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The Mercury Cars Guide : January 31st 2009
14— CARSguide Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au Saturday, January 31, 2009 Honda quality comes at a price with PETER THOEMING ance to handle anything this conti- nent can throw at it (although it is, sort of) but because it’s a bike of contrasts for the land of contrasts. T Where do I start? Let’s take it from the direction and in the order in which you, the punter, will be most likely to approach it. So you walk into a Honda show- room and the first thing you notice about the Varadero is that like all Japanese bikes of its type, it has a lot of bodywork to scratch if you drop it. On the other hand it has those neat, sideways-facing radiators which are far less likely to be damaged while in use. Then you look at the sheer size of the bike and might well be intimidated—but it’s nowhere near as high as a 1200 GS series BMW, or (perish the thought) a KTM Adventure. Whilemuchas thebodyworkis oh- so ’90s, the quality of finish is remarkably high, well up to the usual Honda standard. Why is that remarkable? Because the Varadero is not built by Japanese workers, it’s built by Spaniards. The one defect I noticed in the time I had the bikewas that the metallic-type trim on one of HIS bike is a perfect match for Australia. No, not be- cause it’s a dual sport bike with the legs and the endur- concern I have with the Varadero, and that is price. Of course it’s not in the same class as a BMW or a KTM in price, but then it isn’t in the same class in features and capabilities either. The Varadero is a terrific tar road tourer with good gravel road capabilities, but that’s all you’d ask of it. In a way it has taken over from the oldTriumph Tiger, a compliment indeed. At $17,990 ($1000 more for ABS) base price and with the panniers and top box adding another $3000, the Varadero is pricey. Of course you do get that Honda quality for the money so you might well decide it’s worth it. The bike will certainly not disap- point on the road. The engine is very smooth and picks up well even from as low as 2000 rpm and the fuel injection is one of the best on the market. The bike is stable at speed and handles well in corners, so well in fact that I found myself forgetting just how big (and especially how wide if the panniers are fitted) it is. Suffice to say I had a lot of fun on CONTRASTS: The Honda Varadero is a terrific tar tourer with good gravel road capabilities. the panniers came away a bit. Despite being badged ‘‘Honda’’, these are obviously Givis which makes this doubly disappointing — Givi quality is usually very high as well. Okay, let’s climb aboard. The seat is hard, but proves to be reasonably comfortable even over long dis- tances. The riding position is pretty nearly ideal for average-sized and even tall riders—really short riders presumably having chosen another bike. The screen is pretty good, and can be raised or lowered to fine tune it to your size. For tall riders, who are otherwise well accommodated, a higher aftermarket screen is prob- ably the go for maximum coverage. The instruments inexplicably lack a fuel gauge, although the odometer will tell you how many kilometres you have left once reserve is reached. The vee-twin engine comes from the FireStorm, suitably detuned for tour- ing work, and has had fuel injection since 2003 — overseas, not here where the Varadero has not been available for some eight years. De- spite its bulk the bike goes well, helped along by a smooth, typically Honda gearbox. And this is probably the right place to segue into the biggest the road. Likewise on the gravel, where the tyres are probably the limiting factor for the bike. What else? Mirrors are very good and vibration-free, but that little glove box is a joke. The sidestand looks substantial and reliable, but you’ll need to shell out an extra $495 for a centre stand. Ah well, you know what they say: the price is soon forgotten but quality lasts forever. With the appro- priate care I suspect the Varadero will last forever too. FROM $31,990* EG S INCLUDING ON-ROAD COSTS^ C4 FREE REGO | FREE CTP | FREE STAMP DUTY 6-SPEED SEMI-AUTOMATIC Motors, 204 Collins Street, Hobart, 6230 7333. FREECALL 1800 804 747 OR VISIT CITROEN.COM.AU CONDITIONS: *Price for Limited Edition C4 1.6L Petrol Semi-Automatic vehicles ordered and delivered by 2nd February 2009. Of fer available while stocks last. ^Price includes free registration and statutory charges. Price excludes dealer delivery ($2000) . Metallic paint as shown or pearlescent paint available at $700 extra. Fleet buyers by special arrangement. BWMCIT5068_HM
January 10th 2009
February 7th 2009