Practical pleasure

Rather than the usual company seniority/lucky dip/first up/best dressed type of selection our long termer fleets have generally had in years gone by this year a more scientific approach was adopted, insomuch as Bruce called us together, talked for ages and ages (he likes talking) and then asked us to fill in a questionnaire, while we munched the biscuits he d kindly provided, to match up riders and bikes.

The questions were aimed at what we would use our mount for and what we wanted from it. And that is how I ended up with the V – Strom.

To me, a modern motorcycle is 90% tool, 10% fun; that s not to say I don t want it to be enjoyable, it s just that practicality has to be my prime consideration. My hobby/day job involves mucking around with old motorbikes, so my modern must be something which I can rely on, can happily cover long distances and can carry a load of clobber on. Reliability, comfort and frugality are all primary concerns – though I like going about my business on a motorcycle, simply because when I get to where I m going, I m in a better mood than I d be in had I used the car. So the bike has got to have something about it – but then again just about every two wheeler is fun, it s just on some one has to try harder than with others…

So, what are my first impressions of the V – Strom? Well, to start with I m going to have to get some luggage sorted out, as this particular Suzi hasn t come with much in the way of carrying capacity, but that is not a big issue; it has a tank bag and there is a carrier of sorts, which will suffice until we can get it properly kitted.

Then it comes to sitting on it. The Suzuki feels much bigger than something I would have chosen to buy myself after a try – out in a dealer s showroom, with me (5ft 9ish, 12 stoneish) on tippy toes rather than solidly planted feet. But that really shouldn t prove an issue after a small period of familiarity.

Next… the ride; everything works like it should, though I ve found the screen (in its middle height setting as supplied) rather ineffective. Putting my chin on the tank bag, I m in a lovely peaceful world of still air, but sat normally, I m being buffeted/subjected to a lot of wind noise.

Performance wise, for a 650cc V – twin, I must say I m pretty impressed; it s early days yet, but so far, so good. I ve a few long trips to undertake, so we ll see how we get on then. But the early signs are promising.