Choosing between two bikes in the garage in the morning is a luxury I’m not accustomed to and before I get accused of being a free-loading hack, let me make it clear that I actually own the Yamaha Fazer 600 – bought and loaned for.
The CCM R30 is only " mine " for a brief stay as a long-term test bike.
My morning choice for the 30-mile-each-way commute depends on my needs or my mood for the day. The Fazer is the best compromise of fun and practicality I know. The CCM is pure fun. It’s about as practical as asking Big Brother’s Jade to run a library.
Laptop and other work-associated clutter require my Givi top box-equipped Fazer. But when it’s only a wallet, fags and door key to load me down, it’s the CCM.
The Fazer is now one year and 2800 miles old. I bought it for £4500 last year with a low-rate bank loan and a three-year repayment period. Only another 24 months to go...
Insurance costs dictated my choice. Being 27 at the time, with zero no claims discount, three points and working as a " risky " journalist, my dreams of an R1 or a GSX-R600 ended rapidly. How I laughed when I got a quote for £1600 third party on the Suzuki.
I paid £300 third party on the Fazer, thanks to Carole Nash. My renewal has just come in at a satisfying £245.
The next reason for the Fazer was that I had been lucky enough to cover 15,000 miles on one as a long termer in 1998. Despite all of the grief that bike got from an office full of racer-wannabes, it never let me down.
The only changes since the 1998 version are slightly revised clocks and a bigger fuel tank. The gripes are still the same: Crappy lights and poor finish on the exhaust downpipes. The plus points also remain: Lusty performance, strong brakes, great handling and decent weather protection.
I’ve given the standard end can the chop. Not only does it restrict ground clearance but a race can from Arrow makes it sound and go so much better. It needed no re-jetting either. The £239 Arrow can is a high-level aluminium work of art mounted behind the right footpeg – exiting near the indicators. The bonus over so many other cans is that the pillion footpegs are retained.
My next buy was the Givi top box, which was relatively expensive at £315 including mounting rack. I was one of those people who used to associate top boxes with yellow bibs – not for me. But being able to get a laptop computer in a bag, enough clothes for a weekend and still have it secure is something I love. The only problem with the mounting rack was the incomprehensible instructions. I was so baffled by them I packed the whole lot off to my nearest bike workshop – RGS Motorsport (01933-441451) who did the job for a few quid.
With the practicality of the Fazer to fall back on, I can use the CCM for what it was designed for – having fun.
Since my report last month I have managed to do just 350 miles (work has regularly taken me abroad). The biggest change has come from the big " commuter tank " fitted by CCM at the first service, carried out at 800 miles. After the thimble-sized pre-production tank it arrived with from the factory, the new 13-litre effort is a big improvement on the 50 miles I was restricted to before.
Apart from a broken heatguard on the exhaust and a speedo that stopped relating the speed but still clocked the miles, there have been no problems. The speedo and heat guard have been replaced but the heatguard snapped again in exactly the same place, so I suspect a manufacturing fault.
After a road test against a Honda CB500, in MCN last week, the abuse of two road testers resulted in Pirelli Dragon Evo tyres that looked blow-torched.
The front will last a while longer but the rear is shot. Strange sizes mean I am still investigating replacements but CCM only recommend the Pirellis for the road.
Everything else is hanging together nicely – though oil consumption needs watching.
This choice-of-bike thing is a luxury I’m getting used to. It’s a pity the CCM will return to Blackburn in a few months time. Now, where was that loan application form?