It was service and MOT time for Smoggy. It was a ‘first’ that I’d got my wee pal to Motorrad in Dalkeith, before the mileage was up! Normally I would be way over and I would get the service warning on the dash every time I started Smoggy! I’ve spent a lot of miles recently on my wee Indian, so quite honestly, Smoggy has been getting a well-deserved rest. He had a creaky Ohlins recently, which Andy Brown sorted, other than that, he’s been on good form! Pretty damn good for a bike that’s 96,000 miles young.
The one thing I do love about Motorrad (other than a cracking team, great coffee and fab service) is getting a courtesy bike from them. For years, yes, I mean years, I just didn’t have the confidence to get on a loan bike unless I had both my feet firmly on the floor. Luckily I’ve got over myself.
My courtesy bike this time was their wee G310R in a rather attractive blue. It’s new to the fleet this year, and is a 313cc, 33.6bhp single cylinder liquid cooled engine. Putting that into perspective, Smoggy is 798cc and 71bhp.
Needless to say, I did check that my wee feet made contact with the ground before I signed up. To take out a courtesy bike you need two things: Driving licence (of course) and your National Insurance number. I’m that old, I didn’t get a shiny card with my number on it, and have since I turned 16, had my NI number firmly stored in my memory bank. So I thought. My 50year and 359 day old brain had a bit of a fart. Luckily, as soon as I stopped over-thinking it, I got it bang on. So, don’t know your NI number? No bike!
The first thing I noticed when I got on the bike was a very similar riding position to the Ducati Monster. That’s probably where the similarities stopped!
It’s really good around town, light, nimble and surprisingly responsive in any gear. You need very little steering input to get this wee bike around a corner and the suspension is very good indeed, even with my fat ass on the seat. The clutch is super light compared to all my bikes. Given the engine note of a high-pitched grrrrrrr, the temptation is to go up through the gears. The bike coped well in a wide variety of gears at 20 and 30 mph and in a 40 in 5th gear there was a pretty good response. The brakes are bloody brilliant. So good in fact you (not me) could do a spectacular ‘stoppie’ if you hammered on the anchors. I also put the rear brake to good use too. That part is way better than a Ducati Monster will ever be; even new! Ruby’s rear brake is a joke and by all accounts it’s a known issue with them. Much shrugging of shoulders. Hang your head in shame, Ducati!
I was caught out at traffic lights not giving the wee bike enough beans and stalled. Re-starting the bike seemed to take double the time compared to Smoggy. However, the lesson here is: don’t be a fanny, rev the damn bike!
So, much grrrrrr-click; grrrrrr-click; working up and down the gears. It would be a cool commuting bike, not that I need one!
After a tour aboot the town, I had some lunch and couldn’t resist taking the bike out of the city. It was just great fun. Light, nimble, as responsive as a 33.6bhp single could be and I immediately felt at home on it on the twisty roads. Last seen heading down the A7 with a big grin on my face. Yes, you have to work it and accept that it’s a noisy wee machine that will make your eyeballs jangle so much that it’s challenging to read a road sign 50m away, but once you get used to it, it’s fun, fun, FUN! Just remember to rev the nuts out of it!
At Stow, I turned left to go over the hill to Lauder. The grin got wider. With the noise of the engine and having to work it, the sensation is you’re going really quickly. You’re not. Overtakes have to be carefully planned. At 60mph-ish it’s noisy and there’s a distinct vibration emitted from the single cylinder which reverberates right through the seat. It’s not unpleasant.
All in all, by the time I got back to Dalkeith, I had a massive grin on my face, flies stuck between my teeth and was giggling like a teenager. It was bonkers fun in every way.
So, imagine my surprise when Tony and Laura told me how much this wee beastie cost. Brand new: cash price £4,450. What a perfect bike for anyone with an A2 restricted licence or even someone wanting to have a wee bike for hurling around town. Oh yes, I nearly forgot. I filled the tank up. £9. Laura (on her personal pocket rocket) was saying she gets about 120miles to a tank. That’s a bargain.
No expectations and certainly no disappointments. Quite the opposite. It’s kind of cute too, the BMW baby.