Well Oppo, I’ve posted about my battery woes but all in all this 800$ bike has proven itself to be a surprisingly solid buy. I mean, it’s kinda hard to go wrong with an 800$ ready to ride bike but still.......I finally went out on the strets tonight for a brief half hour shakedown run. Here are my thoughts/review.

First things first - why this bike? Cost aside, the bike is a “UJM” or “Universal Japanese Motorcycle” style. The precursor to the “standard”, you sit upright, your arms go out a little bit but are kinda parallel to the ground. Sit upright in a chair, reach forward and assume a nice resting position with your hands on a keyboard. That’s similar to how I sit on it. It’s effortlessly comfortable and makes operating the bike easy. I have zero issues panning my head around to check my corners and I can even notice road imperfections in my peripheral vision since there isn’t a lot of bike to obscure it. Plus the 650 is powered by an excellent honda inline 4. Power delivery is VERY easy to modulate. ANd it is very happy to keep it low and steady........But I opened her up to work the second cam (It is a DOHC design) and WOW she roars. Not anywhere near as fast as my neighbor’s muscle cruiser who was riding with me for safety, but I had no problems climbing from 20 to 50 when I gave it a solid twist. Oh and I can’t forget to mention it is shaft drive with hydraulic valve lashes so maintenance is heavily reduced compared to similar bikes. Twin discs up front, 6 gears (yes, 6, not 5), and a solid center stand are all nice to have. Oh same with the digital gear indicator. VERY nice feature for a newbie like me.

Okay that being said, how is she like to ride? Well let’s do a pros and cons list

Pros
-Very accessible riding position
-Low Maintenance
-Good low-speed manners
-Some passing/merging power is on hand
-Linear power delivery
-Stable over imperfections

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Cons
-HEAVY! It might help the stability but this is not a light bike by any means
-Rear drum brake is meh
-Turn signals are flimsy
-Alternator only works above 2500-3000 rpm to charge the battery

In all honesty, this style of bike is the sort of “beginner bike” that used to be all the rage. Maybe this one was more of an intermediate bike or a commuter bike because it is VERY easy to ride. But these old UJMs make riding accessible yet fun. My neighbor got his start on one and apparently many of his friends did too.everything from 250/300cc scrambler looking things to 650/700/750s. They are wonderful bikes to begin riding on.......provided you make a nod to safety and put on proper brakes and tires.