THERE'S nothing I’d rather get on for a ride to the airport in February than my TMAX long-term test bike. But this week I made my last airport dash on the big scooter (to Gatwick, for the Triumph Speed Triple RS launch in Spain).
The TMAX is due to go back to Yamaha, and my Suzuki SV650S will be taking over transport duties where it left off.
During my year with the TMAX, the SV has cropped up a few times in conversations. Other motorcyclists tend to say things like, “Why would you pay about 10 grand for a scooter when you can get a budget middleweight motorcycle for half that?”
The answer is for an easier life.
I’d probably have worn a full textile suit to ride the SV to the airport in February. I'd have faffed about putting it on and then again taking it off again. I'd have had to repack in the airport car park.
Instead I wore motorcycle jeans and DMs. When I got to the airport, I got off the scooter and got on the flight without changing. A bit of rain on the way wouldn't have got past the TMAX's screen and bodywork. I was warmer than I'd have been on the SV and the wind was quieter.
I'd have had to ignore the ridiculous weight limit of my SV650’s top box to transport my security chain. Instead I just slung it under the scooter's seat (a TMAX definitely needs to be locked to something at the airport) along with my flight hand luggage.
I’d have been wedged between the Suzuki's tank and my 80-litre kit bag strapped to the pillion seat. On the TMAX, I wasn't. The seat is so vast, I only knew the bag was still there because I could see it in the mirrors.
I'd have probably put a spot of lube on the SV's chain before setting off. I'd have got sticky fingers and damp knees. I didn't do any of that because the TMAX has a belt drive.
I'd have been leaning on my arms, with the SV's sporty riding position, instead of sitting upright with my feet in front of me.
That’s why a big scooter is an entirely incomparable proposition to a budget middleweight motorcycle. And although there are definitely things the SV can do better, it's why I'll miss the TMAX on the next airport run.
Thank you, by the way, to On The Wheel in Brighton, who gave the TMAX its 6,000-mile second service, and in the process cleaned off all the mud from when it went off-road in our head-to-head test against Honda's X-ADV.
I hadn't got round to it. Scooter's are like that. You just get on them and go where you need to go, no faffing.
Model tested: Yamaha TMAX
Engine: 530cc liquid-cooled DOHC parallel twin
Power: 45hp at 6,750rpm
Torque: 39lbft at 5,250rpm
Wet weight: 213kg