SWM’s retro classic, Silver Vase 440 £4699

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There will be several variations on SWM’s retro classic theme, all using the same basic frame and engine. The Silver Vase faithfully replicates the street scrambler style of the early 1970s, with twin high-mounted silencers, semi-knobbly tyres and a profusion of chrome. It’s all a bit garish compared to the serious-looking Gran Milano but certainly looks the part of a Honda street scrambler circa 1972.

The riding position is upright and relaxed, with plenty of support from the broad and comfy ribbed seat and wide high bars. The engine and box are identical to those of the Gran Milano, so you get the same snatchiness at low speed and fine midrange power – there’s good acceleration in the lower gears, but you can still leave it in fifth on a twisty B road, the 440cc single pulling you out of sweeping bends.

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Like the Gran Milano, the gearchange is a little sticky but ours was a low-mileage test bike, which might also account for the intrusive vibes over 5000rpm. It’ll happily cruise at an indicated 70mph, but much more than that and the in-the-wind position will have your neck muscles straining. 

Some parts on the Vase look a bit cheap compared to the Gran Milano. The rims and swingarm are steel, not alloy, with gaitered forks and a more basic front brake (though still a four-pot caliper). It’s all enough to cope with the performance, and the Silver Vase certainly handles well, but although the bike is £300 cheaper than the Milano, it feels as if the price gap should be bigger. Still, the Silver Vase is a truly individual bike – there’s else nothing quite like it out there.

 

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