A day in the Happy Saddle.
It was a very timely coincidence when ‘Rowey’ told me that he had back-traded his trike for a 2020 Sport Glide just as I picked up the HEAVY DUTY test bike.
“So where are we going for a ride?” he asked.
I suggested a Sunday morning meet up near Burleigh Heads and we head down Nimbin way for lunch.
But then a few of the other lads chimed in on our messenger chat and told us that the roads near the Hippy town are in very poor, flood damaged condition. Best avoided.
That also applied to my subsequent suggestions of favourite northern NSW destinations, with road closures and extensive road works being the order of the day.
We eventually agreed that sticking closer to the coast was the best option and planned on heading to Ballina for lunch. Done deal.
After an hour of Freeway south from my Brisbane base, I met up with Rosco, Rabbit, Spook, and Rowey a bit before 9:00am. Hughesey was there for a coffee and chat too, but had other plans.
The Sport Glide was quite at home rolling away the M1. Particularly with the strong tailwind all the way down.
At 110kph the small fairing does do exactly as advertised. It keeps the worst of the wind blast off the rider’s torso while leaving the helmet in clean air.
I stretched my legs on the footpegs, dialled in the cruise control and sat in good comfort and reasonably light traffic all the way to the meetup.
It reinforced how stable the bike is at Freeway speeds. It’s solid, planted and feels very secure.
Once under way, we took the Tugun exit, made our way across the ridges west of Coolangatta and then headed down onto the cane fields and the road that runs along the banks of the Tweed.
Spook took the lead on his modified Breakout, followed closely by Rosco and me, and we set a good pace through to Murwillumbah.
Through the sweepers on the valley floor the Sport Glide was equally capable.
The cartridge forks and rear monoshock dealt with occasional irregularities on the road surface comfortably and winding up the 107-cube on exits was very pleasant.
Past Murwillumbah and over the Burringbar range was more of the same.
Fast sweepers, slower sweepers, medium sweepers, but with better tarmac.
Again, the bike was a delight. Throwing it into the faster stuff proved very engaging and I was sporting a very wide grin when we stopped at Mooball pub for a drinks break.
Spook then jumped onto the test bike for the first of several ride-by photo opportunities.
By the time we had finished a refreshing beverage and faffing around with cameras, we realised that now we were in NSW and on daylight savings time, we were unlikely to make Ballina and the pub kitchen for lunch, so the plan was amended to head for Mullumbimby Middle Pub in lieu.
Rosco took the lead and showed us some good back roads through ‘The Pocket’ before the lunch stop.
We sat around had had a yarn over the Pub meal before I led the way onto the Coolamon Scenic Drive and the road that follows the ridges overlooking the coast to just before Bangalow.
From the outset I had a photo stop planned at the St Helena lookout with its sweeping views from Byron Bay north to Hastings Point and beyond.
It was worth the stop and Spook jumped on the test bike again for one more photo set while the rest of the lads took in the view.
After the pics were in the can, Rowey led the way down the hill and we wheeled north on the Freeway, back to the Tweed Valley Way, Burringbar (again) and on to Murwillumbah.
From there four of us made for across the twisty roads over Tomewin Mountain.
Spook was back out in front and set his usual pace which really brought the best out of the Sport Glide. Throwing it from side to side over the mountain was another joy.
Hard on the picks, spool the 107 up between bends, and then use its engine braking to set up for the next set was really good fun and drove home how good (for stock suspenders) the front end is.
From Currumbin we went our separate ways.
I had a stop-start run into the teeth of a strong northerly on the M1 pretty much all the way back to base.
But that couldn’t take the gloss off what was a fabulous day on a very enjoyable motorcycle.
Over the course of 389.6km travelled the bike had proved very good in just about every type of road riding – from freeways to scratch roads to winding valley ways.
It’s versatile, capable, comfortable and most importantly, really good fun.
And you’ve got to be happy with that.
There's Forcite Helmet Camera footage on Facebook.