By Lorna Daggers, filmmaker and motorcycle enthusiast
“Everything I do revolves around motorcycles or cameras,” says Lorna, “riding offroad minibikes gave me my first taste of the freedom motorcycling can bring and the adventures have been getting bigger ever since.”
Lorna is a filmmaker and motorcycle enthusiast from Scotland. Her work involves making motorcycle documentaries such as Oil in the Blood, commercials and riding in movies and music videos – on both sides of the camera. A big part of Lorna’s work includes ‘precision riding’ where machine speed and position have to be finely controlled. Safe to say, Lorna knows how to handle a motorcycle – and needs a machine that handles too.
Equally at home taking on urban environments or challenging offroad terrain, we believe the 701 Enduro will be the perfect fit for the type of riding Lorna does. The motorcycle packs a light yet potent single-cylinder engine in a chassis proven in both offroad and tarmac environments, making it the master of all terrain.
For her week with our 701 Enduro, she chose Glencoe, close to her city home but a total opposite to the urban environment. “The road through Glencoe passes impressive waterfalls and takes you through the heart of an ancient volcano. It’s an imposing prehistoric landscape and one of the most beautiful and other-worldly places in Scotland. Glencoe featured in the James Bond film, Skyfall and several Harry Potter movies,” says Lorna, “there is some incredible riding there, especially with the freedom a dual sport machine brings. Although it is only a 90-minute journey from my hometown, you feel like you’re a million miles away.” This, then, is the perfect mix of terrain for our 701 Enduro.
For her week-long test, Lorna wanted to find its finest features and establish whether the 701 Enduro is as manageable offroad for a slightly built female rider as it is for a burly backwoodsman. More than that, we wanted Lorna to find her favourite features of the 701 Enduro in her own time and in her own way.
Despite her extensive biking experience, Lorna initially has one slight reservation. “I’m only 160 cm tall and the 701 Enduro has a seat height of 920 mm,” says Lorna, “so I might struggle.” However, her concerns are soon dispelled. “The 701 Enduro’s slim ergonomics make it more than manageable. Plus, the super precise handling and dry weight of just 146 kg give me confidence and I can really chuck the motorcycle where I want it,” she adds.
“Perhaps the feature I use most is switching between different ride modes. I like being able to adjust the engine power output on the go just by pushing a button on the handlebars.” she says. The 701 Enduro has two ride modes. Mode 1 provides a quick, sporty throttle response combined with cornering sensitive traction control for the best road performance. Mode 2 is optimised for enduro riding to give a smooth, less aggressive throttle response with offroad traction control. This allows measured wheel slip and for the front to come up without interfering with the ride.
“I’ve never owned a motorcycle with this feature before, it gives a lot more confidence going from one road surface to another and lets me accelerate hard out of corners without losing traction” says Lorna. If the rear wheel is spinning disproportionately for the ride mode selected and current lean angle, then the 701 Enduro’s lean-angle sensitive traction control reacts within milliseconds. Of course, there’s always the option of switching the traction control off completely when you want to let things get loose.
The 701 Enduro’s six-speed gearbox has an Easy Shift function that lets you shift seamlessly up or down without using the clutch. This means you can keep the motorcycle pinned and fire up or down the gears, all without coming off the throttle or operating the clutch. Lorna uses the Easy Shift function to maintain her focus on the ride. “Easy Shift means you can maintain your grip on the handlebars when you’re really going for it and want to hang on tight – and you really can go for it with the 701 Enduro.”
With its dedicated A2 licence engine map, the 701 Enduro can be made A2 licence compatible by a dealer. This limits power to 30 kW and keeps the motorcycle in line with A2 licence regulations. Once you’ve passed your full test you can switch to full 55 kW power. It’s been a few years since Lorna passed her road bike tests but this feature of our 701 Enduro really catches her attention. “I had years of offroad experience before I decided to go for my road licence but I think if I could have had a motorcycle like the 701 Enduro to grow with, I would have had a lot more confidence going into my A2 and then my full road test,” she says.
“Overall, I’m super impressed with the 701 Enduro, it handles every bit of terrain I can throw at it beautifully and it covers all bases for the type of riding I enjoy,” she says. “Between the incredible offroad capability and its comfortable geometry for road rides, it really feels like I have the best of both worlds. Down the years I have explored the custom and cafe racer scene but always return to offroad motorcycles. They’re my favourite option for exploring all the hidden Highland roads that Scotland has to offer. I’d love to take a 701 Enduro even further afield. The tall 701 Enduro has an advantage in town too. A commanding view, slim chassis and impeccable road manners. I’m sold on the versatility and if I thought I was too short to handle the 701 Enduro, I was wrong. It fits women as well as it fits anyone. Give it a go.”