I've just got home with my new scoot, 'Arnie', having managed to clock up just 50 or so miles after collecting it from Basingstoke (NE Hampshire) this afternoon. The repeated delays have all been worth it.
The weather, unexpectedly, I must admit, turned out to be very kind, and the snow stayed away while I made the collection. The roads were dry-ish and the temperature milder than expected and promised. I was efficiently 'processed' by the staff of the Suzuki dealership and was soon on my way home.
Here are some first impressions of 'Arnie', as promised. Forgive me if I enthuse about something that owners out there may already be taking for granted. :wink:
IMHO, it's a very good looking scoot, especially in the chosen colour scheme of deep metallic blue. I asked them to fit a colour-matched, quickly detachable Givi E52 top box and I was delighted with how smart it looks, as well the fact that it is 2-helmet roomy. It also has a passenger backrest fitted to it which SWMBO proclaimed to be very comfortable (not that I've taken her anywhere on the pillion just yet). Oh, and she said that the pillion footrests are 'better'. I assume she means better than on my Piaggio X9 Evo 500, where she found that she had to assume a weird, bandy / toe-out seating position if her feet weren't to bounce continually off the footrest.
The scoot seems to have been well put-together and the dash arrangement is a triumph of clarity, having a high 'gadget' factor which will keep me amused for ages.
The Suzuki has had the Givi high screen fitted to it which not only suits me very well (I'm very tall) but it also has hand protection which, together with the two-setting heated grips, made my journey home really quite cosy despite the chilly temperatures. I deliberately rode without earplugs today and was thrilled to find that wind noise is minimal and screen turbulence virtually non-existent. Shorter riders would no doubt find themselves riding in a still pocket of air, but might have to sacrifice their ability to see over the screen blade, which might be a problem for them in rainy weather. Not a problem for me, though
The large mirrors (with their built-in indicators) fold back easily to make parking and filtering a doddle. I should say that these are probably the best mirrors I've ever used ...ever. Rearward visibility is crystal clear and unobstructed, which makes a pleasant change.
The legroom is spacious, even for me, and the seat has obviously been designed with big people (read big bums
) in mind. Based on my first lengthy ride, I would say that the riding position and ride quality are quite luxurious.
The glove boxes - three in total - are all of a useful shape and size, the largest (lockable) one containing an ignition-activated power socket (thus making it useless for Optimate purposes ).
Deeper than that on the X9, the cargo hold is enormous, though no remote opening toys here, I'm afraid. I noticed with some relief that the battery is easily accessible from within the underseat area, so this will make my electrical plumbing escapades that much easier than in the case of the X9. I think I'll attach new Optimate the leads directly to the terminals, and might even splash out on one of the products sold by Powerlet so I can attach all my electrical toys. Not sure when I'll be able to do that, though...
On the road
The dealership is situated very near to the M3, the beginning of my route home. This made it easier for me to 'play' with a few settings as I zoomed south. I tried the auto box in 'Power' mode ... and nearly left my stomach behind, so strong was the acceleration . I made a mental note not to touch that again until I'm more used to the scoot. :shock:
I tried the gearbox in 'Manual' mode and soon decided that, most of the time, I'd definitely not need this facility. Yet, I soon found it useful on the back roads from Winchester to Corehampton, especially when descending a couple of steep hills when some engine braking is definitely a boon. I think for now, though, I'll leave it in 'Auto' as I think it'll also run-in a bit more gently, being in the correct gear all the time. I hope so, anyway.
The engine is FAN-BLOODY-TASTIC! Turbine smooth and extremely torguey throughout the rev range, it also makes a nice, deep, throaty, exhaust noise. Above all, this is one VERY quick machine. (Oh my gawd, is that an understatement!) With fewer that 20-odd miles on the clock I was shocked at one point to see a (cough) three-figure speed on the digital speedo It really was that easy, and felt more like a 1000 or even 1100cc machine. No exaggeration, folks, this engine is a smo-o-o-oth monster. (Oh ... you probably know that already ... hey ho :? .)
My second surprise came when I closed the throttle as I approached my exit slip-road. There was so much engine braking that it felt like I'd grabbed a handful of brake lever. That will take some getting used to in town riding, I think. It reminded me of the engine braking on the R1150RT I test rode the other week.
Acceleration is outstanding throughout the performance range. No, better make that astonishingly outstanding. This beast is a sports tourer dressed up as a scooter and I very quickly fell in love with it. It's a Torquemeister, and its response to changes to the throttle setting is instant, composed and very impressive indeed.
The brakes are ... .. ...well, to be honest, I didn't notice them so I suppose that they must have registered in my mind as feeling the same as the X9's, though they're not linked. (No ABS on this baby, either). In other words, the brakes are OK.
For such a heavy machine (I gather that it's the heaviest P2W in the current Suzuki range), its handling was precise and its ride beautifully smooth. It tracked well down the M-way without any effect as a result of lorry turbulence, e.g., yet on the twisties it gripped well and changed direction easily.
I have to get its first (free) service out of the way within the next 6 weeks, so I'd better start a 'little-and-often' riding regime 'cos I've lost the riding habit of late (I've been unwell since August). My target is to have this service carried out well before a club I belong to head for their Welsh mountain hotel break so I can begin to more fully enjoy the performance as I ride up to Wales in April.
I also want to find the best way to mount my GPS to it, and I need to make more rider-friendly provision of power sockets for my toys, as I have said above.
The first impressions are really very favourable in terms of aesthetic appeal, comfort and dynamic performance.
Comparisons with my beloved Roxy (Evo 500) are futile. They're different beasts, but both are capable of fulfilling a wide range of duties. Certainly, in the muscle department, 'Arnie' wins hands down, as you'd expect.
All I've got to do now is to make a real effort to keep my driving licence unsullied by speeding penalty points . Somehow, this has now been made more difficult ...
Right now, I need a hot shower and something to eat, before settling down with a glass of whiskey to read the handbook and pile of literature that came with my 650.
I'm very happy with my purchase (perhaps you could tell?)