The Crossrunner has already proved itself on my all-weather 24-mile commute plus the odd evening jaunt, so I was looking forward to spending the best part of a weekend in the saddle.
The plan was to go and see my 13-year-old daughter Gertie for the day. Sounds easy but she lives in Newquay, Cornwall, a mere 320 miles away. To break the journey up a bit, I was going to have an overnight bed and breakfast stay at the Feathers public house in the Devon town of Budleigh Salterton.
My mission began on Friday evening when I left the office, fuelled, loaded and ready to go. I knew this was going to be the grind part of the journey, just to get some miles under my belt. Then hopefully later I could slide a few well-earned pints down my neck. With 35 miles of A-roads to get me in the groove, it was onto a rather over-populated M6 with a couple of incidents along the way, luckily none of them involving me.
Motorway speeds on the Crossrunner are a doddle, and even fully loaded with panniers and top box it’s very well behaved. The engine sits nicely around 5500-6000 revs at 70mph, which is below the 6400rpm point where the Vtec kicks and introduces an extra pair of valves per cylinder. This keeps the fuel economy at its optimum for the speed, retuning around 42mpg.
Heavy traffic meant a spot of filtering was called for and with the panniers protruding a mere 4cm wider than the handlebars either side, it’s not hard to judge the gaps.
After a fairly busy M6 and M42 I finally hit a clear M5 where I could get going. Even though the Crossrunner eats up motorways in relative comfort, the first stop at 150 miles was still very welcome. Just to stand up and walk around for a few minutes was a pleasant experience before I was back on the road feeling revived.
The last 90 miles down to Budleigh Salterton flew by and I arrived just as the sun disappeared majestically into the sea, time to get out of my bike gear and enjoy a few pints in the Feathers with Richard the landlord, before getting my head down for the night.
A bright and early start for the final leg of my journey, 95 miles down to Newquay on the A30. With hardly a car on the road, sun shining and the tarmac getting more undulating with long, fast twists and turns, I was enjoying this!
I rolled into Newquay for 9.30 to collect my daughter for the day. As Gertie sat on the Crossrunner she said ‘cool bike dad’ – the kind of approval you want from your daughter.
After a day wandering Newquay with Gertie, enjoying treats and the occasional pasty, it was time for my return journey. My plan was to enjoy a ride up the A39 as far as Barnstaple then pick up the A361 to take me back to the M5. The A39 is a delight on the Crossrunner; it felt like the perfect combination of enjoying an exciting ride but at a speed where I was still able to take in the views.
The A361 took me nicely down to the M5 for the quick 120-mile dash up to Worcester for my next overnight, with my mate Tom. I find I never have the time to purely stay on the smaller quieter routes, so I try to combine some of the best motorcycling roads with the time-saving motorway, allowing me to still enjoy myself with a few boring bits in-between.
By the time I arrived at Tom’s I was ready to park up, chill out, food, beer and bed. Just 100 miles back home the following day, once I had a few hours tinkering with my 1955 Triumph T110 that I have been building over at Tom’s place. A good weekend – lots done, lots seen, perfect! But definitely knackered after the long-distance experience.
Positives: Very comfortable, with all of the finesse you would expect from a Honda
Negatives: It could do with some more torque so you don’t have to rev the engine so much
For more on MCN's 2015 long term fleet, click here.