I dont see the point in that, I might as well use a car.
So here is one model currently on my shortlist – a Suzuki V-Strom DL1000.
I like the look, it kind of falls into the “Adventure” class and from what I’ve read, ought to have enough grunt for commuting and be comfortable enough two up for long journeys. It also compares well against BMW and KTM equivalents and is considerably cheaper.