New rider blog: I've fallen in love... with a sports bike

Published: 26 October 2007

Well this week’s been a massive learning curve for me as I’ve been on my first test ride.

MCN designer Adam Shorrock and myself were invited by road test editor Phil West to have a go on the Derbi City Cross 125.

The idea was to see how this relatively cheap learner motorcycle compared to our own, mine being my Suzuki Van Van and Adam’s Honda CBR125.

I hadn’t ridden for a few weeks as my Van Van had been returned to Suzuki at the end of its loan time, but she has been returned to me so thank you to Luke at Suzuki for that.

We headed out from the office on our own motorcycles to a road near here for some photos and to record the first part of our video. There we had a good check around each others bikes and the Derbi City Cross before heading off to the corners chosen for us to give the Derbi a try.

At the chosen spot Adam was first out and took to it easily. I was next to have a go and couldn’t believe how tall the Derbi was. Being only 5ft 2in I struggled to reach the floor which was a bit worrying but once I got going I found it was really easy to ride.

Phil said it would be a good idea for me to go up the road and have a bit of a ride. Once again my old clutch control came back to haunt me at a junction with some silly mare in a car behind then trying to overtake me as I attempted to sort myself out – great!

Turning around for the first time in a farm entrance was daunting with the not being able to reach the floor thing, but on the next go I just used the bike and did it with the help of the engine.

So with me trying to work out the corners and find a little speed, I spotted Adam happily having a go on the Suzuki Van Van and looking like he was enjoying himself – another convert!

The full verdict on the Derbi City Cross 125 will be in MCN on Wednesday, November 14, 2007.

Following our test Adam decided he would like to take the Derbi City Cross home for the evening and offered me the chance to try his Honda CBR125. I duly accepted but was worried how I would get on. The tyres on the CBR are so much narrower than mine and it’s so compact.

Off I trundled out of the car park, hit the horn and headlight a couple of times instead of the indicators (oops!) and then off I went.

I can’t believe how good it was riding a sports bike. I had always thought of myself as being a trundler for the rest of my biking years but it was brilliant. I love my Van Van don’t get me wrong, but this was completely different.

It’s lighter and therefore easier in a way to steer, you have to adapt your riding style to a more sporty fashion and just generally brilliant. I even dared to let myself lean over a bit at the corners and got faster than I have ever managed to on my Van Van – I brought myself back to reality before I flew off it thank god!

I was really reluctant to hand it back over to Adam yesterday morning but did as I had promised. Just a shame he had a mishap on it on the way home – get well soon mate.

And Suzuki – any chance you can design me a little sporty 125 for me to have a go on? Well it’s worth an ask surely!!

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  • Trying out the CBR125
  • SarahC on the Derbi City Cross 125
  • My Suzuki Van Van in all its glory
  • There she goes
  • Leaving home to bring the Honda CBR125 back to work