As everyone is no doubt aware on the basis I literally won’t shut up about it, I picked up my new Meteor 350 on Friday and after what can be described as a child like couple of hours of the longest day ever….. I got to ride it home. As if to throw the last dice the weather went from mid teens and beautifully sunny to grey/raining/windy and the precarious traffic situation of Norwich’s internal bowel collapse of a road system went into partial shutdown. After 45 minutes of slow queuing a road appeared!
So how was it?
If you really can’t be arsed to read the whole article I’ll dump you a quick favour right now. Imagine a jazz musician in a tux holding a sax stuck his head through your window and just nods before saying, “Smoooth” in the kinda voice that suggests he can still play that sax despite smoking cigars since birth.
You kinda need to experience it to truly appreciate how smooth it is, even the occasional speed hump is pretty gentle and not as bouncy as the Japanese bikes I’ve ridden. Part of that is also down to the seat, but I really will speak more about that…..like right now!
I could genuinely go on all day about how comfy that seat is, having the supernova it comes with the ‘Touring seat’ which is an extra grade better than the standard seat which I’ll be honest was pretty comfy. Compared to the seat in the MT-07 I passed my test on, this is a luxury padded seat in some kind of upper class gentleman’s club Vs a cheap plastic school chair. It’s more comfortable than any of the seats I own, even my sofa pales in comparison and that’s brand new, I’ve not even worked a butt crease into it yet. The pillion seat does look a little restrictive but I’ve not tried it and to be fair it’s going to be a while until anyone does.
The other side of this is if you are like many folk I know who want to feel everything as they go along (even through their rear) then you will hate this. For me it didn’t make me feel disconnected but I can imagine for the aforementioned it would be like driving a (really comfortable) pc chair.
Need for speed.
Now when I got this it had 2 miles on the clock, it has brand new tyres on it, it was raining and windy, obviously it’s not ridden in either. Down the local dual carriageway we sat at 60 for quite a bit, part of this was my total reluctance to push it all the way heeding the warnings of the user manual in the riding in period and the weather conditions. With the wind full force in my face the screen did a great job of deflecting a vast amount of the buffeting I’d normally receive bar some which skimmed the top of my head. I found hunching down slightly removed that and without sounding like an apologist I can’t really imagine with my sasquatch like frame I was necessarily on the design specification at Chennai.
Once everything settles in and the tyres aren’t still shiny I should be able to floor it properly and give a proper account of it. A nice compare and contrast!
Due to some passing millionaire dropping fuel I had to take a back road home for one particular leg with speed limits ranging between 60 and 30 and frankly that thing is a god even without all the perfect conditions. It sped along very nicely, handles the corners well and seems pretty balanced. The road was pitted, uneven and badly maintained (standard for Norfolk) but there was a zero eff’s given from the Meteor. Ironically I’d like to try that route on a Classic as I am reliably informed it’s a tad better in those circumstances (despite it not being my choice of bike) and see how it feels.
Despite being brand new these were pretty damn good too, I can’t lie I was genuinely impressed a d realistically I’m not sure what people were moaning about. Maybe from 70 they will be less responsive and I’ll be nipping the sphincter up….. One thing you do need to be aware of though, the engine breaking is not anywhere near as good as some larger bikes. You need to physically use the rear brake,I know this sounds silly but just trust me it will slow you but if you jump from one to another be careful.
Even right from the shop they are smooth, quiet and seem very willing to slip straight in (fnaa fnaa). You won’t find that characteristic clunk when switching which by the way can be a little disconcerting the first few times when you have to look at the gear indicator because you aren’t actually 100% you did change correctly. I’ll be frank I pulled away in second at one point because I’d changed up before having to stop in traffic and plain forgot.
A lot of negatively is brought up in the heel/toe shifter mechanism, I’m well aware I could just take the heel off but I was up for giving it a go. I figured I’d really only been using the usual method for a few months so I figured that it wouldn’t be as ingrained yet. I have a physical advantage in that my large feet are able to physically span the gap between the down and up levers, for the UK folk I have a set of size 14’s. Personally I quite like it, this certainly helps with the smoothness of the ride while changing. Due to the specifics of running in you generally need a higher gear than you think, right now it seems to appreciate 4th while in the late 20’s but I have been told this will change once everything has settled in.
This bike just has so much soul, I’m well aware it was probably one of several hundred thousand that rolled out of the factory that quarter but honestly, it doesn’t feel like that. That’s a biggie for me, the iconic thump just adds to that and it really is just miles of smiles. While I am not looking forward to the cost of the first service I am looking forward to how everything settles in and how the journey continues.