It always takes a little time to feel like a bike is truly yours, and my trip to the Isle of Man TT was what I needed to bond with the Suzuki SV650.
It was only a 500-miler – 360 miles on the mainland getting to and from Heysham for the Steam Packet ferry and another 140 miles getting around on the Island – but now I feel far more comfortable on the bike.
Where before it felt like my communication with the bike was diverted through a translator, now it feels like I’m fluent in SV. Any lag on the throttle is now instinctively dialled out, I understand how the steering and brakes respond and the whole package is now more natural.
Isle of Man? More like Isle of Tan!
The trip was brilliant in itself as I was there purely to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the racing. I had three days of fun on the Island, staying with a collection of old and new friends and learning the ropes of spectating at the TT.
I was lucky that the weather was more Isle of Tan than Isle of Man and my vantage point at Cronk y Voddy was dramatic. If a trip to the TT is something you’ve always ‘meant to do’ then I’d suggest starting your planning for next year.
I managed a couple of laps and the SV was an ideal partner. I knew my limitations better than I knew the layout of the circuit, but having a reduced amount of speed meant I could still ride properly without feeling like I would get myself in trouble. It was a bit different, in a positive way, from my last proper trip over the Mountain, which was on a 180mph Honda Blackbird.
Life after the Island
Keen to get home, I pushed a little harder on the return journey from Heysham than I’d done on the relaxed ride up to the ferry port. I paid the price when I got home, feeling more fatigued and having aching shoulders and neck.
The few extra minutes I got to spend at home weren’t worth it and in future I’ll be doing my best to leave myself plenty of time for longer journeys so I can relax a bit more on the road.
Now I’m home, the SV has had a thorough clean and lube-up and we’re back into commuting duties. But it is all so much smoother than it was before the trip to the Island.
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