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First test on Suzuki’s new Volusia

Published: 15 July 2001

Updated: 19 November 2014

Look closely at this bike and you’ll see Suzuki has kept the familiar Intruder name, and bolted on the " Volusia " tag to mark this new but even more traditional style.

It’s named after Volusia County in Florida, home of the massive annual Daytona Bike Week, a haven for Harleys, honeys in bikinis and, of course, the Daytona 200 race season curtain-raiser.

But the Volusia is clearly at the Harley end of that spectrum. Bars sweep back each side of the rider, and the footpegs are so far forward that you spend the first 30 yards of Tarmac trying to locate them, unless you’re used to reaching forward rather than back.

The acceleration is not going to set the world on fire, but it’ll still whip the legions of Mondeos away from the lights. The car-like seating position has you low to the road which makes it feel quicker than it is. Look at the speedo on the tank and you might find you were getting all excited about doing 40mph.

In line with increasingly stringent noise limits, the pipes on the Volusia keep everything to a neighbour-friendly volume. Riding around the pony-infested lanes of the New Forest, even new-born foals didn’t appear unduly upset by the sound.

So those cans would have to go if you buy one. You want to be a little bit mean and nasty on this. This is all about solid metal attitude.

Revving it out ruins the cool low-rev sound but doesn’t make the world go by much faster.

According to Suzuki’s brochure the Volusia lives in a place " where winter never really comes. Where the sun warms and the ocean breeze cools. Where two-lane roads lead through pine forests, skirt waterways and cross narrow drawbridges. " So that’s Volusia County then, is it?

The 1645mm (64.7 inch) wheelbase is the longest in its class (this is a class in which this counts as a boast), according to Suzuki. Peak torque is at a subterranean 2500rpm which explains why spinning the motor harder is so unrewarding.

Change gear like you’re driving a diesel van – very early – and just listen to the throb of the engine. Meet some traffic – well just sit behind and enjoy the view for a while. When it comes time to get by don’t worry about the gears, just roll it on and go for it. But not too quickly – you want the car drivers to get a good eyeful of the curves of the bike.

Often custom bikes are poor when it comes to U-turns. The front wheel drops into the turn, the weight starts to go and you have to paddle it round in an uncool manner.

Not the Volusia. The 33° steering angle spells slow, stable handling but it doesn’t give it that low-speed flop common to many custom machines – feet up U-turns are easy on this, and the turning circle is better than you expect from something as long as a canal boat.

So if you want one, get the cheque book out. It’s yours for £4999 in Pearl Novelty Black, Candy Velvety Red or Metallic Abyss Blue.

This week you’ll also see first pictures and test of Ducati’s new Monster 620. Don’t miss it.

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