Versatility? You got it. Alun Davies takes his life in hand for a two-up tour on the X-ADV
There’s been a brutal divide building in the Davies’ household during 2017. Marital strife is now a way of life and it’s all to do with motorcycles, but not in the conventional way.
Mrs Davies continues to be fine and dandy when I casually slip into a conversation – usually just after I’ve dug her a new rose garden or re-fitted the kitchen – that there’s a chance, but only a small chance, that I may be away for a few days’ riding in the near future. ‘That’s nice,’ she’ll say without a hint of the grimace I’m sure is there.
Yes, I suffer from motorcycle rider guilt, a condition which has not lessened with age and, according to my councillor, is totally self-inflicted. Our two-wheeled conflict has nothing to do with my solo time in the saddle and all to do with our time on two wheels. You see, the Davies garage is now firmly split into ‘my bikes’ and ‘our bikes’ and Mrs Davies is threatening to bring back crucifixion should I confuse the divide.
For example, I noticed a cross being erected in the garden earlier this year after a two up ride out on the Husky 701, six-inch nails sharpened after I suggested a short trip on a CRF250, and I’ve been made aware that there’s a customised headdress of thorns on forward order should I suggest a repeat journey on the Kawasaki Versys-X 300.
With that in mind I was, literally, taking my life in hand when I suggested we travel to the ABR Rally in West Wales on the Honda X-ADV.
In the main I’ve been using the X-ADV for short trips and commuting to the office, and I have to say, it’s been a pleasure to ride. I’ve also been surprised by the reception from the biking community who, far from sniggering ‘it’s a scooter’, have been genuinely interested in the bike and positive towards Honda for taking such a bold leap into the dark.
However, the decisive test as to its versatility, or my ability to raise from the dead, was ahead as we mounted the machine late one Friday afternoon for a 600-mile round trip to the rally. Being short on time it was motorways all the way for the ride down, and there’s no getting away from the fact that the long wheel base X-ADV is a revelation when it comes to fast-paced motorway cruising.
Stability is rock solid, both in straight lines and through high-speed bends. In fact, the two-up ride quality at 70mph is as good and stress free as it gets until you move into purpose built two-up touring machinery. I was seriously impressed, and word from the pillion seat was just as positive – comfy, protected and secure.
The Saturday ride out on narrow country lanes and sweeping A and B roads was another matter where the limitations of the X-ADV were clear. From a rider perspective, the handling on twisty roads when carrying a pillion gets a lot more absorbing, though nothing to worry about if you ride with your brain engaged, and the automatic DCT is superb at negating any headbanging gear changes.
The verdict… It’s ‘our bike’. And that’s a big endorsement.