Sunday, 20 January 2019
Saturday, 12 January 2019
A visit to the local [ish] dealer confirmed it was a bit of a munter in the flesh, the aforementioned pillion pegs and the horrible back end was screaming for a tailtidy, poking it with a stick revealed the parallel twin engine was barely wider than my 690 Duke/Smc-r supermoto, I really liked the front end, the headlight and the angular looks a nod to kiska designs ‘insect’ signature.
Be rude not to test ride it I suppose, first impressions were that it was very slim and very light, the gearbox was smooth as and the exhaust note was very crisp for a standard item, popping and crackling like a good ‘un on down shifts, but, oh my, that engine! I love the 690 singles but this thing is in a different league altogether, a flat, linear torque line from low down and then it takes off like a two-stroke as you reach 8000rpm. The handling is sublime and though I’ve seen lots of criticism about it being non-adjustable. it just works [how many riders actually adjust their suspension from standard settings anyway? Honestly? Not many if you remember that 75% of riders don’t even know what tyre pressures they are supposed to be running! Talk sag to most motorcyclist and they will think you are talking about that gap between their arse and expensive leather race suit. The electronics package is up there with the big buck superbikes, launch control, up/down quickshifter, tft screen, lean sensitive traction control, supermoto abs delete, all easy to set from a switch on the left hand bar, easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy. Chicken.Ding.
Back at the dealers and I knew what was going to go down, I got a great trade-in for the 690 Duke so it seemed rude not too. I wanted the black bike, they had the traditional orange version in but, softer spunking a small fortune on both the duke and the sumo I decided to wait for the black bike instead and go more stealth-like. In the meantime I ordered evotech tail-tidy, paddock stand bobbins and axle slider crash protection and exhaust hanger bracket so I could bin the hideous pillion pegs. The standard mirrors needed binning too so a pair of Oberon performance 65mm bar-end mirrors were added to the goodies list.
So, the bike arrived at the dealers, just in time for winter. I’m ashamed to admit I’ve only done 500 miles on it. No, actually I’m not. This is only the second, brand new bike I’ve ever owned, [ the first was a honda 400 superdream if you’re asking] there’s no way I’m riding this in the winter, besides, I’m having too much fun riding the little honda at every opportunity I get.......
Wednesday, 2 January 2019
a chat with a couple of the more experienced local lads confirmed my thoughts and the suggestion to have a look at the honda crf 250l, a very popular dual sport beginner bike and perfect for green laning. 24bhp might not sound too exciting but for me it’s more than enough as I continue to learn the dark art of off-road motorcycling, the bike is, as it says on the tin, dual sport, that’s tarmac and dirt so the bike is always going to be a compromise, but saying that,i’ve been amazed at what a brilliant little bike it is, it will top out at 80mph with me on it in full winter kit and mx boots, rucksack, tank bag etc which is pretty impressive. you can really hustle it along on the B roads, just make sure you remember that the tyres are knobblies and a very thin section otherwise you may find yourself taking a short cut through a hedge to get to the dirt!
off road? well, like I said, I’m no mx or enduro rider but this thing has given me the confidence to go from the semi tarmac, unclassified roads and onto some of the more technical trails, greenlanes are great fun and i realise you don’t need a fire breathing large capacity bike to have a good time. the previous owner had fitted the acerbis hand guards, renthal aluminium bars and ali sump guard, im leaving the standard exhaust on, apparently it’s very, very heavy but it’s also very quiet and I really don’t want to upset the ramblers, horse riders or mountain bikers who share the trails so that’s staying on, the service intervals are ridiculous, this is no highly strung mx machine that requires a new piston every 30 hours, oil changes are a staggering 8000 miles. I’ll say that again. 8000 miles! that’s what honda recommend but there’s no way I’m going to run a bike for that amount of time without changing the oil and filter. valves need adjusting at 16000 miles, apart from that i’m going to invest in a washable k+n air filter and some decent tyres, there’s nothing wrong with the stockers but they are probably a little too road biased and are wearing a little thin. the bike is a tough little thing, I’ve been off it a few times and it’s also blown over while I was opening a gate on a gated road, the hand guards have taken the brunt of the damage and the plastics are scuffed as well as one rear indicator, apart from that it’s just a matter of washing it down and cleaning and lubing the chain and checking the tyre pressures.
So, there you have it, the little honda has been a revelation, it’s opened up a whole new world to me and proves you don’t need a big adventure bike to have big adventures and more capacity doesn’t necessarily mean more fun, it’s definitely improved my riding skills and its keeping me ‘bike fit’ apart from that, it’s become my go-to ride, any excuse and I’m out there on it......