I was able to look for a bigger bike more seriously, once I had finally got around to passing my A2.
Thanks to my wife for continually digging at me to get it done - I had been on a Yamaha YBR 125 Custom for over four years, with work getting in the way constantly, I made my excuses until I realised I had to get on with it, for myself.
I went back to my instructor, and we got started. And, even though I was somewhat nervous at doing the test, I soon discovered I had nothing to worry about, as my examiner was an ex-mil guy, so I wallowed in a somewhat familiar environment, brother in arms and all that! Oh don't get me wrong, I didn't get it easy in the slightest - infact I knew that every minor detail of my riding would be scrutinised, and scrutinised again, because more was probably expected of me - NO WIMPING! I don't know, maybe there's a masochistic side to that, which we can't tear ourselves away from. reminds me of the 12th century Flagualists , from Germany, who wandered across Europe whipping themselves enroute to each hamlet to spread God's word of repentance etc.,
Big thanks to Sean @ MOTAG, for his quality instructing, and keeping me sane, when I was busy beating up on myself for mistakes.
And same to Andy @ DSA Farnborough for keeping my feet on the ground after delivering the news of my PASS! LOL. I felt like doing a Tigger round the room, but also understood the need to be restrained, so as not to appear over-confident in my abilities. LOL. I had(I thought) ridden a very much error-free ride, but he still hammered me in post-test critique - feet firmly planted on the floor! LOL.
Needless to say the ride home was absolutely flawless, as I attempted to justify my instructor's and examiner's newly-found confidence in my biking status.
Anyway, I had looked at a variety of bikes that would fit my limited stature. And also had to be aware of the A2 restriction on max orig output power for the purposes of restriction: (Motorcycle / scooter producing no more than 47 horse power (47bhp / 35kw), not derived (restricted) from a machine of twice that power)
I looked at lots of different bikes, some too heavy - Suzuki GSX650F, H-Ds, Kawasaki ER6F; some simply too high - Ducati HyperMotard Yamaha TDM900; some too high orig output power - Yamaha Fazer FZ6 S2, FZ8.
I was also surprised pleasantly by some, like the Ducati Diavel - a real monster size of a bike, but I could get my feet down, but the money for one of those was way above my bank balance.
There were other bikes too. But am not really a race bike kinda guy, especially at my age. I was looking for a sitty-up, that I could tour on maybe. And I had heard people being disillusioned by chopper style bikes ( I had been constantly checking on a nice looking Honda Steed VT400, on eBay).
I had seen what I thought would be ideal, and even sat on one, but I wanted it in a deep blue colour, and couldn't find one anywhere.
I took a drive up to BMW Oxford North Garage, and as I wandered towards the main entrance, something caught my attention from the corner of my eye. Before I had even gotten close, I knew THAT was my new bike!
One week later, there it was, on my front path!
I left it there for all and sundry to admire (some of the neighbours are bikers too) then waited til dark to wheel it down the path, before jumping on and riding it into the garage for safe keeping. if I fell off, at least no-one would see - it was still a little high for me, with all that weight and I hadn't developed any confidence that quickly, yet).
Friday morning was the next time I saw it, just as I strapped down my luggage on the back and headed off home, to Scotland - a round trip of some 800+ miles. But worth it, totally:
No pillion, helmet in pic is another group member's. Wee bike pulls brilliantly even fully loaded and returns high 70's mpg at touring speeds (45-60 mph). This is the second one I have owned (2012) and I swear by them,