Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Trying bikes

Recently I arranged test rides of a couple of motor bikes with a view to buying one. My main purpose was to try a Honda CBR 125R but also provided the opportunity to acquire some experience of the Yamaha YBR125.

The Yamaha felt very familiar; the upright riding position and comfortable, squashy seat are very similar to the Honda CG125. Modern injection and engine management meant no messing about with chokes and a fuss-free power delivery. The presence of a tachometer made it easy to judge how much power to use in slow riding. It wasn’t terribly exciting but would make a nice little workhorse of a bike.

The Honda CBR was more like a racehorse, with its sporty riding position and appearance. True there isn’t much performance since, like all learner legal bikes, it is limited to 15bhp but it has a feeling of delicacy and precision. All the controls have a lightness and positivity of operation, particularly the featherweight clutch and disk brakes. The handling and ride are about the best I have encountered (in my limited experience). My only complaint was that the riding position felt less comfortable than I expected; putting too much pressure on the hands.

After some deliberation I decided that the Honda was the one to go for. The YBR would be a fine commuter bike but the CBR is nicer to ride. To my mind motorbikes are as much about balance and control – which the Honda has in spades – as power and speed. Furthermore; if I’m using the bike every day then I want the best machine I can buy.

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