So many bikes, so little time…

The Kymco scooter has temporarily taken a secondary role as I jump from saddle to saddle riding as many different bikes as possible, experiencing various engine configurations, body styles and genres. After a few weeks clocking up mileage on a Yamaha TDM 900, I received a call from Gordon’s Moto Dealers telling me that the bike had been sold, so I had to return it to the showroom in Valley Road; however this meant that I was onto my next ride. Well, I was sure I would miss the TDM because as you can see from the test ride that is available for viewing on www.paqpaq.tv, I liked it.

The replacement would therefore have to be something really special. It
is always exciting browsing through the vast selection of nearly new bikes of every brand, style and size that constantly rotate in the showroom. It reminds me of how I felt as a child when my parents took me to Hamleys in London for the first time.

My choice of bike is somewhat limited due to my height and I have had to relinquish some great bikes, namely a beautiful 1300cc Honda X4 which I absolutely loved but kept having to stop and stretch my legs to regain circulation as my knees were so tightly bent with my feet on the pegs. My eyes fell on a nearly new Suzuki GSX 1400 but I did feel a bit guilty, as this was the nicest machine of the lot. With his typical shy smile, and with more faith in my riding capabilities than I myself have, Gordon produced the keys and just told me, “Enjoy”.

Calling the GSX 1400 a muscle bike is an understatement, I much prefer the Incredible Hulk, the only difference being the colour. I consider it a rather subtle bike… not too loud, not too flashy, but ergonomically designed to offer the rider excellent comfort and total control. Size-wise, it is a tall riders dream. It can be adjusted down, which I feel is fairer to adjusting up, to accommodate a shorter stature but the seat is by far the most comfortable I have laid my backside upon.

Then once you press the ‘start’ button, chunkily click into first gear, gently release the clutch and twist the right wrist and you need to hold your breath, the sheer power is exhilarating. It is obviously not the fastest bike around and some racers, even Suzuki’s own Busa can probably run circles round it, but I was still fascinated by the smoothness of the four cylinder in line engine, my clear preference over a more nervous two cylinder any time, makes you feel as if you are driving an automatic.

You simply shift through the gears till you reach fifth and you can put your left hand and foot to sleep. The only problem I noticed so far, and I am not sure whether this is related to the engines being air-cooled, is that the beast does emit some heat around the shins. This would have gone down a treat had I been driving this bike on the Etna in sub-zero degrees in February,
but August in Malta might become somewhat uncom­fortable. I live in dread of the phone call informing me that this bike has also been sold but, looking at the bright side, a new consignment of bikes is due very shortly.

This article was first published on Times of Malta on June 2, 2008
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