After my girlfriend passing her restricted licence and paying for me to take my test, I decided to get a bigger more exciting bike. Before this I was riding her Honda CG125 and for the last few weeks her mother's Kawasaki EL252 F2. Just to give a bit of informtaion into what I am using this bike for.
Basically I have a very nice car, but it's a 2.5 litre V6 petrol and due to the economic slow-down and me being in and out of work alot, I can't afford to keep using it for the 30-mile trip to work each day when I'm only getting at most 30mpg (generally more around 25mpg). So I've mainly brought the bike for commuting to work, so I wanted something that is good around town and economical. On the other hand I have a passion for driving and speed, so I also wanted a bike that can be fun. I'd also like to take it abroad touring so again, it had to be comfortable.
Now my original plan was to buy a GSX-R600. It's a bike I've alway's wanted, I love the look's the power, the handling, it's just alway's been my dream bike. The only problem is they aren't really designed for the daily commute. The bike's I did my test on I didn't find particularly comfortable due to the riding position so I wanted something a little more upright for them longer journey's.
After seeing the GSX-650F, I fell in love, it had all the styling of GSX-R, but had the more comfortable seating position. To be honest, the photo's do not do this bike justice. There are quite a few bikes out there now that are 125's immitating big bike's, and they look good but you know there not a big bike, and to be honest that is kinda how this bike look's in some of the photo's, I think mainly because it doesn't look that wide. But upon seeing it in person, it doesn't give that impression at all.
I actually brought this bike without test-riding it and actually brought it from Yorkshire and rode it all the way home to Kent, about 230 miles at only 2 degrees. Admittedly, it wasn't a very nice journey, but the GSX-F made it so much more enjoyable. The ride was so much better than I expected. The power throughout the range is astonishing on this bike. I can sit at 30mph in 6th gear, open the throttle and it will still pull fine. Or if I want to boot it, 2nd gear will gladly reach 70mph. On the way back we pulled into a couple of service station's and I was just crawling around the road's at about 15mph thinking I was in 2nd and I was sitting in 4th, and it just felt so comfortable. It's a lovely bike on the motorway's and has plenty of power and the seat is very comfortable.
Now using the bike for the daily commute it is actually a great bike. I was concerned that being over 100kg's heavier than the previous bike's I'd riden that it may be a bit awkward filtering through traffic and crawling around but it's so well balanced it feel's like a much lighter bike. The fuel tank has a 19litre capacity which will get you around 200 miles. Taking it around country lanes it handle's so much better than a city bike, it's so responsive, even though my brother has alway's owned sport's bike's, when he had a ride of it, he said it handled pretty much like a sport's bike.
The technology has come along alot since my brother had his last CBR. The rev counter although analogue, is actually electronic and you can set up a rev-light to alert you that you have reached your desired rev's. When adjusting this the rev-counter needle spin's round to 6,000rpm and each press of the button takes it another 500rpm. After this you can set-up whether you want the light off, on, or blinking and even change how bright you want the light in 5 stages. Unlike older bike's you have a digital fuel guage, digital odometer, didgital speedometer, two trip meter's and even a reserve trip meter. What this does is as soon as the petrol dip's below the reserve level, it start's counting how many mile's you have done so you know roughly how far you have until the tank is completely empty.
Now for the downside's. As good as the digital display is, the main downside is that is doesn't permanently display the clock, if you want to know how many miles you have done, you have to lose the clock. Another problem with the digital display is the bottom's are very small and hard to push when wearing gloves.
One feature that would have been nice is a stopwatch as my last two car's have had them and it would have just been a nice addition. Another downside is the mirror's. They could do with being a little longer as you spend alot of time's staring at your shoulder's. The only other downside I can find with this bike is it's lack of storage space. Basically, you have room under the seat for the tool kit (just about), and that's it, there is no other storage on the bike at all.
All in all, this bike is absolutely superb, the only fault's aren't really fault's, they are just niggle's. But I love it! As a newbie to the big bike's, it is so easy to handle and is a great introduction, but as you learn to ride, it is so much more, when you push it, it will thrill you, it will try to scare you, but all the time keeping you just from going over the top and making you lose control. It'll take you to the edge but not take you over. I think people who already own bigger bike's will also love this. It recently won bike of the year and I can see why!