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  1. #1
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    More bike related stuff

    Well, I start the journey to my unrestricted bike licence next week, and inevitably I'm trying to pin down the bikes that I'll end up testing with a view to buying. I suppose this thread is just a chance to look at the options, which aren't as huge as they could have been considering I want a naked bike; it needs to be as light and agile as possible, as I'm on the small side of average; and I've pretty much settled on 650-700cc.

    There are two bikes at present that meet these requirements and also make me drool in terms of looks, and I just wondered if there were any real life experiences that could be shared, or whether there are other obvious contenders that I should be thinking about.

    First up is the Yamaha MT-07 - not one that needs much inroduction, and Europes biggest selling naked bike by some margin (apparently Yamaha sell around 17,000 units pa, which is remarkable).



    The other bike that's making me drool - and only just discovered thanks to a pointer from our Howard - is the Husqvarna Vitpilen 701. A manufacturer better known for motocross, but with a pedigree going back to 1903, this one is slightly more of a cafe racer style.



    Both of these bikes are 690cc, and both have similar handling characteristics according to the reviews - and are also easy to ride from a novice's point of view.

    Any thoughts or experiences to share? Please bear the requirements I mentioned in mind - I don't want a sports bike, and I don't want anything bigger in terms of engine size.

  2. #2
    Grand Master 100thmonkey's Avatar
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    MT07 and MY09 both awesome.

    Currently loving the Thruxton R. Pop it in rain mode for 3 months if youíre worried to tame it




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  3. #3
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    That's almost double the power that I'm after, Kerry. Lovely bikes, though.

  4. #4
    Grand Master 100thmonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by learningtofly View Post
    That's almost double the power that I'm after, Kerry. Lovely bikes, though.
    But all the power is in your wrist (Not speaking from experience!).

    Street Triple also a good shout, I wouldn’t worry about power you’ll be capable of harnessing it. I can ride an MT07 alot madder than the Thruxton
    "When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say,
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  5. #5
    I'd definitely test ride a Triumph Street Triple Tony, it's an amazing bike and would fit the criteria you are looking for.

  6. #6
    The Vitpilen is a stunner. A real head turner.

    But I still say a 650 V-Strom is the best bike money can buy.

  7. #7
    Craftsman
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    If naked is the option, you could also consider the Triumph Street Triple. I had one a few years back, a really nice bike tbh. Did everything well, fast (enough), handled well, stopped very well and good on fuel and to insure, light and very manouverable. There are a load of ad-ons for these as well to make them look a bit different if that's your thing.

    I had the 675R version and the engine was sweet, sort of the torque of a v-twin, but the top end rush of a straight 4. Very easy to ride slow as well or in traffic. I know that may sound daft, riding a bike slow, but that's one of the reasons I recently got rid of my Diavel and bought a BMW S1000RR. The Ducati was gorgeous once moving above 40 or 50, but lumpy as hell in slow traffic, almost unbearable, and made riding it miserable.

    Maybe worth looking at...

    Stuart

  8. #8
    Master
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    I've read a review of the Vitpilen on MCN ... they complained about how hard the seat was ... I'm sure you've read this already ... and usually remedied easily enough with a comfort seat. So don't let this be a show stopper.

    https://www.motorcyclenews.com/bike-...ilen-701/2018/

  9. #9
    Grand Master 100thmonkey's Avatar
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    Having hung around a lot of bike cafes, dealerships and shows I can tell you everyone has an opinion and no ones is right for anyone else but all bikes
    Mentioned above have good comments.


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  10. #10
    Craftsman
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    I think the difference is in the actual ride height. How this is achieved i dont know, but assume the LRH (low ride height) is for the more vertically challenged amongst us. Speak to a Triumph dealer tho, iím sure they will have all the info.

    Stuart


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  11. #11
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cinnabull View Post
    I think the difference is in the actual ride height. How this is achieved i dont know, but assume the LRH (low ride height) is for the more vertically challenged amongst us. Speak to a Triumph dealer tho, iím sure they will have all the info.

    Stuart


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    Yes, my assumption too, so I was surprised that the specs are identical. Iíll see what I can unearth when I have a bit more time.

  12. #12
    Master Thewatchbloke's Avatar
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    Size wise you can't go wrong with an R9 of some description. As Kerry said it's only going to go as fast as you ride it and you strike me as being reasonably level headed, better to end up with something that's going to fulfil all your riding needs for a few years as opposed to something that gets to feel too small too quickly.

    https://www.bmw-motorrad.co.uk/en/mo...ninetpure.html

    In your position the pure would be my choice.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Thewatchbloke View Post
    better to end up with something that's going to fulfil all your riding needs for a few years as opposed to something that gets to feel too small too quickly.
    While I can see the logic in that, it wouldn't necessarily bother me to buy a smaller bike and run it for a while. One, you can build confidence on something manageable without having to deal with the weight and power a larger bike. Two, small bikes are massive fun in their own right because it's often more fun to ride a slow bike fast than it is to ride a fast bike slow and bigger/faster does not automatically equal more fun anyway; and three, by the time you've got used to and bored with a smaller bike you have a much better idea of what you want out of the next one, plus if you buy second hand you can sell it after a year or so without losing a great deal of money. YMMV.

  14. #14
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Groundrush View Post
    While I can see the logic in that, it wouldn't necessarily bother me to buy a smaller bike and run it for a while. One, you can build confidence on something manageable without having to deal with the weight and power a larger bike. Two, small bikes are massive fun in their own right because it's often more fun to ride a slow bike fast than it is to ride a fast bike slow and bigger/faster does not automatically equal more fun anyway; and three, by the time you've got used to and bored with a smaller bike you have a much better idea of what you want out of the next one, plus if you buy second hand you can sell it after a year or so without losing a great deal of money. YMMV.
    That's exactly how I'm thinking, to be honest. Also, I can't imagine for a moment that I'd ever want more that 700cc of engine. Bear in mind that I was assuming, when I made the decision to get into biking (although I did ride as a teen, to be fair), that I'd end up with something like a CB300R!

  15. #15
    Grand Master 100thmonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cinnabull View Post
    I think the difference is in the actual ride height. How this is achieved i dont know, but assume the LRH (low ride height) is for the more vertically challenged amongst us. Speak to a Triumph dealer tho, iím sure they will have all the info.

    Stuart


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    If youíre struggling Tony then get some Cuban heels


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  16. #16
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 100thmonkey View Post
    If youíre struggling Tony then get some Cuban heels


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  17. #17
    Grand Master 100thmonkey's Avatar
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    Be great to get out and ride Tony, some choice cafes all motorbike local to us.

    Also shameless as it may be theres the DGR you can join me on!!!

    Please go to https://www.gentlemansride.com/fundr...orneOfAirborne to donate.
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  18. #18

    Wink

    Tony - can you please make sure you buy from a dealer who assembles the bike for you.

    I recollect (with some hysterics) the picture you posted a few years ago of your new bicycle that you had set up in a rather unconventional manner !

    If someone can find the link it would be great to let everyone else have a laugh

  19. #19
    I had a test ride for an hour on a BMW R Nine T a few weeks ago, it's far quicker than it looks and a great all rounder, love the torque of that twin as well and the handling is really sweet with the low centre of gravity, I'd get a go on one of these as well Tony you might be surprised.

    My advice is just ride plenty of bikes, you'll know when you find the right one.

  20. #20
    I posted a similar thread a few months ago and was pointed in the direction of both the Ducati Scrambler and the BMW R9T.

    Went to a local dealer who had both and instantly dismissed the Scrambler. The BMW build quality is in a different league. Iíd recommend taking a look at any of the iterations as Skyman suggests (probably with the exception of the racer).

    More than happy with mine.




  21. #21
    I’m very partial to BMW twins, as we have at least 9 in the family at the minute, but they are at a completely different entry point. Nothing wrong with that, but depends what you are considering.

    An Arch would probably be a very nice bike, but...
    It's just a matter of time...

  22. #22
    It's just a matter of time...

  23. #23
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omegamanic View Post
    Yes, Scott, perfect. I quote from the opening paragraph:

    ďIím going to say this right off the bat so that I donít forget to later: Do NOT buy this bike if youíre a beginner and just starting off in the world of 2-wheelers. I say that not as a challenge of any kind, but more from the fact that this bike is definitely for a seasoned biker, I kid you not.Ē

  24. #24
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by learningtofly View Post
    Yes, Scott, perfect. I quote from the opening paragraph:

    ďIím going to say this right off the bat so that I donít forget to later: Do NOT buy this bike if youíre a beginner and just starting off in the world of 2-wheelers. I say that not as a challenge of any kind, but more from the fact that this bike is definitely for a seasoned biker, I kid you not.Ē
    Donít dismiss Guzzis, but consider older ones with classic throttle.
    Having said that, modern bikes are great.
    Don't take my silence for agreement. I've just realised you're too stupid to argue with.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by learningtofly View Post
    Yes, Scott, perfect. I quote from the opening paragraph:

    ďIím going to say this right off the bat so that I donít forget to later: Do NOT buy this bike if youíre a beginner and just starting off in the world of 2-wheelers. I say that not as a challenge of any kind, but more from the fact that this bike is definitely for a seasoned biker, I kid you not.Ē
    I know, I thought you would appreciate that ;) - but in all honesty itís just a review, and the bike is light for a Guzzi and not high power etc. It would be very comfortable, and being shaft drive would need very little maintenance, which is a huge benefit to a new or born again biker - I find dealing with a chain on my Africa Twin DCT commuter a pain compared to my shaft drive R1200 BMWís

    Plus they can bought bought at good prices.

    See what you prefer the look of, and enjoy riding. Youíll know which bike you have a preference for quite quickly.
    It's just a matter of time...

  26. #26
    I had a BMW F750 as a loan bike when my R1200R Sport was in for service last week and took it for a long ride through the Black Mountains and mid Wales.

    I expected to by underwhelmed, and after a couple of hundred yards I hated it. Hateful thing. Considered leaving it at home and taking the MX-5 instead.

    However, having decided to persevere, over the the next few miles it won me over and I have to admit that it was actually rather good and I'd be more than happy to own one. It would be difficult to argue that it wouldn't do everything I wanted from a bike.

    Fun, comfortable, competent, easy to handle. It wasn't fast, but it was fast enough.

    I've had bikes that wowed me in a short test ride but weren't great when I owned them

    - Hayabusa - awesomely fast, incredibly smooth engine, riding position crippled me after about 25 minutes
    - R1150R - lots of grunt and fun around town, but really didn't gel with the bike out of town
    - TDR250 - brilliant fun out of town, nightmare in town
    etc

  27. #27
    Hi Tony, I went through a similar process a while ago and ended up with a Ducati Scrambler 800cc. A bit more CC than you wanted but power wise similar to the MT07.
    Itís light and nimble, cheap to run and very reliable. After a test I preferred it to the MT09. Better riding position for me and I love the brand.



    Cheers
    Andy

  28. #28
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Chaps, is there a reason nobody has mentioned the Street Twin, as opposed to the Street Triple? I understand that it's outside of my intended engine size, but I can't help but note that it's a slightly lower seat height (better for me) and is a seemingly good ride at lower revs (also good for a poddler and casual rider, as opposed to someone who would give t a bit of a thrashing).

    Anybody have any real-world experience of these, as the classic Bonneville looks are certainly doing it for me visually? I'd certainly be interested on opinions as to how it stacks up as a beginner bike against the Street Triple.

    Last edited by learningtofly; 12th August 2018 at 12:19.

  29. #29
    My first big bike was a BMW f800r.

    It ticks all the boxes and is ugly in a beautiful way.

    ABS, enough power to scare but be manageable and lots of mod cons available if you need them.

  30. #30
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Well, I made a decision last night. Given that I have about a month before my training and test on one of the school's 650's, I'm going to buy one of these things today to get some practice in between now and then. They're reasonably cheap, and have good reviews too.



    Or this one, that's at a good dealer round the corner and is a low mileage used bike:



    I'll just make sure I agree the basis of a buy-back with the dealer so it'll hopefully be like renting a bike for the month.

    I think it makes sense, and it will hopefully boost my chances of passing considerably.
    Last edited by learningtofly; 17th August 2018 at 08:56.

  31. #31
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Just a quick update on this, but since I bought the YBR to practice on I've been hit quite hard by man-flu so have been resting up a bit. That said, I've still managed about 60 miles on it which, bearing in mind I'm deliberately riding in traffic rather than the open road, isn't too bad. I'm certainly much, much more confident than when I first sat on it (driving away from the dealer my heart was pumping away like mad!), and now I want to focus a bit on slow driving and manoeuvres, U-turns, lifesaver, etc as I know I'm going to be doing a lot of that when my training on the 650 starts. I'm also trying to get some daily practice in on my theory, both multiple choice and hazard perception, as I'll be furious with myself if I fail that when I take it in a couple of weeks.

    I've also further refined my bike options, albeit that I'll probably test a few before buying. I'm still dead keen on the Street Twin - far more so than the Scrambler, so it's the clear favourite in terms of naked retro. However, I'm also still really drawn to the MT-07 as the other main option - a bit sportier, a bit more power despite the slightly smaller engine (750 compared to 900, but much higher bhp), and rave reviews time and time again. I think they're all good choices as a first large bike, and I'll definitely be seeking to test all three of them properly as soon as I have my test out of the way.

    Anyway, my car comes back from JAZ today with a fresh major service and MOT, so I'll need to give it a bit of love too
    Last edited by learningtofly; 22nd August 2018 at 16:18.

  32. #32
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    I've been continuing my research and review watching over the last week, and have had something of a revelation in terms of the short shortlist for testing. Somehow, I thought that the final choice would be down to the Triumph Sreet Twin and the Ducati Scrambler; however, I seem not to have noticed the very obvious third contender (especially bearing in mind my life-long Triumph love)... the Triumph Street Scrambler.



    God, it's a thing of beauty

  33. #33
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Well, I spent a wonderful couple of hours at Hertfordshire Triumph today, getting to know the Street twin, Scrambler and T100. All felt very manageable in terms if sitting on them, manoeuvring them and generally assessing the riding position and controls. Surprisingly, the one that made my heart beat the fastest was the scrambler, although the guy who was helping me thought that the T100 looked the best suited when I was on it. All three will be available to test, and it seems that I should be able to get my hands on any of them in matt black without too much difficulty.



    Tomorrow I'm off to Ducati Aylesbury to have a look at their Scrambler(s). The Classic and Street Classic are the ones I like from what I've seen so far, but it'll be interesting to handle them all.

    At this stage, i think it's definitely a naked retro bike for me, so the MT-07 has probably dropped off the list.

    Theory test in less than a week, so I'm studying/practicing every day.
    Last edited by learningtofly; 30th August 2018 at 18:30.

  34. #34
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Damn. This is 1200cc and a slightly less advantageous seat height, but good god, it's lovely (the R NineT Scrambler).



    The seat is actually very narrow, though...I think I may have to go sit on one.



    Edit: Actually, it doesn't sound like it would be anything like as suitable for me as the others. Looks damn good though!
    Last edited by learningtofly; 3rd September 2018 at 12:17.

  35. #35
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Well, I'm off to play with the MT-07 in a couple of hours - quite excited about it too, as it's something quite different to all the other bikes I've been focusing on to date.

    I have one more week now before my DAS bike training and MOD1. I'm already nervous just thinking about it.

  36. #36
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Well, that was another very interesting day, this time chewing the fat over at Lind Motorrad in Welwyn Garden City. I spent quite a while sitting on/manoeuvring both an R NineT Pure (which is exactly the same height as the standard) and the Scrambler. The latter was lovely for sure, but I felt much better on the slightly smaller configuration of the Pure/standard and was certainly comfortable enough that it remains a proper contender.

    I LOVED the way it rocked to the side when giving it some revs in neutral

  37. #37
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Well, I bought my bike today...

    Okay, I know I hadn't given it a full test, but the ultimate choice was always going to boil down to the Street Twin or the T100. They both have exactly the same (900cc) engine, and the reality is that the Street Twin could have been built for me, whereas the T100 felt large when I was on it. I've also ruled out many of the non-Triumph potential alternatives, by handling or riding them; from my shortlist, I now think that the R9T (though a thing of beauty) is too big/powerful, and I just prefer the look and fit & finish of the Triumphs over the Ducati Scramblers

    After some deliberation, pushing, pulling, walking and manoeuvring both bikes, firing up of the engines and drooling, thinking some more and negotiating a decentish deal, this is now on order:

    Street Twin (jet black), customised with:

    Fully adjustable Fox RSU
    Heated grips
    Dresser bars
    Tinted flyscreen
    Luggage rack & grab bar
    Centre stand
    Chain guard
    Engine protector kit
    Knee pads
    Tank pad
    CNC front reservoir

    The Twin is effectively sold as a blank canvas, the intention being that you then make your mark on it. I'm 100% happy with my choice of both bike and extras and I don't think there's another bike on the market that's physically a better fit or more perfectly in keeping with what I want. I couldn't be more excited, and now it can be built and delivered whilst I wait for my Mod 2.

    This is just the stock bike - so beautiful

    Last edited by learningtofly; 24th September 2018 at 20:31.

  38. #38
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Hmmm... apparently Enfield has the lowest Mod 2 pass rate in the country. That's reassuring

  39. #39
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Here’s a nice little trip down memory lane for those of us who were growing up in the 70’s!

    Last edited by learningtofly; 1st October 2018 at 17:02.

  40. #40
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Oh dear - I have my Mod 2 on Thursday morning, and for the last few days I've been suffering with what feels like some kind of trapped nerved in my back. Sod's law being what it is, the discomfort is worst when my arms are in the riding position.

    I have an appointment with an osteopath in the morning, but it's looking like I may have a problem, particularly as I'm hoping to collect my (customisation-complete) bike on Friday. If the treatment doesn't help me sufficiently I'm going to have to rely on painkillers and hope that I can still concentrate sufficiently on what's going on around me.

    Not good.

  41. #41
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Okay, a quick update as it's a big week for me...

    Today - arranged insurance on the Triumph, given that on Friday it's getting to me one way or another (more on that below). The cheapest quote online was £1k, with pretty much everything else £1.5k and above. I was therefore massively relieved when my existing insurer totted everything up and gave me cover for about £450 p.a. (They were similarly cheaper for the YBR, and handily it's the same insurer as I use for our cars.)

    Tomorrow - the YBR goes back to the dealer from which I bought it. The manager there has been as good as gold, and has stood by his buy-back price even though I've had the bike a few weeks longer than anticipated. It cost me £1850 and he's giving me £1400 for it; that's probably higher than I'd get in a private sale, and means that I've had what amounts to two months bike hire for £450. Not bad at all.

    Thursday - I have my Mod 2 at about 10.30 in the morning. I'm feeling fairly confident whilst still appreciating that a moment's carelessness could mean a fail. Still, with up to ten minors allowed it's down to me to stay focussed and make sure I don't cock it up. I did ascertain that my test centre (Enfield) has the lowest pass rate in the country, mind

    Friday - if I pass my Mod 2, I'll be collecting the bike from Hertfordshire Triumph and riding it home. It's now ready and waiting (I just got a call, in fact) with all the extras/upgrades fitted. The guy helping me there won't discuss the possibility of me failing, save to say that he'll talk to me should the unlikely happen and the bike will still get to me. (Either way, I'll be going there as I have some parts to collect and there'll no doubt be a few bits and pieces to tie up.)

    One thing I haven't mentioned is a bit of a drama that occurred when Triumph announced the unveiling on 2nd October of a 2019 model with some very nice upgrades. These include 10 more horses (albeit with no more torque) and upgraded Brembo brakes on the front wheel, and the announcement that a new model would be unveiled was made immediately after I signed a contract and paid for mine. By the time the press were given any detail I already had most of the extras fitted to mine, and although I expressed my displeasure to the dealership it looked like I was expected to put it down to bad luck/timing and just suck it up.

    For reasons I won't go into I was never going to let that go, and therefore commenced a dialogue with Triumph's National Sales Manager in Hinckley. To cut a long story short, I was offered a reasonably substantial refund, which means that I can either keep my bike for the long term, reassured by the knowledge of how cheap it will have been compared to the new model; or chop it in after a year or two knowing that I'll barely lose anything on it if I do. In fact, if I were to change it for the 2019 bike, most of the extras and upgrades could be shifted onto the new one anyway. which would make that an even more tempting option.

    I'll update the thread on Thursday!
    Last edited by learningtofly; 9th October 2018 at 15:42.

  42. #42
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Better (7x5")?



    One more, just because...


  43. #43
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    First ride into central London tomorrow - I'm going to The Bike Shed in Shoreditch. Anyone in the area is welcome to join me for a coffee

  44. #44
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Well, I've just had a lovely ride out to Chesham in Buckinghamshire, where the AYB chap did an absolutely fantastic job of applying some ACF-50 for me (using the proper pressurised spray gun, and including a clean prior to application). Very happy I had it done instead of making a complete mess myself!

    As an aside, I did my first motorway miles today. Save that I'm still taking it easy as I'm running the bike in (yes, I know there's another school of thought on this) it's very comfortable at motorway speeds; some very slight buffeting once I hit 70mph, but I think I'm going to buy a Dart Marlin screen for it in place of the little flyscreen that's fitted at the moment, which should sort that out. All in all, another tick in the box, though.

  45. #45
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Oh dear - this is embarrassing.

  46. #46
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Hoping to get a delivery date today, but thought Iíd post a couple of appetite-whetters in the meantime




  47. #47
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Bike located, and due in early next week

  48. #48
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Don't waste too much time with this, unless you're into videos of motorbike crashes. Just go straight to 8.08m


  49. #49
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Well, I suppose it was bound to happen, but some idiot just hit me on the bike - stationary traffic, I was filtering down the middle (no more than 10-15mph) and he decided to suddenly turn right as I passed him. His excuse? He was ďhedgingĒ, not turning - hmmm, maybe he needs to think about why he was at right angles to the rest of the traffic, then

    Anyway, it all happened pretty quickly so I couldnít stop, although I did manage to steer the bike to the right as we made contact. No damage at all save for a sore hand, although he completely lost his mirror. Thank god I kept the bike up!

  50. #50
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    I'm finding myself drooling over the Monster 821 Stealth... it's a great size for me, too



    Slightly less power than my Street Triple, but sexier by far. Luckily, I'm completely skint.

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