After a period of self enforced pedestrianisation (or learning to drive, or cycling everywhere, or *shudder* public transport) I am now once again in possession of a motorcycle. For two wheels are truly better than four (unless they belong to TWO motorcycles).
I have owned several in the past, from relatively expensive fully faired jobs, to retros, customs and the odd commuter hack. But I’ve never owned a Chinese bike before… Well, now I can tick that one off the list as well.
I was on a tight budget, wanted something that looked ok, would get me from A to B and I’ve ended up with one of these, a Lexmoto Valiant.
First impressions are – well let’s just say I can tell the difference between a cheap Chinese bike and an expensive Japanese bike. The clutch is heavy, the brakes are soggy, the fuel sensor is obviously at the front of the tank because it doesn’t think you have any petrol when you go up hill, it rattles, it really doesn’t like going around corners, the few bits of body work that there are ain’t that tight of a fit… BUT, it was £1398 on the road – brand new. No MOT for three years. Warranty. First service. Tax. Tank of petrol. It means I can go further afield, go quicker and go more independently than I have been able to for the last year or so.
(It also means I can do the May Day Run this year!)
The engine and gearbox seem to be fairly smooth. The little four stroke putt putts its way around up to a comfy top speed of about 60mph on the flat. It’s not gonna win any awards in the acceleration stakes, but it’ll get you where you’re going. Insurance is CHEAP (seriously cheap. You won’t even notice the money coming out of your bank account if you don’t look for it every month), it looks really good, the riding position (until it comes to changing gears and you have to lever that clutch in) is comfortable and it does ok on A roads and in a city centre. I rode it home last night in the dark and rain from central London to north Kent along the four lane stretch of the A2 – and it was fine. I was unlucky enough to be hit by a car less than a mile from the dealership, but nothing fell off and it carried on chugging. I’ve already checked out the cost of a rear mudguard, which was bent a little out of shape, and they’re less than £40.
Obviously these are only my first impressions, but so far, so goo… Umm, so cheap and cheerful.