As before, the riding is truly very nice, the bike is nimble, very narrow and very light. The hardtail is definitely fun when it comes to cornering. It's really not uncomfortable even for our crappy roads. It feels... different. In the iconic words of Butch from Pulp Fiction, "it's not a motorcycle baby, it's a chopper, come on".
Now, as with many of our rides, it can often take a long time from that first test-ride to that one time when you suddenly realise you're doing 100mph and are totally confident of all the moving parts responding how they're supposed to. So, I'm well aware that these are still very early days, and I have identified at least three areas where there's room for improvement:Exhausts: they're too loud, it's as simple as that. I don't usually care if a standard exhaust from the golden age of motoring offends modern ears (is my Commando drowning out your stupid iPhone? Tough!), but in this case we're talking racetrack-unrestricted-bleeding-from-your-ears loud. I have to at least try to see if I can replace the steel wool in the "silencers".
Final ratio: it's too short. A relaxed cruising speed seems to be around 45/50mph, which is fine, but if it could be just a little more it would mean a wider range of use out of the engine. I should note that this short-stroke 500 revs pretty high compared to bigger machines I'm used to, but it does so happily, not laboriously. In other words, if you wanna go faster, you gotta rev higher. I think the first thing I could try would be a 47-tooth sprocket. After that, I could up the gearbox sprocket by one tooth (no more) and perhaps even think about a fourth gear off a 650 engine... though that's probably extreme and may strain the engine. We'll see.
Front brake: let's start with new shoes and see if that does the trick. I'm sure that brake can work so much better than it does now...