I've been riding this bike for the past 6 years, I know it seems late writing a review, but these are now coming up on the used
market at prices that can be afforded so, here goes.
I collected the bike new and was immediately impressed with the build quality. Nice clean lines, good looking and easy to ride,
well easy when warm, the engine has a bad habit of cutting when cold, making setting off from the garage challenging in really
cold weather, but a minute or two warming up and that's no longer a problem. The engine, a single cylinder 4 stroke unit is
smooth throughout the rev range, there's no vibrations at all, that's because there's a balance shaft buried somewhere in the unit
that really does cancel out nasty vibes.
Once rolling and warm the bike responds well to the throttle, lifting the front wheel if asked to do so(naughty!), acceleration is
swift and speed limits come up all too fast. This is, after all, not a low powered learner machine, but a full license bike.
The good points, the looks, although now dating slightly these bikes look as though they were built for rough roads. They are,
that's the second point, on green lanes the handling is superb with the front end staying down when needed
and coming up if asked. It's a pleasure to fly over the rough on this bike.
The on tarmac handling isn't too bad either, hurtling into corners the bike is very flick-able, changing line with ease. When fitted
with Goodyear Trail Wings as mine is you get the best of both worlds, the tyres are passably good in all conditions with the
exception of mud. But what tyre is good in deep slime anyway?
The bad points, the adjustment on the suspension units. There's just too much to play with! the front forks have adjustable
damping, as does the rear shock, once set up I left these alone with little trouble, once set up.
But a new set of fork oil seals and i'm having to start all over again! The rear view mirrors are, er, not good.
To see anything but your elbows you have to bob from side to side, not good when in busy traffic. One final downer is
the seat height, I'm a short a*** and find that I can only touch the floor with my boot toes, so I have to decide which foot
to land with at junctions, invariably my right, so that I can select gear to set off again. Should it be the wrong foot I look
like a lizard on hot sand, hoping from one foot to the other and sliding back and forth across the seat.
On the road the bike is a pleasure, a fast action twist grip means instant power to overtake and disc brakes front and rear
give more than enough stopping power, it's possible to pull impressive stoppies!
Handling through twisty bits is light and responsive, but once on a long straight bit the high bars get a little tiring.
Hunkering down to reduce frontal area helps with shoulder strain, and the speed will also rise. It's easy to break the national
speed limit on this bike, which for an upright 250 isn't too bad! ( I drive at the limit all the time, honest!)
Turning off the black stuff on to rougher surfaces shows how good that suspension really is. The transition is seamless and rising
up onto the 'pegs makes rough terrain an easy ride. You really have to push this bike hard for it to get out off hand, and even then
shutting the gas off usually brings it back in line. The front wheel will lift easily over bumps and the rear end rarely 'kicks' on
landing. All in a very nice bike to play on.
My works bike now has 55+k on the clock, it's had problems, the output shaft to the front sprocket needed replacing around 36k,
as have others in the works fleet, and there's a recurring electrical relay problem that a £30 bit should fix, but apart from
that these bikes are reliable and solid. Would I buy one, at the right price, probably.