Our steeds for our epic journey which is likely to be two years around the world are two CCM SR40 motorcycles, we could have chosen many other bikes and the SR40 is very much a guilty pleasure for this king of journey. Ever since I first saw an SR40 on the internet I was in love, the classic styling of a twin shock scrambler combined with the light weight frame and modern dirt bike engine had me drooling at the mouth the bike also has the added bonus of being made in Britain.
Despite already being in love with the bike it wasn't until we met Tracey at the Mendips Horizons Unlimited event in September 2011 that it even occurred to us to chose the SR40 for our journey. We knew we needed a low and lightweight travel bike. We had been looking at the BMW X650 Cross Country or the Yamaha Serrow, but neither of them felt quite right. Liz and I were on the registration desk for the event when Tracey arrived riding her bike and upon seeing the the bike everything fell into place in my head.
We researched the bikes and despite many people advising us it was totally the wrong bike to undertake such a journey, we also learnt that the all of the faults with the bike people were talking about were manageable. The main faults brought up were the fact that the bike needed regular valve adjustment, the carburetor/engine combination wasn't very efficient and the high compression engine wouldn't be great at altitude. After consulting a friend of ours we decided that all of these problems could be worked around and still the CCM was the bike for us on our adventures.
Once we were certain that the SR40 was definitely the bike for us we contacted CCM to see if we could get hold of new ones and after a initially saying they would be able to help but our hesitation meant that when we were ready to buy them they no longer had the engines in stock and were not planning to make any more. Plan be ensued and we turned our heads to classified ads to see if we could find two of the eighty bikes produced with low mileage on sale. What should have been a very tough hunt for a relatively rare bike turned out to be really easy we found two only fifteen miles away from each other in Kent. So on a cold march morning we hired a van and drove down to Kent to collect them saving ourselves around £5,000 against the price of new bikes. After getting the bikes home we named them: Roxy and Lola.
The first thing I did after getting my CCM was to take it for a play on Salisbury Plain. Despite almost drowning it and breaking off the number plate the bike didn't miss a beat with the feel of a modern dirt bike. The only flaw I noticed with the bike on the hard dry chalk on Salisbury Plain was that the rear end is very stiff and this may be something we wish to upgrade during the preparation process.
Now we've had the bikes a few months we really love the way they look and perform. Our favourite characteristic of the CCM SR40 is the short wheel base making the bike so maneuverable; able to turn on a sixpence and flick from corner to corner. As far as fuel consumption goes all the warnings we had about them being thirsty seem to be false, We haven't run them from fuel to empty yet but we're getting 130 miles before going on to reserve which is less than 2 gallons so we think 70 mpg is pretty good. We love the instant throttle response that lifts the front wheel when you're being a little to exuberant and the sound it makes as you're riding along can't fail to bring a smile to your face.
The bike also seems to be getting a huge following within the adventure travel community with Liz and I getting alot of interest and many questions at bike meetings, as many riders are starting to believe that the BMW R1200GS and other quarter tonne machines are to heavy too get off the beaten track without being a highly skilled rider and lighter weight alternatives are the best option for an unsupported journey. In fact one of our heroes Austin Vince referred to the CCM SR40 as "the best expedition bike I have seen in years."
The CCM SR40 runs on the engine from a Suzuki DRZ 400e developing 43 bhp and a dry weight of only 124 kg. It has Hagon twin shocks at the rear and Paioli forks. Unfortunately, this bike was discontinued in early 2012 after only around 80 were produced. If you would like any more information on the CCM SR40 please contact Matt and he will hopefully he'll be able to help.