This weekend has been AMAZING! We are in full-on blooming spring mode with stellar temperatures being in the low teens (Celsius). For the last 3 weekends I have observed a group of students learn to ride through my riding school's novice course and traffic course. 'Incredible' is really the only way I can describe the process. I am awe struck by the tenacity of these fledgling riders and their age diversity from very young to very life experienced. They remind me of little chicks learning to fly testing their wobbly wings.
The traffic fleet is diverse in style to cc's and generally there is a bike for everyone. Last year the school added a Honda CB500f and I was lucky to get to take it for a spin. I was pleasantly surprised that I liked the CB500 so much, it is the furthest style away from my cruiser. Our school encourages students at the end of their traffic course to experiment and try all the bikes, as most haven't bought a bike this early in the game and it gives you a good opportunity to try different riding styles, cruiser, dual sport, and sport bike.
My instructor mentor suggested I ride one of the schools newest additions to the traffic fleet, the Harley Davidson Street 500. So not only do students get learning opportunities, fledgling instructors do too. Harley has two new bikes a 500 & 750 model, which are water cooled, low slung cruisers. I think the 500 is going to be a very good entry level cruiser for everyone. They don't look like the usual HDs and surprisingly don't sound like the traditional throaty potato potato low rumble. They sound like some of the Japanese cruisers, very quiet and soft, there is no signature rumble. That was a little disappointing, but I quickly got over that. I could not believe how light weight it was, in fact, it was lithe. The 500 weighs in at 489 pounds. Getting on and off was easy peasy I am only 5'3" and my feet were securely planted when sitting on it, no acrobatics happening here like I usually have to do when getting on and off some bikes.
I was also surprised at how agile the bike was and how manoeuvrable. The bike is fuel injected and started up with ease. Then the fun began! I rode the bike for 8 hours and I have to say I had so much fun. It goes like the wind and the acceleration is fast & easy. The steering is agile and when I was carving corners and twisties it was so much different than Scarlett, it was absolutely effortless. Going down the highway was easy! The 500 was so easy to ride, but if I was getting one I'd probably get the 750 for the extra cc's. The seat was comfortable and I wouldn't change it to a custom seat. I really like the bubble housing on the headlight and the fender, it reminded me of cafe racers. I like the understated elegance and lack of chrome, don't get me wrong I like bling, in fact I'm the princess of bling, but sometimes less is more.
*nudge* David Masse, I think you should have a look at this if you are considering a 'shifter', I think this would rock as a daily commuter and as a distance bike and it was easy and comfortable to ride.
At the end of a very happy weekend of riding I also took the new Honda CB300 for a spin, I really liked this bike, albeit it is more of a sport bike styling. So now I am even more confused about my future moto love. I guess motorcycles are a bit like a box of smarties, so many to choose from and 1 smartie is never really enough!
I am happy, exhausted, and ready to do my practicum. Today the group of 4 students I followed from novice class to traffic all passed and are doing their road tests in the next few days or weeks. I know they are going to do great and it is very exciting being part of the process. I think I am going to like this instructor gig!