Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Time for a change...

Well it’s finally happened – I’m not a Bandit Rider anymore. After 44,555 km on my K2 and 20,468 on the K6 (and 18 years on Suzuki’s) I’ve changed for something different – more on that later.

Firstly, what I think of the Bandit. It is a simple, reliable bike that will do everything. Plenty of grunt to run with more powerful bikes and a great relaxed riding position. Carries rider, pillion and gear no worries and is easy on gas – 300km to a tank no problem. It is also a very easy bike to ride: strong, smooth power delivery and wide handlebars make throwing it around a piece of cake. Even good on gravel. A great, cheap, reliable all-rounder that puts a big smile on the dial after every ride.

So why change? Well after about five & a half years and 65,000kms on Bandits I thought that it was time for a change to something a bit more modern. A few years ago before I bought the K6, I rode a Blackbird and was impressed with the engine – not just the grunt but the smoothness etc and for a while one of these was possibly on the cards. The fairing protection was also something that impressed me. I guess ultimately I was looking for a more “modern” bike – engine, comfort, performance etc.

A while ago I stuck a poll (see results on right) on the blog with a list of what I thought were potential contenders for a space in my shed. Naturally the new Bandit was on there and I’m sure it’s a great bike (chased one around the Wairarapa on Saturday). You still cannot beat it for price - $14k gets a lot of bike, even ABS. Also on there was the Blackbird, Hayabusa, ZX-14 and the new Concours 14.

I guess ever since I saw the first pictures of the Concours I was interested – it really looked like the business for what I want to do on a bike: ride big miles in comfort. And of course I’ve been posting info on it on this blog for a while.

So, last Wednesday I took one for a quick test ride – in the rain. Yep, you still get wet on them! It impressed me straight away – it’s a big heavy bike but once under way the weight just isn’t an issue. And of course the weight helps it feel absolutely planted on the road. As I quietly pottered up the road I tossed her from side to side and it felt great.

And then once out on the open road the engine came rushing into the equation – silky smooth acceleration through the gears with no fuss whatsoever. A couple of top gear roll-ons from 90km/h or so showed that there was heaps of grunt there to get you past the traffic and off into the distance.

And then it was time to stop – it does! Gave myself a little fright when I braked so hard in the wet, but ABS (though it probably never kicked in) and no issues. So, soaking wet I took the bike back, went home to change and then back to work.

Ever since then it was a case of thinking shall I or shant I? I was very keen but was also nervous about the size of the bike and of course the dollars involved. In the end by Friday I had pretty much decided and was looking for insurance. Come Saturday I was off on the Bandit riding with some of the local Kiwi Biker crew and there was a Concours in the group. It was great to talk to Meanie about his bike and watch it in action. Shame he got a puncture on the day but at least the bike told him about it before it could get him into trouble.

And so we get to today. Another great Manawatu day – bucketing down most of the day. At least it fined up for me at lunch time so I could go and pick the bike up and take a quick ride out to Ashhurst and back. Yep, I like it all right! Come time to head home and it was bucketing down again – I really hope that the sound of it starting up isn’t some kind of rain dance soundtrack…

Really looking forward to getting out on it and getting it run in. Unfortunately that’s not this weekend – something else on. But that just gives the weather another week to come right – lemme think, Napier-Taupo-Ohakune-Wanganui-Palmy?

I’ll post more as the bike & I get better aquainted…

More pics of a wet Concours:


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