It’s a trek... but maybe worth it for your next bike

Been meaning to post about Fowlers of Bristol for a while now. In a few posts on here I’ve commented on how I’ve struggled to find a dealer that hasn’t got pushy sales tactics and wants to actually build a relationship. I’ve been to around 4 in total, just been unlucky I guess…

Good People

I’m in a position where all I need is a salesman to talk me through my questions and make a few suggestions and I’ll probably end up paying for something I didn’t even set out to buy.

I’m well up for building a relationship with a dealer where I can trust what they’re telling me and truly want me to love the bike I purchase. May sound nuts to say, but to have that confidence I’d happily travel to Bristol when I want to explore options and kick around ideas.

Fowlers is a great place to do that too. KTM, Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki, Triumph, Kawasaki and Aprilia all under one roof. Could have spent ages in there looking through everything.

Duncan, the guy I spoke to, gave me a friendly chat, walked me through loads of ideas and sat me on several bikes without even a hint of pushing me into some kind of decision. He seemed really genuine and got excited just as I did as we talked about various details and things we liked.

Came back to test a couple

I went back the following weekend and jumped on the CBR650R (4 cylinder) which I was really interested in because of its mid-supersport stance. Sadly I turned out missing the low-down torque my MT-07 (2 cylinder) delivers.

Funny Part

They also let me take my gf for a spin on the Africa Twin.

And… I dropped it… bowling gf and myself into a bush :facepalm: :facepalm:. Girlfriend thought it was fucking hilarious (which it utterly is in hindsight) where as I was shitting myself about how much I’d have to pay. Luckily, the drop was more of a lay-down than a drop.

We pulled up in a side road on a slightly cambered road and I totally misjudged the balance point of tall bike. Past the point of no return I realised I couldn’t save it so I put all my energy into softening the blow. Luckily the marks were small to unnoticeable, so the manager just laughed when I got back saying that it’s no problem at all in this case.

Looking Forward to Revisiting

Planning to go back in the New Year to look at the Aprilia RS 660, which I’m really excited about.



I think that’s where I took my bike for first bits of work because it used to live in Cheltenham for the first couple.of months of my ownership.

Seemed like a decent place, good to see still going

I got my KTM 1290GT from there. Lots of people were not impressed with the servicing a couple of years ago but haven’t heard much negative recently.

Most impressive dealership I’ve ever been in.

I do love a trip to fowlers for some window shopping. Bought plenty of gear in there too and have made GREAT use of their parts department over the years. Especially when I was stranded in Bristol and the tuono wouldn’t start.

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Great post @kylejm. Thanks for sharing.

BTW we all topple-over at some point, no worries. You’re lucky the shop was so cool about it! I have an embrassing story about rolling a R1200GS over at the end of a line of traffic on a cambered bit of pavement and having to suffer the shame of watching all those cars I had just passed look at me as they went back past me and I tried to life a 220kg bike up off a cambered surface.

What did you think about the adventure bike stance?

That murdered-out Honda at the end is dope.

:pray: thanks for the kinds words on falling off :smile:. Like you say I got pretty damn lucky. I did think at the time: could be worse, could be in front of queueing traffic :joy:.

Impressive that you picked it up on your own! It took both me and my gf to lift it!

Glad you asked - I actually found the adventure bike stance soooo alien. Didn’t feel like a bike at all to me. Wasn’t a fan of my arms running parallel with the floor and cornering didn’t feel great. Also didn’t like standing the bike up when stopped, both before and after the drop lol. Center of gravity is so high! I don’t really get them…

I did get a bit nearer adventure bike when testing the S1000XR which was much nicer. Still not for me I don’t think. Just doesn’t feel enough like a bike to me. I know people love them though, so I’m wondering if I’m doing it or appreciating it wrong.

Hell yeah, murdered out CBR1000RR is gorgeous. Don’t usually like all black bikes because I think they miss some character (lol yes I own an all black MT-07, something I have disliked about it).

Even after testing the S1000RR (supposedly the most comfortable supersport out there) and not liking it… I still can’t help being pulled to the likes of R1, Panigale, CBR1000RR. The H2 is also a beauty.

RS 660 might give me the best of all the worlds I’m looking for lol.

Adventure bikes come into their own when touring and loaded with luggage. They’re a lot of fun to ride over distance, especially if there’s any off-road elements to the ride. I haven’t ridden the new Africa Twin (just the very old one!) but am a HUGE fan of the BMW R1200GS for the character of the engine and handling.

I had a couple and used to love commuting into town on it, the high riding position gives an amazing view over traffic and thus sense of security. You feel quite a bit safer on one.

The height, the comfort (position + screen + heated everything), the torque and the absolute utility of the things, being able to strap on everything you need for a trip is a lot of fun.

Each to their own though, you’re in a sports-bike mindset at the moment. Run with it. Enjoy :slight_smile:

That reminds me actually - one of the other things that I didn’t like is the lack of confidence I had in filtering. Not just in fitting but in balancing.

I always hear great things about the BMW boxer engine.

Good point: run with it.

Completely different style of riding on adventure and I must admit, it took me a while to get used to it when I got it but once I did it was so easy to ride.

However, I had had a SM in between my naked bike and the KTM to get used to the more upright position.

My wife though hated riding on the back of the Adventure. She found it so uncomfortable and much preferred my naked. She liked having to lean on to me and felt scared she would fall backwards from the upright position. Had to put a big roll bag on the back to get her comfy on the way to the lake district. Of course I could do that because I had an awesome KTM mounting plate on the back to which you could have strapped my entire home contents.

Yup a different way of riding, it took me a while to adjust to flat bars of the KTM from ones on my Fazer and still does feel weird switching between the two for the first few minutes but soon becomes natural.

As for Fowlers, you can do serious damage to the wallet in there lol

P&H is similar though the clothing section isn’t as extensive but they have a reasonable selection. The sales staff can be hit or miss, personally I’ve never had an issue with them.

I tried the new Africa Twin before buying the Wing, absolutely loved it! Had I been riding solo most of the time I might have bought one seeing as I love the adventure bike thing.