The Honda Grom is a totally different bike from what I normally prefer out of a road bike. An engine that is almost 10 times smaller than my 1199 Panigale, tiny wheelbase to complement its equally dwarf-sized scooter rims and a toy-like presence on the road, no-one would regard it as a usable, commutable bike in Australia’s road rage capital that is the urban jungle of Sydney. More than that, it would not even be considered as a touring bike. Period. It’s just a toy bike for kids and wussy learners, they say.
I had my objections against the idea of owning a Grom. Initially, I did acknowledge it as a very occasional joyride that you’d stash away in the corner of the shed after its novelty wears off. It was hard to accept it as a potential everyday bike. Its mini-bike stature makes it more likely in being a road hazard than a full-sized bike for normal use in traffic, and the lacklustre power output of its tiny 125cc engine means that you will never overtake anything more than a bicycle on a road above a 60km/h zone.
Within days of ownership, I was won over the Grom as a daily commuter thanks to its incredible ease of use, legendary low expenses and overall fun factor. It was only a matter of a few weeks that I just had to take this bike for a massive interstate run. Immediately, I called up my mate who is an expert on all things metal and in very short notice, knowing the great works that he creates as evident from the luggage rack on my Panigale, he helped to develop the luggage set that you see on my Grom; the Grom Tourer is born.
This bike has been a respectable personal lesson in defensive riding skills, patience in traffic and overall time management. Wherever you go, it will take longer. On the other hand, I have become much more aware of my surroundings and I am ready to accept that I am more vulnerable on the road, so my mindset on the road is all about safety and consciousness. Once you let go of the urge for more power to dart off out of traffic and instead take full advantage of the nimbleness of the Grom to flow through traffic like water, you will feel much more comfortable and confident about using the Grom across a wider variety of conditions and destinations.
As you will read further as I post up my blogs for the road trip that I had recently completed to Brisbane, Melbourne and the regions in between, the slower pace of life on the Grom has enabled me to enjoy the natural scenery more so than on my previous romps on the Panigale. Sure, it took me longer to get to places, and my body was aching more so than I would have on the Panigale due to the extended time on the saddle, but there is just as much satisfaction of seeing Australia on the cheap on a comically small bike as there is on an Italian superbike. The fact that 8 days, 4688kms and 4 capital cities on the Grom still worked out to be less expensive than 4 days, 2367kms and 2 capital cities on the Panigale says it all. It’s possible to get more out of the Grom than a so-called ‘proper’ bike.
For now, here is a list of background information for the road trip. Keep in mind that this blog series is based on two separate road trips (Sydney to Brisbane and Sydney to Melbourne), inevitably due to work commitments in between the two week period, but combined into one big trip for the sake of simplicity.
Expenses listed below, totalling $385.66:
– Accommodation: $27.00
– Food: $180.61
– Petrol: $172.75
– Sundry: $5.30
– Total trip time: 8 days
– Total distance travelled: 4688km
– Longest distance travelled in a day: 917km, from Sydney to Melbourne.
– Most expensive petrol purchased: $1.51 per litre for 95 RON in Gundagai, NSW
– Total litres of petrol used: 121.6 litres
– Average overall fuel consumption: 2.59 litres per 100km
– Coldest riding ambient temperature: 14°C at Pheasants Nest, NSW
– Warmest riding ambient temperature: 41°C at St George, QLD
Below are the photos from each day, which were posted on Facebook and Instagram during the road trip.
Day 1: On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me… A Grom tourer, gone outback roaming… Currently out in Coonamble where massive storms held me back overnight. Weather has now improved, so I’m looking forward to the next few days on the road with my new mini adventurer. Wishing you all a safe and Merry Christmas this season 🙂
Day 2: It’s truly a comical bike to ride, especially out here in Walgett where the Grom struggles to maintain state highway speeds. With the luggage boxes fitted and all geared up for a road trip, its maximum speed is around 85km/h. If I go full race mode by ducking my head for aerodynamic improvement, it will reach 90km/h. Add another 5km/h if you have a tailwind or a downhill section… 🙂
Day 3: Spent last night at my favourite outback town, Lightning Ridge. Now at Dirranbandi for my lunch break where I’ve managed to find the only open servo so far for today in outback Queensland. Very glad to say the least. Had I arrived a little later, I would have been stuck here for the night as headwinds are resulting in a fuel consumption average of 2.7L/100km and 3.7L already used in my tank. If consumption remained within this trend for the 100km to the next town, I probably wouldn’t make it. Great to be back in this tiny country town where I last travelled on my Panigale at exactly this time last year. Always great to be in the presence of friendly service attendants in the outback; service with a smile.
Day 4: My face says it all.. You might think it’s all fun and games with the Grom, but this is a serious adventure bike for serious riders.. Only if you wish for it to be .. Crossing the river border to Texas, a small country town on the north side of the QLD/NSW state border. I will now be heading to the Gold Coast before returning home to Sydney tomorrow.. but it will take some time on this bike. A very long time, actually.
Day 5: Earlier in the day at Coffs Harbour, a beautiful place. Currently munching on some carbs at Taree service centre, and just trying my best to survive and return to Sydney tonight. The run back down on the Pacific Highway is always a dreadful one. Chain is dangling and dancing around like the Bee Gees, and rear tyre is undergoing some intense pressure from all those near-highway speeds and excessive luggage loads. If I make it home like this, I will sleep with a grateful heart tonight.
Two-day break in Sydney, due to work reasons, before continuing my way down to Victoria. An oil change was also performed as part of the break.
Day 6: Last night at Melbourne. I decided at noon yesterday to do an unplanned run from Sydney to the Victorian capital.. because why not?! Huge thanks to my good mate AridersLife for being a fantastic and hospitable local guide. You made my short visit a really worthwhile one!
Day 7: The midnight run. Looking up to the stars to guide me back home…
Day 8: Okay, definitely going home after this one. Now in Canberra after a long day on the Snowy Mountains. Just taking in the sunset before I call it a day.