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“I cannot believe that you are still wearing leathers at this time of year!” said Jon as I rolled up at my local Suzuki dealership.

To be honest, neither could I. It was only a short hop around Lincoln’s Eastern Bypass, about four miles I guess, so I had donned my RST Sabre jacket that I have on test, thinking nothing of it. A heartening cup of coffee later, and I understood his reasoning. It was cold. Around five degrees. Add in the wind chill as speed was gathered, and suddenly the realisation hits you that perhaps a four-season, three-layer textile jacket might have been more appropriate.

Honda Rebel

RST Sabre CE Leather Jacket

Anyway, I had arrived on my Honda CMX1100 Rebel. Ah, and that was another thing. I had forgotten about the heated grips. Does a dumb ass get even dummer with age… No answers on a postcard, thank you very much.

I have had the Rebel for almost two years now, and thoroughly enjoyed its presence. A year on long-term test from Honda, followed by a purchase, complete with mini batwing fairing, comfort seat, soft panniers, and aforementioned heated grips. We had travelled together across the UK, and I had ridden another Rebel on a trip into the Basque Pyrenees in glorious sunshine whilst also attending the Wheels & Waves festival in Biarritz.

But I had thought about it for some time. It was time to part company. Not because I had grown tired of it, far from it in fact, but we bikers are a funny breed. Whilst some stick to one marque; one bike that is enjoyed riding year-on-year, others like the occasional change, and so it was with the Rebel.

Honda Rebel

Farewell old friend… well, not that old, but a fond farewell all the same

I had been offered a somewhat insulting price at one dealership for a PX, so I declined. I was in no hurry and instead was pondering selling it privately. In the meantime, I had had on test Suzuki’s new GSX-8S and had fallen for its charms. Then I noted that the Suzuki dealership had a demo bike for sale, with less than 500 miles racked up, in pristine condition. Bingo! This time I was offered a sensible PX and had taken the Honda to finalise the deal.

Suzuki GSX-8R

This is the GSX-8S I had on test. My new one is in Matt Black

I need to go back, because I forgot to take with me some of the documentation – service book, Datatag details and spare key. But I don’t mind. They have on sale a 2019 Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom in immaculate condition, full service history, fitted with a Black Widow carbon end can, and only 4000 miles from new. I am seriously considering the Adventure/Tourer route for 2024, when I can cover some overnight rides to review country inns, so this might be the one for me.

Recently I moved on my Harley Sportster 883. The cash isn’t exactly burning a hole in my pocket. And is there ever a good time to buy a bike? I don’t know. Prices seem to be hiked up in the summer months. Winter can be a dead loss. The Suzuki dealership wisely has taken the decision to stop any demo rides until the return of the better weather.

That said, as I drop the Honda documentation off, I shall have a closer look at the V-Strom. Well, it would be a shame not to, eh!


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