Friday, February 28, 2020

The Hunt For A New Bike

Guest writer Chris "Egor" Egan gives us a few words on buying a new bike.

Words by Chris Egan. Pics By Chris Egan and Mike.



Sometimes a bike just grabs you and you think “I’ll get on with this one.” That's what I thought when I seen my F800GSA. It’s not the pride of the BMW fleet but rather a bit of an unsung hero. For all its little pains, a 21 inch front wheel that flexed as much as those guys in the gym who's favourite machine is the mirror, a screen that felt like its sole purpose was to buffet and deafen you to death and front suspension that may have well be steel rods it was that nonadjustable. But I loved it. It took me to some great places all over Scotland, Europe and a trip into deep dark England. 
IMG_20190704_183242_105

IMG_20190702_233128_534

After a couple years of renting the bike (bloody PCP) my time was coming to an end with the big beemer. Time to start the hunt, but what can match "The Walloper" as it had been christened?
I hit the net (who knew, there's more than porn on it!) and looked at few options. On a trip to Motorrad in Dalkeith I was handed the fob to a new 1250 Rallye, holy shit what a bike!! So planted and comfy that I didn't want to get off. I took it on a few different roads and gave it a handful, it just got more planted and better. I’m not a fan of quick shifters but having tried one I can see why people like them on the crotch rocket sports bikes but on a giant tourer? Nah, not needed in my opinion. Still had that distinctive GS noise. As I rolled into the forecourt I was sad. I knew in my heart that nearly 18k for a bike was way out my league. A chat with the Salesperson confirmed this. Bollocks, onto the next one.

Next on my radar was a dream bike, a tiger 1200 explorer. From since I got into bikes I've wanted a Tiger. I don't know why but just do. A trip to Two Wheels on a nice afternoon and the fob again was in my pocket. What ever happened to a key?? I like a key, putting in a key is the start of something, the click on the turn and everything coming alive! It’s not the same pressing a button, to me there’s something soulless about keyless. And bikes are all about the soul and feeling alive. But the Tiger? It’s some machine. As smooth as the giant GS but felt more manageable and easier to ride long distance. Makes a great noise to, that triple engine is feat of engineering, plenty poke and torque. It will sit at stupid speed and you can have your visor up thanks to well designed screen. I was happily surprised, not as much as Mike though, he took out a 1200 Scrambler. It looked massive even with his lanky 6ft4 frame astride it, he said it was a great fun bike and very capable.
Again it came down too cash and again it was too much cash for me.
All this time I was still using The Walloper and thinking “why do I want to change this?” Maybe I should refinance it and keep it. But every time I took it out I was using everything it had and everything I was prepared to use of it. It was definitely time for a change.
All the reading and net searches (did you know there’s more than porn on the net??) had narrowed it down to a few choices. They were the new Yamaha T7, it looks the dogs baws and it supposed to be great but on closer looking and reading it’s not for what I do. Tracer900GT, again great looking and riding bike, having tried a MT09 tracer I know what its capable of, but it couldn't pass the garage test. The garage test is when you close your eyes and imagine opening your garage door and what do you see.
After several lists and a lot of thinking a message pinged on my phone. It was from wee Hutch that I work and go for day trips on the bikes with. You'll like this it said with a link to Cupar Motorcycles. It was for a Suzuki V-Strom 1000. I thought about it, did some research and decided to give it a bash. What’s the worst that can happen? At the worst I get to take another bike for a test run and use someone else’s fuel for an hour.
Test ride booked we rode to Cupar on a cold October day. Again, I was thinking why am I swapping this, as The Walloper buffeted and deafened me up the motorway in the way I’ve loved for last couple years. The V-Strom was waiting for me all ready to be enjoyed. Quick run through and I was off into Fife for an hour of fun.

Egor's V Strom
pics

Holy shit!! was my first thought. I was instantly at home with it, the controls all felt natural and the seat is brilliant. It just fitted my 6ft2 and amply cushioned frame perfectly. Once I got over the childish noise making and over taking I settled into riding how I normally ride. The power from the V twin is brilliant and the peak torque is available from 4500 rpm, just a blip of the right hand and it fires off round cars making a great farty noise as it does so. The screen on the beemer was always a bug bear to me but the Strom has a riot shield for a screen and it’s just as effective as a riot shield. Manually adjustable on the move, even on the lowest setting there’s little wind blast. There’s no fancy electronics, quick shifters, keyless fobs or gadgets to dick around with. It’s just an honest simple motorbike. Fully adjustable suspension front and rear and bomb proof Givi metal luggage make it great for touring and I can be a bit naughty on it. The brakes are fantastic, radial mounted callipers have great power but also feel supple and you just have to brush the lever and it’s on its nose, in a good way.
Egor's V Strom
pics

The deal was done but due to shifts and being a grown up with a family I had to wait 10 days to pick it up. It was a seriously long 10 days but I was buzzing. The day came and after stripping off the stickers and twat nav from the BMW a few days before, I set off for Cupar motorcycles. After missing the exit for Cupar I had to take a slight detour along some brilliant A&B roads, the beemer was running great and soaking up all the road could throw at it. I still had that nagging thought that “what if I’m making the wrong decision?”
I arrived at Cupar in good spirits, but the doubt was still there. I didn’t have to worry, once I’d signed everything and shook hands I set off for home, I was grinning like Mike when he gets a new crayon to chew on. The bike was everything I remembered on the test ride only this time this one was MINE!! (or will be after a few years of payments). I was seriously impressed and on the route home I was caught in traffic, it handled it well, the Strom is a big bike and has a great presence on the road but also felt slim and agile enough to nip in and out while filtering. 
Egor's V Strom
pics
Egor's V Strom
pics
Egor's V Strom pics


I was that impressed that the first thing I did was throw some kit in the bags and go to Cannich for the night, thanks to my loving and long suffering wife Lee for the permission slip being signed. The journey was cold and wet, but I arrived totally buzzing without a sore bit and ready to do the trip again. The bike was outstanding, every type of road was handled and eaten up with ease.
Home on the Sunday and I spent a few enjoyable hours cleaning and polishing. The V-Strom was looking good and as I closed the garage doors I looked back and it definitely passed the garage test.
So ends my tale of hunting for a new bike. Moral of the story, test ride everything and read everything available (did you know there’s more than porn on the net?).

Egor's V Strom pics



Written by Chris “Egor” Egan.
More soon.....


Egor's V Strom pics



No comments:

Post a Comment