Its often the simplest of things that bring the most happiness in life. I never truly understood that sentiment until I got an opportunity to get my hands on a motorcycle.
Boy! How have I been living all these years? is this for real? can one get from A to B and have fun at the same time? these were some of the questions that immediately crossed my mind.
Then there is the feeling of some serious horsepower between one's legs. more than one horsepower if you get what I am saying .
I was hooked. boots in the breeze, wind in my face, with the sweet sound of a high revving engine. AND THEN IT HIT ME "I WAS BORN TO RIDE A MOTORCYCLE".
The current crop of street-bikes just didn't tickle my fancy. the heavier ones were a little too heavy as I still have a steep learning curve to climb before graduating to a multi-piston machine. Anyways, after an exhaustive search, I found the one that fit the bill. Suzuki GS150 "Tour-King".
1. 150 cc of displacement
2. 12 Brake Horsepower
3. Front Disk, Rear Drum
4. Plenty of Luggage carrying ability (Trunk and Panniers)
5. External 12-volt power outlet (waterproof).
6. Secondary 12-volt power outlet (inside rear trunk)
7. Self Start
8. Handle Bar Pouch
9. 13 liter fuel-tank
What I like:
1. The bike's suspension is really superb. Its quiet comfortable even for longer than usual rides.
2. The bike's rake and trail are really designed for long and easy riding. the higher rake/trail stabilizes the bike even at really slow speeds.
3. Front disk brakes make stopping this monster a breeze. rear drums are only "so,so" at it.
4. 12 volt-power outlet on handlebar allow usage of GPS navigation equipment (or a cell-phone or MP3 player). yes! one can also use it to recharge stuff.
5. Wide seat offers plenty of room for a comfortable seating experience for the buns.
6. wide and high angle handlebars truly help in eliminating the fatigue from arms and shoulders
7. Self start is a real plus cause kick-starting is just exhausting and grows really old really fast. plus my knees don't feel as young as they did 15 years back.
8. back-rest for the pillion rider also makes it quiet a pleasurable experience for the one sitting behind you. in turn, it makes the whole ride even more pleasurable for you as you hear less complains.
9. the internal 12-volt power outlet (housed inside the rear trunk) makes it possible to use it as a power source for the camping lights and recharge your laptop and stuff like that.
10. the handle bar pouch is a just a dream accessory. it makes it very convenient to place the most/often needed stuff such as cell-phone, hands-free, cigarettes and lighters within reach. the best part is that you can take it off, wash and put it back on if it gets dirty.....by the way, I'm not suggesting that you make/attend phone calls and smoke while driving a motorcycle.
11. the bike is quiet soundless for its engine size. even while revving the engine, it hardly makes any sound. unlike Hondas that make your brain explode inside your head when somebody crosses you by.
12. the bike's engine is also very smooth. hardly any vibration at any RPM level. unlike the current crop of street-bikes that even shake your teeth loose.
Things that I don't like: (most of the stuff that I am about to mention are probably linked to poor quality control)
1. the frame of the bike is already starting to rust. rust spots are growing everywhere. even some of the nuts and bolts have decided to join in.
2. the rear drums make a strange sound when applying brake pressure. the authorized Suzuki mechanic told me that it happens with most of them. nothing to worry about. his advice: learn to live with it. this world isn't prefect. wow! thats deep.
3. the texture on the handlebar grips kinda bits into my hands. don't like it one bit.
4. some of the markings here and there (specially on the controls) are pretty much vanishing all by themselves. poor quality ink/stamping I guess.
5. poor quality of paint. almost everywhere you can see signs of paint saying "good bye buddy, its been a short but fun ride".
6. the trip-meter isn't working anymore. I'm not even sure that it worked from the beginning. I am just assuming that it worked.
7. the bike's got a habit of breaking rpm and clutch cables like its some sort of a national responsibility.
8. you'll surely be surprised to learn how fast it eats rear brake shoes. the authorized mechanic told me that it happens because of the heavy weight of this bike and takes some serious braking power to stop it in its tracks.
9. the slim tyres look fugly. as per my discussions with my mechanic, if I install fatter tyres, the bike will become sluggish. I do plan to install fatter tyres cause these one are just destroying the look of this otherwise handsome monster.
10. the muffler which does an amazing job of reducing the exhaust sound gets really hot to touch (learned it the hard way on several occasions). the company should have provided the muffler with a heat shield.
11. the 12-volt power outlet which are otherwise very useful are limited in their capacity. they only allow 110-watts of electricity which is only useful for electronics and not enough for cooking/heating equipment. it would have really neat if I could power a small electric stove or a heater.
12. the side covers aka tapas have no locking mechanism. imagine the level of trust held by company in our society.
13. chain makes a funny griding sound at low speeds. the mechanic says that its pretty normal with chain driven bikes and I must oil this chain and its sprockets regularly but still, if I oil it too much then I get drips and runs from sides of the chain cover which is just nasty.
14. there is no beeper installed with the turn signals. at times one forgets that the left/right turn signal is on. a beeper would have been nice.
15. the brake light in the rear trunk was really weak/dim. I had the OEM (factory installed) replaced with an aftermarket bulb and now it shines like it should.
16. the locking mechanism on the rear trunk and panniers should have their own keys. a single key for the ignition, side lock, fuel tank, rear trunk and pannier is just asking for trouble. too many locks with one key will wear the key out sooner than it should.
17. the fuel selector is all wrong. turning it up means moving the reserve arrow down, who can remember all that? I still have to ask the mechanic to turn it to "ON" position. is there any way to permanently disable this contraption?
18. the turn signal and neutral indicators are really dim and hard to see in normal day light.
19. I just fail to understand the thought behind the "Engine-On" switch in the handlebar. why turning the key ignition switch to "ON" isn't enough? why over complicate a pretty simple process?
20. the rear trunk does not have a parking light. only brake lights. why?
21. bike is super heavy. putting it on center/double stand requires one hell of an effort. in full load, it requires two people to lift and pull to put it on double stand. in fact, the double stand has already been welded once. just imagine seeing it break into two pieces by the sheer weight of the bike.
22. the cheap quality horn works at times and at times it totally refuses to do anything.
23. the cheap quality headlight is useful for nothing. the beam is no way near safe enough to drive even in absolute darkness and on top of that it scatters too a degree (360 degrees to be precise) that even a huge pot hole in the middle of the road is impossible to spot.
With all its faults, the bike is super fun. due to its heavy weight, it runs smoother, quieter and without any road/ground and engine vibrations. literally, driving it at 80-90km/h feels like you are cruising at a comfortable 40km/h.
the company is offering a superb product here. they just need to improve upon the quality of stuff that are putting in this bike. the engine is powerful enough that it can easily take two riders and loads of other stuff to any height a motorcycle can/should. however the cheap quality of accessories such as cables, brake shoes, tyres and stuff are a major turn off.
The bike has the potential to become the best locally manufactured touring bike however the company should invest in quality instead of relying on poor quality parts to lower its price in a bid to attract more customers.