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 GSXR1000 K6, Suzuki GSXR600 K3, Yamaha QT50 ‘Yamahopper’.