‘Af­ter 35 min­utes I’m happy to say my knees and bum were still in work­ing or­der’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Garage -

andy.david­son@mo­tor­cy­cle­ Miles 6548 MPG 55

De­pend­ing on who my pil­lion is, I take vary­ing de­grees of care with their com­fort. If it’s my mate or mis­sus then I’m not par­tic­u­larly fussed if they get an achy bum or their hel­met knocks mine at ev­ery red light. But take some­one new on the bike and it’s best be­hav­iour all the way, with the ut­most care and cul­tured throt­tle twists. So when my house­mate and col­league Liam sent his 1400GTR in for a week-long stay at the garage, I be­grudg­ingly of­fered up a week-long pil­lion ser­vice.

De­spite the in­con­ve­nience of hav­ing to lug him to and from work, the com­mute was a per­fect op­por­tu­nity to test pil­lion com­fort. My main goal was to get to and from the of­fice with no thought spared for his com­fort, so I was ex­pect­ing con­tin­u­ous head­bang­ing and a lit­tle bit of shov­ing. But to my sur­prise our 20-minute ride was to­tally peace­ful. Pulling out of the of­fice and fil­ter­ing be­tween traf­fic was easy peasy. I upped the preload be­fore Liam jumped on, which kept the rear from sink­ing ev­ery time I gassed it. The seat is well-padded and wide, which gave us plenty of space, and I kept the top­box in place so Liam could lean back and rest against it. The chunky grab rails also helped him hold on cruis­ing down the dual car­riage­way. At one point I gen­uinely for­got he was there.

“Ev­ery so of­ten I jump on the back of a bike and straight from the start know if it’s go­ing to be com­fort­able or not,” said 6ft 1in Liam. “High pegs will soon have your knees ach­ing and a flat wooden board of a seat will give you a sore arse. But the V-strom has its er­gonomics sorted, it’s im­me­di­ately com­fort­able and even af­ter a 35-minute ride my knees and bum were in good work­ing or­der.” The same sen­ti­ment was shared by my 5ft 6in girl­friend af­ter a re­cent 200-mile round trip.

Just as im­por­tant as the er­gonomics is how smooth the bike rides. It can be the most comfy bike in the world, but if the throt­tle re­sponse is jerky and the bike rips through the gears it’ll be a night­mare for the pil­lion. But the V-strom is in­cred­i­bly smooth and the throt­tle re­sponse is com­posed and pre­dictable. It won’t catch you out and the power is pro­gres­sive and lin­ear – the per­fect in­gre­di­ents for a pil­lion ma­chine. So, af­ter a week of rid­ing, and even with min­i­mal ef­fort to make the ride com­fort­able the 650 per­formed bril­liantly for the both of us, fur­ther prov­ing what a ca­pa­ble mo­tor­cy­cle it is.

2Britain will warm up (even­tu­ally), but in this coun­try there’s an om­nipresent threat of rain – ideal con­di­tions for a vented jacket with a wa­ter­proof lin­ing be­hind it.

A few home im­prove­ments have sorted it Lost side­stand puck means soft ground is a Paso dan­ger zone No love lost. Liam’s a fan of the lug­gage ca­pac­ity and weather pro­tec­tion, but the GTR has be­come a two- wheeled car SUZUKI V-STROM 650 XT, £7599

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