The opportunity came up to represent our shop, and the brand SWM at the first SWM Owners ride recently in Northern Victoria, near the border towns of Albury/Wodonga. It was a ride set up by Paul Chidgley who has championed the SWM Adventure bike scene since buying one last year. Bob Walters from SWM spent also a heap of energy to make this day happen as well. We had around 15 riders that were set for a 250km meandering loop around Beechworth and Yackandandah areas.
We all introduced on a Friday evening at the local pub before the 8.00am start on the Saturday. I was surrounded by Super Dual 650’s and RS650R’s with a lonely RS500R at the Petrol stop with no real idea of what the 250km loop would entail, or how I might find it.
We set off as an organised group with the two support vehicles following behind. Long open dirt roads gave up to more access road types as we headed further from Wodonga. My SWM was a brand new SWM RS650R with 1km on the clock as it rolled out of the back of my Van a couple of hours before set off. I had fitted some more aggressive tyres, as advised to do, fitted BarkBusters and a simple bashplate. The bike loosened up slowly and the gentle run we had in the first part of the day was a perfect run in.
The group held together well and the cornerman system was the navigation rule. I began to feel out the SWM RS650R on the more challenging tracks and found it was a happily balanced bike with smooth torque off the bottom. The decomposed granite roads had a super loose feel in the backend drive but the rear power steer reminded me of days gone by with a 620 KTM LC4. The graded edges of the fire roads had enough lip to run like an outside berm and the adventure smile started to come.
The optional single trails gave some good insight to the RS650R’s capabilities. Lower than a normal open class Enduro bike but still easy to punt thru guttered single with heaps of response to lift over the log or rock ledge in the way. The biggest difference was being careful with the larger front brake now fitted to the RS from the Super Dual. Way too much in slow going but once you gave it respect it was nice to have.
The only sketchy moment came over a trail jump to rutted rock rubbish in dust. I had relied on the fact the previous 30 trail jumps had smooth landings and jumped blind. The big girl lurched right after landing and the feeling I was just about to be ejected gave way to relief as the Golden Tyre GT723 front saved my ass. On the next corner stop I had to get off and straighten the forks in the clamps the landing had been that cork-screwed.
I was amazed at the level of riding from the group. Some real challenging spots at times and the SWM field took it all in stride. The only real glitch was a an under-tyred RS500R with a young bloke from Ballarat that found grip only once with his 90% road trail tyres and rocketed the bike off a grippy rock half way up a hill. He then had to run the SWM bobber look for a while as the guard had snapped just behind the seat.
We rolled through a couple of Lunch stops and racked up the kilometres with ease to pull into Yackandandah for the evening wind down. Dust was all thru us and it felt good to get into the cleaner gear to enjoy Mick’s hospitality at the Pub.
Next day was a quick run back to the vehicles and load up for the boring drive back up the highway to Yass. I reflected on the SWM RS650R and thought this is a bloody good bike. The engine is smooth and quiet with a familiar but refined power curve. Adaptable to fast and slow with fat brakes for those tighter than desired corners. The suspension is plush but not soft and the ergo’s are happy to be lazy on or fun for the over bars push. I wouldn’t change much and I enjoyed the bike for the reasons it exists. The gear lever is average but the Super Dual has the perfect donor and the stand has it moments but it has been a while since I have enjoyed a bike so much. Perhaps the fun came from not expecting it to be anything but letting it show me it’s limits and enjoying the space that provided.
The SWM RS 650R is $8990 less on roads and we will provide free Handguards, SD Gear Lever and help set up other mods as required. Come for test ride at anytime.