Overall a great, cheap to run, commuter
I got the bike at 65000km (about 40000 miles), 9 years old with 9 previous owners. It wasn't in the greatest state, but was in good mechanical condition.
After half a year, and 5000km of hard riding, it was still running nicely. Just had to change its brake pads and tires.
Then I crashed. I put a hole through the crankcase, bent the forks, broke the headlight, indicators, tacho, and headlight. Luckily, with a naked bike, there were no expensive fairings that had to be replaced.
I pulled the bike apart and forgot about it. The engine crankcase was left open for 4 months in a damp carport, during winter, as I waited for parts to be fixed, and for the crankcase to be welded.
Surprisingly, with an engine mainly built from aluminium, there was little corrosion. When I finally put it back together, and it started straight away, no hesitation! Talk about reliable!
Since then, the head gasket has developed a slow, slight leak, which I can't be bothered fixing.
The seal in the front master cylinder has worn out, meaning the brake is really spongy (my version of ABS: it never locks up :) ). Still have to fix it, but its been over a year, and works well.
The engine also needs quite a bit of choke when cold. This may be because of using the wrong oil type, or maybe the engine's a little worn out. It's also starting to burn a little oil, but with 80000km on the clock, and with no real engine work ever performed upon it, this is to be expected. Rings and pistons probably a little worn.
Oh, and most recently, the clutch cable snapped. Again, it was expected, as it's been fraying for months.
Overall, the bike is great. Recently I removed the back plates off the exhaust, and got the carb rekitted. It's now running 15hp (and 16Nm st torque) at the rear wheel and sounds amazing!!!
OK, so it's not the most powerful 250cc made, less so at 80000kms, but it's still great.
The bike has a relatively low centre of gravity, and therefore is really easy to handle (better with flatter handlebars), with incredible low speed maneuverability, allowing for real tight turning circles.
Furthermore, as it is not a sports bike, you can't lean it over too far without scraping something (quite easy to do it). Still, it sticks to the road, and allows you to hang right off the seat. This means you can chuck it into corners with speed with little fear.
The suspension is adequate, a little soft, meaning it absorbs all the bumps without giving you a sore back (like CBR's, spadas, etc). Couple this with an amazing seat, and you got a bike that's great for longer trips. I went on tours the length of this country (New Zealand), and can comfortably ride for 3 hours without a stop.
The brakes are nothing special, they do the job. I own the variant with a front disc and rear drum. Back brake works a charm, but the front hasn't worked properly for a while.
In terms of the engine, I absolutely love it. Sure, it's not a highly tuned machine, but it sure does the job.
Being a parallel twin, the torque comes on early, and is nice and constant with the power all the way through the rev range. This means you can drive around town with low revs gears quite comfortably, using little gas.
Furthermore, a wide torque curve means cruising the highway is a breeze, with no need to continuously change gears when the hills come. It also means you can accelerates quite cleanly from 30km/h to 120km/h in 5th. The engine is also super reliable, with little maintenance.
The gearbox it pretty smooth, but could do with a 6th gear. 1st gear is pretty short, but powerful, meaning uphill starts, or starts in general are easy to perform.
Now, the specifications:
town - 25km/l with moderate to heavy handed riding, 30km/l with cool/calm riding.
Highway - 35km/l.
Hp - 15
Nm - 16.
Maximum ever achieved - 146km/h (Desert Rd - long straight road, carrying 125kgs, passenger and luggage, almost as much as the bike itself (130kg) )
Normal maximum - 120km/h
Normal maximum with headwind - 95-100km/h
Two-up - 110km.
0-100 - hmmm, about 9 seconds. definately not over 10.
Lastly, the Cons, well, the real singular Con - Power, or lack thereof. 5 more horsepower would be greatly appreciated. The bike is great, and can cruise nicely at highway speeds, however, when hills get a little too steep, or when the wind gets a little strong, the bike struggles. A couple more ponies could make this bike awesome.
Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 5th August, 2008