Well it was time for for the test ride to see if I liked the bike. So on Saturday I rode over to Metropolis Motorcycles at Vauxhall who had a black Sprint GT demo bike with 590 miles on the clock (now for sale!). The weather was perfect for a test ride: overcast and very windy with a hint of rain.
After filling in the test ride forms and copying of licences, etc, the bike was duly unlocked and pushed out of the showroom for me … when it refused to start as the battery was almost out of charge. Damn! It was shoved around to the back and into the workshop where it could be jump-started from another slave battery and so it was off at last. No luggage was fitted to the demo bike, which gave me mixed feelings in terms of a test ride.
Heading out into traffic, the riding position seemed very natural; slightly bent forward but feeling roomy. The triple sounds nice, even with the mahoosive silencer, so the bike felt good as I rode through Battersea and Wandsworth and then out onto the A3 where I could open it up.
Obviously at 128bhp at the crank, it’s way down on power compared with my ZRX1200R – which is putting out 163bhp at the rear wheel – but it was certainly brisk enough up to high cruising speeds. It was nice at those speeds to be able to look round and ride generally without straining my neck from the wind blast.
Then onto some single carriageway A-roads into Epsom to pick up “GT” for a pillion test. In view of the battery issue, I left it ticking over for a while until Fi was ready and then off we went … or we would have if it hadn’t stalled as I put it into gear. And it was dead! So GT had to help me bump start the GT which it did fairly easily once onto a slight incline. Phew!
Demo Side View
Demo Front View
That silencer would have to go!
Off over to Ryka’s at Box Hill to see what it was like two-up. And the answer was “great”. Lots of room for a pillion and two large grabrails to hang onto. Not much buffeting either, apparently. This particular model seemed to have a 6 speed gearbox with a few false neutrals included…
After a cuppa and a chat with Mark who’d popped over as he is also thinking of buying one, it was time to head back. Fortunately, there was no misbehaving with the battery this time!
We headed up Box Hill itself to Headley which was a great choice because of the hairpins (reminiscent of my recent Pyrenees Eurothrash): we had wondered if it would be unwieldy in very tight bends with its relatively long wheelbase, but it was absolutely fine.
Once I’d dropped Fi off I headed back out for a circuitous route back to London so I could crank it up properly joining the A3 and it hustled along really well and really easily. I did find that it actually dropped into a false neutral from 4th a couple of times which would have been a worry if I’d read of similar experiences from other owners.
My overall impression was of a grown-up, sensible machine rather than my hooligan ZRX.
So then. Back to Metropolis…