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My black Honda VTR-1000 Firestorm is my second motorcycle. My first was a (relatively) mild-mannered Kawasaki ER-5, in the opinion of many, a perfect "beginner's" machine.
I was about to buy a Suzuki SV650S, but Motorcycle City Greenford were doing a fantastic deal on pre-registered VTRs. I picked up mine for £5500 - a truly amazing price at the time, considering my bike, as it turned out, wasn't even pre-registered!
At first, I thought I'd made a big mistake. Like many, I bought my bike off the back of magazine reviews and without a road test. It's irritating that getting a test-ride of a new machine is so difficult, especially considering the size of the investment that a purchaser has to make. Why did I feel like I'd made a mistake? Well, compared to the easy, upright seating position of the ER-5 with its traffic-busting high-and-wide flick-flack bars, this felt like I was a foot too short doing the front-crawl on a Penny Farthing. I soon got used to it.
What I haven't got used to, quite, is the fuel consumption. Forget about buying this bike if you're going to use the "bikes are more economical than cars" line with the other half. If I get better than 30mpg, I'm laughing! Couple this with the tank size (I can't get more than 15.5 litres in that anti-Tardis) and you have, at best, 100 miles before the reserve light comes on. And you'd better take notice, because I've had to push my bike a mile or more four times now when trying to eke out the extra few minutes of riding pleasure, playing Russian Roulette with the carbs. Bet on about 17 miles on reserve, any more than that and you're in The Forbidden Zone.
While I'm complaining, I'm less than impressed with the finish of the paint on the tank. I ride my bike through all weather, through the whole year, but I don't think that's what took the paint off my pride and joy. I just don't believe the factory has done its usual Honda best on the paintwork. It scuffs too easily.
But you know what? I can forgive the Firestorm all that. Ferocious acceleration, forgiving handling, cross-continental comfort and the legendary day-to-day-get-on-with-it Honda reliability put the smile on my face whenever I approach my machine.
This bike pulls like Don Juan on pheromones. The acceleration is looney. You know those mad surfers who fight 30 foot waves? The ones who risk life and limb? They wouldn't have the guts to give the throttle serious abuse in the first two gears. I have to admit, sheepishly, that neither do I. What's equally daft is how strong the urge is at 100mph and higher. On the Autobahn of course, m'lud. It's such a simple pleasure to pull alongside a sports car of any description, any make; to smile through your dark visor whilst riding alongside and then to crack open the throttle. Goodbye Porsche, goodbye licence.
You wouldn't think that a machine that looks so Clark Kent could behave so Superman, but it does. And it will handle the commute to the office without a hitch, comfortably. However, on occasion it's possible to get a bit of a tingle in the hands because of that mighty V-twin rumble. All part of the charm though...
What next? A set of cans to liberate some of that booming note...
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