The Harley rider

Published: 09 December 2001

YAMAHA is pitching the Bulldog at people exactly like Smith. She steers away from sports bikes and likes a more relaxed ride. But can this pooch tempt her away from her beloved Hog?

She says the Bulldog is " gorgeous " and earns herself the first spin because of her obvious lust for it.

But she immediately hits a problem the 32in seat height means 5ft 2in Smith can’t get both feet down. But she’s used to hauling her 330kg Harley off its sidestand, so… The Bulldgo is 100kg lighter!

She especially likes the low-down and mid-range power delivery. She says: " It’s enjoyable and very usable, but feels a bit restricted. "

She’s right. The motor is muffled to just 65bhp, though tuners say another 15bhp can be found without too much of a problem. Freer-breathing exhausts and airbox modifications

are the most likely route.

Smith continues: " Unfortunately, I had problems finding the sidestand as it’s tucked away. But I liked the instrument display with its retro look and the rev counter mounted below the speedo face.

" I’m not too sure about the seat, though. It’s seems OK for short trips, but I don’t think it’s padded enough for a longer blast. "

The brakes surprise her. " They’re better than any Harley or Buell set-up I’ve ever encountered, " she says. That’s not surprising since they’re lifted from the R1.

" And the mirrors were good and the suspension comfortable, " she added.

Smith has owned every cruiser from a petite XV250 to her Harley FLSTC, and even had a Buell X1 Lightning. So how does a Bulldog compare? " If I was looking to replace my Harley, it would go on my shortlist. "