THIS MONTH I HAVE MOSTLY BEEN… Disappearing into the sunset.
My role in Bridgestone is varied and offers plenty of travelling. Part of that is visiting Ireland a few times a year. Ireland is a beautiful and tranquil place and has some awesome roads, so most of the time I go by bike. Previously I’ve used the 1200GS, KTM 1290 SA S and the Versys 1000. I am a bit of a fan of big Adventure bikes, simply because they do it all in comfort and usually offer a tank range compared to those four-wheel tin top things. So none of this stop-start riding and looking for fuel stations every 100 miles.
Bruce knows I’m a bit of a girl when it comes to my creature comforts and ‘must haves’ on my bikes so when the big H2 showed nearly 200 miles range, I was happy… I’m a big lad at over 6ft and have more rolls in my midriff than the local baker’s, so the ergonomics of sports bikes don’t suit me for long distances. When Bruce offered me the opportunity to test the H2 SX, my immediate thought was: “Hmmm, a 1000-mile round trip to Ireland and back on a bike that would have me doubled up like I’d been kicked in the man bits by a stiletto-wearing Russian shot putter,” which left me a little unsure. However, I’ve liked the look of the H2 since its launch and fancied a crack on one from the off, so why not?
I jumped aboard as soon as it was delivered – in fact, I had my gear on ready so I could go straight out. It was either going to be the Russian shot putter or a pleasant surprise.
First impressions were positive. There was more room than I expected as I slotted in. Not the first time I’ve thought that when I’ve ridden something for the first time!
For me the first 20 or 30 miles are a good indicator as to whether the two of us will get on and I returned home, parked her up in the driveway, got off, and had a little smile to myself. This is going to be fun, I thought.
The first part of the journey was to Holyhead for the ferry and I decided to take the motorway to Oswestry and then the A5 straight through Wales. This would give me some twisties and some boring motorway work to start with. Being the SE model it came with cruise control and, being the finicky rider that I am, l was again impressed. I personally think all bikes should come standard with cruise. On long boring motorway rides they are a godsend. Especially being left handed, my right hand doesn’t get the same workout, so needs resting.
As I entered the A5 (bike heaven) I stopped for a brew to reflect on the experience so far.
The H2 SX has surprised me all the way. The bars are somewhere between a Versys and a ZZR1400. I would personally like them a bit higher, but in fairness, I’m being properly critical here. I’m just used to my own GS and I judge everything against that in terms of comfort.
As the A5 approached the ride was about to change – twisting roads, fantastic scenery and some small villages to test the bike’s all-round performance. The GS has become my fur-lined wagon rut, a bit of fur that I’ve never been tempted away from, despite the number of different bikes I’m very lucky to ride and test.
The A5 came and went and there I was, sat at the docks with the H2 SX drawing loads of attention. “Supercharged?” Some old blokes were asking. “Yes, it’s a damn quick motorcycle, this,” was my response. “Aggressive?” they asked. Honestly, no. I’d almost forgotten it was supercharged. The power is linear all the way through, and this smoothness is aided by a super slick gearbox, featuring a quick shifter and down blipper which, during the 1000 miles, didn’t miss a beat.
I’ve ridden many bikes that cut the engine with the slightest hint of pressure, but not here. The system on the H2 is excellent.
There’s nothing better than getting on a ferry on a motorcycle. You know when you get off the other end that you’re on an adventure. I had 600 miles in Ireland ahead of me, the sat nav set to avoid motorways and tolls... just the open road and motorcycle freedom for a whole week.
Titanic in every way... apart from the sinking.