Kiwi Rider August 2022 Vol.1 - Page 55

parallel twin that produces 59hp at 8500rpm and 56Nm of torque at 7000rpm . This is all transferred nicely to the rear tyre via a sixspeed gearbox and chain drive . The power delivery of the motor is very linear . There ’ s great drive from idling revs , and that drive progresses smoothly right until the redline . Decent torque levels are delivered over the whole rev range and it is reasonably responsive . It is actually great to ride with decent , predictable thrust that offers excellent traction . The bike really hooked-up on the firm / wet gravel roads around Auckland , but some credit must go to the Pirelli Scorpion STR rubber fitted that is also great on tar seal even when wet . I could argue that it is slightly over geared for tighter New Zealand conditions , with more experienced riders probably enjoying a little more punch through the gears - even if it robbed a whisker from the 180-ish km / h top speed ? Although , that said , it was never troubled to reach 160km / h fairly rapidly . And , how much quicker should you go ? The law would argue ‘ considerably slower ’. Having said
all that , the 649 was always at the pointy end of a group gravel blast that included some much larger machines when well-piloted by KR camera legend , Sir Geoffrey Theodore Montgomery Osborne . Yet still , some will sniffle at the modest 59 peak horsepower and 232kg wet weight . Saying it is a recipe for a porky and dull machine , but frankly it was quite the reverse . The X-Cape doesn ’ t feel that heavy or slow , and it really does get along well .
THE BOUNCY BITS The steering is planted and accurate , always feeling secure and delivers real confidence that it will do what it ’ s told on both tar seal and gravel . It is agile too , with a happy willing nature to get in to the turns and go where it ’ s pointed – I was impressed . This terrific on-road feel changes , as might be expected , when the road turns to dirt . This is where the bike ’ s weight and soft shock are noticed , as well as the tall-ish first gear . Of course , the mainly road-tread tyres don ’ t help here , or the 19 / 17-inch front / rear wheel sizes when sand or mud is encountered .