Right then, welcome to the all new Motorcycle Diaries, where I will be writing daily about the adventures I get up to on the numerous bikes I get to ride on a day to day basis. I have changed the format and will now be writing daily entries and uploading them as often as I can!
Sunday 14th June 2009!
Triumph Rocket Tourer 3
Okay, so having just written my review for the Triumph Rocket 3, and with the sun in the sky, I decided to nip down to see my mate on the out skirts of Brum for a nice last blast on the big beast before I embarked on an altogether different journey on the awaiting Suzuki VanVan.
It was only a thirty or so mile round trip, but zipping around Brum’s inner ring roads is such a blast, even on a bike this big, and with so much torque coming out of bends in any gear, you can really cut some sweet lines through traffic and around the tightest of corners. I even got a nice little chicane run in down a few backstreets around mini roundabouts, and she handles as light as a feather.
But like the Incredible Hulk lurking within the docile Bruce Banner, you’re reminded of the beast within each time you turn your right wrist, although it is so smooth with the oncoming power you never feel out of control.
Taking on these b roads and high streets made me appreciate just what an amazing bike this, and I don’t say that lightly, it looks like some sort of a monster, sounds like one too (although you are going too quickly to hear it most of the time yourself!), and yet behaves as if it’s that flying dog thing from the Never-ending Story...............I liked him...............Why did a flying dog talk? Come to think of it why was Columbo in that film? Was he trying to find out who killed the horse? It was Atreyu I tell thee!
Anyway..........yeah she is an amazing bike, I only had to come back as I was running low on fuel, otherwise I would have stayed out forever........well not forever as then this would be a never ending story, and we all know what happened there.
Seriously though I can help but think that this toned down version of the Rocket is almost the better bike, either way, they’re both just mind destroying things. It’s like dating two crazed lunatics, one just smashes you over the head with a piece of wood and takes you home, and the other caresses you nicely making you think he is alright and then skips something in your drink.
It’s a very easy thing to ride, but there still lurks underneath that beast of an engine that I think I might have just voted my favourite ludicrous mechanical conception ever...............well apart from the transformers........but there pretty damn cool.
Monday 15th June
Triumph Rocket Tourer 3
Suzuki RV125 VanVan
So I picked up the Suzuki VanVan from Streetbike, and it was with some trepidation, as I have been riding some of the biggest and best motorbikes in the world over the past few weeks, but I wanted to get to my roots and spend some time on this nifty little 125cc bike over the next few days, in a special learner feature.
I rode 125’s for 4 years, starting off with a Suzuki RGV125, and moving up to a Hyosung Comet before doing my Direct Access, and I have fond memories especially of the old Suzuki as it was my sole form of transport for years................man we had a few scrapes.
Loads of my friends have been asking me recently about doing their bike test, and with a lot of them balking at the price of doing a Direct Access, I wanted to show them, and you how much fun you can have on a 125 bike, which to ride you simply need your CBT, which you could book up, pass and be legal within a week at Streetbike, for just £140 (that’s with bike and equipment hire!). Most people look at 125cc bikes and think they are for pre pubescent teens to bunk off school on or for old men to get to the allotment on, they are wrong, sure you don’t get the thrills of riding a bigger bike, but that is not to say there aren’t any thrills to be had, and with the cost of motoring getting so high, it seems logical to look at one of the cheapest and most fun ways to get around.
First impression after riding the Rocket 3 and Suzuki GSX-R 1000 and then getting on this little thing was.......oh wow......what have I done!!!!
That feeling only lasted about two nano seconds though, as I soon as I got out on the bike.......well all those fun old 125 scrapes started flooding back! It felt so liberating to get on a bike where you could just open up your throttle and not care about breaking the speed limit, let alone the sound barrier! This bike has so much character, most of which is derived simply from the fact that even though it is basic as, simply giving you a Speedo and three warning lights on the handlebars for fuel, indicators and neutral........it’ just so much fun!
I joked when I left the showroom that my challenge was to get the front wheel off the ground, to which Jase quipped, “Well you will just need to pick it up mate!” He wasn’t joking! It is so light, and that makes it a lot of fun to throw around corners, and also means it can stop on a dime, things which are useful if you plan on throwing it between the traffic as I was!
First gear is fun too, it is simply there to get you going, once you are actually moving you need to switch into second rather quickly to get any momentum, but then the fun starts, as you will find yourself working the gears like a madmen to get the most out of the bike, and keeping your throttle hand jammed wide open all the time without any danger of breaking the speed limit.
Okay so it’s not exactly quick, but it doesn’t need to be, and it put a big smile on my face the whole way home as I used the downhill slope, some manic gear changes and a following wind to overtake 6 cars.........I was well chuffed!
The great thing was though, I rode through Birmingham through Busy rush hour traffic on roads that were jammed solid, and I didn’t have to stop once apart from at traffic lights, because it’s so small and nimble that you could fit this through the eye of a needle.
Got home, must admit I really enjoyed the journey, felt weird parking it up next to the Rocket Tourer, it looks tiny, but it suddenly dawned on me this could be the perfect two bike garage, an epic torque-y beast for long journeys, and a crazy little 125 for the nip through town! I actually can’t wait to get on her again tomorrow! PS full tank of petrol.........£5!! Not bad, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I don’t have to fill her up again!
Tuesday 16th June
Triumph Rocket Tourer 3
Suzuki RV125 VanVan
So day two of revisiting my learner days, and I jumped on the little VanVan to head into work, knowing that today would not exactly be a day for racking up the miles as I would be in the office for most of it. On the way down to work it dawned on me, as I nipped through the Jewellery Quarter with ease, that a 125cc bike is the perfect way to get around a city.
Definitely not as cool as getting into work on a full on racer or a massive cruiser, but if you can get past the ego point, you realise what an amazing little machine this really is, it’s just so much fun to just jump on and ride, it reminds me of a little puppy, all eager and playful!
Didn’t manage to overtake any cars today, dagnabbit, but I am sure I will manage to get a few scalps tomorrow!
White Lies were in doing a Live at Kerrang today, they were awesome, and they loved the little VanVan, deciding that she looked very cute and would be perfect for getting around on at Festivals (they had just got back from the IOW), and they wouldn’t be wrong, in fact I am not sure there isn’t anything, or any surface this bike couldn’t conquer with its plucky heart and indomitable spirit!
Also got a nice pic for you of the VanVan in the sun in the car park at Kerrang Towers, I must admit I am getting a bit attached to this bike, a fact that becomes more evident when someone tries to take the Mick out of it for not being a “Proper” bike, as I defend it as a father would his only daughter when she starts courting..............rather aggressively!
Also took it to see Scott at Arch 20 Gym today (where I train!), he rides a GSX-R600, and thought it was a girls bike, so I got a girl out of the gym to ask her what she thought, she said the same, but then I remembered she rode a Harley, so that’s not really fair!
I don’t care what anyone says, I am having a top time riding around on this thing, and can’t tell you enough how much of surprise it has been to me!
If you really want to get on a bike like this within a week and be grinning like a Cheshire cat all day, you could call Streetbike and have a CBT booked for next weekend, and walk away with a bike and all your equipment on the same day you do your CBT............it really is that easy. A lot of people do their Direct Access straight away and get on a huge bike, which is a stupid idea, as any seasoned biker will tell you, your are bound to come off a few times when you first start, so the smaller the beast you get your bike legs on the better. I genuinely believe I am a much better rider because I spent 4 years on 125cc bikes before doing my big bike test, and yes while you don’t need to do it for that long, it is a great introduction to the world of biking, without having to remortgage the house or even worse, end up hurting yourself doing something stupid on a superbike when your not ready for one yet.
Oh and I swear I saw the VanVan cock its leg against the Rocket Tourer earlier, seems like the kind of thing this would do and I also managed to get it up to over 55 mph today..........yeah about 55.25 mph, but that is still a record, although I did look a bit silly trying to get my chest down on the tank!
I must get to bed now, as I have a busy day tomorrow full of shows and meetings, and more importantly, my first ever Harley gets delivered from their head office......the 1200R.............mummy!!!
Not to worry though I have that for a week, and during that time I still reckon I will nip out on the VanVan a few times, so until tomorrow blog fans.....yes I mean you mum!