The orig­i­nal KNOW YOUR ONIONS

Owner: Your at-a-glance guide to stuff we like to com­pare

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Road Test - Red­line

Chippy Wood (50), free­lance pho­tog­ra­pher

Af­ter years of rid­ing su­per-quick and ex­cel­len­thandling ad­ven­ture bikes, I had for­got­ten how much fun a pure sports­bike can be. Why has it taken me so long to haul my old Blade out of the garage and throw a leg over the bike of the 20th cen­tury? The ac­cel­er­a­tion is still bal­lis­tic; it loves to be revved hard to­wards its red­line, scream­ing for an­other gear, front wheel lift­ing at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity. With my two mates just a few bike lengths away, I’m try­ing to prove that this old girl can still go when asked and she’s hold­ing her head high in this es­teemed com­pany – too high some­times as the front wheel crashes down again and I re­alise that I’ve for­got­ten how to hold a wheelie. The deep in­duc­tion noise from un­der­neath that hu­mungous pur­ple and white fuel tank is in­tox­i­cat­ing. My legs are bent more than I re­mem­ber, with the seat-to-peg dis­tance too cramped for my badly beaten knees, but healthy joints could eas­ily tour on this an­i­mal. The rid­ing po­si­tion is far more ‘in’ than the other two and makes you feel plugged in to the chas­sis – bike and rider to­tally at one with each other, its ag­ing sus­pen­sion still full of qual­ity damp­ing and cop­ing well.

Four­teen years ago I swapped a KTM 300 plus £1200 for my RRN, and to­day I couldn’t imag­ine swap­ping my RRN for any­thing else. It’s only the brakes and their 25-year-old fluid that feel from an­other time, but I’m go­ing to sort that. There’s a clas­sic lit­tle wig­gle of the bars as we pop over crests, the one that prompted thou­sands of own­ers to fit steer­ing dampers and con­demn the 16in front wheel, but no com­plaints from me. The Blade feels fan­tas­tic as I drop into cor­ners I know well from count­less trips into the Wolds, past Cad­well Park and be­yond. It’s a keeper.

A slightly flappy front end adds to the en­gag­ing ride

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.