INTERVIEW: UK To Slovenia On The Terrain

2,400 miles and a Terrain later...

Meet Andrew Parry: a motorcycle rider and adventurer with a milestone journey to take on the Sinnis Terrain…

Haven't heard of Andrew? Get to know him with his first blog preparing for his trip.

Dating back to April 2018 a traveller by the name of Andrew Parry came into contact with Sinnis with a plan to ride from the Kidderminster, UK to Lake Bohinj, Slovenia on his second-hand bought Sinnis Terrain; now 2,400 miles and 23 days later we caught up with Andrew to get further insight into his journey.

 

Introduction

The original plan for this adventure had been to use a Yamaha Townmate.  This is pertinent because daily riding distances had deliberately been kept low.  With an eye to keeping costs down, accommodation was a mix of Youth Hostels (some private, some Hostelling International/YHA), Formule 1 hotels and camping.  It was clear in the planning stage of the adventure that simply turning up at a hostel “on spec” and hoping for a bed was likely to be problematic.  This meant committing myself to a carefully planned itinerary quite a few hostels were already fully booked for my dates when I looked on line in October 2017.

Although camping would keep costs down, it was somewhat weather dependent and meant carrying the tent, sleeping bag, camping mat, stove, and fuel.  I also intended to do some walking which meant carrying walking boots and a lightweight (fell running) rucksack and waterproofs.

All in all this meant packing quite a lot of stuff onto the Terrain.

Pre-trip preparation, Terrain all luggaged up, Sinnis Terrain Adventure
riverside view
off-road path, Slovenia

Best parts of the journey – people, places, food and experiences

I met some really interesting, kind and lovely people during the adventure and will be keeping in touch with them. On any return trip I make to Slovenia I will definitely arrange to meet up with Ursa, manager-owner of Hostel Lukna in Mojstrana.

I passed through so many wonderful places it is difficult to single out one, but perhaps the mountain hostel on the Russian Road (between Kranjska Gora and Trenta) tops the list.  It is in a stunning location and managed by superb chefs.

There were some memorable food experiences – a really great spaghetti Bolognese at an Italian restaurant near the hostel in Innsbruck, a wonderful fruit gateau in a small village in Germany, a hearty bowl of Slovenian soup after I arrived at Lake Bohinj soaked to the skin.  Also memorable was the bowl on cornflakes at a Formule 1 hotel with only hot sterilised milk to soak them in.  Mmmm, yuk.

Experiences.  This is where the worst metamorphoses into the best.  The ride beyond the Russian Road from Trenta to Lake Bohinj was in torrential rain, hail stones and lightning.  The storm just went on and on and, even though I had a waterproof oversuit, I got soaked from the waist down.  There were road closures, sections of road being resurfaced (no tarmac at all, just rubble) and more mountain passes to navigate.  It was not enjoyable at the time and not something I would choose to do again, but the memory has become a good one.  For me it was the ultimate test of the Terrain as an adventure bike and it proved that not only can this little bike cope with the miles, but it can cope with whatever gets thrown at it.  And it does so in a quietly understated way.

Andrew Parry on location on the Terrain, mountain view

How the bike coped

As outlined above, the Terrain just got on and dealt with life. It started first time every time (except when the side stand was still down!).  It never faltered.  The tyres proved more than adequate, which I have to confess did surprise me.

The brakes were up to the job but did begin to fade a bit on the fifth time I went over the Wurzen Pass.  I got to like the fact that the brakes are linked.

The Terrain also proved very economical, achieving over 100 mpg fully laden.  It also used no oil between services and the oil was clean whenever I checked it.

The only thing is that any incline makes itself known to the Terrain, especially loaded up as it was.  As I said early on in one of my blogs, you have to keep reminding yourself that this is only a 125.  Everything else about the bike makes you feel like you are riding something much bigger and should be going faster.  A top speed of 60 mph is a rarity when fully loaded up and red-lining.  Why would you want to risk that for any length of time if you want this bike to get you back home?  The Terrain is quite happy to potter around at a Satnav indicated speed of 50 mph with occasional bouts of 55 mph.  For me, I just held the thought in my mind that the Townmate would be struggling to achieve anything faster than 45 mph.

Overall impression of the Terrain

The 125cc bike market is traditionally aimed at youngsters acquiring their first experience of motor biking and puts a limit on the power output of the 125 ccs.  The Terrain clearly fits this market, especially those people seeking adventure bike styling.  But does it cut it as a true adventure bike?

Well, we could get into debates about what constitutes an adventure bike. Round the world riders Ed March uses a Honda Cub 90 and Steph Jeavons a Honda CRF 250.  You clearly do not have to use a big adventure bike.

The thing is, I think the Terrain does do what it looks like it is meant to do.  Its adventure bike styling is not all about pretending to be something it isn’t.  The riding position is excellent, the suspension very adequate, seat height just right, and the controls light to use.  Both side and centre stand enable you to climb on board using the foot pegs (with the weight of the bike being fully laden acting as ballast).  The speedo can be switched from mph to kph, the cases carry a good amount and are pretty waterproof, the USB socket takes a satnav cable, there is space on the handlebars to mount a satnav, and there is space on the crash bars to add auxiliary lights.  With the bike unladen, the centre stand is perfectly balanced so that you can spin front or rear wheels to inspect tyre condition.  It also has a pretty good range on a full tank.

Andrew Parry on location on the Terrain, mountain view

The other day I gave the bike its first proper clean since starting the adventure and it has come up like new.  It all seems very durable and meant to handle some serious adventure riding.

You could certainly accomplish 300 miles in a day but to do that day after day would be a test of your own endurance. But the plus side of it being such lightweight is that you can feel confident to take it off-road for little excursions and can stop on a whim for a photo, without fear of it overbalancing on you at the same time.

I find it very difficult to fault the Terrain other than a few niggle bits such as the seat is comfy enough for about 90 mins at a time in the saddle but not much more. That said, by the end of my adventure I did find I could go for longer between breaks. It had ended up that the front disc had warped though perhaps not surprising after the punishment it was given over numerous mountain passes and as an adventure bike the servicing intervals always feel rather restricting.

Besides newbie riders, I think the Terrain possibly has an emerging alternative market.  They are people such as myself, mature riders who have recently retired and now have time to do things they only previously dreamed of. Time to take things at a slower pace and take in the scenery. They probably already own larger capacity machines but want something light and fun for an easier ride and which if they do drop, it’s not the end of the world.  Plus, they can pick up on their own.

off-road terrain view
riverside view, Slovenia

Would I do another adventure on the Terrain?

Yes, this year will be some smaller scale rides – to the Lake District perhaps.  Next year, who knows?  I rather fancy Norway...

For more on Andrew Parry and his Slovenia  adventure visit his blog 125toSlovenia and for more of Andrew's reviews on the Sinnis Terrain discover his 'Top 10 things he loves about the Terrain' and a 'Mid-Point review of his journey'.

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