Mad isn’t just in the name for this thing.
On paper it’s underpowered. It has the luggage capacity of an asthmatic swallow (European, if you must ask). The MSRP is about the same as a Honda CBR125R, but it comes with less build quality, less fuel efficiency, and less speed.
But the statistics don’t tell the whole story.
It’s lightweight, fast enough for dashing in a mad fashion around the city, and just enough power to occasionally handle an 80 km/h road (though you’d, of course, have to be a bit mad to do that on a regular basis).
It even makes an odd kind of sense to me – part of what you get with this bike is both something stylistically unique (it doesn’t look like your typical sportbike, cruiser, or just about anything else out there) and part of what you get is something that is relatively simple to change into your own unique little beast of burden.
For example, don’t like the “MADASS” on the side? Just apply a hairdryer and pull the letters off – they’re just vinyl stuck onto the paint. In fact they’re so easily removed two of my letters have already ejected themselves, leaving me riding the “M Ass”. Which is quite phonetically unfortunate if you think about it.
Not that I encourage you to.
But what about a little more bolt-on performance? Well it appears there’s no shortage of Madass accessories, from headlights, rear lights, mirrors, fairings, and more.
Check out sites such as ooracing.com, moto-scoot.net, or fasttrails.com and you can find everything to turn the Madass into either a slick little 160cc street racer with twice the horsepower of the stock machine, or more aggressive tires and enduro styled handlebars to give it a little bit of an off-roader look.
Lean, or just mean – you can pretty much find all the bits and pieces to change it out to whatever suits your style.
Mind you, after some of our initial tribulations the biggest question you have is probably “How reliable has it been?” Actually, thankfully it’s been perfectly reliable.
It’s been through the drenching rain and multi-hour wide-open throttle run of the 2011 MBSR. It’s been driven in the heaviest of Toronto rush hour traffic back and forth during some of the hottest days of the year.
It’s been driven on 80 km/h hour roads up north, then taken out on some light trails (closer to rough dirt roads than single-track, this isn’t a dirt bike after all and even my madness has limits).
It handled all that without missing a beat, starting up with barely a dab at the starter button, and never stalling or failing to shift. All the electrics still work, and there has been a noted absence of an earth shattering “kaboom” or other drama. So far, I have to give it credit… after a rough first start, it has just worked with a minimum of attention.
Since resolving the original battery issue even some issues reported by Bondo have been resolved. The speedo now works properly above 90 km/h — I’ve had it over 100 on a steep downhill — and the odometer has settled down into properly counting the distance traveled.
And what it shows is that we’ve managed to put over 2,000 km on this
little mad metal creature, in a combination of highway and many stop and
go traffic kilometers in downtown Toronto, punishing the clutch,
engine, cooling and brakes just that little bit more.
It’s likely even appropriate – you have to be mad to drive two wheels in Toronto, and a bit of an ass doesn’t hurt either.
Gas mileage is still doing well, averaging 3.35L/100km, hitting reserve about 125 km. Slightly lower than last report, but then again I’ve been mostly doing higher speeds (going close to full throttle tends to do bad things for gas consumption).
Power is slightly up as well, with on-flat speeds of over 90 km/h have been achieved – though I learned it also helps to tuck in my knees a bit more…. with my height and weight, body position take several km/h off the top speed of the machine.
THE P & C OF M & A
The thing they won’t tell you in the manual is that you will get asked about the bike … a lot. I have found myself being stopped at lights, parking lots, gas stops, and just about everywhere else I go – with people asking about the bike, the price, the speed and everything else.
So far here’s the list of Pro’s and Con’s for the bike (this list may
change in the final review, so consider it as a work in progress):
- Easy on gas
- Easy to park
- Unique style
- Reasonable brakes
- Enough power for city use
- Reliable (once sorted out)
- Many options for customization
- Easy access for maintenance due to “Naked” design. (The bike, not you)
- Easily loaded into a van or decent size station wagon for transportation.
- Not quite enough power for going outside the city – especially on a smaller bike. Taking it on the a divided highway isn’t even a consideration.
- Uncomfortable seat
- Needs proper PDI and careful check when purchased
- MSRP very close to CBR125R, but note the recent sale Chironex had with 40 percent off the Madass, which brings it down to a very attractive price point indeed.
- Easily loaded into a van or decent size station wagon for transportation… by someone else than the owner! Needs to be in secure parking or locked up.
Personally, I think the modding potential is one of the things that appeals to me most about this bike. If I had the budget to buy one, I could see myself getting the engine upgrades, some custom panniers, a different seat, and different headlights – really making it my own. Which is achievable for a reasonable amount of money compared to most bikes.
Stock, I like the look and do like it as a quick and easy way to commute into work in the city – but I find myself wishing for just a bit more power once outside the city and wish they had added softer foam to the seat.
All in all, given the choice between it and the CBR125R (which from a price point and engine size outlook is the closest competitor) I’d actually pick the Madass. It isn’t the sane choice probably, but why let sanity get in the way of a bike purchase?
But every once in a while, a little insanity – for the right price, and the right riding location – is a good thing. Or at least that’s what the voices in the back of my head keep saying …