Triumph 900 Street Twin – Cool bike for a chilled out ride

Sports bike fan Neil has recently had to have his Suzuki GSX-R serviced and was given the opportunity to ride the 900 Street while his Suzuki was under the knife….he came to the bike with a little prejudice against Triumph bikes, but came away with a new view point altogether…

I like to say it how it is, regardless of others opinions, facts are facts, I have never had a good word to say about Triumphs. This is probably due to friends of mine who love the old ones and keep telling me these new ones are nothing like the real ones they own. This along with the fact they are not my style of bike, so here goes:

I took my Suzuki GSXR1000 in for a service, MOT, new tyre and a couple of other jobs. The dealer gave me a choice of courtesy bike: A Suzuki SV650, a scooter, another bike I can’t even remember and this Triumph. I instantly said I will take the Triumph; let’s see how poor they really are. The example they let me loose with was a brand new bike with only 150 miles on the clock – the 900cc ‘Street Twin’. My first impression as I took off was bloody hell where to I put my feet!? I have been riding super bikes all my life! As I got underway, I thought hmmm quite punchy, takes off quite well. Sitting upright, my arse started to hurt before I got home, a trip of a whole 9 miles. Not good, but I quite enjoyed the ride.

Time for another try…

The next morning comes and decided to take it for a longer ride out: Tee shirt, no gloves just enjoying the weather (I know, I know…) One thing I did notice, a couple of other bikers thought they could pass me, I even had a Audi driver race me off the lights! These things never happen on my GSXR, and I didn’t let it happen on the Triumph! I got the impression others see me cruising in a Tee shirt on a sit up style bike, they can take advantage and blow me away.

Changed Opinion:

Never mind, doesn’t interest me to be honest. Anyway, I just want to say that I have changed my opinion, I actually like the bike, I will never say another bad word about Triumph; each to there own. It’s not my type of bike, but still a nice ride, I certainly enjoyed it, another ride awaits before picking up my own bike. Oh the only one downside I thought: My left leg gets cooked by the heat radiating from the engine! I kept leaning my knee out, as the heat was burning me. That said, it wouldn’t stop me buying one…

Neil

Originally posted in the ‘Over 50 UK, still on two wheels with engine and loving it’ FB group


Moto Guzzi V7 Special III – Cool Blue – Review and Pictures

The first thing that hit me when I walked up to the V7 wasn’t anything to do with how it might ride or perform…it was the looks. For me the  combination of teal blue and orange was absolutely gorgeous, oddly reminiscent of the late 1960’s Porsche LeMans race cars in Gulf colours. I know this is a bit shallow, but there you go and the look of the latest generation of retro bikes is key to their appeal. As the trend in biking seems to continue to swing from sports bikes and sports touring towards ‘adventure’, naked and retro bikes the little Guzzi V7 is ‘on-trend’ and has pretty much nailed the retro look. With a transverse V-twin motor and shaft drive transmission the bloodline back to the classic 70’s Moto Guzzi is direct and unbroken. This isn’t a ‘tribute’ band type of bike, a Counterfeit Stones to the Rolling Stones, no this is the real deal. But all the modern amenities are there too, fuel injected Euro 4 compliant engine, traction control., ABS. The Guzzi even has a simple trip computer!

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Get aboard and the upright position with just the slight lean forward gives you that classically sporting stance, but relaxed, un-flustered. Big tradition analogue dials for speed and revs are crisp and classically presented. Thumb the starter and the V7 comes to life with a little shiver to remind you that you are on a V twin. Less pronounced that the larger V9, but still evident and still welcome. Snick into 1st and it immediately becomes obvious this bike has  sweet drive train, certainly when compared to its bigger brother the V9 Bobber I also rode on the same day. The special is a ‘proper’ motor bike, everything has a solid feel and there is no plastic adornment on the bike. However, like the V9, it really needs some decent aftermarket pipes to release the V twin character the regulated pipes are busily strangling the bike in order to  meet noise regulations.

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Once on the road I really enjoyed myself. The 750 doesn’t produce much power…52bhp and 60Nm of torque, but it is enough whisk around the country lanes of Worcestershire at a decent lick. This is no sports bike, but it isn’t trying to be and really is fun to ride….the bakes and suspension cope well with the power and get into a grove and on a sunny day and on  classic English A and B roads this bike is a honey to ride. You don’t feel obligated to try too hard, just push on briskly and popping past any traffic that appears. If you want to a major adrenaline rush, buy a MV or a Ducati….this Italian is more about making swift understated progress and looking cool. A bike to ride nowhere in particular and not to a schedule, this is a good thing…a very good thing.

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To summarise the Guzzi is beautifully finished bike: delicious detailing abounds from the paintwork, through the badging the chrome etc. This is a bike I really enjoyed. On a sunny afternoon the V7 is the perfect companion….stick on leather jacket, some wrap around shades and an open face lid and just go out and enjoy the ride. Drink in your surroundings, stop for a coffee, take your time appreciate the niceties of life


Indian 1200 Scout ‘Bobber’ – Black is the new Black….Road test and Review

Fancy a ‘full-fat’ American V twin but without the bling and attendant BS to put you off? Well the resurgent Indian Motorcycles might have just the thing for you! It ticks all the important boxes…authentic USA heritage, big V twin motor, brooding good looks and above all…it’s just cool! The ‘Bobber ‘takes the stock 1200 Scout as a base and pares the concept back still farther. Black is very much the order of the day: Black paint, black engine, black exhausts, black wheels, black faced clocks..you get the vibe….

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Low, mean…ready for action

Appropriately as I set off the Worcestershire skies were as dark and brooding as my mount, I felt like a cast member in a 1950’s film, all very ‘Rebel Without a Cause’. To ride the Bobber is very like the Scout I tried a few months ago, but with just a little more ‘attitude’ for want of a better word. The small mods making a real difference to the stance and feel of the machine. Shorter rear shocks, dropped the back end a little. Dual purpose indicators/rear light clean up the back end significantly and the much better looking (than standard) Vance & Hines pipe meant the Bobber had a bark to go with its 1200cc bite.
The Indian handles the bumpy, twisting, leaf strewn A and B roads that surround Midwest Moto with aplomb. While you can’t chuck it about like a sports bike you CAN cover ground at decent lick with a little planning. I found it great fun to hustle along making good use of 4th. 5th and 6th gears in particular. The exhaust has  great barking rasp on change downs as you blip the throttle…big grins all round!

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The gates of heaven or hell?

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V&H pipe added a bark to match the looks

The V twin motor is a perfect match for the look and the performance is strong and very easy to access, using that slick 6 speed gearbox. The brakes cope easily too with whatever you and bike throw at them within reason. In summary what we have here is a pared back take on the American dream. For me the Bobber is the perfect foil for slightly softer Scout; everybody needs a tough, streetwise brother and the Bobber is very much that sort of bike!

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Brothers-in-arms

Thanks to Mark of Midwest Moto for the opportunity to try and look cool, for at least an hour or two at any rate!

https://indianmidwestmoto.co.uk/


Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber – If Al Pacino was a motorbike… Review and riding impressions

The ‘Bobber’ style machine is a very American look with its origins in prewar racing in the USA where bikes were stripped back to help reduce weight and boost performance. It included cutting back the rear mudguard, a process called Bobbing the tail… hence the bikes became to be known as ‘Bobbers’ . In the immediate post World War 2 years customisation of demobbed military Harley Davidsons and Indians took off and look became popular on road bikes ridden by thousands of young veterans looking for excitement that many struggled to find in day to day life after their wartime experiences. It is a paired back minimalist look and in recent years has made a resurgence first in the custom world and latterly amongst the manufacturers themselves. Not only the American manufacturers have caught on but Europeans too. Moto Guzzi joined the fray a couple of years ago with their well received V9 Bobber. It adheres well to the genre; ‘balloon’ front tyres, simple clocks, jet black paint and anything not needed simply isn’t there. The Guzzi is a great looking bike, it’s V twin layout lends itself to the look well

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Guzzi have always had strong links with American culture and their bikes were even used by the famous California Highway Patrol for many years. So the blend of American custom culture and an Italian bike works well on the V9…like a Pasta  restaurant in downtown New York. The Bobber is an attractive machine and I hopped on board revelling in the low seat height, kicked back the side stand and thumbed the starter button. The 850cc V twin bursts to life and gives the bike a little ‘shimmey as the torque reaction kicks in. I snicked the bike into first and it engaged with a healthy clunk…Guzzis are a mechanical experience, and pulled away. I checked out the roads that twist and turn around the Worcestershire/Herefordshire border countryside that surround Readspeed the dealer that provided me with the demo bike. I must admit to a degree of surprise at just how well the V9 goes….55bhp and 62Nm isn’t a huge amount of power and torque, but the ballsy delivery of the Euro 4 compliant V twin pushes the bike along at a pace that is a little surprising. However it does need some fruity pipes to prove a proper soundtrack…the European noise regulations have seen to that. I wasn’t sure I would like the way the bike cornered, but again the Guzzi was very capable and fun to throw about. The brakes could cope with the performance on offer and the ride was better than I expected too. Function had not been completely scarified for form, thank goodness. The riding position is upright and the controls are all logical and easy to use. A simple speedometer (no rev counter) gets over the required info well. The bike hides all the modern tech well, it has traction control and ABS, but they are unobtrusive and the Guzzi isn’t the type of bike to call them into action often, but its good to know they are there! Fit and finish was good too, especially the suede look seat and mean black paint. The bike has a quality, solid feel.

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The Guzzi comes in at around £9k depending on how barmy you go in the accessories catalogue, this less than offerings from some of the rivals, so it isn’t bad for a bike from a brand with some real history behind it  Can an Italian bike bring home that American feel? I think it can yes, its a cool bike, looks great and performs well….I can see a brooding Al Pacino type character riding one in a film, cutting through the mean streets and rocking up outside a diner….the V9 is the real deal….


Yamaha 700 Tracer GT – The Quiet Man – Review and Road Test

The MT07 first came on to my radar when I test rode an example not long after they came onto the market in early 2014. I was impressed; the bike was fun, could be flicked about with ease and with 74bhp on tap it was reasonably brisk too. Then a couple of years ago I was on a ride out led by none other than Nick Sanders and he was riding a MT-07 Tracer that he was about punt across the frozen wastes of Mongolia (never has been one for pootling to the shops has our Nick…). If he trusts one that much  they are undoubtedly a handy piece of kit.

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Recently I have been  looking to get a more comfortable bike for longer trips and for my two up riding when the poor old Mrs gets dragged along with me. The new GT version of the Tracer comes complete with a set of colour matched side cases, a manageable seat height and on the demo I rode a comfort seat. All this on a bike for around £8k seems almost to good to be true

I took the little MT over one of my standard runs up over Clee Hill and covered around 40 miles or so. What a cracking bike…quick, cornered well and the brakes dealt with the available performance without any fuss or drama. It looked well built too and I really enjoyed myself for the hour so I was out. There are a few downsides however and I have to say the bike is a bit lacking in character…it is a bit like that quiet bloke in office whose name you can never remember and people forget to invite to the official socials. He is good at his job, always on time, never off sick and never asks for a pay rise. This is the MT07 Tracer GT to a tee unfortunately. There absolutely nothing wrong with it, the ONLY thing it lacks a little soul and ironically the ‘comfort’ seat wasn’t…not for me anyway and I come ‘pre-padded’ so to speak!

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Looking very cool in blue

Perhaps a few miles to add some scrapes and marks and an exhaust with a bit more of bark might help, but even though the bike is good to ride, offers the comfort and luggage space I am after and is great value for money it just doesn’t ‘talk’ to me

There is only one thing for it….I am going to have try ‘big brother’ the 900cc triple Tracer GT….

https://www.motorcyclemart.co.uk/

https://www.yamaha-motor.eu/gb/en/products/motorcycles/sport-touring/tracer-700-gt/


Fantic 500 Caballero – An impressive comeback for a famous name – brief impressions

About a year ago I tried the 125 Caballero and whilst an impressive machine being well built, good looking and very capable it was clear that the cycle parts could easily cope with more power; the 125 while suitable for learners was not really up to exploiting the full capability of the frame and cycle parts

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Well now the clever people at Fantic have shoved in a 43 bhp 500cc single into what looks like essentially the same frame and cycle parts. The UK based consultancy Ricardo designed the engine apparently and they have a pedigree that includes working on engines for the like of McLaren for use in their epic road cars! A few changes were apparent, for example the lower engine mounts look different and I think that there is some additional bracing on the frame to allow for the increase and power and weight. Speaking of which the weight of the Caballero is up by 20kgs when compared to the 125. However it still only 145kg overall, which is pretty light, especially in modern biking terms. The new engine looks perfectly at home in there and I was delighted to be offered the opportunity to ride a demonstrator last week.

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500cc…now that’s more like it

Well what a cracking piece of kit, now that it has the balls to match its brawn the Fantic hacked across the Worcestershire A and B roads around the hills surrounding the famous Shelsley Walsh with real aplomb. I was taking it easy as the motor still had less than one hundred miles on it, but even so the bike is now transformed and would be great fun for an experienced rider. The rural A and B roads I tried the Caballero on matched it’s character perfectly and the suspension felt taut and controlled and the brakes powerful. It was fun to hustle along and the extra grunt really transformed the whole experience. I didn’t try it on any unmade roads or green lanes but I would expect it would be a hoot. The grunty 500cc single would be ideal in these conditions and the extra power has only meant a small increase in weight. Off road this would be much better than so many of the larger retro scramblers from the likes of Ducati and Triumph. Whilst both are powerful, with their much larger twin cylinder engines they also have to lug around much more weight.

So what we have here is a good looking, light and relatively simple fun bike, which at £6399 is significantly cheaper than the likes of the offerings from Triumph and Ducati. I think the engine has more to offer too, and an aftermarket exhaust would liberate it from some of the emissions restrictions all bikes are hampered with now. Mind you it would be a shame to junk that lovely looking stock exhaust.

My advice is going a check out the new Fantic, try one if you can….I really think you will be impressed based on my brief ride

125 Review for those of you still on L plates: Is in the Italian section

https://www.midwestmoto.co.uk/


Ducati 1200 Multistrada DVT – The Power and the Comfort, Impressive Italian Tested

On a recent 200 mile run back from Cornwall  to my beloved Midlands riding my trusty Yamaha Thundercat only one thing was on my mind. It wasn’t how great it is to be on a 600 sports bike with a full tank a juice and an open road stretching out in front of me. No, I was just thinking ‘Christ my neck is killing me!’ and ‘when can I get off?’. The crouched forward sports riding position was the problem. Oh God, this is it: ‘The moment’; the one when you realise that a sports bike might not be your thing anymore. Time for a ‘sit-up-and-beg’ adventure bike? No!! In a world where I seem to surrounded by folk riding BMW GS1200s and Triumph Explorers etc gleefully engaging ‘Smug’ via their multi function handlebar controls as they glide serenely into the distance. Their buttocks gently warmed by a heated seat, dressed from head to foot in a ‘Ewan and Charlie’ romper suits whilst being cosseted from the pot holed surface by computer controlled suspension that makes it all feel like glass smooth, virginal tarmac. It’s a bit like that moment you tune your radio way from Radio 1 to Radio 2….it feels like you are giving up

But there is hope! While I might have to go ‘sensible’ it doesn’t mean the fun has to stop..say hello to the Ducati 1200 Multistrada 1200S DVT. Here is a machine that combines the power of sports bike with the character of a V twin and the riding position and conveniences of an adventure bike. It looks so comfy, the only person who wouldn’t approve is my chiropractic! Even for a stumpy like me the post 2015 DVT models have a surprisingly low seat height, especially on the lowest of the three settings available. Although getting on board was still a bit of a fandango once aboard I was amazed how low and manageable the big Duke felt.

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Imposing, but the seat height is surprisingly low

I was up in Scottish border country for this ride and had a joyous thirty mile stint attacking the glorious A708 as it twists, rises and falls as it follows the course of the River Yarrow Water. Immediately I felt at home the  Multistrada and was soon going at a pace that I would not of managed on my Thundercat, a bike that I have owned for years. The suspension is longer travel than I am used to and more compliant than my MV Agusta Brutale, but I think better suited to pot hole strewn British roads. 3rd and 4th gears were ratios of choice on this kind of narrow, twisting and bumpy A road. With 160bhp on offer any overtaking opportunity can be taken with dismissive ease. I found myself tucking and leaning forward slightly when pressing on as it seemed to help the feel of the bike through a bend. However when I wound back a little and just sat back the comfort level and ability to just waft along was sublime and impressive. The Multistrada does offer a variety of riding and traction control modes but I just left it set on ‘Touring’ which I am certain will be fine for 90% of most people’s riding.

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Colour, comprehensive, clear

The engine was a peach , the six-speed gear box slick, the controls logical, although a bit of a fiddle with so many functions to control. The colour TFT display was easy to read and I liked the prominent gear indicator too. In fact I liked this bike so much that was supposed to be a quick 10 minute try out developed into a full on 30 mile loop across a challenging A road with a backdrop that you would be hard pressed to better. So much was I enjoying myself that actually took the same road back to base! What a glorious bike…my wife remarked as I returned ‘It looks like it could be an expensive day’. I am not sure about that, but I am sure the Ducati 1200 Multistrada is one cracking motorcycle.

Big thank you to Dave for letting me out on his pride and joy


KTM 790 road test and review

KTM 790 – Brief Encounters can be the most fun! Riding Impressions and Road Test

My friend Stu’s fun insight to the KTM790

One of the joys of running a new bike and getting it serviced by the dealer is the option of a loan bike and when the 1290 went in for its 650 mile first service, rather than taking out their 1290 or 1090 demonstrator (both of which I’d ridden previously) I thought it would only be right that I borrowed their barely run-in 790 demo bike for the woefully short run back to work (all of 5 miles across the picturesque city of culture that is Coventry!)
So wearing my usual get up of very worn textiles and a slightly dingy high-vis jacket I hopped aboard what seemed like a learner 125 and instantly felt conspicuous….I imagine that these bikes would be ridden by fully matched and branded would-be 1290 Super-Duke owning 20-somethings who can quite cover the heart stopping insurance premiums…not some middle-aged courier looky-likey (who has just realised the level of heart stopping premiums for a 1290 SAS). Now the last time I sat on a bike this small was a Street Triple and then I felt like a gorilla on a clown bike…so now, I was having flashbacks about losing such a small bike with a Brazilian width saddle in my butt crack. However, I put the key in the ignition (novel…haven’t had to do that for 600 odd miles), switched on the bike and let the LCD screen run thru its start-up routine (yes…….I’m ready to race !) and hit the starter button. I was expecting a muted little sewing machine with a bit of twin lumpiness (bit like the ER5 I road on my DAS training)…but no….this things got some character and when you blip the throttle..there’s a rasp and some fizzing going on….oh, this should be fun.

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So, not bothering with any of the suspension or mode settings, I adjust the mirrors (remember…middle aged rider…gotta be safe….or at least see which local Mensa student is going to try and knock me off), thus giving the bike a full 30sec warm up, stamp it into gear and I’m off across the car park and short shift into second so that the service guy thinks I’m a responsible adult.
Around the two junctions (now out of sight of the service guy) and onto the Coventry ring road, I decide that 6k would be a reasonable limit for a bike that I hadn’t sat on until 1 min ago and proceeded to apply the normal loan bike rules….ride it like you stole it ! Suffice to say that 6k doesn’t take long to show on the LCD tacho and once you’re in 4th you’re saying goodbye to NSL…the bike let you slice through the traffic like a scalpel, taking every opportunity for a half gap and a little bit of clear road….it’s like riding a 125 but with speed !! The bike is so thin and light in comparison to the Adventure that it bought the inner “yoof” out in me….shutting the throttle for the up-coming roundabout prompted more rasping and fizzing on the over-run didn’t help either…good job the brakes were good as the aforementioned roundabout was approaching fast and I was carrying way too much speed and at the approach the “scalpel” allowed me to I employ a bit of faster filtering so I could avoid the stationary cars and get back on the power.

A quick detour to show off the bike to the forums resident wordsmith gave me a chance to look over the quality of the bike….looked on par the Adventure (which is good) with solid looking plastics and engine and some nice detailing on the mid-level raspy exhaust.
The last two mile run to work was on dual carriage ways, which gave an indication of what the bike would be like for my commute….very quick up to 70 at which point the wind pressure starts to build….bike would happily do 85 but the wind was getting a bit too much as there was no screen and riding position meant visibility wasn’t as good as the Adventure (ok…I accept riding the Adventure gives you a great view that can’t be matched by a naked bike), I’d need a top box (which would spoil the lines). However, if you could put this peppy engine and drive-train into an adventure style bike….the KTM would be onto a winner…….anyone for a  KTM 790 Adventure?? Bet you can’t guess what my next loan bike is going to be !!

However, as a fun bike…..it would be epic…makes a whole heap of sense with its rapid acceleration, nimble handling, engaging engine and exhaust notes. I would need a new suit of gear to get the appropriate look (well, at least ditch the calf length adventure boots that was making gear shifting entertaining for some racy looking sidi’s) and I would have to do my usual market place sweep for the alternatives (The MT-07 would be first on the list) just to make sure there was nothing better out there, but it would definitely be an option.

Stu…


BMW F800GS

BMW F850GS – It’s a bit Tom Daley…Review and Road Test

Our new bike tester Stu has been out playing again…

So last summer on my umpteenth (I kid you not !) visit to Wolverhampton to get the brakes sorted on my BMWR1200GS at the dealers, my usual loan bike steed of either their R1200GS Rallye or Exclusive demonstrator wasn’t available….”don’t worry Sir, we have a great alternative for you to enjoy…it’s the new F850GS”. Hmmm…was my reaction, I’ve had to endure BMW parallel twins before (a F800R) and I wasn’t exactly enamoured with their lack of power or the cramped riding position…the general instruction to the dealer was not to put me on one unless it’s absolutely the last resort…heyho…beggars can’t be choosers.

I wandered out into the summer sunshine and there it was glinting away, looking terribly spangly and new. Well, maybe I should give it the benefit of the doubt…it looked alright…proper sized, red,white and blue…LED headlight, gold rims…..I am such a tart !!

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Hopping on and things are looking up, comfy seat, familiar back-lit GS switch gear and BMW’s new TFT screen, so I thumb the starter and I’m treated to a bassy parallel twin exhaust note. Adjust the mirrors, snick it into gear and we’re off across the dealers car park and into the Black Countries road network. Initial impression is that the engine has plenty of torque (unlike the weedy feeling F800) and acceleration pleasantly brisk. The handling seems to be fine whilst negotiating the pot-holed/man-hole cover strewn surface and in the corners there is grip (but no knee down heroics though). Even better, the brakes work which made for a pleasant change after my GS!
All was going well until I approached a set of lights at my normal pace, I apply the brakes expecting to stop but I am caught out totally by the rapid disappearance of the handle bars towards the floor. Wow, this thing dives under braking ! Ok…maybe I am being over critical, I’d been riding all year on my GS magic carpet with its ‘Paralever’ suspension set-up with anti-dive geometry. Let’s try this again when riding like a normal person…Next set of lights, roll-off in a timely manner and firm braking…the same thing happens again, thankfully it doesn’t try to pitch me off like a bucking bronco this time! Man, this thing dives so much it could give Tom Daley a run for a medal. Perhaps these bikes aren’t designed for 14 stone blokes with an overly stuffed rucky…but I don’t think I’m that lardy to cause this sort of reaction, I’m pretty sure my Triumph Tiger never reacted like this. Right, next set of lights, same drill but add back brake first before apply the front…results in a slight improvement but still loads of fork travel. Looks like I need to either;
A: Use the brakes from a long way out or
B: Not use the brakes!!
Thankfully the ride to my next meeting is all on motorways and dual carriageways meaning a combination of both gets me there safely. The slightly nervous run home in the tail end of the M42 rush hour was entertaining but gave me a chance to reflect on the fact that when I was in the showroom after the launch G350, the BMW service tech and myself were laughing at how soggy the front shocks were on their demo model, maybe these are fitted to the F850 GS too? If so, I think this could be a bit short-sighted of the part of BMW. I have to say that the dive under braking is such an overwhelming feature of the bike that it actually overshadows all the other good points.
In my opinion the Yamaha MT-07 Tracer would deliver everything that the F850GS does and more with a couple of grand savings thrown in and without the need to buy into the GS culture of buying trinkets (sorry essential extras) that should really be included in any case! If you can live with budget creep (who said 1290 Adventure at the back!), in this price range I’d have a look at the MT-09 Tracer

Stu…


Energica E90 01 Review road test

Energica E90 – Vision of the Future? Review and Road Test of an Electric Superbike – Literally!

Well that was certainly different! Today I experienced what well may be the future of motorcycling…an electrically powered superbike. The Energica E90 is no tree hugging commuter bike, or green ‘alternative transport solution’. What it is first and foremost is a sports-bike that just happens to have a different means of being propelled. The manufacture have serious credentials too having worked with NASA for example.

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Compact and mean in black….The E90 is a good looking bike

When you first approach the E90 you are greeted with  a machine of classic sports bike size and proportions. The bike has a compact, muscular look, fully faired, with a typically sports bike couched riding position. It isn’t until you look closely you notice that tucked away in the figure hugging fairing is a substantial electric motor and battery pack. Then you walk around the bike and notice the lack of gear-lever and clutch lever….no need with this bike…you just have to twist and go…like you would on a humble moped. But this isn’t a moped, oh no. The first serious twist of the throttle (controller) swiftly dispels this motion. I rode the bike in sports mode. This reduces range to about 70 miles, but the performance is amazing.

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That meaty electric motor means the rear suspension had to be cleverly packaged

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That neat dash pack…yes I know you can see me reflected in the picture, I am not a pro photographer you know!

The first thing I noticed as I got on the bike that despite that compact appearance, it carries some weight…it was quite an effort to get the bike off the side-stand. The motor and battery pack account for much of this mass, and the E90 comes in at 280kg, some way north of conventional superbikes. However the bike is a  doddle to operate and once the stand is retracted the bike is ready to go on the turn of the key. The colour screen lights up and the word ‘GO’ pops up in green, very quaint. A twist of the throttle and out onto the bumpy Herefordshire lanes that were to be my playground for the next few miles. This bike was the Energica demo and it been used at some big events, it felt cool to be riding the very bike that has been up the hill at Goodwood, and is made in the home town of Ferrari no less!

The sensation and sound are totally unlike anything else that I have ever ridden, the bike emits a guttural wail as you accelerate and the ‘pick-up’ is pretty much instant. The E90 is seriously quick and the speed builds deceptively as you are robbed of usual reference points, no screaming engine or going for gears here…the speed just builds and builds and builds. Luckily the E90 disguises the weight well in the corners and the braking effect when you shut off is pretty marked too. You can feel the weight, but the bike corners well and given time to get used to how the bike performs and how best to apply that performance, I am pretty sure it would be right at the pointy end of the sports bike class. I rode for about 20 miles and it put a smile on my face, surely that is job one for any bike?
I tried riding the bike at a variety of speeds too and took it through the local small town of Bromyard to see how the low speed response was. I have to say the bike was docile at low speed, I did wonder if the pick would be snatchy but it wasn’t. As for recharging the E90 has a neatly packaged twin charging port under the easily removed seat. One of them takes a connection identical that used on the Tesla Model S car. This allows for quick charging and using this hook up and the appropriate Tesla charging point, the bike can be ready for action in as little as 9 minutes
So we what have here is a foretaste of the future of motorcycling. Like it or not the internal combustion engine is on the wane and something will have to come and take over. I had feared that electric bikes would be dull, but when I first saw the TT zero bikes at the IoM in 2015 I began to have hope that biking would still be fun in the years to come. The Energica E90 confirmed that…it is not perfect. The engineering challenge will be to reduce weight, to increase range and battery life. The reduction in weight will boost performance still further and will also help improve the handling. Cost is a challenge too. The E90 costs £25,000 and that is a whole hill of cash. However you do get a £1500 kick back from the government and there are some innovative trade in deals being offered by the manufacturer when the time comes to replace the bike. Plus when you roll up to a bike meet you will be only one there on one these…

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Look closely, no clutch lever or gearshifter

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The Energica reminds me of the Tesla Model S, an electric car that has thrived for being a cool car, not just because of the way it is powered. That is a big compliment. This is a cracking bike and in the words of Bob Dylan, the times they are a changing! Or is that charging?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B63LdK6RUuk

https://www.energicamotor.com/en/