With my KTM 950 Supermoto in for a service, the fine gentlemen at Premier Bikes have loaned me this black Honda CBR600F.

Loan Honda CBR600F, originally uploaded by stevenjbaker.

Eleven years ago, this was the middleweight sports bike to have. With 44,000 miles on it, this one is a good demonstration of Honda’s quality. The engine sounds superb and it runs with a purring smoothness I had forgotten since swapping to a large V-twin. The head bearing could be replaced, but the suspension is still taught enough.

Great as this Honda is, I find the KTM more enjoyable on British roads. With its enduro suspension, our tired, frost-damaged minor routes are barely an inconvenience. The upright, unfaired riding position keeps weight off the wrists and discourages speed — which is good — but the torquey engine thumps you up to the legal limit with satisfying might.

So, top marks KTM and Premier Bikes. And well done plucky Honda.

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