Com­mut­ing isn’t rub­bish,

Right bike, right weather. Com­mut­ing re­ally doesn’t need to stink…


MONDAY MORN­ING 6:30AM. Fall out of bed to Mr Pres­i­dent Coco Jumbo on the alarm. 6:40am: stiff dou­ble es­presso. 6:50am: trans­fer locks from Yamaha Tracer 900 to GSX-R. 7am: start Ra­dio 4 on the ear buds. 7:06am: bark off down street hav­ing for­got­ten credit card, house key, thick gloves, shower. I’ll get them when I re­turn on Fri­day. For the next two hours the Tracer Nine ploughs 123 miles from cosy York home to face­less Peter­bor­ough work­house. The bike’s roomy, com­fort­able, and sus­pended like a vin­tage ’60s sofa. With my week’s clothes strapped to the pil­lion seat and valu­ables zipped in the tank bag, the Tracer flounces over the A1’s worst bumps. I’d wag­gle a C-span­ner at the rear shock for fast road rid­ing, but the soft set-up’s per­fect for mo­tor­way miles. The en­gine’s also glo­ri­ously quiet at a 90mph cruis­ing speed, and it av­er­ages an as­ton­ish­ing 55.4mpg. So it’s a pity, then, that the stan­dard screen is com­plete pants. ‘Ten-step ad­justable,’ say Yamaha. ‘5cm ad­just­ment range.’ But nowhere do they say how ter­ri­bly the screen does its job. The tip sits 760cm from your hel­met, am­ple space for air to loop and whirl into a buf­fet­ing rhythm. The bat­ter­ing it gives your hel­met is like a low-fre­quency drum beat – the op­po­site of Chi­nese wa­ter tor­ture but no less ef­fec­tive. It must go. But what to re­place it with? Yamaha’s own tour­ing screen is a £150 ac­ces­sory. It’s in the post. Then there’s Givi’s £100 S180T screen ex­ten­der. On its way from Italy. And fi­nally a be­spoke Skid­marx Tall and Wide screen from Wey­mouth – £90. Four bolts mean fit­ting will be sim­ple. More next month. ‘The Tracer’s roomy, com­fort­able, and sus­pended like a vin­tage ’60s sofa’

Staff writer Been rid­ing for: seven years Owns: Suzuki GSXƒR1000 K6, Suzuki GSXƒR600 K3, Yamaha QT50 ‘Yama­hop­per’.

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