This was the motorbike on which I took my prelearners course. It was incredibly easy to get on and off and very easy to ride. That said, I didn’t get over about 20kph or out of the learning yard so I can’t comment on how it would perform on the road. I can say that it was suitable for a short person, no issues touching the floor here. It was just sooooooooo incredibly boring.
This was the motorbike I rode during my HART Road Confidence course. Another easy bike to ride and easy to reach the floor with my short legs. It handled well and I felt very comfortable riding it on the closed circuit and the short road ride we did as part of the training. I actually looked at one of these to buy before I decided on a motorbike with more power. I believe that this would be a great motorbike for someone who just wants to stick to city roads and commuting.
Harley Davidson Street 500
I rode this at the Sydney Motorcycle Show in November 2015. I was a little nervous, it not being my Ninja and being a test ride but it was very easy to ride. You can see by my pose that seat height was not an issue and I could put my feet flat on the ground. We were led on a short circuit around Sydney Olympic Park to get a feel of the motorbike and I was very pleased to get around without stalling or otherwise embarrassing myself.
It was odd riding a cruiser after a sports bike, where my feet sat forward on the pegs but I quickly adapted to that and enjoyed the relaxed feeling as we cruised around the little circuit. I can see why people enjoy riding cruisers but, at this time, I definitely prefer a more sportier style of motorbike.
After 16 months on the Ninja I decided that I was more than ready for an upgrade. I had been very happy on the little red motorbike but I wanted something with more power and more bells and whistles. While researching a new motorbike, I narrowed it down to the Monster and these two.
The tallest, heaviest and heftiest of the three motorbikes I tried. The motorbike felt solid and large
The dealer kindly fitted an extra low seat for the test ride which took the seat height down from 800mm to 765mm.
We left the dealership and headed for the nearby M5 motorway. I was struck by the power of the motorbike although I suspect this was largely due the difference between a Ninja at 250cc and an 800cc! The motorbike purred along the motorway daring me to love it, and I did. We exited the motorway after 10 or so minutes, turned around in a nearby street and then returned the same way back to the dealer.
On the return stretch I started to notice the engine sharing its heat with me. It was a reasonably hot day, about 30 degrees celcius, but the heat from the engine felt excessive. Up to that point, I was pretty sure I would buy this motorbike, I’d even worked out what BMW luggage I was going to ask the dealer to throw in for me, but this heat was a big worry for me.
A bit of research on the internet showed that this was a common issue for riders in wamer countries – one site said that the motorbike was ‘unridable’ on hot days. I do like to be warm when I ride but, given the alternatives, this was a deal breaker for me.
Triumph Street Twin
This 900cc retro style motorbike is ubercool; it looks fantastic and I loved the styling. I also loved the fact that it is a British made motorbike. No need for a lowered seat here at 750mm (29.5in).
We repeated the previous ride route of the motorway. I loved riding this motorbike, it was as smooth a ride as the BMW, if lacking the power. The wide position of the handle bars were a little foreign to me, differing from the sportsbike style where they sit lower and angled inwards. The Triumph just felt easier then the BMW, it didn’t feel bulky or too heavy to handle.
I think, if it wasn’t for the sheer excitement of riding the Monster, I would have gone for this motorbike.
A big shout out to Bikebiz, Granville for the test rides, I realise it’s part of doing business but they did spent a good deal of time with me answering my endless questions.
Harley Davidson Sportster 1200 48 (Special Edition)
I reserved a Sportster 883 but this turned out not to be available upon arrival at the hire shop.
This is the motorbike I booked during our trip to the United States in September 2016. Firstly, this is not a bike to tour on, the fuel tank was tiny (7.5 litres/ 2 gallons) so we will filling up every 60-80 miles, not cool on a long road trip although, on the plus side, it did force us to have a break.
Secondly, vibration! This motorbike shook me to the core. At the end of the day, I seemed to be vibrating all over, this was also not the best combination with a long road trip – I really don’t know how hard core fans put up with this although, maybe, that’s not the point.
Thirdly, poor cornering. Typical of this style of motorbike, they are not designed for twisties; I have never scraped the pegs on my monster and I did several times on this bike. I found this a little unsettling.
All that said, it was a very cool motorbike. It was easy to ride, the riding position was comfortable, the under handlebar mirrors made it very easy to keep an eye on my surroundings and she certainly could go when pushed.
And, people loved it! We couldn’t get over how often people wanted to talk to us about the bikes (Gary on an Indian Scout), every day someone came up to us and started chatting, even when we were about to pull away at petrol stations, someone wanted to tell us how cool our bikes were.
So that’s my conclusion, very cool motorbike to pose on, not the best for touring. And, so we’re clear, I liked it.