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Motorcycling: A Suzuki GSR750 in Glenshee, plus win Ventz

IT'S A bit of a Jekyll and Hyde bike, the Suzuki GSR750.

It looks like a no-holds-barred factory streetfighter with razor-sharp lines and less fat than Usain Bolt. But winding through grouchy Maryhill traffic, all Commonwealth Games banners and saltires in pub windows, it's as polite as a princess on a walkabout.

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It's easy to ride and well mannered without a hint of a snarl from the 105bhp engine. The fuelling is spot-on, the gearbox slick and the steering neutral. My first impressions are that it would make a good commuter, or an ideal first big bike, or maybe a comfortable machine for an older rider sick of being crippled by sportsbikes.

Then I turn onto the B822 - though you probably know it by its other name, the Crow Road, from Lennoxtown to the Carron Valley. It's a rollercoaster of a road - climbing, twisting, turning - with a mostly decent surface, which climbs 1000ft in just over three miles. I catch a glimpse of Glasgow's sprawl falling away from one hairpin and think to myself how lucky we are in Scotland. If this was the Lake District the road would be cluttered and clogged by caravans and there would be a craft shop or pottery shop on every second corner.

I travelled the Cat and Fiddle in the Peak District recently and it was littered with 'safety' cameras and ruined by speed restrictions. This road is 10 times better. Apart from Sunday morning cyclists - hats off to you all for managing the epic climb - the road is pretty much deserted.

It's here that I realise I've been selling the GSR, an inline four, short. I've been daundering along: now I drop a couple of gears, twist the throttle and the bike shows its other, devilish, side. It's no crazed 150bhp-plus supernaked, but it's fast enough for me. The engine, although detuned, originates from the 2005 GSX-R750, so it's no slouch. More importantly, it's lots of fun, and never intimidating.

I stop at the Carron Valley reservoir to get photographs. It's around 30 minutes from Glasgow but it feels like hours away. I wind my way towards Denny, and pass through Fankerton, where former MotoGP and British Superbike racer Niall Mackenzie grew up. There's no sign of a blue plaque, though.

I head to Stirling, then hop on the motorway. Despite being a naked bike, with only a scrap of plastic around the headlight, it's comfy enough at motorway speeds. But like all motorways it gets pretty boring, pretty quickly so I jump off at Greenloaning. I pass through Braco, which is celebrating its annual show. "Livestock. Industrial. Vintage," promises the poster. Looks like a lot of fun - but so is this GSR, so I press on towards Crieff. There are no Commonwealth Games banners here, but plenty of posters for the Ryder Cup. There's an old boy cycling through the town with his golf bag strapped to his bag, and the courses are a patchwork of pastel-coloured jumpers.

Back in the traffic, the Suzuki makes filtering effortless as it swishes me through Perth city centre and out to Scone. From there, it's through Blairgowrie and into Glenshee, clinging to the almost Germanic sweeping uphill corners, a section of road like no other in Scotland. After that, however, much of the twistier stretches are a patchwork of surfaces which have been repaired and chipped.

Heading home, I run into a sharp cloud burst. I jump off, lift the tail piece and pull out my waterproofs. There is not a lot of space but there is enough to squeeze in waterproofs. That kind of sums up the GSR750: it can be nearly anything you want.

WIN A PAIR OF VENTZ

IF you've been sweating your way through summer like Peter Kay on a treadmill, I could have the answer. Ventz are a simple idea but, like most simple ideas, they work. Basically, Ventz are two small rubber and plastic frames with honeycomb in the middle. You slip them into the space between your jacket's cuffs and your gloves, attach the clip to your jacket and off you go. Air then flows up your arm and around your body. The English manufacturers claims they can reduce riding temperature by 25%. Initially, I thought it was a good idea but one that Scottish riders wouldn't need unless they are touring abroad, but they have come into their own this summer. The system, which costs £14.99 a pair, won't work if you wear your gloves over your sleeve, but otherwise they are worth a try. They are small, too, so you could slip them into a pocket if the temperatures drop. See www.ventz-range.com.

I have a pair to give away to the first five people who correctly answer this question: How much do Ventz reduce riding temperature by?

Send your answer to marketing@theherald.co.uk.

Terms and conditions: Closing date for all entries is Sunday August 3, 2014 at 23.59pm. Usual Herald competition rules apply. The editor's decision is final. No cash alternative.

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