Long term update: A tale of two XTs

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My friend Bradley quit his job, left his missus, tucked his Honda Hornet in a garage and bought a Yamaha XT660R. He’s leaving next week for a seven-month ride through Europe and Turkey to Georgia. But before he gets away we went out to compare our bikes. We’ve similar levels of crash protection, but Brad’s is all aftermarket and lacking crash bars while the Strom comes with bars and sump plate as standard.

He’s planning on riding trails and the most important part of that will be weight and wheels. At 177kg with a 21in spoked front, the single-cylinder XT is incredibly easy to ride off-road. Brad’s lost another 10kg by chopping off the XT’s dual end cans and replacing them with a two-into-one. The Strom is a hefty 215kg with a 19in spoked front. His XT is suited to trails, but the Strom is best on the tarmac.

The Suzuki’s V-twin motor left Brad trailing and uncomfortable after a day’s ride. With his 15-stone frame weighing it down, it was hard for the Yam’s single to hit 80mph without a front-end wobble. But his XT is a proper dual-purpose bike, while the Strom is road-biased yet dressed in adventure clothing.

Inspired after whacking around a forest on the Yam, it’s now time to get some new rubber boots and see what the Strom can really do. Who knows, maybe my next stop will be Georgia?