It’s midnight as I pull into the services just south of Stafford on the M6. My X-ADV needs fuel and more importantly, I need to warm up. There’s a Days Inn Motel that looks welcoming but home’s only 130 miles away and my own bed beckons.
I’m on a 350 mile ride after a craic-ing weekend in Southern Ireland. It's already been a long day, the weather’s been unkind and my ferry’s suffered a three-hour delay. We dock in Holyhead at 8.30pm to dark skies, high winds and rain of biblical proportions.
I fuel up at the port and know I can break the back of the journey before stopping again. There’s a ‘live’ display on the dash to show fuel consumption and from experience it’s accurate, I get 200 miles from a tank. I follow the most direct route and it takes me on near deserted A roads, so progress is quick.
Rider comfort and weather protection have been well thought out on the X-ADV. I’m surprised how dry the scooter-esque fairing keeps my legs and the Africa Twin style hand-guards protect knuckles from the elements. The screen’s manually adjustable and is set to the middle of its five positions, wind’s directed over my head and neck ache is minimal.
While the seat isn’t plush, it is comfortable and I can move my feet into various positions on the footboards (I often sit with them in a forward, cruiser-like riding position}. This combination means that even after a couple of hours in the saddle, there’s not an inkling of a numb bum.
I could ride all day, or in this case night, but know my concentration is waning. I pull into the services, I need a break mentally more than physically. Flat white and flapjack induce a caffeine and carb overload. Hopping back on the fully fuelled X-ADV, I tackle the last leg of my journey. It’s been a long day’s ride but there’s a smile on my face and my duck-down duvet is coming ever closer.