Suzuki V-strom 650 XT

Gareth heads south in search of seafood

RiDE (UK) - - Contents - GARETH ASH­MAN

I DON’T WANT to give the im­pres­sion that I’m just roam­ing around the coun­try us­ing the V-strom to travel from one eatery to the next, but I can un­der­stand if that’s how it looks. Two months ago I was in search of beigels, this month it’s cock­les. With the au­tum­nal weather fast ap­proach­ing, I took the op­por­tu­nity to take a sunny ride down to my old stomp­ing ground of Leigh-on-sea in Es­sex, right where the Thames meets the sea. Old Leigh is well worth a visit, and still has an ac­tive fish­ing fleet, the lovely old cockle sheds, three quaint pubs and a host of seafood stalls – Os­borne Broth­ers be­ing my per­sonal favourite. Do watch out for the cob­bled streets when it’s been rain­ing, though…

As I’m just about to leave for San­tander in north­ern Spain in a few days, I also wanted to use this trip to try out dif­fer­ent tyre pres­sures and rear sus­pen­sion set­tings (the forks aren’t ad­justable on the 650). Even this short ride con­firmed that I re­ally do need to fit a taller screen be­fore the much longer

ride back from the Basque coun­try. I have since or­dered and fit­ted a bril­liant MRA screen ex­ten­der from HPS, which has made a big dif­fer­ence. I can now open my vi­sor on the move with­out my con­tact lenses blow­ing out!

It also tran­spires that when the top­box is fit­ted, the change in the wind­flow causes the front end to feel a bit vague and the bars to shake at around 40mph. It is pos­si­ble to just open the throt­tle a touch and ride through it but I’m hop­ing that the fit­ment of pan­niers and a pil­lion aren’t go­ing to make this phe­nom­e­non any worse. Oh, and I re­ally must learn how to ride this bike with­out ac­ci­den­tally flick­ing the full-beam switch on all the time with my left in­dex fin­ger too…

Leigh-on-sea is a good ride out - the only way is seafood

MRA screen ex­ten­der made a huge dif­fer­ence

The sea­side in the sun­shine - a Bri­tish in­sti­tu­tion

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