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An 1800 for a commuter - M109 after 6 months.

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by peter-reebok, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. Ever wondered what it would be like to make an 1800 twin your everday bike, could you live with it? Are you really mad? Not exactly a logical or rational decision is it?
    13,000 klms and 6 months down the track, I am happy I took the chance.
    Took a while for me to come to grips with this bike. And the fact I could have one. When I first saw one, I thought it was excessive. And overweight, and not for me. Then I bought one. It is in one mould, but tries to be different bikes depending how you want to ride it. A bit Jekyll and Hyde.
    The M109R is a cruiser, or a muscle bike, or a tourer for old blokes, depending how you look at it. It can even be an everyday commuter.
    Basically, it is a long heavy bike, but with gobs of power and torque, and enough technology and features to excite baby boomers to part with their hard earned. It is not a sports bike, but will keep up with most mid range sports riders, in complete denial of that huge rear tyre, and what it does to cornering.
    There is no doubt that cashed up old farts are the target market for this bike. But having corresponded with many owners, it appears that even those in their twenties and thirties are getting in on the act, and they like the bike as well.
    And there is a lot to like. Starting with the price. Even if you pay too much, you will have it on the road under $20,000.
    A low seating position lets those with knee problems, ducks disease, or big guts sit comfortably. It is a bit of a reach to the wide bars, but you get to sit up and take in the view.
    Feet position is forward, which means that it is a relaxed ride. But surprisingly easy to manage in traffic.
    EFI means cold starts, altitude, cold, hot, every condition is good running condition for the brutish engine, 2 cylinders, of 1800cc total. Various power figures get quoted, depending on whether you are optimistic, or bragging. If we settle on about 90KW, you are probably close. Since hardly anyone leaves the bike standard, everyone quotes outlandish figures so they have bragging rights. Lets face it, It is enough!. The vibes are nice, and settle down when on the move.
    Shaft drive means less maintenance.
    Liquid cooled means no hassles in summer/winter, and should ensure some longevity for the engine.
    The engine is termed a semi-dry sump, which means that the engine sits lower and the centre of gravity is lower as well. It does mean that somehow the oil check procedure is completely illogical and difficult, so probably wont be done as regularly as it should.
    Front end is from a GXR, and those 2 discs have a lot of weight to stop (approx 300kg), but are strong and fade free. Rear disc has plenty of feel, and more than capable of locking the wheel up if required. There was a problem with the rear disc rotor, but they replace em free under warranty – so have to tip my hat to ZOOK there.
    Gear selection is NOT the std SUZUKI knife through butter, and requires some solid pushing to locate 2nd from 1st, and will result in a missed change if done wimpily. Otherwise they are perfectly up to the job, and the engine is so strong, it pulls cleanly from 2000 rpm through to 7500rpm. There is a shift kit available that shortens the throw. Some give it rave reviews, I havent bothered, being reluctant to disassemble the innards of the beast.
    Instruments are readable in all lights, with a large sweep speedo, and a prominent tacho in front of your face. A fuel gauge and clock, make up the visuals.
    Brake lever is adjustable for span, which lets you find the sweet spot to suit you.
    Seat is wide, and reasonably padded, but seems to be the wrong shape for Aussies, although I have done a few 700klm days with no issues. The pillion seat can be removed and a solid cover added for sleeker looks.
    Fuel capacity is 19litres, which gives a real range of 240klm, and probably 300 if you wanted to see what it is like to push the last 100 metres. The light comes on at around 200klm, and starts flashing straight away. At that point there is only about a 3 and a half litres left – so dont ride much further!. Touring – add about25% to the mileage.
    The bike uses premium unleaded.
    Front tyre is a 130 wide 18 incher, and the rear a gorgeous 240 wide 18 incher. The std dunlops are ok, but not the best. Allow 10,000 klms for the rear and about 13,000 for the front.
    I replaced mine with Metzeler ME880 (260 rear, 130 frt) and the difference, especially in the wet is remarkable.
    You can scrape the pegs easily left and right, but you have to be motoring to do that, so you should. It is THAT much fun to see sparks fly. Have to get titanium hero knobs.
    Low speeds are a breeze, due to that low C of G again, and filtering traffic at 20kmh is easy. Bike appears wide, but is not too wide, although you do have to assess the gaps!. I use mine as my only transport, so it has to cop touring, commuting, scratching, and cruising. Yep – will do them all!.
    Performance out of the box gives you a shit eating grin, changing into 2nd at 65kmh, 3rd at 120, etc etc, I have it on good authority that 230 comes up easily in top, although I wouldn't want to admit to that in a court of law.
    You will win traffic light GP's, except against a sports bike, when you will hold your own for a while, but not for long. The main advantage of this bike is the flexibility of that engine, 5th gear is good from 60kmh to 200+. Dropping the clutch at 4000 rpm leaves a thick black line when you leave. Any time you want to go, just twist and watch the scenery rush past!. Low end torque is there for the asking – so you dont have to rev it out to get anywhere.
    Brakes will haul you down quickly, the front tyre will howl before it locks, and the balance means you can use a lot of rear brake at the same time.
    The bike can be chucked around in complete indifference to its size, lane changes, hairpins, etc are easy, as is parking lot manouvring.It must be one of the few cruisers that can feel at home in the twisties too!. Have a look at one next time you see one on the road, chances are the sides of the tyres are worn too, unlike many other cruisers.
    As std, the exhaust sounds good. Open up 3 baffles in each pipe, and it changes to heavenly!.
    Has an incredible burble like a V8 when down shifting.
    Touring is fine, I added a ventura rack from day one, 700-1000 klm days are easy, the comfy position is fine unless at high speeds, when your feet want to fly off the pegs. That huge headlight nacelle seems to act like a fairing (small fairing) and keeps the mass of air off your body.
    I made a few changes to mine, the ventura rack was the start, followed by smaller rear indicators, removing the ridiculously huge number plate support and relocating the reg plate, adding a timing retard eliminator, HID headlights, a Stebel horn, debaffled exhaust, a STARCOM1 system to handle the tunes, heated grips for winter (thanks Oxford).

    Things to like.
    The power
    The styling
    The power
    It CAN be an everyday bike!
    The power
    It's a bloke thing!
    After 13,000 klm and 6 months, nothing has fallen off or broken!

    Things not to like
    1st to 2nd change is clunky.
    Every time you come back to the bike, it has people looking at it.
    Bit hard to be anonymous!

  2. Nice write up. I'm not a cruiser / naked man... But if somebody gave me one of these it wouldn't sit idle in the garage.
  3. Apparently Chris Vermulen rides one too.

    My mate has one as well. He wrote one off last year and got his insurance to replace it. I concur that the rear can be quite effectively locked :LOL: I was following him at the time.
  4. I sat on one , definetly a huge big bike , good review.
    Imo this bike is much better value for mony than a harly.
    I heard somewhere that it got a old bored out gsxr1000 motor in it, that probably explains why its so quick.
  5. Given that it is a liquid cooled, dry sumped twin, vs a aircooled, wet sumped 4cyl engine, I doubt this.
    The bore is spruiked as the largest in a production motorcycle. and it gives a real kick to the rear!.
    You can actually spin up the rear in 1,2,3 even while on the move.

    BTW, it feels just the right size once you are underway. For laughs, I sat on a colleagues 600 sportbike, which felt like a YZ80 in comparison.

    But, nowhere as manourvrable as a sport bike, in any way possible.
  6. Thanks for the write up.
    Funny thing is I've been looking at cruisers (in general) and was wondering if one of these could cut it as a daily commuter, or just too much bike for that.
  7. Great review, thanks.

    I'd love to take on of those for a spin!
  8. Pete, you'd have loved the scene at the start-point for Peaches' Oink-Oink ride last Saturday. We arrived late to find all the Netrider people had left, and had been replaced by about a dozen 109s, in various states from stock to WILD!!!!! One looked like it had had about $10,000 spent on it; wish I'd have taken a few pics..... :(
  9. Did they have them all running at the same time? That would be an amazing sound.
  10. In October, (24-26th) we have a gathering of 40-50 109's in Toowoomba.
    All staying at the same hotel - the sound at startup should be great!
    Next year, we have a gathering of (hopefully) a 100 109's in SA on 10-9-09 . As long as the SA fun police let us!.
  11. Well written Peter...

    They're an awesome beast arent they :grin:

    I've only had 2 bikes, the old Kat750 and 18 years later I got my M109R...

    Wow! Latent grunt :cool:

    Real "Iron Fist in Velvet Glove" stuff
  12. range

    pete great review,
    1. question whats the expected range of this vehicle you mentioned 240k is that mainly city riding?
    I really like the sound of this bike, but the range has gotten me questioning if I will be constantly filling her up. I do ruffly 150ks a day mainly highway riding so in year I am easily clocking up 30,000ks a year so long term I am curious how it holds up?

  13. Nice write up Pete.
    One of them could live in my garage as a second bike but it would have to be black.
  14. That's one big bubba of a bike alright. One of the few cruisers that I wouldn't mind slinging a leg over. Rocket III's another one.
  15. Re: range

    EFFECTIVE range is 240kms, on a trip I have stretched it to 300kms.
    I have done 14000 klm so far - no issues besides worrying about my licence status.