Ok so I have owned this lovely little thing for 5 weeks now. Almost covered 600 miles (dont get out much with the kids around) and I am booked in for the 6 week service next week and I thought I would give you all a quick review of the machine.
But first a little tarting:
There tarting over, now onto the serious business.
In the 3 years since passing my Direct Access I have owned a 1991 GSXR750. The last of the oil cooled slingshots, and a Honda Firestorm, before getting the XJ6. I have been eyeing up the new XJ since its relaunch. All of a sudden the fugly Divvi's got really good looking but the heart won out and I got the Storm instead. Something about the big V2 growl that I just loved.
As time moved forward, petrol prices rocketed and I found that most of my riding was around town I realized the Storm was just not suitable. With a shocking MPG figure around town and rarely leaving second gear I decided it was time to part ways (I say part, its out the back getting work done before being sold). So with the heavy heart the head won out and with Yami's 0% finance it seemed a good idea was to go for another bike. The XJ6N won out. As much as I like the faired version it was the naked version that really stood out to me.
I chose the Race Blu scheme they had on offer. The first choice was the Race Blue and then they released the SP edition and I thought "oh hello there" but I was told I would have to wait until mid June before they had one in stock. Race Blue it was. 1 week later I was standing in the showroom looking over the nice new bike. Just in front of mine was the black and red colour scheme someone else had chosen and I couldnt help but think that I made the better choice. I mean just look at it. Deep matt grey with those striking blue wheels. Did I regret not waiting for the SP version? Did I heck.
30 minutes later I rode out of the showroom in Southampton and made my way in the drizzle towards the Motorway for my rush hour trip home to Portsmouth. Initial thoughts were the weirdness of the riding position. No longer was I leant over a tank and squished up as I was on the Firestorm. I was now sitting upright, much more comfortable and once I got used to it I really enjoyed it. At a stand still the lower seat height helped me a lot, I have only got short legs. Hell i'm 5'6 in biker boots (need the heel for the extra half inch). Hitting the motorway I kept it sensible, Have to break the engine in and all that rubbish and the rain had turned from drizzle to a steady downpour. It was sunny when I left Portsmouth so I picked the bike up in jeans. Needless to say I was saturated by the time I got home. That is a price one must pay for no fairing I guess.
Now I have owned the bike for 5 weeks. I have done a few hoons over the hill towards Loomies and along the A272 and some other great biking roads and I must say the bike may be the same weight as the Firstorm was coming in at 205KG full of oil and fuel, but once shes moving she feels like a 125. She has a really tight turning circle, is very forgiving and she flicks easily through the twisty sections of road. She does not have the raw grunt and pull the Firestorm did but she is a lot easier to ride. I found myself being able to take the same corners faster on the XJ than I could on the Storm. The XJ suits my style of riding much better.
Town riding is another great big plus. She's agile enough around town to follow side streets to find the fastest way around town avoiding traffic. With her tight turning circle she was made for the city. She's far more fuel efficient than the Firstorm was with me getting around 120-130 miles before going onto the reserve tank, where the Firestorm was lucky to reach 70 miles. It's working out I get an extra 2/3 of a tank as both tanks are 17L capacity tanks. Each fill up saves me around £9 so cannot complain at that.
There are a couple of down sides to the bike though. The gear box is as clunky as a clunky thing. For me this isnt an issue as the Firestorm has a clunky first 2 gears. It's something I have lived with for years so not a real biggy. Of course the wind factor is another down side but thats my choice. I could have had the faired version and stopped that wind buffeting but I chose the naked one. The last down is the noise. Until you wind it up, something which the book says you should not do until the engine is broken in, its a very quiet bike. Even the boss was surprised when I arrived in work as she had not heard me come in. But then the Storm was a noisy bastard. Although when you do wind her up she does have a lovely yamaha roar to it. I guess the old R6 lump still has bags of noise even if she has been tuned down to only 78BHP.
All in all though I do not regret downsizing my bike. I will miss the noise and the grunt of the Firstorm but this XJ makes up for it in bags of fun and agility and was well worth the buying.