We did our first UK rally test this Bank Holiday weekend, the Wales Rally 500, based out of Malvern, England, and run over 2 days. Riders had the choice of a roadbook route or GPS track, me and Adam decided to opt for the GPS route, and Dave Lomax (co-owner of Adventure-Spec in the UK) went for the roadbook route, so we fitted a Ram ball mount to our billet Fat Bar Top Clamp on our test Level 2 BMW G310GS he was riding and used an F2R 701 maual roadbbok.
Me and Adam were using Garmin Montana 600's fitted to Rugged Mounts.
Adam was riding our other BMW G310GS (in black/grey), but Level 1 (std height/travel) suspension, his bike was fitted with the Anlas Capra-X adv tyres and Scorpion brushed stainless-steel system, whilst Dave's L2 BMW G310GS (in motorsport colours) and L2 suspension had the new Motoz Tractionator adv tyres fitted, these are a new tyre being brought into the UK by Adv Spec, so it was a good oppurtunity to give them a real-world testing on similar bikes.
I was the odd-man out (as usual) in the fact I rode our new Honda CB500X 2018 model, with L2 wheels & suspension, also fitted with the Motoz tyres.
ADV SPEC LINK MOTOZ TYRES
Day 1 was a shakedown of 150km around the Malvern hills, and was a mixture of narrow, mud-covered country roads, mixed up with some more open roads, just to get those riders that had never done a navigation event into the groove.
Saturday night was torrential rain and lightning, so the Sunday morning staggered start times meant Dave left at 8am in the Under-800cc roadbook class, whilst me & Adam left at 9am in the under-800cc GPS class, and after saturday's sunny prologue in light jackets & open-face helmets, we took the safe option of full one-piece Rukka oversuits & full face helmets, as it was going to be a long 500km, 10 hour ride, so we wanted to stay warm & dry.
The morning ride was great on the small bikes, catching up the mainly 1000cc-plus adventure bikes at will through the Radnor forest sections, and on the greasy, muddy back farm roads, and then on to Llandrindod Wells and so by the time we reached half-way near Devil's Bridge we stopped to re-fuel and a quick coffee, and the waterproofs had held up well. The G310GS had averaged 68mpg, whilst the slightly larger CB500X took a bit less fuel, at 74mpg.
I think we had caught, and passed over 50% of the riders by then, so we pushed on over the Mountain Road to Aberystywyth and the coast, and the return trip was completely different as the sun came out and temps increased to 20C, so it made the trip down the Elan Valley a pleasure.
On the off-road it really was a job to stay with Adam on the G310GS when the tracks got gnarly, as the 30kg less weight of the baby BMW compared to the CB500X really showed, and it's goat-like enduro ability in the rocks meant I lost sight of him a few times as he went off chasing a pair of Husqvarna 701 Enduro riders..........I think they were suitably impressed when they got back to the road section of the capability of the new G310GS off road with our modifications.
But through the forest gravel tracks, which were still very wet & muddy, the smooth twin-cylinder CB500X motor was great fun to slide into corners and drift out on the power, so it was a good way to see the differences between these 2 small adventure bikes.
We caught Dave on the last off-road section through Radnor Forest, so waited at the end, shared some wine gums (jelly beans to our US viewers) before riding back in the beautiful summer sunshine to the finish, in all it took us 9 hrs 40 mins, so we were about correct with our estimate.
All bikes ran faultlessly, the only comments from both Dave and Adam is we really need thos shorty adjustable levers finishing, and a new right-side footrest hanger/rear brake mount and pedal with adjustable tip position and hydraulic in-line brake switch. The OEM rear brake is very difficult to reach, nearly impossible on steep downhills, and the exposed brake swith will be easily dameged, in fact both our G310's had clooged mud in the switches, causing the rear light to be on all the time.
This week we will recieve our first batch of full exhaust systems from Scorpion Exhausts, with the new heat shields, and optional catalytic inserts (for those countries requiring it), with slincers in Brushed Stainless, Titanium or Black Ceramic finishes. Our Adventure one-piece steel Engine Guards will be on the website later this week, with the Extreme Guard (with a removable aluminium centre section) available next month after we have tested it thoroughly.
The Level 1 Fork Kits and Level 2 Suspension kits are just waiting for the Preload Fork caps to arrive back from anodising and then they will be available......so it's all coming together.
I, personally, can't wait to get out more on our own bike to spend the summer travelling the lanes with some light camping and get the benefit of all this development we have done over the last 12 months.