Road test: SWM Gran Milano 440 – take two

CAPTION: The little Swoomer, captured in its natural habitat. New tank and upgraded gear selector mechanism warranted another ride, this time to the beach (and a cafe, of course ...)

The Postman gets tempted back for a second look

IT WAS like a second date. She had slipped into something fresh – a shiny new green tank with matching tailpiece replacing her Duracell-brown outfit from last time – and she’d gone under the knife for a nip and tuck in the, ahem, gear selection department.

We’d got on pretty well, first time out. I’d liked her racy manner, her cute bum, her deep throat and her super-sized front brake. She’d liked my firm throttle hand. On the other hand, I had been less impressed with the shape of her tank between my knees, while she’d taken a dislike to my left foot, especially when trying to caress in an upwards direction. Trying to coax her into second gear had provided some awkward moments.

But this time, things might be different. SWM Australia and Ace Scooters Joondalup assured me the shape of the tank and the obstinate gearbox had only been issues with the first batch of Gran Milanos to be imported to Australia, of which the bike I rode a fortnight ago had been one. If they fitted the bike with the newer shaped tank and the improved gear selector mechanism,  would I be willing to give it a second shot?

Of course I would.

CAPTION: My inner groin was relieved to be acquainted with the newer shaped tank. First problem solved.

And so it was that I found myself back aboard the SWM, headed this time for Mullaloo beach rather than the Kalamunda Hotel. It didn’t take long to make my reassessment. The new tank is only a few centimetres narrower at its junction with the seat, but the difference was marked. I suspect the old tank was only a problem for people with longer legs anyway, but now the problem was gone. Tick.

The selector upgrade was an even bigger step forward — you could be forgiven for thinking you were riding a Honda. No more getting stuck in first, and no more finding neutral when you wanted second. Smooth and slick, clickety click.

With my two gripes addressed, the blast to the beach became a different ballgame. Without distraction or reservation, the bike is a hoot.

Lane-splitting at the lights and then nailing the throttle at take-off, I remembered from last time that the engine loves to rev. And when it does rev, it sings a wonderful song from that twin exhaust. I found myself looking for excuses to change down a gear and wrap it on, just to hear the pipes bounce of the four-doored traffic and the beachfront mansions on Oceanside Promenade.

CAPTION: The upgraded gear components include new external linkage and a reshaped selector disc. The stuck-in-first blues are gone.

Our photo session came in two parts; initially trying to get an ocean backdrop but being challenged by the sun being too bright and in just the wrong place, no matter where I aimed the Nikon. We attracted some attention from a young beach-goer who was somewhat taken by the SWM’s curvy lines.

Dissatisfied with the photos, we headed over the road to the cafe. Ah, that’s better. And fancy the new green paintwork being a near-perfect match for Dome’s corporate branding! I sneaked the bike between the bollards, onto the paving, and into the shade of an umbrella. It really did look right at home.

Bemused latte-sippers wondered how long it would take for Dome staff to flick me back onto the road, but they must have been flat-out busy indoors. I had time to shoot plenty of pics and make conversation with a lady who fondly recalled almost dying from the cold one day back in England, on the back of her husband’s Triumph.

Perhaps inspired by her tale, I stepped up the pace on the ride back to Joondalup. There are some great roundabouts between Mullaloo and Joondalup, and the Gran Milano chewed them up with just a flick to the left and lean to the right. Change up a gear coming out, and braaap to the next one. This is what urban squirting is all about, and the SWM was in its element.

If a smallish-midsize town bike is on your shopping list, and you love the sound of a four stroke single, put this bike on your test ride list. It’s a contender.

Also see:

Our first ride on the Gran Milano

6 Comments on "Road test: SWM Gran Milano 440 – take two"

  1. Hi. I know it’s probably a question asked a few times, what top speed is the Gran Milano capable of to start with, out of the crate?

    • Peter Terlick | February 19, 2017 at 4:06 pm |

      Hi David. I didn’t take the bike to its limit, but it was quite happy at 100kmh on the freeway. My best guess would be a top speed of 120, maybe 125 with a back-wind, downhill. You could expect vibration to be pretty high at that speed. Cheers.

      • Hi, and thanks for the quick reply. It’s one of the bike’s I’m considering as I like it’s look and it’s different, so we’ll see.

        • Peter Terlick | February 19, 2017 at 5:13 pm |

          Best of luck with it. I liked the bike a lot. Do take one for a ride. If you’re in Perth, I can recommend Fredy Arnet at Ace Scooters in Joondalup. Mention The Bike Shed Times and ask him for his best price!

  2. Great looking bike to buzz around town on! What price does it sell for?

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