Being the demo-junkie that I am, I headed up last Friday to Martin Motorsports in Boyertown, PA for their Suzuki Demo Day. I was eager to test the new Bandit, wasn't sure what else they might have that would be interesting.
They had available for the group demo ride: Bandit 1250, M109R, M50, WeeStrom, GSXR750, DR-Z400SM and an SV650. Martin has a very nice 11 mile route for demos which includes a lot of twisties, elevation changes and narrow roads. There are a couple of blind turns immediately after the crests of hills that really get your attention!
I was first on the list for this, so I went out at 10am on the first ride. I was surprised how compact the bike felt. I really liked the sound of the engine, at least under 35mph (I forget to put in my earplugs for this ride - damn). Sounded like a turbine spooling up, very cool. No buzz to speak of. Shifting was ultra-smooth, brakes were fine. Not the most legroom in the world, but not bad by any means. Can't really say anything else about it, just a very nice bike.
I wanted to ride the WeeStrom next, but someone beat me to it. My second choice was the M50 (out of curiosity), but that one turned out to be sold that morning. I didn't want the Gxr, or the mammoth-back-tire M109R, so....
What a hoot! I first checked to make sure it did not have knobbies (not a fan), then checked to make sure I could straddle the thing (no problem). My first time on a single. Just (just!) enough power to make it interesting, superb seating position, you really felt like you were working the bike to make things happen. Lots of shifting to keep the revs up, but smiling all the time. Felt like it weighed 200 pounds.
This ride was WAY slower than the Bandit ride, as the guy who was demo'ing the Bandit this time had no idea how to ride. Shorts, t-shirt, sandals, they had to lend him a helmet. Every turn was on the brakes wobbling around. I'm no Rossi (or Stoner), but I could have stuffed this guy up the inside.
My last ride of the morning was on the WeeStrom. I wasn't really that interested in it, but what the hell. What a pleasant surprise! Perfect ergo's, decent amount of power (more than adequate for me), easy handling, really just a sweet bike. Not the prettiest belle at the ball, but that's the only nit I could pick on it. Well, that and the terrible buffeting I got at over 50mph, but that's not uncommon with faired bikes and probably pretty easily fixed with a different screen.
This ride was not quite as slow as the previous one, but had much more drama. A guy was interested in the M50, so they brought another one out of the showroom for him to demo. I was behind a guy on an SV650 ABS, and he was behind the M50 guy. At an uphill stop sign the M50 rider stalled it pulling out, and the SV650 guy ran into the back of him (or the M50 rolled back into him, not sure). The M50 guy nearly dropped it on the right because of the crown of the road, but got it under control just in time.
Later in the ride there's 2 15-mph turns, a right followed by a left. The M50 (I guess) felt he went too hot into the left-hander, and out came his left leg dirt-tracker style around the whole turn. The SV650 guy and I were hanging pretty far back after that. Bigsmile