Harley-davidson 750 Street & Ducati Monster 695
Honda CBR600R, £8999
IÕM a fan of twin-cylinder naked middleweights, and switching last year to the relaxed, feet-forward riding style of a Harley-davidson Street 750 was Ð against all expectations Ð a revelation. I loved it. With 2017 dawning I made a resolution to continue trying different styles of bikes. Which is how I found myself with a set of keys to one of the most focused supersport bikes of the last 20 years, Honda's CBR600RR. This track-focused, rev-hungry animal is alien territory, and IÕD be kidding if I didnõt admit I was anxious.
Stepping towards the CBR for the first time I was impressed by its compact dimensions and aggressive looks Ð the red, white and blue paintjob is particularly stylish. After an 8000-mile summer on the semi-reclined Harley, the CBR'S pegs seemed to be in a different postcode Ð so high and rearward they forced my knees up to my ears.
I headed north from Peterborough on the A1, thinking a stretch of straight dual carriageway would be the easiest way to familiarise myself with gear changes and the riding position. But the CBR flew out of the traps and, without trying, I was quickly cruising into licence-losing territory. The inlinefour's engine internals felt weightless compared to my Harley, and I found myself feeding it more and more revs between gears. I had to consciously tell myself to ease back.
That much I had expected, but not how easy it is to ride. Even in top gear the CBR is smooth and responsive enough to ease past traffic. The neat combination of digital speedo and dash and analogue rev counter is clear but I was disappointed by the lack of gear shift indicator, especially on a bike with such a busy gearbox.
I jumped off the A1 and headed for my favourite local roads, which I knew would be a good test for me and the bike. Temperatures were just above freezing and the surfaces wore the perma-damp greasiness of deep winter, yet it was amazing how confident I felt. Unlike my Harley the CBR searches the road out. It encourages you to have fun, even when the weather’s awful.
Admittedly riding through tight town roads wasn’t fun at all. With no wind blast to lift the unfamiliar amount of weight off my wrists I began to get mild pins and needles in my hands. The steering is heavier than I’m used to in town and I also noticed the hard, very un-harley seat and my slightly aching bum cheeks. But the more miles I did, the more accustomed and addicted I became to the whole experience. Continued over: Verdict, stats, accessories and typical PCP deals
Big change from the Harley but Alison’s definitely on it!
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