This bike doesn't like you. It doesn't like traffic or going slow. It doesn't like much. It's quite anti-social.
It likes only one thing; going fast.
It demands from you. It demands you be commited when riding. It demands you to keep the revs up. It demands you to be it let free on the road. If you give into it's demands, it will give back a rewarding riding experience.
For those who haven't heard, Benje has left his bike in my garage due to space restrictions at his place. He also told me he I could ride it whenever. And so today I did. A quick 80km jaunt around the roads of the Hawkesbury seemed in order. After wheeling it out of my garage, the first thing that catches you is the looks. It's bite the back of your hand beautiful. Then you hit the starter and the engine growls into life. You've woken it up, and now it's angry.
The controls are well set out. The tacho is easy to read. The digital dash is OK, the speedo could be easier to read, but seeing as your speeding all the fucken time, it doesn't really matter that much. The suspension is still on the stock settings and needs adjusting. The front feels far to stiff for Sydney roads, the back feels OK. The steering is fast but smooth. It does what you want it to, when you want it to. It tips into corners in a way that send a pleasurable sensation up your arms. You want to seek out more and more corners as the bike feels that good, even with the suspension needing to be adjusted.
The engine is the masterpiece. It pulls from low down in the revs and just keeps fucking going. It's smooth, despite the angry, angry noise being blasted from the exhaust. The gearing is probably too high to enjoy the high end of the rev range. When you get up there, you're travelling quick, really quick. Combine that with the too stiff front end and the ride gets a bit hairy when you're moving at the highly illegal speeds the bike wants you to do. The brakes are great, lots of feel and heaps of power. The slipper clutch has convinced me that I should get a slipper clutch on my GSXR. Downshifts are so very smooth.
But that leads us to the bad. The gear lever is terrible. Going up the gears is actually difficult. It's so small you'd think they decided it was an afterthough, something they decided they had to put on. Not something that is needed. The rear brake is the same size, but I don't use the rear much so it wasn't as big a problem. The mirrors are useless at seeing anything behind you and the vibrations make anything above walking pace a meaningless vibration. But that doesn't matter, because anything behind you can quickly disappear with a twist of the throttle.
The seat is like a well carved wooden chair. Nice to sit in, but not for long periods of time. The ergos are OK (Although it does tend to push your man-junk into the tank if you're not riding with vigour) but are uncompromising though. But then I did ride an RS125 to Phillip Island from Sydney twice so maybe my views on comfort are not the same as others. If anything I'd put flatter bars on it to lower the controls more. At speed when you're hunched over a bit, it does feel awkward and gets sore quicker than you'd think.
But those things are quite minor in the scheme of things. This a motorcycle that embodies what is good and pure about riding motorcycles. It's not the easiest bike to ride. It doesn't like you at any stage. But that doesn't matter. You'll love it. You'll love it because it is a such a rewarding bike to ride. It may sound like I'm gushing after only an 80km ride, but if this was a test ride. I would have bought it. Benje really does own something special here.