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Chairman is happily single again

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by Chairman, Apr 10, 2006.

  1. After my ill-fated foray into owning a multi-cylinder machine (what was I thinking?) I've decide to go back to what makes me happy.

    Swayed by Kol_Kebab's rave reviews, I collected my Yamaha SZR660 on Saturday and spent Sunday blasting around Seymour, Yea and Broadford.

    I luuuuurve this bike. It will never win any land speed records, but, even with damp roads and a fresh-out-of-the-wrapping tyre on the front I was cornering with more speed, precision and confidence than the SR500 has ever offered.

    Two up and holding posted limits (roughly), the bike took everything I threw at it. Given what I'm used to (nut-numbing rattles) it is (relatively) smooth, comfortable and after a fairly long day out, I was ready to do another 200km.

    The clincher was on the long loop that drops you from the Bolte to the Westgate - a favorite corner that I can take on the SR500 with a fair bit of speed and some trepidation. The SR500 has infinately self-adjusting forks, 19inch wheels and tends to wind up entering the corner and "sproooooiiing" midway through like a huge spring uncoiling. You don't select a cornering line - the best you can do is select a cornering lane, and staying in that is an excercise in probability.

    On the SZR, with my passenger tucked in close we sailed into the sweeper, only to catch up to a car in front and blocked by another on the left. A small gap opened, we adjusted the line, flicked it through the gap (indicating appropriately) and set up for the reverse into the left hander. The bike didn't falter, there was no uncertainty - where we ended up was exactly where I'd planned. Exit speed was...well...invigorating.

    The previous owner was an enthusiast. The stock pipe is gone, custom rearsets remove the "I can bite my kneecap" feeling and one-off Tingate clip-ons raise the bars by 2 inches. I've read plenty of reviews that complain that the SZR is too small for the average rider and that might be right, but I found the set-up on this one to be perfect. Libby, who's only pillioned once before was comfortable and confident throughout the ride.

    The finish is rough - who cares? They were built to compete in a specific European race class and it isn't surprising that they have a robust if agricultural finish. I'll take function (Brembo brakes and Paioli forks) over form any day.

    Kols_Kebabs - I agree. The SZR660 is the best LAMS bike on the planet. If I had to recommend a bike that encouraged learners to develop confident "Twist of the Wrist" style cornering (rather than waste time perfecting straightline WOT speeds) then this would be the one. I got off my P's over 20 years ago and this bike offers more than enough fun for me.


    (Pics coming soon)