It's like chalk and cheese, as you would expect. Do I like it, Oh yes, the raw power and acceleration is unbelievable and truly mind blowing.
It is so smooth, effortless to ride, and I can sit on her for several hours at a time without a problem.
However, she is bloody heavy! Not only that but damn tall as well!
I have now got use to how heavy she is. The very first time I dropped her I had just collected her from the dealers, ridden back to see Kiera at her work, pulled up and over we went!
I have dropped her 4 times now, but none recently. I think I have got used to the weight!
Mind you once was stupid, as I thought I had put the side stand down and hadn't! That was a good one! Not!
I have had it lowered with a special lowering kit. This turned out to be a little bit more expensive than I thought but it worked out for the best in the end.
I bought the lowering kit which is basically a triangular piece of metal which replaces the original one fitted between the monoshock, frame and swingarm. As it is a slightly different shape it lowers the bike by approx 35mm.
This means I can put the balls of both my feet on the ground instead of just tip toes, and with a heavy bike this is needed I can tell you!
The dealer I bought the bike from said they were happy to fit the lowering kit for me, so when the kit arrived I took the bike back and they took it apart.
All fitted, off the ramp and it looked as if it was a bad boy hot rod that had been slammed into the deck! No way was it safe to ride!
At first we thought it was the wrong lowering kit, but on closer examination we discovered that that the monoshock was badly worn and required replacing.
As I had only had the bike a couple of weeks, the dealer said it would replace the shock with a good 2nd hand one, I wasn't entirely happy with this, but let it go. As it was they could not find one and we agreed to go halves on a brand new Ohlin shocker, which I was more than happy with.
I now have the peace of mind that a new part is fitted and with the lowering kit in place I reckon it has dropped around 25mm, not loads, but enough for me to be more confident and comfortable each time I stop!
(Above) New lowering kit fitted.
You can see the difference between the new and the old part.
When it was in the first time I also had the dealer wire in a usb and 12v charger. This is mounted on the handle bars and also wrap around heated grips.
I have only used the heated grips a couple of times, as it has just not been cold enough, but they work brilliantly. It all ready has hand guards fitted which stops the wind and rain hitting straight on, but when switched on they work well. There are two settings, hot and burn your hand hot! I switched onto the 2nd setting and I thought my gloves were melting! So roasty fingers for me even in freezing temperatures!
I also decided to upgrade the Givi panniers. The bike came with two 26l panniers, which to be honest are perfect for commuting back and forwards to work. But I wanted something bigger for when I was off on my travels.
So a call to Rod at Bikers Yard in Christchurch had him ordering a pair of 46l Givi Trekkers which would fit straight onto the rack all ready fitted. Not only that but they would match my top box.
When they arrived I was surprised at how big they were. Absolutely bloody massive!!!!
The bike now has some presence on the road. You cannot fail to see me from behind, I take the whole road up!
In fact they are that big that the first thing I did was buy some red and amber reflectors to fit on them.
I am well chuffed, I did think I would revert to the smaller panniers for day to day riding, but the Trekkers make the bike look so good I decided to keep them on!
I also bought an Oxford magnetic tank bag, as if I didn't have enough storage!
So that completes the luggage set up so far!
I use the bike every day to get me to and from work, appox 16 mile round trip, and I feel I am gaining confidence each time I go out on her.
It's still a learning process riding a big bike such as the Varadero, and it will be for some considerable time I'm sure. But, I am enjoying it, no matter what the weather.
The Journey Continues.............