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Road Grip:


Rs. 31,000 (Ex-Showroom)


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Lower Hutt New Zealand
My only real choice...
Feb 20, 2007 02:47 AM 7862 Views




Road Grip:


OK, I live in New Zealand, and strictly speaking I don't need a motorcycle, I've got a car and not much money(well, none, really.).  But, I had bikes as a teenager, loved them, and can't get it out of my system. So I had to find a bike for next to nothing, to justify getting one. I tried out a variety of used bikes, including a Honda VT250 which was nice but had a crap riding position(why do they do that? Do we all want to go racing, or do we just want to ride?) and gave me a back ache.  I really wanted a Yamaha SX-4 225 Scorpio from Indonesia, but the seat was too narrow, and it was too dear.

I had owned a Honda Lead(Dio in Inda), so I trusted Indian manufacture.  I had to sell that due to poverty, but it couldn't travel on our motorways, as it was too slow, but I loved riding it and thought it very well made.  I went back to a bike shop that had had a Kinetic GF170 sitting in the corner for over a year. Triumph had imported them, there had been few sales, and nobody knew anything about them, but I thought, looks nice, it's CHEAP compared to Jap bikes, let's do it.(Plus I cheated - I read the Mouthshut reviews - thanks guys!)

I couldn't even try it before buying it, the battery wasn't charged, but I payed me money(well, flashed the credit card, gulp!) slipped on and rode off.  Straight away I LOVED the riding position, comfortable and dignified, it let me look at where I was going, not stare at the front wheel like some bikes. The carburetion was very good around town, the power no problem, a little pulsing around 55 kph, a lovely baritone axhaust tone, with a little too much backfiring on throttling off.  Handling was particularly good, the steering neutral and almost telepathic.  Completley unlike the Suzuki GN250s I had tried, which all handled like wheelbarrows, and totally robbed the ride of any enjoyment.

During the run in period I found that the second rear spring preload position avoided the backache other positions had caused, and the damping matched this position well.  Suspension was not as good as a monoshock like the VT250, or the Yamaha SX-4, but hey, half the cost for a brand new bike!  Probably one of the better twin shock models.  The gear change was a little baulky on occasion, at other times as smooth as butter.  On one uphill stretch of road it popped out of fifth more than once, but nowhere else.  I was disappointed with an oil leak from the sump plug plate, which made things a bit slippery on the garage floor.  It was supposed to be fixed at the first service, but, you've guessed it, it either wasn't done, or it hasn't worked, because it's back again. I've just put a plastic tub under the offending part.

Good points are that the bike is comfortable for over two hours of riding at a time.  I'm an old bugger with muscle cramp issues, so this is important.  Performance is excellent around town, less so on the open road.  The engine struggles above 80 kph.  I believe it's a carburettor issue, it surges and feels like it is starved of fuel at higher speeds. At full throttle it will reach over 100 kph, but a higher level of vibration intrudes over 90 kph, so this is my limit for now.  I don't want to abuse it during run in, but I have gone on an intercity run, and really enjoyed it.  This is something a scooter can't do in this country.  Best of all, this bike allows me to just cruise around and enjoy life, it's a fantastic anti depressant.  It should be available on prescription.  I am getting 43 kpl, so the bike's almost paying for itself in fuel savings.  People have been impressed with it's looks, and the exhaust makes a lovely racket which aids safety.  Brakes are good.  No matter how hard life gets( and I am practically a pauper in New Zealand terms) I can always go for a ride and start feeling better right away.

At less than the price for a set of forks for a proper sports bike in New Zealand, the GF170 gives me 90% of what I want in a bike, saves a ton of money, and provides  heaps of fun.  What's bad about that?

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