CBF finding the old thread (title was confusing, anyway)... Well, I've had the SM for a week or two now, so maybe itâ€™s time to pass on some thoughts. First thing I did after picking it up was take it for a squirt in the nearby hills, along with a mate on a CBR600RR for comparison purposes. First we had to get out of town. First impression from the saddle is â€“ itâ€™s high, way high. Iâ€™m talking, bring oxygen! Ok, maybe itâ€™s not that bad. I can just get both heels on the ground if I find the lowest point on the long seat and stre-e-etch. But anyone with shorter legs than mine (Iâ€™m 5â€™10â€ â€“ 178cm) would need to think seriously about how practical this bike would really be. You do need to think just a little about where you choose to put your foot down. On the other hand, I find I really donâ€™t always need to put a foot down at all. The bike simply could not feel better balanced, and quite often I can hold it at a red light without ever touching down! Itâ€™s narrow, too. You feel like you could clap your heels almost, although the seat is adequately wide for me. Not so the bars, which are wide, and positioned at a height that allows you to glide over the mirrors of sporty cars (but unfortunately just the right height to clip van mirrors). The hydraulic clutch is light, and instruments (what there are of them) easy to read in any light. Anyway the town traffic is despatched effortlessly (apart from the effort needed to restrain the front wheel from heading skyward at the slightest provocation from the light throttle), and we are into the first sweepers after Whittlesea. Iâ€™ve ridden this model twice before I test rode this particular example, and Iâ€™m reminded again that this one is definitely better at holding a line than those other two were. Iâ€™m not sure yet whether itâ€™s the Pirelli Diablos fitted here (OEM is Scorpion Syncs) or that the complex suspension has been properly set up. Either way, I can say within a couple of ks that nothing â€“ nothing â€“ will upset it. Not bumps, not holes, not ripples, not tightening radii, not brakes. Itâ€™s a revelation. There is a hint of dive from the forks on the brakes, then it just digs in and despatches the road with casual disdain. Itâ€™s unbelievably easy to steer. Very light, and you can feel it moving constantly, but so far not a sign of a head-shake. Havenâ€™t got it up to race-track speeds yet, though â€“ weâ€™ll see. The overall feeling is of a kind of loose-limbed competence. Itâ€™s not really firm and harsh like a sportsbike, but compliant and somehow unshakeable at the same time. Weird. So by the time weâ€™re into the proper bends, I find Iâ€™m hounding the CBR through the slow corners, exiting faster and braking much later. Thatâ€™s not the rider, either. We swapped bikes for a while and the Honda had to be pulled up earlier to ensure correct line. With the SM it simply doesnâ€™t matter. Change lines mid-corner? No problem. Throttle on (or off, even!!)? No problem. And the brakes â€“ OMFG! Without doubt the most ferocious and powerful I have yet encountered. You could quite easily send yourself over the â€™bars if it werenâ€™t for the fact that only a fool would ignore the superb feedback. My only concern is that they may be too sharp for use in the wet. That was confirmed later in the week, although the feel is still good enough to give you a chance if you do come close to locking. Getting into the tighter stuff down toward Flowerdale and Iâ€™m relishing the excellent drive and traction out of corners. The motor is brilliant. Not quite as thrilling as itâ€™s 990 brother in the Superduke, but more than enough to satisfy on any public road. Itâ€™s not quite as smooth in itâ€™s delivery as an EFI motor, but there are no real holes in the rev range and it produces gobs of torque from way down low right to the yowling top end. It doesnâ€™t mind revving either, even on stock pipes. Thankfully the rev limiter works well, as thereâ€™s no tacho. This motor, like the rest of the bike, will cruise along all soft and docile when you want it to, and then transform into a snarling wildcat when you open the taps. Being carburettored, it has a conventional manual choke, which is a bit of a novelty nowadays (keep forgetting to push it in). The instrument unit contains a digital speedo, temperature bar graph, plus switchable functions for clock, odometer, two trips and a fuel countdown device which measures km done since the reserve was hit (which does nothing until you hit reserve). There are the usual warning lights in a separate panel to the right. The return trip involved a few more tight twisties, where the SM showed once again that it was completely up to the job, even with an unfamiliar pilot, followed by some freeway. By this stage Iâ€™ve been in the saddle long enough to notice any serious issues with the seat, and I can say that for me it was perfectly comfortable. More rounded than flat, I found I can sit without any particular pressure points, and it couldnâ€™t be easier to shift backwards and forwards to change position or alter the weight distribution. There is noticeable wind blast, but it seems fairly even and relatively turbulence-free. Havenâ€™t tested tank range or consumption ( did about 150 but no reserve light yet), but I reckon I can safely assume that it will be the need for fuel that stops me before it is my aching arse. Would it be good for touring? Probably only if you donâ€™t mind stopping a bit more often than a proper tourer, and you choose a nice, winding route. Thereâ€™s a half decent luggage rack incorporated, and some interesting luggage options available from the manufacturer. The high pipes might be a bit of an issue for some generic items. You could do it, but itâ€™s not perfect. Pillion accommodation looks to be OK, actually. The seat is certainly big enough, and reasonably wide at the rear. Canâ€™t tell about the padding or handling, but since the missus has actually suggested I take her for a spin (the first in 4 years! She tells me it looks horrible but she wants to get on?), Iâ€™ll report back on that later. Thereâ€™s reasonable storage under the seat (mostly under the rack) along with a good quality tool kit (it even has a bottle opener!). Dunno about the headlight yet. So â€“ all in all, a brilliant back-roader (any road), excellent commuter, touring-capable (I think) and all I need to do now is see how it goes on track. Itâ€™s not gonna eat sportsbikes on track, but it should be alright. And dirt. I believe itâ€™ll do that, too. Positives: - brilliant brakes - excellent handling on any surface - decent motor - the butch off-road looks Negatives: - no tacho - no weather protection - it gets a bit hot â€“ nice in winter but likely not in summer - the wanky off-road looks. Iâ€™ll do an update when Iâ€™ve had it serviced, done a track day, and put it on a bit of dirt. Can't wait.