Grey Bike -
owned three grey imports over the last couple of years. I used to
despatch on a grey import GS500 (much the same as the UK spec model).
I did 25000 miles on that bike in five months and with regular maintenance,
never had any problems with it. (Our own review of the GS500E can
be found in Issue 10 of The Rider's Digest, back issues available
from the usual address, price 75p - Ed). I also owned a GSX400FWS
for a couple of months and clocked up 5000 miles, again without
any problems. It used the same engine as the GSXR400 Mk I/II so
reliability was a pretty safe bet.
B/W CB-1 I
traded the GSX for the CB-1. I'd wanted one for a while but hadn't
come across any at the right price until I spotted this one in Sunami
Motorcycles in Mordern, Surrey . A 'G' reg for £2 800; it
only had 5000 miles on the clock and was in almost mint condition.
I work in London and commute up to 700 miles per week, which is
a pretty good test of any bike. You soon get to know if you'll like
it or not.... And I do. It's absolutely brilliant and when you're
really pushing it, it's hard to believe that you're only on a four
hundred four pot. This little bike will pull from 2000 rpm in sixth
gear! And the throttle response is fabulous. A blip of the throttle
in neutral sends the tacho needle instantly to the red line at thirteen
and a half thousand revs.
Yet it's no
powerband buzz-bomb. Town riding is effortless. You can leave it
in sixth and just roll throttle on and off as if you were riding
an automatic. Or, if the mood takes you, you can scream the tits
off it in every gear listening to the whine of the gear-driven cams
as the needle waves up and down the tacho. The engine's just so
responsive and there doesn't seem to be a flat spot throughout the
entire rev range.
is good too. Some people might find the front end a bit twitchy
over bumps but it's never bothered me, I ride the bike pretty hard
to and from work using the A22 from East Sussex to London every
day. It's a great road with only one GATSO camera on the whole journey.
The whole machine feels so firmly planted on the road, I've never
had any problems or dodgy moments, and that's with a very standard
suspension set-up. You can only pre-set the rear shock, the front
end having no adjustment at all.
sorts of tuning goodies available for the CB-1. M and P do a full
race exhaust system from Lazer and if you don't like that naked
look, there's new fairing options and even straight handlebar conversions.
is only a single disc up front, braking is very good with only a
slight dab needed on the rear stopper. Though it's easy to make
the front tyre howl, it's not an on/off affair. The very progressive
brakes can haul the bike up without fuss or trauma with plenty of
feel and feedback to let you know what's going on at all times.
It will do stoppies though, if you're that way inclined.
Top speed is
about 115-120 mph. I've had the bike off the speed, and it still
seemed to be pulling, though not very convincingly. The bike is
best for just bleating around on. There's no real power band, it
just gets aggressively faster as the revs climb and at eight grand
there's a definite urge that might well become a kick with a different
exhaust and carb jetting.
bought a manual from Riders of Yeovil (Top notch Grey importers
and TRD Dealer of the Month, a few months ago - Ed) and the time
off work provided an opportunity to take the three hundred mile
round trip to get it. The journey was mostly fast 'A' roads and
motorway. The bike handled it easily, cruising at 80-90mph with
no real problems at all. 80mph equates to about 9,500rpm, so there's
loads more on tap to overtake without having to change down. The
riding position is really good as well so even on long journeys
it isn't uncomfortable. Despite being described as a naked sportster,
you're not flung too far forward as you would be on a race rep.
If it had a fairing it would probably make an excellent and comfortable
little tourer. The only downside to this is the minimal tank size
with only about 120 miles, including reserve, before you're getting
really desperate for a fuel station. This isn't to say the bike
is juicy to run just that it has a genuinely small fuel tank holding
only around 11.5 litres.
and sprockets are easy to get for this model, M and P do most bits
and any decent bike shop can match up the pads. I haven't needed
anything other than service items or consumables so far but I reckon
that enough importers have broken suitable donors by now so there
should be few problems sourcing spare parts. As you've probably
gathered, I like the bike. If there's anyone out there who fancies
a naked CBR instead of something covered m acres of plastic, then
go for it, You won't regret it.
do you think? Comment
about this review in the message forums.