Sunday, 27 February 2011

Bike Choice

I’m looking for a motorbike at the moment. With a CBT under my belt the law says I can ride a bike with an engine of 125cc and (I think) 15bhp but no more. The plan is to use the bike as often as possible to build up road experience as preparation for the Part 2 of the driving test.

There is plenty of choice, even on a limited budget, in terms of the style of motorcycles available. I’m not really a fan of cruiser or off-road style bikes. The feet-forward riding position of the former feels uncomfortable and the latter type feels too tall. Every time I swing my leg over an off-road bike it feels as though my feet barely touch the ground. That effectively leaves my choice as one between commuter-style bikes and the scaled-down sports bikes.

Image Source

Commuter bikes are machines like Honda’s CG125 (above). As bikes go the CG is probably as basic as they get; one cylinder, no fairing, manual choke, simple instruments and a “sit up and beg” riding position. It also has a reputation for durability and being easy to look after – the basic design has been around for a couple of decades at least. There is always a demand for CG125s – not ideal when you’re buying but handy when it comes to sell. On the debit side, I find the ride bouncy, the engine less than smooth, I really wish a rev counter was fitted and I’m not overly keen on the riding position.

Image Source

Sports bikes like the Honda CBR 125R have what feels like a much nicer riding position. The handlebars are narrower and angled in a way that (I think) more closely fits the hands natural grip. Having looked at a CBR today I know that it also comes with a tachometer and temperature gauge to supplement the speedometer and fuel gauges. Subjectively, the CBR also seems better finished. Against those factors must be balanced the knowledge that the fairing will impede maintenance to a degree. Also, any damage to those plastic panels may render the bike a write-off. What I don’t know is how the bike feels to ride, but I hope I can arrange a test ride on one to see whether I like it.

The final decision, I suspect, will be a matter of head or heart. Head says get the CG125; it is a sound, basic bike that might not be very exciting but does the job. Heart says the CBR will be more fun. I’m not sure how this will work out.

No comments: