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The Test Ride

Earlier this week I passed my DAS test, which means I am now able to ride any size bike (insurance costs permitting) I wish. So as a means to get my foot on the bike ladder I went out and purchased my first motorbike; a Yamaha FZ6 S2. Ok technically this is not my very first motorbike, when I turned 16 I did not go down the usual route and wait for a car, I opted to get on the road early and my parent bought me a Kawasaki AR80. This lasted for a couple of years until I was old enough to learn to drive and I turned my back on the bike scene, however there is proof that I did own a bike. Anyway back to the story of my first ‘big boy’ bike. Since I’ve started my training I have pretty much had my eyes on a Kawasaki Z750. The new 2007 models look great and the spec of the machine appeared very good. However my motorbike guru; Mark, kept on trying to steer me clear of this claiming I would not get on with it. Stubborn as I am I nearly went out and bought one before passing my test, without test riding it. But I kept the feelings in check and decided to wait. On the day of my test I had a few hours practice and during that time we stopped in at the local Kawasaki dealer where I lusted after the lime green Z750. The next stop was the Yamaha dealer, I think Ian must be on commission from the local dealers, and he pointed out a black FZ6. I was intrigued by the machine and finding out it had a de-tuned R6 engine in it made me think, then I saw the price tag; about £500 cheaper than the Kawasaki. As I walked out of the show room I clocked the demo FZ6 in the Power Blue finish, I was struck; it looked awesome in that colour. Three hours later I had my test certificate beside me and a Yamaha brochure in one hand and the Kawasaki in the other. The next couple of days were spent trying to compare the two bikes, there were parts of each bike I preferred and my mind was confused. I like the under seat exhaust of the FZ6, but the dash and console pod of the Z750. The Z750 clearly out powers the 600cc Yamaha but the trade off was the pillion seating; it would not be comfortable for Lucy on the Kawasaki. I was going insane on my own but then I had friends telling me one thing and family saying another. I knew the only way to solve this would be ride them and put it too rest. With this in mind I took Lucy and Sean over to Orwell in Ipswich who stocked both models under one roof. I knew deep down I would prefer the Z750 as it is the meatier of the two, that was until I saw the accessories for the Yamaha; fly screen and belly pan on the FZ6 gave it a street fighter look that made everything look silly, plus that blue paint work was just a work of art. We soon got talking to Craig or Orwell and he recommended the FZ6 as a first bike, so I asked for a ride; sure was the reply “just sign this form”. The form was the insurance bundled with a £1,000 excess! Now my hands were shaking and my mind racing, what if I drop the demo bike? What is something happens to me? This is my first real bike and my first outing on my own and I have just signed up for a £1,000 excess! As I put my helmet on and Craig gave me a quick run down I was shaking. Add to this that there was a charity ride taking place so the place was packed with real riders and they all seemed to be standing out side staring at this green newbie rider getting on the FZ. I started the engine and remembered it was an in line 4, I’ve only ever ridden a 500cc twin, this was going to blow that out of the water. Clicked her into first and slowly let the clutch out. Suddenly all my training went to pot and I could not remember what I was doing, so instead I just rolled down the road to the junction. Two deep breaths later I pulled out onto the main road and on my first bike test. Knowing the area definitely helps and I knew I did not want to go any where I did not feel comfortable. So I headed out of Ipswich on roads I knew, I did not know that I was only doing about 20mph most of the time. Damn that £1,000 you are going to ruin my test ride. It took me about 5 miles to get myself under control and sit back and grow a small grin. Keeping to the back roads I made my way to a local town where I was able to stop and just give the bike a once over; you know check where the oil is, kick the tires, all that technical stuff. Right back on the road, this time I’m going to hit the main road back. That was the plan until I caught a cross wind that scared me senseless. I pulled into the next lay-by to stop. As I sat there thoughts were chasing through my mind; why was I so concerned? Can I really do this? Could I live with a motorbike? Was it just first time nerves? Then it sunk in, so far I had not taken the bike over 4,000 rpm before changing gear and the top speed so far was about 50mph, common grow a pair! With that in mind I pulled out of the lay-by and decided enough was enough; I twisted that throttle round and up to 8,000 rpm, whooah!!! we were off! Before I even knew it I was breaking the speed limit (not by much) but I was only in second gear and the engine was only just getting started. Then something happened that changed the ride, a bloke on a GSX6R coming towards me nodded at me, then his mate on a Ducati did the same. It hit me, I was in the biking fraternity. This was the confidence boost I needed, the ride back home was a complete opposite to the first half. Every junction I opened the bike up and just rode, no more messing about and worrying about that £1,000 excess, enjoy the ride. When I walked back into the show room both Lucy and the dealer noted the massive smile I had across my face. That was it, no need to look at a Kawasaki, enough people had told me this was the right bike and the ride told me that I would not be left behind with it. The deal was done and I purchased a 2007 Yamaha FZ6 S2 in the Power Blue with matching Fly Screen and Belly Pan. The only problem is that due to licensing I can not pick the bike up until the 3rd September, it is going to be a long two weeks.