So I decided I needed something lighter. I’d circled the CCM GP450 a few times at bike shows, and I liked what it claimed to offer, but most of my biking needs were fulfilled by my Honda and my KTM 350 EXC - until now. The first step was to have a test ride, which brings me to caveat number one: the dealer network. Sparse would be a polite way of putting it. I live in north London and my nearest dealer is in Suffolk (The Adventure Bike Shop, run by Cliff). It’s not exactly convenient, but it wasn’t a deal breaker, so I trawled through all 180 pages of a single GP450 thread on the Adventure Rider forum to learn all I could, and booked a test ride.
This brought to my attention caveats number two and three. Caveat two is that CCM is a small manufacturer with a similarly small development budget. This means that some design flaws slipped through and took a while to be addressed in the production process (to be fair, this happens with the likes of Honda, BMW and KTM too). The early bikes weren’t as good as the later ones, and for me, this ruled out buying a used bike. Caveat number three is that the stock bike - fresh from the crate - still has some issues. The poor fuelling low in the rev range seems to be the worst of these. CCM provides a long list of options that can be fitted at the factory in Bolton. Among these is a performance pack, which includes a Power Commander, carbon exhaust and a plug that takes the bike from 40 bhp to around 50. The can and power plug aren’t essential (you can have the PC on its own), but the Power Commander is essential if you want to smooth out the fuelling. Also essential is a bash guard, luggage frame (if you want to carry anything) and one or two other bits. All these additions brought the price up to around £10k. Which is a lot. I had to really like the bike…and I did. I immediately felt at home on it, so I placed my order and traded in my KTM.