Au­tumn ir­ri­ta­tions

Oil weeps and a puls­ing brake mar a bril­liant per­for­mance

MCN - - LONG-TERM TESTS - Tim Thomp­son, Head of Con­tent Fast road and track­day rider with a love of sports­bikes

Sud­denly the 790, the bike that helped make my long hot sum­mer a scorcher to re­mem­ber, is warm­ing up on the drive with the tell-tale steam of a frigid ear­ly­win­ter morn­ing belch­ing from its af­ter­mar­ket Akrapovic. Just like that, my vi­sor has gone from black to clear and the once sen­sa­tional grip be­tween here and work has been down­graded to slimy.

But still it tears the place up. It wig­gles el­e­gantly through the mo­torised an­ar­chy out­side school, cheek­ily takes a bit of pave­ment when the traf­fic com­pletely grid­locks, then clears its throat and thun­ders off to­wards work, the hap­pi­est and most un­com­pli­cated bun­dle of fun I’ve rid­den for years. And that’s where I’d like to leave things – only I’ve missed out a few facts that are be­gin­ning to ir­ri­tate. As the 790 warms on the drive, I also no­tice that a drib­ble of oil that’s been weep­ing from the cam­box cover seal for the pre­vi­ous thou­sand miles is be­com­ing harder to ig­nore, es­pe­cially now a sec­ond leak has ap­peared. What’s more, it’s def­i­nitely get­ting worse.

And as the 790 wig­gles through the morn­ing rush hour traf­fic, the still-cool en­gine cuts out – again – and has done so ev­ery day since the weather chilled, leav­ing me fum­bling for the starter and at the mercy of ev­ery psy­chotic par­ent hell bent on bag­ging the park­ing space clos­est to the school gates. And as the 790 thun­ders off to­wards work I’m in­creas­ingly aware of the puls­ing brake lever and re­duced stop­ping power that go hand-in-hand with a warped disc. Harder to ex­plain or quan­tify is the 790’s sus­pen­sion, which has been the bike’s only weak spot since it ar­rived in May. Harsh on high-fre­quency bumps such as man­holes and pot­holes, the wrong com­bi­na­tion of fac­tors can get the bars wag­gling like it’s 1990 all over again. But now the rear shock can take sev­eral strokes to re­cover from a se­quence of more gen­tle dips and rises and threat­ens at times to bounce me out of the sad­dle. There are no damp­ing ad­justers to play with so it’s a case of lump­ing it or pe­rus­ing in­evitably ex­pen­sive af­ter­mar­ket shock op­tions.

So, life with the 790 is not all un­con­fined joy. Noth­ing ir­ri­tates like know­ing you have to use your week­end not to ride your new bike but take it back to your dealer. But that’s where we are this week.

Win­ter chills can’t spoil the fun but the odd glitch can That oil leak is def­i­nitely get­ting worse

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