So while out and about chasing tags today I got the chance to swap bikes with Al and to sample his new Tiger - I think that he was just keen to sample the Honda otherwise it may never have happened ;-)
First up, it's a very tall bike - the seat height would be quite a bit higher than either of my bikes. But once you are aboard the bike is very roomy and comfortable. Really like the wide bars and seating position - it reminds me of a Bandit (but the bars are even wider) or even Dad's old 1150GS. The dash has got everything on it that you really need: analogue tacho with LCD for velocity and other information. The bike has also got brush guards on the bars for a bit more weather protection as well as Oxford hot grips which I didn't really need today.
Starting the bike up I got my first inkling of how silent and smooth the engine is - it was only the tiniest bit of vibration coming from the motor and an operating rev counter that told me she was purring into life. Taking off down the road only reinforced this impression - the bike is silent and just oozes smoothness. As I was getting to know the bike I had to keep an eye on the rev counter to know when to change gear - you don't really get a signal from the motor, it's that smooth.
Trundling along behind Flynn on his 250 I got used to the riding position very quickly. Bike's set up like this (like the Connie, Bandits and bikes of a similar style) just feel right. Everything is where it should be and it makes the riding of them so easy - not a problem to ride all day long on and far more comfortable than more sports orientated stuff.
Coming into Bulls I got my first inkling into how good the anchors were - you just brush the front brake lever and you're slowing up. Grabbing a handful would not be a good idea. Later on out on some back roads I got the chance to get along a bit (trying to keep the VTR in sight) and the bike felt great. The motor continues to purr and feel effortless even with a few more revs on the dial. As the roads were wet in places and unfamiliar to me I didn't get to throw her around that much but I've certainly seen Al do just that as he romps away from me so I have no doubt that the bike can handle and handle well.
Overall impression? A lovely bike with a turbine of an engine - definitely different to my twin and my four. I felt that you don't get the torque hit like on either of my bikes but the torque is there just the same, it's just hitting a lot smoother - crank the throttle and it just goes. Handling wise and comfort wise - well it's just about perfect for doing some distance on.
Thanks for the ride Al, thoroughly enjoyed it. You'll have to sample the Connie now...