Someone once said; ‘riding a motorcycle is a kind of prophetic enlightenment. It is a kind of beautiful, hedonistic, extreme, illumination of the soul that is a pure moment.’
There are many benefits to riding a motorcycle. One is that it’s so much fun. It’s also very practical and in these times of ever increasing congestion on our roads, a bike offers a fantastic alternative to sitting in queues of traffic hour after hour. It’s greener too!
Motorcycle Industry Association CEO Tony Campbell said:
“The solution is to factor powered two wheelers into transport policy. Encouraging just 10% of car drivers to swap to a motorcycle or scooter could reduce congestion for all road users by 40%.”
Have a look at this series of ‘City Challenges’ recorded in some of the UK’s worst affected cities to see how effective motorcycles and scooters are in rush hour traffic. //ridetoworkweek.co.uk/city-challenges
If you’ve never ridden a motorcycle before it can be a daunting idea. It doesn’t need to be though and there are plenty of organisations out there to help you make the jump to two wheels.
www.geton.co.uk is a good place to start.
Years ago you used to be able to just take a test and ride anything. Obviously that’s a bit crazy so these days, there are different classes of licence. They are broken up in to bike size and rider age. It’s actually fairly straightforward and these flow charts make it simple to understand; //assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/568266/routes-to-your-motorcycle-licence.pdf
As an example, if you are over 19 with a full car licence, you can take your CBT (basic test), take your theory test and your practical test (just like a car), then you can ride any bike up to 35kw (47bhp). That’s called an A2 licence.
The bike we have here is a Suzuki V-Strom 250. It falls perfectly into the A2 licence class.
The V-Strom is an adventure bike. Think of it like an SUV. Looks good, rugged, can handle all sorts from off road to motorways so perfect for our crappy roads.
This V-Strom is styled like an adventure bike, with longer travel suspension, upright seating position but only has a 248cc parallel-twin engine and is primarily designed for the road with road tyres.
Suzuki’s V-Strom 250 has 25bhp and 23.4 Nm torque which doesn’t sound like much but it’s enough to have fun and do whatever you need to do. Remember, this isn’t a track day bike! It’s the same engine they use in the GSX250R with peak power coming in at 8,000 rpm and peak torque at 6,500 rpm.
It’s not particularly fast with a top speed of 85 mph which is more than you need legally but means those faster overtakes need a little planning. Power is pretty linear so you don’t need to thrash it to get it moving.
With such modest power and a fun chassis, it does mean you can exploit the V-Strom pretty much everywhere without constantly looking over your shoulder for blue lights.
It’s tractable, easily pulling 6th from less that 30 mph and it’s very forgiving, if a little buzzy at high revs but it actually sounds pretty good. You won’t believe how easy the little V-Strom is to ride. Bars are fairly high and the seat is soft and comfortable, prompting you to sit up straight in a typical adventure bike style.
It’s big enough to have some road presence and small enough to filter through traffic and it does it all on a thimble full of fuel. This little adventure bike does a staggering 88 mpg which means over 310 miles on a single 17.3 L tank. I didn’t manage 88 mpg but i was generally pushing on but i did see over 250 miles to a tank.
Suspension is soft and non adjustable but does a good job. I did a little bit of soft green laning and the suspension worked perfectly. Actually, the whole bike worked well. I’m no expert off road but the little V-Strom was friendly and easy to ride, even the winter road tyres worked well. They are road tyres so have their limitation off road but for a bit of green laning they were fine. Brakes are single wavy disc front and rear with twin piston Nissin caliper up front and single piston caliper at the rear. Bosch ABS is standard and they offer good feel and work well.
On the road the bike carries its weight well and rides nicely. The V-Strom turns well and is even fun. It’s a very friendly package, helping you to feel safe and confident. If you’re new to bikes or returning, this is a great way to build your confidence. It’s very easy to maneuver with good steering lock which make urban riding simple.
Styling is another strong point of the V-Strom 250. It’s rugged and handsome and certainly doesn’t look like some beginner bike. It’s got an impressive list of standard features too. There’s a 12V DC power outlet for your sat nav or your phone, a very neat reverse-lit full-LCD instrument panel which gives you information such as; Speedometer, tachometer, odometer, average fuel consumption, fuel gauge, RPM indicator ON/OFF, oil change timing indicator, clock, dual trip meters, gear position, coolant temperature and oil pressure. It sounds like a lot of information but it’s very easy to read.
Despite it’s adventure bike looks, it’s a pussycat. With a seat height of just 800mm compared to a Honda CRF250L’s 875mm seat height, it’s a piece of cake to ride. The bars are nice and high and there’s a very handy little screen on front of you to protect you from the wind.
V-Strom 250’s are available in 3 colours schemes; Pearl Nebular Black / Solid Dazzling Cool Yellow, Metallic Diamond Red, Pearl Nebular Black.
Suzuki have aimed this bike at new riders or returning bikers and it is a very good bike. It’s fun, easy to ride, friendly, brilliant on fuel and looks great.
We nearly forgot, at the moment, if you buy a new V-Strom 250, Suzuki are throwing in a full set of luggage making it even more practical.
It’s obviously built to a price but it works well and, looks good, so what are you waiting for?