Au Revoir, Strom

Time to say good­bye means a chance to re­flect and show grat­i­tude.

Motorcycle Sport & Leisure - - Contents -

Time for Mossy to wave a tear­ful good­bye to his Suzuki. He has loved this bike. Oh deer.

Iknew full well it was com­ing, and it’s not like it hasn’t hap­pened sev­eral times be­fore. Even so, when it’s time to end your re­la­tion­ship with a bike, then there’s al­ways some sad­ness in­volved. Bikes are of course much more than forms of trans­port and as such we bond with them. And even though the chief role of my V-Strom 650XT has been to trans­port my good self here, there and ev­ery­where, and even though it’s not a bike that’s ever re­ally ex­cited me, it’s con­stantly made me happy and I’ve bonded with it strongly.

But that’s what hap­pens when you ‘own’ a bike. It gets un­der your skin, and be­comes part of your life. The Suzuki has def­i­nitely be­come a fea­ture of mine. It’s been a year since

I was first ac­quainted with it, and the fol­low­ing 12 months and 5700 miles have gen­er­ated plenty of mem­o­ries. Some are bet­ter than oth­ers.

Stand­ing out above all oth­ers is my ac­ci­dent with an er­rant deer back in June last year. Giv­ing me zero warn­ing be­fore it leapt out in front of me sadly meant the end of the an­i­mal’s life, and un­for­tu­nately the end of my re­la­tion­ship with the V-Strom. Luck­ily for me, Suzuki agreed to re­place the writ­ten off ma­chine – even if the dam­age didn’t look bad enough to war­rant its demise – and an­other 650XT took its place.

An­other dis­tinct recol­lec­tion I have of the ad­ven­ture bike is end­ing up at Bri­tain’s high­est pub, the Tan Hill Inn in the Pen­nines. A mate in Manch­ester had asked me if I wanted to go for a ride with him and an­other rider. Best thing about the jour­ney was its ad hoc na­ture. Over a break­fast in the north west’s big­gest city we mused over a map, headed where the weather looked best and ef­fec­tively got taken to that par­tic­u­lar drink­ing stop. I never once han­kered to spend any time on ei­ther the KTM 1290 Su­per Ad­ven­ture S or R1200GS Beemer I jour­neyed along­side – even if they are two of my favourite bikes – sim­ply be­cause I was more than happy with the V-Strom.

Noth­ing about it stands out, but be­ing much more than the sum of its parts meant (as usual) the 650 re­mained to­tally com­fort­able through­out the 780-mile, four day trip. It was easy to ride on the mul­ti­tude of scenic routes we used, and never prompted its rider to com­plain dur­ing the iffy weather we met along the way. Quite sim­ply, it’s such an agree­able, su­per friendly ma­chine, you sim­ply can’t ig­nore its all round abil­ity. It might be a mod­est ma­chine, but it’s also a highly ef­fec­tive one. It’s very cheap to run too. Re­turn­ing 55-70mpg is the norm, and with tyres and other consumables last­ing well; around an an­tic­i­pated 7000-9000 miles for the tyres, and per­haps half as much again for stuff brakes and trans­mis­sion parts, it’s not a bank breaker.

It’s not too bad out on track ei­ther. Lap­ping the Cas­tle Combe cir­cuit in Oc­to­ber high­lighted its us­able na­ture, and though no lap records were bro­ken, I never got em­bar­rassed.

I ended own­er­ship with a trip to see fam­ily up in the North East, cov­er­ing an­other 700-odd miles in the process. It’s some­thing I’ll be talk­ing about in a fu­ture is­sue, but need­less to say it coped, just as it seems to with every­thing, more than ad­mirably. In the mean­time, it’s sadly time to say farewell my friend. Thanks for some ex­cel­lent times to­gether, I’ve en­joyed them all. It’s been emo­tional.

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