Back from the brink, CCM return to the fray with a Suzuki motor wrapped up in one hell of a limited-edition piece of leftfield lunacy.
Click to read: CCM FT35s owners reviews, CCM FT35s specs and to see the CCM FT35s image gallery.
It's increasingly difficult for manufacturers to come up with really individual bikes. Especially big bike manufacturers. One designer decides underseat exhausts are the way forward for example, and suddenly so do all the others. But CCM is a company more able to plough its own furrow.
CCM stands for 'Clews Competition Machines'. They've been producing bikes, mostly off-roaders, in Bolton since 1971 and because they're a very small manufacturer (they turn out about seven bikes a week) their bikes have always had a unique feel.
The limited edition FT35s - CCM are planning on making just 120 of these - is no exception. The bike's design takes inspiration from the flat track machines that race the half-mile and mile-long dirt ovals in the USA. Anyone who's seen the film On Any Sunday will know what flat-tracking's about. If you haven't, shame on you. Until then look at flat-track as big lads' speedway with more danger and pain.
The motor's a 400cc Suzuki single (same as in the DR-Z400) and with fairly low gearing this gives it the same aggressive point'n'squirt feel of a supermoto bike. But because it has way less suspension travel than your average supermoto it's sharper in the faster corners.
I expected the brakes to be good and wasn't disappointed, although a four-pot Brembo caliper and 320mm disc stopping a bike weighing less than a cheese sandwich was always going be a bit tasty. There's probably a formula to work out the friction co-efficient but I was always rubbish at maths. Suffice to say the thing stops on a tuppence.
CCM haven't sat on the fence when it comes to styling either. Polished ally tank, stubby rear fender and an underslung pipe make the FT hardcore and pared down. You either love it or hate it, there's no in between, but it's the lack of clutter that makes this bike so much fun to ride - it's light and very small. Honestly, if you run out of petrol with one of these you could almost stick it under you arm and carry it home. I know this as I ran out of fuel, leaned over to switch it onto reserve... and it had been on reserve all the time. Bugger.
The FT was never designed as a motorway mile-muncher, and it isn't one, but over three days I probably did 150-odd motorway miles, and it'll plod along at 90mph no bother. Where this machine comes into its own though is on twisty B roads. The wide bars, small size, awesome brakes and sharp handling mean it would be the weapon of choice for a Sunday backlane blast or an ideal tool for actually enjoying your commute in a traffic clogged town. You just feel like you're the boss, not the bike, and it's gonna go where you tell it to.
Things I didn't like about the FT35? The seat got uncomfortable after an hour or so, the throttle was a tad heavy, the whole bike vibrated a bit and the suspension felt harsh when the roads got really bumpy. And as for things I liked? Well, that'll be pretty much everything else. The handling, the brakes, the wheelies, the sound it makes, the lightness, the milled alloy digi-dash, the wheelies... Most of it really. Oh, and did I mention the wheelies?
If you want to lead your sports bike mounted mates off down a twisty lane and make them look silly of a Sunday morning, or you want to remember what a giggle small bikes were when you were 18, or if you just want a unique bike - for 175 quid extra CCM will paint your FT any colour or design you want - the FT35 could be right up your street.
Not the most versatile bike but for single-minded daftness it's a total blast and very different.
SPECS TYPE - SUPERMOTO PRODUCTION DATE - 2006 PRICE NEW - £5442 ENGINE CAPACITY - 1298cc POWER - 42bhp@9000rpm TORQUE - 32lb.ft@6000rpm WEIGHT - 118kg SEAT HEIGHT - 795mm FUEL CAPACITY - 12L TOP SPEED - 100mph 0-60 - n/a TANK RANGE - N/A
Posted: 19/02/2013 at 22:02
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