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First test of CCM’s R30

Published: 22 July 2001

The new CCM R30 draws more head-turning glances than Jordan in a moist T-shirt.

To the clean-slated mind of your average non-biking man on the street, the new CCM appears to be a great-looking patriotic machine. Sort of like a Mini-Cooper but on half the wheels and actually built in the UK.

They don’t hold any of the pre-conceptions we more ‘knowledgeable’ bikers do.

So maybe we should start a fresh. CCM, purveyors of British-built trail bikes and – for the last few years – Supermotos, really, really want to sell bikes to us sport bike mad, go-faster Brits.

Their major problem is quite fundamental and probably lies with us rather than them. We look at any bike with a CCM badge and think " Mud. Trailie. Off-road. Slow. "

CCM want us to see the R30 in a different light. This is, after all, designed from the ground up as a pure roadster.

But the frame is still the same as every other CCM: gorgeous, hand-built tubular steel, admittedly, but still nothing new.

The engine doesn’t fare too well on paper either. An air-cooled Austrian-built Rotax single pushing out a paper-bag stretching 57bhp and 41 lb/ft of torque. It’s been around in various guises since a few Argentinean blokes got a bit tasty in the Atlantic.

In fact, at first glance, we can pat our backs and congratulate ourselves on seeing through CCM’s fog of deception. But hold on…

Gone are the spoked wheels. Gone too is the 50 quid trail headlight. Even better, the cheap motocross plastics have taken a long walk as well. The speedo looks like it might actually work and the thing’s even got a rev-counter – a first for CCM. It’s these tiny little blobs of civilisation that transform the bike from an elbows-out motocrosser into a comfortable roadbike.

Did I say comfortable? Erm, yes actually. Keep it below 70mph and the gorgeous tapered bars and comfortably placed rubber-topped footpegs sit you in the lap of luxury compared to a rear-sets and clip-ons sports bike.

The suspension soaks up all your cack-handed efforts without even trying. The brakes refuse to scare you. The CCM oozes more confidence than a pre-defeat Prince Naz.

And if a mere 57bhp put you off, think of it this way: You’d have to really try to get nicked for speeding on any road that starts with an A or M. Sure, the bike’ll do over a hundred. But the time and effort required to get you there just doesn’t match the reward.

Stick to the back-lanes and giggle to yourself.

The engine is nice enough, the new race-developed headers and Remus can make it sound like a low-flying Lancaster. But there’s no ignoring the ability of a 2.0 litre Vectra to toast you on the motorway.

But it’s still quick below 70. The new bodywork allows more air into the air-box and accounts for a seriously throaty growl from under the seat. The first couple of gears will provide more than enough oomph to wheelie. And around town, the only bikes with better manners will probably be twist and go, with a step-through seat.

The mirrors work, the lights illuminate and it all looks and operates like a real motorcycle.

But compare it to an almost identically priced Fazer –for example – and it does look slightly hand-built. If you like that, it’s great. You’ll see the CCM logo discreetly embossed on different components or the hand-welded frame and feel proud of your purchase. But for many, there’s no beating the reliability and predictability of mass-production.

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