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Rob Searle

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  • #10126
    Rob Searle
    Participant

    Topics Created: 1
    Replies posted: 4

    Rank: 50cc Rider

    Chassis

    The suspension at both ends is made in Taiwan by FastAce, apparently a suspension and wheel manufacturer of some repute. There’s easy damping adjustment at both ends, but all I can say at this time is that it rides bumps well, on or off road, and certainly adds to the desire to be an urban hooligan.
    Exactly how robust it’ll be riding corrugations for days at a time is yet to be seen. The ride height is a monstrous 890mm but once you’ve climbed on it falls considerably.
    Without a rider, the ride height is still a little low for the sidestand, which keeps the bike so unnervingly upright, I’ve found myself making a point of finding a slope or even a small depression to put the stand in. A centre-stand is not provided but the brackets are there, so perhaps in time it’ll become an option.

    The other bits that make contact with the road are the wheels of course; attractive black alloy rims with natty red stripes. The 21” front and 18” rear are shod with Kenda tyres as standard which are OK in the dry but don’t inspire confidence in the wet. Just reading the traffic and going for a gap on a roundabout in the rain can lead to wheel spin. Even more concerning is the fact that the rear brake is just too good for such a light bike, and without the option of ABS the Kenda has no chance.

    At the pointy end the brake feels wooden and is under-powered, with a tiny twin piston caliper grabbing an equally small disc. In itself that’s not a problem and the irony of course, is that in the absence of ‘rider aids’ this is quite useful on loose surfaces, but it’s the imbalance between the front and rear brakes that is the issue. So now you’ll notice this road test is taking a turn for the worse.

    As I’ve said, the design concept is a good one and the simplicity of the machine almost a breath of fresh air, but the build quality overall could be better and this is a problem for WK Bikes here in the UK. They are only the importers, so they source different machines from different factories. The WK650 we used recently is a well-made, exceptionally cheap, bargain road tourer and comes from the CFMoto factory in China. This 400 is in fact made by Shineray, a factory also in China. But the attention to detail is not so good.

    The throttle cable is snagged beneath the tank for example, meaning it doesn’t sit in its locator above the throttle body and yet the push-pull cable adjustment at the handlebar end has been overly set to compensate. The bolts locating the starter motor have worked loose as have the head-bearings, which admittedly may have been ‘bedding in’.
    The neutral light flickers occasionally and one morning it sounded like the battery was flat, but that was all down to a loose connector block. There’s an oil leak on a pipe from the oil tank where a jubilee clip has been incorrectly fitted and this drips on to the exhaust header creating that distinctive aroma when you’re sitting at the ‘lights.

    Verdict

    These are all very small things on their own, but they amount to shoddy quality control which could damage the WK brand overall and reflect on bikes like the 650, which deserves a wider audience than it’s currently getting. I have no doubt that the chaps at WK Bikes will up the effort they put into pre-delivery inspections and this particular machine is one of the first they’ve registered, hurriedly released to Overland as we’ve been badgering them.
    If you’re anything like me you’ll want to prepare your bike for a big trip anyway, upgrading and altering many parts, so you won’t mind making minor adjustments and tightening a few bolts, as this 400 Trail has the potential to make a great overlander.

    It sits well all day at 65 – 70 mph and yet the gearing is also good off-road. Bearing in mind that all green-laning was done with full complement of luggage and the tyres are very road biased, it was again, a hoot to ride in the dirt, tackling the sort of thing that the ‘rest of the world’ offers; rocky and sandy trails, pot holes, mud, gravel, leaves and even river crossings. This is not a light KTM trail bike so don’t expect miracles if you want to go and play in a quarry, but a true sporty dirt bike could never comfortably take you the length of the country, and this WK can.

    Value

    You may well judge that only spending £3,800 in the first place makes minor niggles acceptable, or that it’s a snip to get hold of a machine that doesn’t have a previous owner ‘hidden’ past. Whatever you think, consider that the ten grand you’ll save by not buying a 1200GS will take you round the world.

    And if it’s depreciation that concerns you, consider this: even if it loses 2/3rds of its value on your first trip, exactly how does that compare, in cash terms, to what you lose even registering a more expensive machine. Ultimately it’s horses for courses of course, but I know there are many times I’ve cursed myself for not having something as simple, light and nimble as this 400 Trail.

    Paddy Tyson

    From: http://overlandmag.com/features/wk400-trail-review/

    #9418
    Rob Searle
    Participant

    Topics Created: 1
    Replies posted: 4

    Rank: 50cc Rider

    That is really sad. We will be paying tribute to Mike when when use his book for parts of our trip to the South Island next year. Just goes to prove that you have to “twist that throttle” whenever you can, do not put it off.Life can be too short.

    #9003
    Rob Searle
    Participant

    Topics Created: 1
    Replies posted: 4

    Rank: 50cc Rider

    looks like a fun ride.

    #8484
    Rob Searle
    Participant

    Topics Created: 1
    Replies posted: 4

    Rank: 50cc Rider

    Hi Eddie.
    We have 15 definite and 4 maybes at the moment, should be a good group.

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