Bits and bobs > Misc.

Had a go on the new Divvy 600 today


Originally posted by Nooj 30/5/2009

While my old heap was being MoT'd earlier today (yes, it did pass… eventually) I took one of those new XJ6 Diversion things out for a test ride.

Walking around it, it looks OK, nothing too offensive or overbearing jumping out at me. Not super sexy, but quite a tidy design. The only thing I didn't like was the spindly swingarm which I think looks out of place with the fairly chunky angular appearance of the rest of the bike. It's the only bit that looks really cheap.

Key in, start it up… "That's a loud starter motor, very rough sounding" I thought for an instant, before realising that it was actually the engine idling! Quiet is not the word, next to a busy road and with earplugs in I doubt you'd even hear it.

Sitting on it is a nice feeling, a low seat height like the FZS600 meant I could have both feet flat on the floor with my knees bent, which hardly ever happens on a bike! The seat is also slim like the FZ6 so it doesn't splay me knees out which the old Fazer does. With a bit more padding than the FZ6 it's not quite as hard, but still nicely supporting rather than squidgy soft. The bars are a nice width, maybe a little narrow for me, but literally by a couple of centimetres, I could easily live with it. The bar position is very comfy, feeling closer to the rider than the FZS600, but not as high as the FZ6. The pegs are low, a little lower feeling than the FZ6 and much lower than the FZS600, so cramped knees won't be on the cards, even if you're a Wookie. Getting the bike off the side stand is very easy, virtually no effort required at all, either this thing weighs nothing or the centre of gravity is extremely low!

Pulling away is dead easy with plenty of steering lock, the throttle is light, smooth and precise and the clutch is also light, all be it with a fairly narrow biting point. This is something I sometimes struggle with on the FZ6, with the throttle feeling quite heavy and reluctant and the clutch being a bit of an 'all or nothing' affair for me. It also lacks the unsettling, juddery lurch of my old FZS600 when pulling away which was nice. It's one of those few bikes you pull out onto the road on and feel instantly comfortable and completely at home with.

The R6/FZ6/XJ6 motor in this state of tune is extremely smooth at low revs and pulls cleanly, if a bit sedately, up into the midrange. Throttle response is excellent, super smooth and linear feeling. Easily the best I've ever experienced on a stock bike, the fuelling map feels superb at low to medium revs and proves that there is no excuse these days for jerky fuel injection on a new bike.

So it has all the qualities that will make it an excellent city or novice bike, but what's it like on the open road, does it GO?

Yes, sort of, it does feel a bit, well… slow. Trying to keep up with the sales guy from the shop on an FZ1, being caught in the wrong gear on an uphill section of dual carriageway out of town, it just wasn't going to happen. With the throttle pinned to the stop in 3rd and 4th right in the midrange this bike is supposed to have plenty of, he became a rapidly disappearing figure. I'll be ready for some more 'progressive' speeds and pick a lower gear next time then.

I caught up with him again at the top of the hill waiting at a busy roundabout. We cut through the traffic and negotiated a tight turn onto the next section of road without drama or thinking "Shit, what's this thing going to do here??" No handling terrors or peg grinding, but a little wallowing. Hmm, not much rebound damping then.

Turns out it can be a bit of a rocking horse when throttling on and off to negotiate a succession of tight-ish bends or roundabouts at a brisk pace and requires some very smooth throttle control. This is something that could catch the enthusiastic new rider out; a clumsy throttle hand could see some panic inducing lurching and wallowing on tight or lumpy bends. Smooth throttle rolling off and gentle feeding in keeps everything under control though. The bike can be made to do it, but at a reduced pace. The FZ6 definitely has the edge over it here, with a more controlled ride it is much happier to be thrown into a corner and fired out again.

Anyway, down to the next roundabout we go, fairly heavy braking on a slight left hand bend at the bottom of the hill sees the speed reduce at a good controlled rate. With the same brakes fitted to the XJ6 that the original FZ6 had, they are a known quantity to me; plenty of bite and feel for the Diversion, well suited to it. Coming off the brakes and leaning over sharply to the right while pulling away across the roundabout saw a bit of under-damped wallowing again, but nothing un-nerving. The steering was completely neutral, no tucking in, no running wide.

The ride is very comfortable, better then the FZS600 with its crashing, bouncing, over-sprung rear end. The front and rear suspension work well together with only some gentle bouncing over the bumps on the long 50mph straight section that takes us up to the A34. Nipping past dawdling cars is easy. At these speeds and conditions the XJ6 is perfectly behaved, it'll make a top commuting machine.

Just a couple more roundabouts to negotiate before the A34, then I get to find out what it's like at motorway speeds. Same as before for the roundabouts really, neutral steering but some wallowing, easy to cope with if taken gently though, giving a second or so for the bike to settle before you ask another speed/direction change of it. Banking to the left while accelerating away on the entrance ramp saw it getting a bit flouncy as it went over a pointy lump in the road which set off a bit of bucking and weaving.

Keeping the revs up near the redline saw some decent, if not exhilarating, acceleration and introduced a subdued raspy exhaust note to the engine's usual quiet whirring noise. The XJ6 feels as if it's just shy of the FZS600 in top end performance, but is quite a bit slower than the FZ6. At instant ban speeds the screen does a top job at keeping the wind off and any turbulence is quieter than my stock MkII FZS600 screen. 10,000 revs in top gear gives just over 120mph on the clocks, redline is at 12,000.

At sustained motorway conditions this would be a very comfortable bike to be on for long distances, much like the first FZ6 Fazer with no noticeable wind blast for someone my size, but perhaps a little more leg room on the XJ6. A lot more leg room and less wind blast than my FZS600 though!

So that was pretty much it, back into town and back to the shop. Only one other minor thing I noticed, slowing to a walking pace approaching a mini roundabout the steering felt rather twitchy and uncertain. Nothing nasty, just that it was suddenly noticeable. Once moving on again the feeling disappeared.

So what's the verdict then? It's a good bike, better than I was expecting it to be, but there are some things I'm not keen on.

If you want something with a bit of an edge that will commute AND thrash, that will slog up the motorway in comfort AND flick through nadgery country roads like a sportsbike, then I don't think the new Diversion is for you. Due to the lack of damping and the soft power delivery it lacks the hooligan edge of the FZ6. Unless you're getting on a bit and prefer to cruise about the place rather than hoon around (fair play if you do, nothing wrong with that), you'll find yourself getting frustrated and bored pretty quickly with the new XJ6.

However… It's very comfortable. Everything is in the right place. It should give no aches and pains, no pins and needles, no stiff necks etc. It's very easy to ride. I got on it and instantly rode it as if I'd owned it for months, all the controls are smooth and predictable and you can tell what the bike's doing at all times. It looks good as well. It doesn't look old and dated like the Bandit, it doesn't look over-styled like the new Hornet and it doesn't look bland and podgy like the CBF600. The XJ6 Diversion will be a top seller, it's an awesome first big bike for the freshly passed novice, it's a great little motorway mile muncher and it'll go down a storm with rural and city commuters alike. If your old FZS600 is getting a bit shabby and long in the tooth and you want to replace it with something the same but new, this could well be the bike for you.

The cost of new bikes is just crazy.  I wonder how much it'll be second hand.


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