Having spent 2015 on a Kawasaki 1400GTR, an armchair of a motorcycle that weighed 305kg and could easily carry the weekly shop, 2016 will be a little different.
This year’s bike – a Husqvarna 701 Supermoto – weighs less than half as much as the GTR at 145kg, doesn’t have pillion pegs and has a seat made from what feels like the hardest material known to man. Sometimes you know you’ll enjoy a bike from the moment you get on the road and open the throttle, but that wasn’t the story with the Husky.
My initial reaction was one of indecision. The smooth shaft-driven inline four was gone, replaced by boisterous in-your-face thump from a 690cc single-cylinder lump that seemed to give me all 67 of its horses in an instant. A huge, luxurious windscreen was replaced by direct exposure to icy March weather. Truth be told I wasn’t sure I’d made the right choice, but I’ve since realised it’s just taking me time to get used to.
My eight-mile commute is already more enjoyable. I no longer get stuck while filtering, as the razor-thin 701 can scythe through virtually any gap. I’ve also changed my route to better enjoy the Husky. Rather than spend half the commute on dual carriageways struggling to hold on at 70mph I now go through the city centre, which is a much better use of the torquey engine. It takes longer, but it’s much more fun chucking the featherweight Husky round mini-roundabouts than idly sitting on major A-roads. Our relationship made a shaky start, but it’s already taking a turn for the better as the miles add up.
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