Page 1




278bhp BEAST













Upfront ........................................... 10 All the tastiest biking titbits.


Products.......................................... 12

All the newest, coolest and trickest products.


Used Buyer’s Guide......................... 72 Everything you need to know about buying a 2003-2008 Suzuki SV1000S.


Legal ................................................ 79 Don’t let your insurance company give you the run-around after a crash.

Track Attack....................................90

How to master the best of British circuits. This month: Croft.

Track Craft ......................................94 Dean Ellison talks us through what you should be eating and drinking on a trackday.

Know Your.......................................96 Sprockets. How altering your gearing can transform your ride.


Triple Treat .................................... 18 MV Agusta Brutale 800RR vs Yamaha MT-09 SP vs Triumph Street Triple RS.

COVER STORY Aprilia RSV4 Factory Works.......... 34


Bruce flew to Mugello for a fly round on the new winged Aprilia.

Lewis High shows off his pristine BMW S1000RR.

MV Agusta Turismo Veloce 800 Lusso SCS...................................... 50


Chatter ............................................80

It’s only fair we give the best readers in the world a couple of pages of their own!

You & Yours.....................................82 All of your latest adventures!


Carl’s been to the launch of the new F3 800 powered MV sport tourer.


Private, i ........................................ 44

Boothy’s just come home from competing as a privateer at the 2018 Isle of Man TT Races and tells us all about his experience.

Party in the Park........................... 66

Were you at our very own Fast Bikes Trackday? If not, why not?.



Staff Bikes.......................................99 More models, more miles and more mods. •

• Suzuki GSX-S1000 Kawasaki Ninja 400 • Yamaha YZF-R6 Yamaha R1M • Yamaha YZF-R1M • Suzuki GSX-R1000 • KTM 1290 Super Duke GT •


Pit Pass.......................................... 106 The lowdown on BSB, WSBK and MotoGP.

The Superbike King ..................... 110

We caught up with Jonathan Rea to find out what it’s like being the best Superbike racer in the world.

Race Riot ....................................... 116


Neave twins .................................. 119

Christian Iddon ............................. 121

Gary Johnson ................................ 120

Steve Parrish................................. 122

Tom’s on a high after a good run at Knockhill. Settling back into life after the IoM TT .

Sofa surfing and sheet piling with the BSB rider. Parrish’s take on all things bike-racing.


What we get up to when we’re not putting together the best mag in the world.

RIBE C S See page 6 for details


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The future’s now


abrielle sang a song about dreams coming true, and do you know what, she wasn’t fibbing. After way too many hours, days and years of dreaming, I finally got that golden ticket to sample the delights of Italy’s finest race track: Mugello. And not on some battered C90 with spokes missing, I’ll have you know. Parked up in a pristine garage, packed with factory technicians and enough fresh rubber to keep a porn star happy, stood an audacious-looking winged wonder. Yep, this was my chance to try out Aprilia’s 112bhp Factory Works RSV4 on a circuit crafted by the gods. Let’s just say neither the bike nor the track disappointed, as you’ll know after you’ve read this issue’s report. The Aprilia’s the latest in a succession of new and exciting propositions that have made an appearance of late, squaring up to the likes of BMW’s HP4 Race, Honda’s RC213V-S and Ducati’s 1299 Superleggera. And there will undoubtedly be more such steeds on the way, as rival brands flex their engineering muscles and throw everything they’ve got into topping the charts for the lightest, fastest and most innovative of motorcycles. But there’s also plenty of good news for financially humble mortals such as myself, as it looks like we’re going to be treated to some far more attainable metal in 2019. Beej loves a good rumour, and he’s had his ear to the ground to bring us some exciting goss on what’s likely to be headed our way in the near future. He’s even gone as far as to rate each rumour’s reliability, so make sure to check that out as your next bike could be in that mix. But if you’re after something new right now, you’ll find plenty of inspiration in our triples test. We pitched Triumph’s awesome Street Triple RS against Yamaha’s head-banging MT-09SP and MV’s bellissimo Brutale RR, on road and track. What weapons they turned out to be, albeit all very different in character and performance. It’s all there for the absorbing, so take it in and enjoy. It’s been another great month this side of the fence, and we hope yours has been equally epic. Summer’s in full swing, so keep those throttles pinned and get those miles munched. And don’t forget to tell us what you’ve been up to, what you’ve got planned and what you think we should do – we don’t want to waste a minute this season. Last but not least, we’re after some pretty trick bikes to test, just like the 278bhp Spondon we’ve got in this issue. If you’ve got something that’s up our street, don’t be shy.


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‘Dangerous’ Bruce Wilson


Benjamin ‘BJ’ Kubas Cronin


Charlie ‘The Sheriff’ Oakman


Carl ‘Pretty Boy’ Stevens


Mike ‘Boothy’ Booth


See page 6 for the best deals, or visit



FOR 2018!


With 2019 already creeping up on us, Ducati have unveiled their first taste of some new metal, or some colour at least. Coming with a Titanium Grey fairing, red wheels and a red frame, Ducati say that the new colour scheme combines a sporty style with an elegant look, giving a nod to the iconic models from the past. The colour scheme will be available on the SuperSport S, fitted with Öhlins suspension, Ducati Quick Shift up/down and rear seat cover, which will continue to be available in Ducati Red as well as the Star White Silk, with red wheel rims and frame. The price remains unchanged at £12,995, and the bikes will be available from July in Ducati dealerships.



Now in their third year of running an annual trackday, crash protection specialists R&G have announced that this year they will be at Cadwell Park, running in association with our buddies in No Limits Trackdays. It will be run on Monday, August 20, with a 105db noise limit, and not only will you be able to blast round one of the best tracks in the world, but you’ll also be on track with both the Moto Rapido and Anvil Hire TAG Racing teams blasting around as well – with open

trucks so you can get up close and personal with the machinery. Dean Ellison will be in attendance for instruction, while Track Bike Hire will be bringing their fleet of YZF-R6s for riders to try for one session. The California Superbike School will also be on hand to provide off-track coaching throughout the day, and photography is free all day long! There are 120 places on a first come, first served basis and will cost you £109. You can get yourself booked on for £109!



LIMITED EDITION MONSTER 1200 25° ANNIVERSARIO RELEASED! Ducati have released a limited edition celebration, dubbed the Monster 1200 25° Anniversario – for, you guessed it, the 25th anniversary of the range. With only 500 numbered motorcycles being produced they won’t be sticking around for long, thanks to an ex clusive Italian style livery of the red, white and green adorning the fairing, fuel tank and passenger seat cover. The seat will be embroidered with the 25th Anniversary logo, while the frame and Marchesini wheels come in gold for the ultimate bling factor, alongside the mirrors, bar ends, and petrol cap. The articulated brake and clutch levers as well as the plate holder are aluminium,

while the front and rear mudguards, the keyhole cover and the ex haust heat guard are in carbon fibre. The Monster 1200 25° Anniversario also comes with a bike cover, decorated with the special edition logo to keep it cosy in winter. As far as performance goes, the Anniversario puts out 14 7 bhp at 9,250rpm and a max imum torq ue of 91lb-ft at 7 ,7 50rpm, and will come with all the electronic goodies you’d find on the Monster 1200S. It also has the same O hlins front and rear suspension, Brembo Monobloc calipers and long service intervals as well. The price is yet to be announced but it will be available in Europe from September.

August 2-5 – Bridge Rats MCC Rat Pack Rally – West Yorkshire August 3 – Bike Night, Jacks Hill Café – Northants August 3 -5 – Withernsea Music & Bike Fest – East Yorkshire August 4 -5 – Llangollen Motorcycle Festival – North Wales August 4 -5 – Festival of Wheels – Suffolk August 5 – Associated Sheppey Bikers ‘ Big B’ charity fund raiser – Isle of Sheppey August 5-6 – Cadwell Park Count of Cadwell Championship – Lincolnshire August 9-11 – Yorkshire Rock ‘ n’ Bike Show – Yorkshire August 12 – Plymouth Motorcycle Club MegaRide – Plymouth August 12 – Brackley Festival of Motorcycling – Northants August 17 -19 – Renegade MC 12th Redskin Rally – K ent August 18 – The Bristol Bike Show – Bristol August 25 – TAG Speed Motorcycle Show – West Yorkshire August 24 -26 – GoPro British Grand Prix ( MotoGP) – Silverstone August 25-26 – The Great Northwest Motorbike Festival – Lancashire



ALPINESTARS SP-X LEATHER JACKET Ever fancied a j acket with a ‘ multiple-material chassis’? Well Alpinestars have you covered with their new SP-X leather j ackket. Constructed from 1.3 mm high grade bovine leather and high abrasion stretch fabric, the SP-X comes with chest and back PE nd Padding alongside Internal CE-certified Bio-Armour shoulder an elbow protectors – although there is space for added internal anels protection if that isn’t enough for you. The ex tensive stretch pa on the stretch will make the SP-X incredibly comfortable from the get-go, and with z ippered air intakes for optimised airflow you shouldn sweaty. shouldn’tt find yourself getting too sweaty


THERMAL TECHNOLOGY EVO O TRI-ZONE Tyre warmers do ex actly what they say on the tin – they warm tyres. This is beneficial for a number of reasons, including m max imising both tyre life by avoiding damaging heat cycles and your ttrack time as you won’t need to mess around waiting for heat. These warmers from Thermal Technology are use ed by top teams in motorcycle championships around the world including MotoGP, WSBK and several teams in the BSB Championship. Therma al Technology were the first to use carbon resistive elements for heating the warmers – oh, and they own the patent for tyre warmers with h integrated rim heating. The range caters for everyone from the professional racer to the occasional track day enthusiast to the amateur racer and beyond.

SUZUKI OGIO 9800 SLED TROLLEY BAG With i h a reputation i as one off the h most durable d bl kit ki bags b on the h market, k the O GIO 98 00 Sled, or Structural Load Eq ualiz ing Deck 98 00, offers increased durability even in the harshest of conditions – whether that be climbing mountains or going on EasyJet flights. There is a large main compartment with a wide mouth lid for easy access to the gear compartments, which consists of a main section and a padded helmet section and holds 18 0 litres. The 98 00 is constructed with iFO M ( integrated foam) for added gear protection, and comes eq uipped with oversiz ed wheels for ex tra ground clearance and a collapsible heavy duty pull handle. O h, and it looks full factory in Suz uki colours…



From £229.99 - £825

K-TECH DUCATI PANIGALE V4S DDS PRO SHOCK Got yourself a Ducati Panigale V 4 S and fancy pimping up the suspension a touch? Well look no further than K -Tech’s DDS Pro shock absorber. Designed for use at the highest level of racing including the Isle of Man TT, the DDS Pro has been manufactured using the latest design software and the highest grade of materials. The DDS Pro also has a 3 2mm piston to control the damping which allows larger shims to be used for an improved feel. There’s a heap of adj ustability as well with 3 2 clicks of rebound and compression, alongside a special bypass valve which allows high speed adj usting for a q uick change – for ex ample if there’s a shower before you head out.

RRP £1,194

WEISE RENEGADE GLOVES If you fancy a new summer glove on a budget, then the Renegad de model from Weise will undoubtedly be right up you alley. Constructed from f full grain leather with a polyester lining, the Renegade comes laced d with integrated TPU reinforcement armour to the knuckles and finge ers alongside a twin layer of leather on the palm for safety, while stretch panels throughout the glove will keep you nice and comfy. If that wasn’t enough, the velcro on the strap and the cuff is completely adj ustable as well as being padded.


TRIPLE S CHAIN AND SPROCKETT KITS ITS Whether you’re racing and need a good selection of sprockets or you’re on the roads and fancy making your w bike better suited to you, it’s incredible the change a few gh teeth and a new chain can make – which means this hig q uality chain and sprocket combination from Triple S might j ust be right up your alley. The chain has ex cellent impact d load resistance and is designed specifically to withstand the stresses of driving a machine, while every sprocket is machined and CNC manufactured to ex acting standards – meaning they can achieve the closest possible tolerancces nd for the ultimate longevity. U sed by teams in both BSB an MX GP, the kits are available for a range of models.

From £23.88

BUFFALO REBEL TEXTILE JACKET Made from a tough 600-denier material which will give you a fix ed waterproof, windproof and even breathable lining, the Rebel j acket from Buffalo is the perfect addition to your wardrobe, especially if you’re on a budget. Inside the j acket is a removable thermal q uilted lining and a load of Air-Pro z ipped vents to keep you covered in all conditions, while safety is taken care of thanks to CE-approved armour covering both the shoulders and elbows, alongside a trouser connection z ip if you fancy going whole hog. You even get a removable fleece lined hood to keep your noggin warm and dry when you’re off the bike!




Since we live in rainy England, at the very first hint of some nice weather I whip out the sunglasses in the hope that the sun stays for more than half an hour. Luckily despite the rain at the beginning of this season I’ve had plenty of chance to try out these Spy O ptics glasses, fitted with Happy Lens™ which is said to enhance colour and contrast, while increasing clarity, with the added bonus of improving mood and alertness. All this is achieved by filtering out all the harmful U V and short wave blue light while allowing the safe long wave blue light to still enter the eye, which according to some science studies is the part that improves your mood, apparently. Not sure how you go about measuring clarity and contrast as a general wearer but they are comfortable and light enough, and I can wear them for long periods without any issues so much so that they are now my go-to pair over the big O brand that came before them.

16MM OXFORD BIGBOSS ALARM DISC LOCK TESTED BY: Pretty Boy MILES: Thankfully, zero TIME: 6 months PRICE: £89.99 WEB:

In a world where there are 60 scooter-bastard related crimes a day j ust in London alone, you really can’t be too careful where you leave your pride and j oy, and you definitely can’t skimp outt on security measures. No ot only is the BigBoss from O x ford water, vibration, frost & heat-proof, but it’ss also got a built in alarm, and after a accidentally setting it off I can tell you it does produce an ear-piercing 100db – which could well make all the difference when it comes to alerting help and scaring off any threats. It’s taken a little time to get used to as you need to fix it into position

perfectly or a slight movement will set it off, but after a few goes you get the gist gist, and now I won’t won t go anywhere without it. You get three keys which is a bonus as well, and although it’s fairly weighty in a backpack I reckon the pain of losing your bike would be a hell of a lot worse…

FORCEFIELD SPORT SHIRT XVSS TESTED BY: Bruce MILES: 1,000 TIME: 2 months PRICE: £149.99 (level 1) / £159.99 (level 2) WEB:

I’ve crashed enough times to know the importance of decent body armour. Forcefield kit is my staple choice, having saved my body from a proper battering on too many occasions. It did the same last week when I unceremoniously launched myself off a 1290 Super Adventure R, much to the delight and j eers of my mates. Lucky for me I was wearing this one-stop armour top. The Sport Shirt is genius, featuring q uality performing CE-level 1 body armour in the back and chest areas, while the elbows and shoulders offer the option of level one or two armour ( there’s only a tenner difference in the pricing, so you may as well go with the better stuff) . That’s what I did, and I was grateful for it. The armour’s retained within pockets in a compression fit, washable,

gs fabric that hug the body nd comfortably an ensures the esn’t move protection doe from its desire ed location. It’s also breath hable, which proved anothe er virtue on the above note ed occasion where I was using it off-road on a 27 ºC day and sweating mmy Savile’s more than Jim paperboy. Perhaps haps the biggest appeal to the top is its versatility. I’ve used it as much off-road as I have on the road, simply slotting a j acket over the top of it and getting on with my business. It’s comfy, convenient and because the armour’s removable, it’s easily customisable to suit your preferences. I rate it highly and recommend it to any other ardent crashers out there.





TESTED BY: Charlie MILES: 8,000+ TIME: 3 years PRICE: From £249.99 WEB:

Having worn this helmet for the past three years, it is still my favoured choice when putting in the mileage. Having said that, the NX R is as happy on track as it is munching motorway miles. It has a much smaller shell siz e to the X R1100 that it replaced in 2014 , making it a sleek addition to your riding apparel. It’s ex tremely q uiet with the combination of advanced removable lining and ultra lightweight configuration making this helmet comfortable, and I mean old set of slippers comfortable – with the added safety of having an advanced emergency release system – j ust in case. There’s a great range of vision thanks to the wide aperture design and relatively glove friendly ventilation points at the front and rear of the helmet. The visor clicks into position and is sprung to pull back tight onto the seals for a seamless fit. It comes highly recommended not j ust from me but across the industry for a versatile sporty-lid that will do the j ob for you, be it hammering down Paddock Hill, or crossing the Yorkshire Moors fully luggage’d up.


I seem to have an abundance of knee sliders due to an inability to wear the buggers out, although at the recent Fast Bikes track day I was delighted to part with £24 .99 of my own cash to purchase a set of RST’s Limited Edition ‘ F13 K Cancer’ knee sliders. RST have teamed up with racer Lee Johnston’s aforementioned charity to produce a limited number of these pink sliders, giving all proceeds to charity. They are pink, very pink indeed, especially against my black Pro-Series Suit and offer the same q uality as RST’s normal range of sliders that come in Red, Green, Yellow, Blue, Black and White – each with a really handy grab loop at the base to help prise them off the V elcro patch of your suit for removal. The difference is the pink ones are sold at a loss to RST to help Lee’s charitable cause, one which touches so many of us. So, get your pink sliders on, give RST a round of applause and F13 K Cancer.


TESTED BY: Charlie MILES: 2,000+ TIME: 2 years PRICE: £129.99 WEB: Google it...

A purchase h iinspired i db by llaz iiness, the X -Move is the perfect urban boot for me giving protection on the bike and comfort off it, so no need to change. With a stiff heel and ankle protection, the X -Move also has subtle gear change pads toward the toe and is built up with additional protection where you would have a slider in a sports boot, j ust in case the run home gets a bit fruity. Complete with waterproof lining the X -Move is a good looking boot with carbon-esq ue detailing up the ankle and wear resistant tex tile mesh up the seam of the lacing to allow for moisture to escape. It also has a comfy padded mesh at the opening of the boot. The laces are held tightly in place via a

V elcro l strap t att th the ttop so as nott to get caught up in the gear or braking mechanism. As for wear, a double compound waterproof sole gives a longevity that will keep these on my feet for a long time yet. In essence it’s a brilliant four seasonal boot, I would favour a sports boot on a long fast j aunt but these are ideal for the day to day with your lined j eans – begs the q uestion, why discontinue TCX ? The answer being, they have bettered it presumably with either the V ibe Air, or Rush. Not tried either of these but know there are still X -Moves around for purchase, discounted too so there are deals to be had if you are on the lookout for a brilliant all-round urban boot.



Some say three is a crowd, but when it comes to these three middleweight roadsters it’s the magic number (of cylinders).




ost of us would love to spend our lives doing a million miles an hour on the latest, greatest erection inducing superbikes. That goes without saying. But on Her Maj’s highways there is only so much lunacy permitted which has steered a growing proportion of the litre bike fraternity towards slightly more sedate steeds. At the other end of the motorcycling spectrum, the yoof of yesterday are now a day older and a day closer to trading in

their CBR125s for something with a little bit more poke and a slightly stronger fanny magnet fitted as standard. So with this in mind, we have assembled an international threesome of beauties that would’ve made even Hugh Hefner a little bit jealous. Representing our flamboyant friends in Italy, the all-new MV Agusta Brutale 800RR brings its stunning good lucks to the table. For the hooligans among us, all the way from the dark side of

Japan, the also new for 2018 Yamaha MT-09 SP was likely to be on its baddest behaviour. And last, and by absolutely no means least, the Triumph Street Triple RS would be doing its level best to have us all singing Rule Britannia before sundown. To put this trio of triples to the test, I enlisted the help of Mr Bean for a rip around some of our favourite local roads and sent Dangerous Bruce on a trackday (well, I thought he could do with the practice).



Brutale beautiful.

MV Agusta Brutale 800RR D

o you believe in love at first sight? No, well neither do I, but if I did, I’m pretty sure I would be getting down on one knee and asking the MV for its handlebar in marriage (I’m sure it’s legal to marry a bike in some states in the US). It really is a stone-cold stunner with its sharp lines, diamond-cut aluminium wheels and ‘organ-pipe’ silencers, so as soon as I saw this red and black (well, pearl shock red/metallic carbon black) beauty, I was desperate to get my leg over (no change there then) to see if the riding experience could live up to the MV’s delivishly good looks and whopping £13,490 price tag. Aloft the MV, I felt as though I was perched right towards the front of the bike with quite a lot of weight going through my wrists and hands. I tried to shuffle around to make myself a little more comfortable but the strangely shaped seat wasn’t very obliging. My comfort levels were very quickly forgotten about when I fired the RR’s engine up, though. I never knew that a Euro 4 compliant bike in showroom trim could sound so menacing, but it can. The MV is

a bike that sounds as good as it looks, despite on the odd occasion the fuelling feeling a little less than perfect and hunting a bit at low revs. And if aesthetics and audio aren’t enough to excite you then wait till you’ve taken the MV for a blast. From the get-go the engine felt light and revvy and its full throttle howl egged me on to use all of its 13,000rpm, all the time. One peculiar trait of the Brutale was its un-rev-limiter-like rev-limiter. Rather than the typical ‘ba ba ba ba ba’ that most of us redline addicts have come to expect, the MV’s revs just stop increasing with no real change in sound, so revving out sometimes went unnoticed for a split second or two. The RR’s light feeling engine is accompanied by a chassis to match. It feels light and nimble on the road and the riding position, slightly uncomfortable though it may be, gives the bike a good dose of sportiness. On our long and varied test route nothing ever felt too sketchy through the fast or the slow stuff. The problem with the MV isn’t that it’s not agile enough, it’s that it’s almost too agile; by that


I mean when you’re hunched over the RR’s ’bars in what doesn’t feel a million miles away from a ‘racing crouch’ the bike always seems to be looking for the next corner, and it’s ready to drop into it at a nanosecond’s notice – it’s great fun but this agility is really to the detriment of the bike’s stability and on our test it sometimes felt a little flightier than you might expect

from a naked middle-weight such as this. What you also mightn’t expect from this category of motorcycle is such an impressive quickshifter and blipper system. Okay, quickshifters are ten a penny these days and it’s usually the first thing a manufacturer will throw at their ‘premium’ spec models, but a little less common is a blipper. And even



MR BEA AN SAYS... When I saw 16,000rp


Highlights Vogue looks Switchable ABS Chart-topping soundtrack 87Nm torque Blipper 140bhp BRAKING






Brembo, baby, yeah! Somewhat flighty Surprisingly sporty

PERFORMANCE 7 Revvy and exciting


Fairly entertaining

Scrapyard challenge.

ABS? No thanks.


less common still is a blipper that works so sweetly. There is a fair amount of slogger on the shift lever, I’ll give you that, but the electronics seem to aid the mechanics of every single gear change perfectly and as an added bonus you’re treated to a little pop on every upshift and a uniform blip on every downshift. Nice. While we are on the subject of electronics, it’s worth mentioning the eight level traction control,

which is probably a little excessive, although on the lowest setting, you did have to give it some welly to get it to kick in. The TC system can, of course, be turned completely off, the only problem with that is you have to look at the appallingly dated dash and scroll all the way through its systems using the cheap looking (and feeling) buttons on the left hand switchgear. And the dash isn’t just dated, it’s a bit rubbish too. The warning lights and stuff appear on a black panel just below the main display; well, when I say appear, you will need your bifocals on if you want to see them, and even then you’ve got your work cut out to read what they actually say. I think someone needs to remind MV

Agusta’s dashboard department that it’s 2018. If you can bear to look at the dash for any longer it’s worth turning the ABS off too. The Brembo brakes (front and back) on the MV are fantastic but I found the ABS a little too intrusive for my liking. With ABS deactivated, big stoppies and long skids were more than catered for on the MV, but what made me really happy was the fact that when you turn the ignition off for any period of time, the bike would remember what you’d turned off, rather than defaulting to a ‘safe’ setting, with all the aids turned back on. MV Agusta are certainly making a statement with the styling of the new Brutale, but at £13,490 it’s very much at the deep end of the price pool. If its value you’re after then you might want to read on…



A beautiful looking and awesome sounding bike, but it needs to be to justify that whopper of a price tag. + SEX ON WHEELS – EXPENSIVE, POORLY FINISHED.




Fairly close to the apex... well, for Bruce anyway.

MV AGUSTA BRUTALE RR It’s wrong to j udge a bike by its looks but I kind of knew the MV was going to be the twitchy mess it turned out to be on track. It’s got a proper short wheelbase, which admittedly encouraged high levels of agility and great grip out of the slower bends at Cadwell, but it never seemed happier than when it was shaking like a shitting dog through pretty much all the fast sections. And it wasn’t j ust the bike that was physically nervous; I was too. The unpredictably of its hard-damped, fast rebounding and non-adj ustable setup had me pinging out of the seat with more freq uency than a drunk returning to a bar. It made for an ex citing ride, but not the q uickest. I didn’t rate its motor too much, either. Sure, it sounded beautiful and appeared attractive in its trellis frame, but its rev happy disposition reminded me more of an inline-four than a triple. It lacked in bottom end grunt, but seemed to come alive at the top; its limiter confusingly kicking in a good few thousand rpm before highlighted on its archaic clocks. The dash really is pants to look at,

but it’s hard to knock the tech on the otherwise pretty Italian. It was the only bike to feature a blipper, which worked as impressively as its q uickshifter. I don’t q uite get why you need TC on a bike this unimpressively potent, but I guess it’ll help q uash any q uiet moments down the pub. The switchable ABS was a virtue, though. The MV ’s Brembo brakes had loads of poke but the ABS function was all too q uick to j oin the party at the end of Park Straight and down into Mansfield. Thankfully, albeit after some frustrating negotiating of the less than intuitive tech toggle buttons, ABS could be ousted. More bikes need that option. Maybe I’ve been a little harsh on the MV , but I ex pected more. More stability. More grunt. More cornering prowess. For having a laugh on, the Brutale ticked the relevant box , but when it came to smashing lap records, it had more faults than a piss wet laptop.

Every inch counts.


Ain’t no mountain the Brutale can’t climb.


Yamaha MT-09 SP Y

amaha’s MT range, since its incarnation, has exemplified value-for-money motorcycling and the MT-09 is no exception (which is probably why Y amaha have sold more than 5 0,000 of them). The factory-tricked-up SP version that we had on test comes in at £9,199 which is £8 00 dearer than the base model but comes with a sexy Silver Blu C arbon colour scheme, K Y B forks and an Ö hlins shocker; which we think has gotta be worth the extra pennies. D espite its SP (Sport P erformance) suffix, the Y am offered the least sporty riding position of all the bikes on test. The seat felt long and spacious

and the low pegs provided plenty of much-needed legroom after being scrunched up on the sportier feeling MV. Although it was the cheapest bike on test, the MT didn’t look any less premium than its rivals; aside, perhaps, from the big numb rubber mounted indicators – well you can’t have everything. The soundtrack of the MT’s crossplane crank triple (C P 3) engine is distinctive but far from raucous. It’s not until you get rolling that things start to get exciting. 113bhp might sound a little bit tame by today’s standards, but the jewel in the MT’s C P 3 crown is its 8 7 Nm of torque. And that torque figure translates into a

lovely playful little engine that does all it possibly can to help you hoist the front wheel at any given time. After having ridden the new 2 018 MT-09 SP at its launch in Spain and been mightily impressed by it, I was surprised to note that when we started really hustling the MT round our test route things didn’t always go as nicely as I would have expected. Fast sweeping bends were sometimes a concern on the MT as the front end had a tendency to feel vague and unsure of itself. It wasn’t a nice feeling and it was made worse the moment you threw some bumps into the mix. It had a really under-damped feel to

the front end, which I’m sure could have been ironed out had we had more time to faf and poke about with the K ayaba front forks. In the slow stuff the MT wasn’t bad at all. On the really bumpy bends there seemed to be a bit of chatter bouncing its way through the frame, but it always seemed to start at the front, probably another product of the soft set-up. What was a real pain in the arse on the MT was the brakes. For steady riding, the front and rear stoppers are both acceptable, but as soon as you try and up the ante you’re faced with a worrying amount of inconsistency from the front

Next stop, the world wheelie championships.




Highlights brake lever and an equally worrying amount of ABS interference with the rear. When you squeez e the front brake lever on the MT properly (as though you want to do a stoppie or stop quickly, perhaps in an emergency stop situation), one of three things can happen; sometimes the brakes work and the rear wheel lifts off the deck; other times the ABS engages to keep the rear wheel down and the bike slows down reasonably quickly (albeit jerkily); or, what happens far too often, is the ABS chucks its teddy out of the pram and tries to lock the lever all the way out so you can’t put the brakes on unless you squeez e the lever with all your might. Y amaha’s front brake issues are a trait not exclusive to the MT-09 SP though, I have noticed a similar phenomenon on R1s and other bikes in the MT range – it really is something that they need to get sorted out. Especially as they don’t seem to be fans of switchable ABS. As far as the rest of the 09’s electronics suite goes things are all pretty sensible. Two level traction control is more than enough for a bike like this and it is dead easy to switch from one to the other (or off) with a little switch on the right hand bar (although I wouldn’t recommend

Sump-mounted sliders might never catch on.

Trick suspension Easy to use tech Value for money Sexy SP colour scheme 87Nm torque 113bhp BRAKING






Crap when you start trying Vague front end

Still surprisingly sporty

PERFORMANCE 7 All torque


Wheelie fun


bothering with setting 2 , unless you like riding a bike that feels like its running out of fuel every time you open the throttle). Throttle maps, ‘A’, ‘Standard’ and ‘B’ (‘A’ being the most aggressive) are also easy to alter on the fly, this time via a button on the right bar. With its trick-as-you-like Ö hlins shocker and ‘exclusive’ colour scheme, at £9,199 the MT-09 SP isn’t a ‘budget’ bike but if you’re looking for VFM you could do a lot worse than having one of these puppies parked up in your garage. But if the Y am doesn’t quite have what it takes to whet your whistle and you don’t mind spending a bit more of your hard-earned (without wanting to pay Italian exotica prices) then the next bike in our little test might just be right up your street.

Firmer pogos have upped the MT’s game.



An awesome bike for the money with some nice bling and a stonking little engine. Fully adjustable sus means any handling issues we noticed could almost certainly be ironed out. + GREAT VALUE – TCS SETTING 2, ABS



She’s a bit spesh in the bends.

BRUCE’S TRIPLES ON TRACK YAMAHA MT-09 SP Yamaha’s CP3 motor never gets old, and it sure as hell didn’t disappoint around Cadwell Park. It’s a brute out of bends and mullered its rivals in the nought-to-sixty stakes. Its top end performance wasn’t too shabby, packing enough ponies to keep up with 600s in their slipstream. On that note, the Yamaha was pretty much faultless. Well, if you overlook the snatchy throttle. That seems to be a common trait in the MT family, which doesn’t cataclysmically catch you out, but gives you an unwelcomed kick up the arse each time you get on the gas. There are three throttle maps to pick from, and I found the STD (middle ground) position the most obliging on track; A was too sharp and B was too docile. I also found the traction control bloody frustrating. Like most systems, it kicked in too early, which wasn’t good news for the wallowing Yammy. The SP comes kitted with adjustable Öhlins suspension, but even this couldn’t save the bike from feeling top heavy and unstable on track. It had this weird feel to it, like the bike was bending in the

middle as you cracked on the throttle out of bends. I wasn’t a fan, and the intervening TC only made things worse, so I pulled in and turned it off. One thing that couldn’t be binned off was the ABS, which had me bricking it on too many occasions. You’re cracking on by the time you reach the 200-board at the end of the back straight, where I’d typically expect my bike to start slowing as I squeezed on the front brake lever. But the MT had different plans; the lever would go solid, start pulsing even, and scare me silly with thoughts of not stopping. But then it would. The system was never consistent, and I found the only solution was to tease the brakes into the equation, giving the bike’s weight plenty of time to transfer to the long-travel forks. Another problem with the bike was its ground clearance, as the pegs would deck out and unsettle the Yamaha further. As far as fast cornering goes, it was the worst of the three options. But it made up for it with its wheelie-ability. This thing needs no encouragement, and nor did I.


Dangerous, showing off his spectacular one-handed riding skills (again).


As easy to ride as Boothy...

Triumph Street Triple RS


o memory, there hasn’t been one FB road test that the Speed Trip’ has performed badly on. It’s a great bike and despite its lack of new-for-2 018 status I knew that Mr. Bean, who hadn’t previously had the pleasure, would love his maiden sortie on the 7 6 5 cc engined weapon. Although you can definitely see subtle hints of D aytona D NA in the Street Trip’, it’s not a bike that looks particularly sporty or aggressive. In fact I would almost go as far as to say that the Triumph is starting to look a little dated, these days. It’s not horrible, but it’s far from striking, like the MV. The Triumph just looks, well, nice. L ike the girl next door; you would, but you wouldn’t write to the queen about it. For some reason when you depress the ignition button on the Street Triple, there seems to be a slight hesitation before the starter motor spins the engine

up. It’s as though the bike needs a moment to decide whether or not you’re worth it. And worth it I must have always been, as the Trumper never failed to fire gloriously up. The Street Trip’ had the distinctive Triumph sound, a smooth whirr harmonised with a subtle whistle, quite different to the other two bikes on test. Engine-wise it’s not just the sound that’s smooth; the power delivery is smoother than all of Annie’s criminal endeavours put together. Well that is until the TC system throws a spanner in the works when it detects a little too much exuberance. In all fairness, it’s only really a major problem when either Rain or Road mode is engaged. There is four pre-set modes; Rain, Road, Sport and Track but you can also set it to C ustom, where everything is customisable and turn-offable. Which is nice. What is also nice is the TFT dash, that comes with three different display options


and a fairly straightforward user interface (once you get used to it, anyway). The problem with mode selection isn’t the dash, it’s the joystick that’s used to select them. It’s a good idea and it’s easy to scroll through the modes with it but I found myself thumbing it left or right to try and get the indicators going, such is its position on the left hand switchgear. Track mode is the most fun preset option, with ‘Track ABS’ allowing a reasonable amount of anchorage, but what worked best for me was to program my own C ustom setup, with ABS completely disabled. I half expected custom mode to remain selected when the ignition was turned off, but like so many

other bikes the Triumph defaults to its safe ‘Road’ mode when you turn it off. Annoying. Another annoying thing about the Triumph is its mirrors. Mounted to the end of its handlebars, they can be a bit of a nuisance when cornering and over about 5 0mph they vibrate

We all have to start somewhere.


MR BEA AN SAYS... I really liked the Triumph. It just seemed so nice to ride; really well refined. It was the bike I felt the most comfortable on as soon as I got on it because everything was in the right place and just where you need it to be. There is no need to adjust yourself to the bike like the other two. I don’t like how in Road mode when you get up to about 10,000rpm it cuts in the traction control when there doesn’t seem to be any real need to, but in track mode you could really give it some hammer. The Triumph was easily my favourite.


Highlights Space-age electronics suit Ultra-smooth engine Perfect road holding Cornering ABS 77Nm torque 121bhp BRAKING






Cheers Brembo Always planted

Sportsbike DNA

PERFORMANCE 7 Smoooooooth


Missing something


Bruce prefers ’em naked, emitting a throaty noise and buzzing their tits off.

Verdict 8/10 You won’t find a smoother or easier bike to ride than the Street Trip. It does everything you ask of it, but don’t expect any fireworks.

that much that you can’t see anything in them anyway. When you have got used to the Triumph’s few faux pas, and set it to the mode you’re happy with, it really is a stunning motorcycle. H ard cornering isn’t met with wallows or kicks that plague other naked (and faired, for that matter) bikes; it always does what it’s told. Okay, it might not be the sharpest bikes for handling but its road holding ability easily makes up for it. Nothing we threw at the three bikes on our road test phased the Trumper, from fast A-roads to bumpy back roads, it performed remarkably. The Triumph was also the comfiest bike on test. Every part of my body seemed to be in the right place on the Street Trip’, feet, arse, hands… the lot. And while we are on the subject of

arses, it has a lovely soft seat that would please even the boniest rear. Its tall stature makes you feel like the king (or queen) of the road in a way the MV and the Y am really don’t. Y ou can feel the sportsbike pedigree in the Triumph but it certainly doesn’t feel like a sportsbike. It’s comfy and smooth and easy to ride but in some ways that’s its downfall. It’s almost too comfy and smooth and easy to ride. Y es, the engine is strong but it’s so silky smooth that it’s hard to extract any real sense of excitement out of it, and the same can be said for the chassis. Everything does what you want it to do in a calm and collected ways. We loved the Triumph Street Triple RS and always will, but it’s not a bike that is going to put hairs on your chest in a hurry.


‘Wait, is that a penny down there?’



BRUCE’S TRIPLES ON TRACK TRIUMPH STREET TRIPLE 765 RS If you own a Street Triple and you’ve never taken it on track, you’re committing a sin. It took me all of a few corners to fall in love with the Trumpet that packed the perfect package of fine handling, a j uicy motor and greater predictability than an MP’s ex cuses. The engine is the heart of the bike, which never felt laboured on track. It had the torq ue to punch you out of corners, and carried plenty of pace down the straighter bits; all the time emitting a throaty, seductive induction noise that complemented the stock can’s soundtrack. I liked it. The gearbox was as slick as it gets and the stock fitment shifter never failed to perform. The throttle connection was intuitive, and the power delivery was straighter than a Roman road. In essence, it felt refined, trustworthy and stuck like the proverbial to a blanket through the corners. It wasn’t that precise in the handling stakes, but it felt glued to terra firma the whole time, even when trying one’s best to stretch the triple’s throttle cable on corner ex its. Like the MT and the Brutale, the Triumph packs plenty of tech; it’s largely governed by four varying levels of techno castration, that includes a Track rider mode with

limited traction and track friendly ABS. Anything other than this setup was pointless, as the bike’s tech engaged without invitation and ruined the ex perience at every opportunity. And while I can’t fault the Track mode’s ABS operation, the TC still made too many appearances for my liking. Thankfully, Rider mode ( a fifth programmable option) meant I could switch TC off completely, as well as the ABS. Footloose and buz z ing its tits off, the Triumph was a delectable bike to ride, being super stable and offering a plush feel through its adj ustable pogos. It was also comfy, with wide ‘ bars and sportily placed pegs… that ground themselves to buggery at every given chance. The brakes were also nex t level, being the best of all the bikes, in my opinion. The purchase was strong and long lived, with plenty of feel on tap through the standard fitment Brembo MCS master-cylinder ( that could be adj usted for span and piston siz e 19,20,21mm) . The only thing that could make this make this bike better would be a fairing and some clip-ons. Come on, Triumph. Give us a 7 65 Daytona.

Jumping for joy.

Kerb your enthusiasm.




M Agusta Brutale 800RR MV 0RR

Yamaha Yamah a MT MT-09 09 SP

Type Bore x Stroke Compression Fuelling Tested Power


Tested Torque RBW/Riding Modes Traction Control ABS Quickshifter Wheelie Control


Launch Control Frame Front Suspension Rear Suspension Front Brakes




Rear Brakes


Seat Height Dry Weight Fuel Capacity



Boothy loves the smell of fresh unleaded in a morning.


Triumph Street Triple RS Trium



See page 6 for the best deals




hese days, you really do have to ask yourself what it is you’re after when you’re choosing your next bike; realistically, there aren’t many crap ones. What we have got though are loads of options which, although on paper appear fairly similar, in the cold light day aren’t actually anything like one another. Okay, so these three are all similar capacity, three cylinder naked bikes. They have all got a wheel at either end and have a reasonable to good level of tech. But that’s where the similarity ends. The Brutale felt the sportiest on the road by far, and one would naturally assume that this would translate well on the track, but in actual fact it’s flightiness and overall nervousness made it far too much of a handful for D angerous Bruce to set a decent pace on round C adwell P ark. It’s just as well it has looks on its side... which it most certainly does. L ess sporty than the MV is the Y amaha. It also isn’t anywhere near as much of a head turner as the Brutale. What it is though, is £4k or so less than the MV which, looks aside, really isn’t any more of a bike than the Y am, whose vague feeling front end could, I’m sure, be cured with a bit of jiggery pokery on the suspenders. Y ou get as much tech on the MT-09 SP as you need on a bike like that, and it’s all dead simple to use, but what

really lets the package down is the nonswitchable ABS (well actually just the brakes in general). But the Y amaha is still a hell of a lot of bike for the money. Even more different still is the Triumph. And it’s difficult to fault it. With the Street Triple, you get a bike that goes fairly fast, handles fantastically, is comfortable, sounds good, looks okay and it packed with smart tech… yeah, there are a few tiny annoying bits but it ticks nearly all the boxes. For me though, the most important box is excitement. P erhaps I’m being hypercritical of what is genuinely, and definitely, a fantastic motorcycle, but I felt like everything was so polished and easy to use that it lacked a certain je ne sais quoi. If you’re after a new naked middleweight and you want perfection in your life then the Triumph Street Triple RS has got to be the bike for you. It will do everything you want it to. If you want to save a few pennies, though, the Y amaha MT-09 SP would be a fantastic addition to your garage. It will do everything you need it to. But if you have got loads of money, and you care more about form than function, well the MV Agusta Brutale 8 00RR would definitely be the tool for you. Okay so it might not always do what you want it to or need it to but it sure as hell would keep you entertained.

Dangerous Bruce holding the job up, again.



W F 4 V S R a Aprili to a NOT coming ar you! showroom ne



s. Rags to riche

RSV4 ers and buy an down the deal you’ll go to buy the ad he t where ing your lis FW (but that’s cessories for hen you’re writ istmas, e doz ens of ac items that ar hr e C er is th Th a ). nt ts bi 12 for Sa plus a further slap an RSV4 ks the stock RF, don’t forget to e Factory Wor bit th a g to in in be ot ’s sl he lly e if ca , er ifi th RR ec er an sp w r O po want more out either RF on there. e is, that with Factory bracket. If you nt glitz y bits you can lin m tto Bo . tight ffere rilia’s are several di n jubblies Ap n just that. of theese Italia remai to your bike. ill on w lt hter m bo ea dr ) g includes lig ks (FW Work d how can The full sheban a wholly different tly is an FW an e of these ac ex t ha w s, t on Bu single-ring pist d cams, plus a richer thy mitts on on you gget your fil ? r head an de lin cy rs de atherweight on winged w get a bit U. Throw a fe gs EC in g th lin re into the el he fu w s l that’s ened m race system Well, nce Aprilia’s op with Akrapovic titaniu ve got yourself a se es In g. in st se u’ , yo intere yone el mix and, voila cket. That latter part u, me and an the door to yo enough bank loan to otch ro cr p bh ays a 12 2 ge ficence also pl 10kg s 10kg access to a hu bolt-on magni ast that weigh ed of be sh p bh FW e 12 2 e th a te ng an build role in seei and, to guar or aj RF cked out m de V4 n RS he a w u less than ted blubber, d glance at yo an ol w un od fuel in go er a ht s one for guards, a lig everyone ha in carbon mud top yoke, with the up at Tescos on thrown ck ro u yo n e whe NC ey’v tank, and a C and crisps, th ed (replaced by some bog roll d aerodynamic winglets mirrors remov ’s ke , those bi ire sp ). Aesthetically some G P -in blanking plates t striking addition . ix m e it th re os to m in but here’s whe wings are the ose behind these All good stuff, ery ounce of added ere’s purp th d Ev an . ry ur e drilled and bl t, gets a bit am of weigh odies which ar side of a gr go d ve on sa rb y ca er e from the in oomph and ev at fresh new look, is the fixed into plac n th n’t just ca not to mentio u yo k; oo order-b product of an


! T I G N I ch. Here’s te 4 V S R y tt to top ept. gates to some d o o fl e ry Works conc th to d c e a n F e p lf o e rs ’s u a li o Apri -iitt-y f om the build fr t c e p x e PRILIA to t a wh IMAGES: A ANGEROUS WORDS: D


LAUNCH What an anchor! Aero wings are meant to help in the braking zone.

Highlights Incredible V4 soundtrack Incredible Öhlins suspension Incredible slick lap time 115Nm 180kg (dry) 201bhp

And then some chap called Redding rocked up...

stock RSV4’s fairing panels (better get your drill on charge). As tried and tested in the magical realms of G P , the wings are claimed to aid stability on the straights, limit the aggressiveness of unwanted wheelies and help with braking performance by forcing the front wheel into the ground. But do they really work in practice? I swanned off to Mugello to find out. H aving never sampled the delights of the picture-postcard circuit, I was pretty glad there was a standard RR road bike kicking around for me to get to grips with the place. Even in stock shape, the base model Aprilia proved the perfect sparring partner for Mugello’s flowing curves. I was loving life but also uncommonly eager to see how this little soiree could be taken to new heights of delight. Naturally, I had great hopes invested in the FW and it didn’t take long for those preconceptions to start hitting home, fast. Very fast, at that. Exiting pitlane and blatting down towards San D onato (the first uphill right hander), the FW’s lust for pace made the RR feel like a gasping asthmatic on forty cigs a day. The motor was both pokier in the bottom of the range and, more notably, so much freer revving up the top. The blitz up to P oggio Secco was my first real chance to open the motor up in anger, feeling the rear P irelli SC 1 squirm beneath me as it got the kicking of its life time. The throttle connection felt sharper than a raz or to the ball bag, but the delivery was still very manageable and in keeping with the V4 virtues that have seen the Noale-built beauty bully more powerful machines in the race for pace. G oing fast felt effortless; trying wasn’t necessary. Without even thinking about it I needed to hook a gear higher in a few sections to try and quash the motor’s desire to smash its own back doors in. On an unfamiliar track, that made life a little harder, demanding more gear shifts, more input and




Top stoppers

Marvellous mid-turn


Needs some persuasion




A laugh a second

more focus to nail its flowing features. A few weeks earlier I’d raz z ed BMW’s equally powerful H P 4 Race (2 12 bhp) around Almeria, feeling very much abused by its relentlessly screaming inline-four motor, which refused to be ridden at anything short of max revs. The Aprilia was showing a laz ier, more manageable style that allowed me to extract the goodness from its V4 lump in a much more palatable manner, being sneakily as potent even if it didn’t feel like it. But that’s what V4s do, isn’t it? Offering that enviable half-way house of torque and peak power. I liked it, and better still I liked the way the stock clutch, blipper and gearbox manned-up effortlessly to the job of handling a tuned motor. But let’s not get too excited. Unlike the Beemer, which needs a refresh every 4,000km, the Aprilia’s state of tune (despite achieving the same output) didn’t warrant such rigorous maintenance and upkeep. The pistons are more focused for sure, but stop a long way short of the WSB-spec items that power the factory world superbikes (and are changed after every race meeting). The surface treated cams go to reduce friction, and the blueprinted valve package that comes part and parcel with the wholly new, gas-flowed cylinder head has the mileage in it to take long term abuse. All of which is ideal for a motor that’s likely to see a good

PARTS AND PRICES Single-ring performance piston Ported cylinder head and control unit Akrapovic titanium system Carbon winglets Lithium battery Lightweight tank CNC machined yoke Carbon front mudguard Carbon rear mudguard Adjustable brake lever Adjustable clutch lever Heel guards

€3,500 €5,900 €3,000 €610 €195 €650 €421 €361 €216 €152 €152 €76



More than enough




chunk of action on road and track. But there’s the catch, or should I say another one: assuming you opt to spec up the engine to the FW-max, it’ll no longer be road legal. H ell, just putting the Akra on the bike will make an emissions tester have a fit. And because those wings aren’t homologated, they’ll potentially cause you a headache down the cop shop too – unless you’re really good at bluffing. Now, before I get too sensible and whittle on about a load more ‘what ifs’, I’ll turn things back to the positive. In terms of speed, the FW found an extra 8 mph over the RR on the start straight, which could come in pretty handy in a police chase. The fuelling was also a damn sight more crisp and dependable, making mid-corner throttle openings a clinical and crisp procedure. After a twenty minute stint I’d readily acclimatised to the Aprilia’s added oomph, which seemed to engage nicely with the stock core of the bike. With no changes to the electronics, chassis or pogos, this notable increase in performance had the potential to rock the proverbial apple cart, but it didn’t; the package felt slicker than a dolphin covered in Utterly Butterly. For nine years now the Aprilia’s frame has blown us away, and it excelled itself further on this test. Of course, being some 10kg lighter would never do any bike any harm, especially one as weighty as the stock RSV4. It’s never been a featherweight, so this SlimFast approach was of blatant benefit. I ticked off over an hour of track time on the FW, but from that very first lap every corner had been made so much easier to pitch into, to hold a line, and counter physics on corner exits when hard acceleration did its best to ping me wider on bends. C ornering entries had got so much sexier I had to recalibrate my lines and energy levels to stop the thing turning back on itself. It was nowhere near as agile as a H P 4 Race, but felt more akin to a sharp shooting R1M. I could deal with that. That said, the stock bike feels as planted as a scrote on benefits mid-corner, and there was no drastic improvements to note in that respect. And I’d be a liar if I said I felt the




Aprilia RSV 4 FW ENGINE.

V 4 DO HC 7 8 x 52.3 mm 13 .6: 1 Fuel inj ection 212bhp @ 13 ,000rpm 119Nm @ 10,500rpm

Type: Bore x Stroke: Compression: Fuelling: Claimed Power: Claimed Torque:

It’s not every day you share your pit garage with a motorcycling legend, but GP racer Scott Redding struck lucky on this occasion. Dangerous asked him for his take on the FW… “ What a difference that made. I know I’m used to GP bikes, but the standard bike ( which he tested first) felt like I’d hit the wrong rider mode or something in that first session. The FW felt much more like it; much more like a racer. There was a decent amount of power on tap and I could tell straight away how much better it was in the corners. The weight difference made the bike much easier to put where I wanted it to be. It was hard to tell ex actly what difference the wings made, but they looked pretty smart. That’s got to be worth something. In fairness, I’m that used to riding with wings now that I can’t really tell the effect they have. They make a big difference on my GP bike at high speed;

We’ve seen bigger minimotos.

places like Silverstone and Phillip Island where you’ve got some really high speed corners. They help to load the front in a bend, getting you into a corner easier and helping to keep the front loaded when you’re getting on the gas, and they also offer better stability when you’re on the brakes. I can’t see why these on this bike wouldn’t do the same. I like them.”


Riding Modes: Traction Control: ABS: Quickshifter Wheelie Control: Launch Control: Autoblipper:

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

‘So, where did you buy your tache?’


Frame: Front Suspension: Rear Suspension: Front Brakes: Rear Brake:

Aluminum dual beam chassis O hlins NIX 3 0 forks, fully adj ustable O hlins TTX 3 6 shock, fully adj ustable Brembo Monobloc four-piston calipers, 3 20mm discs Twin-piston Brembo caliper, 220mm disc


Wheelbase: Seat Height: Dry Weight: Fuel Capacity:

1,4 20mm 8 4 5mm 17 0kg 18 .5 litres


Price: From:

£ ( Priced to spec)

The stock RR was a blast but outclassed.

Unless they’re into S&M, you might struggle for pillions.

A featherweight Akra adds instant pulling power.




If you opt for the FW-spec cylinder head you’ll be the owner of a machine ported item, with expanded inlet and outlet ports. The valves have been carefully chosen, in a blueprinted manner, to best match the cylinder head; reducing friction and power losses. The cams also reduce friction thanks to a special coating.


Smaller skirted single ring pistons have taken the place of the stock items to reduce reciprocal weight, and minimise frictional losses. The race-influenced items are said to bring 4bhp to party on their own.

wings made a major difference at reducing wheelies or aiding my braking. Even Scott Redding, who’d swung by for a blast, admitted he couldn’t always feel the benefit of wings on his G P bike, or at least once he’d got the thing out of its wheelieprone range. The one place the bike did feel better was over the start straight’s speedy crest. Y ou hit it at about 17 0mph, and I’d been having wheelies and wobbles on the RR, but they vanished when the FW was doing its thing, which is ironic considering I was hitting the crest a good deal faster.


The FW-spec wings are a direct development from the brand’s GP endeavours. They’re intended to improve braking stability, straight line stability and minimise unwanted wheelies. They’re also said to improve corner entries as the airflow helps to force the nose of the bike down and into corners.

So are they a gimmick? P retty much so, but they’re a pretty gimmick at that, and you can guarantee that your mates would be all over them if you rocked up with some for a Sunday ride… though they’d probably spend the rest of the day taking the piss. When all’s said and done, wings are here to stay and it wouldn’t surprise me if Aprilia, who are clearly keen ambassadors of the tech, become the first litre sportsbike manufacturer to incorporate them into the expected RSV4 model update which will show its face this year at EIC MA.


Don’t get too excited about the FW’s unique ECU. You’ll get one if you opt for the new cylinder head, but it’s essentially just remapped to ram more fuel down the V4’s throat. The tech on the bike remains the same as the RR and RF.

They look cool and they at least suggest performance, and it’ll no doubt prove beneficial to the World Superbike guys, for whom these will be then be homologated. As to whether the motorcycling industry as a whole, is in dire need of them, the answer’s no. If I was faced with the option of bolting-on weighty wings or shedding a few more pounds, I’d probably go for FW-spec the carbon huggers in their place, and save a few quid while I’m at it. That’s the thing with this bike and its concept; it is what you make of it. While I’d have preferred an out the box FW-spec bike, negating the agro of ordering items and paying for fitment, I get why Aprilia’s done it this way; it’s like buying an Action Man, then saving up to treat him to a grenade launcher one month and a commando knife the next. It keeps the customer engaged and gives owners the chance to make their bike truly unique in the process. There’s no harm in that, but there’s a pretty hefty bill if you’re gonna go the whole hog. The last time I checked there wasn’t a spare £15 k down the side of the sofa, so I’ll just have to make do with the otherwise brilliant RF.



The RSV4 RF can do everything its rivals can do, in most cases, better. A fast and incredible bike to ride; a worthy winner of SBOTY 2018. Not even wings could help him find an apex. 38 AUGUST 2018 WWW.FASTBIKESMAG.COM






As always, there’s a fair amount of blurb and bluster doing the rounds about what we could be seeing next from some manufacturers, so here’s the latest we’ve heard, along with some completely made up rumour scores!

DUCATI PANIGALE V4 750 / 800 Now then, this one won' t go away. When we first heard it might become a reality we were a little sceptical, however then a very similar set of whispers came from another different source, and then another, too. Word is that the bottom-end of the incoming Panigale V 4 R engine ( which is sub litre for racing) , could be used to form the basis of a smaller capacity version to replace the current 959 Panigale, and there are various options of how they could go about it from a mechanical point of view. In an ideal world, as FB is busy trying to tell anyone who will listen, the Supersport class should be replaced with bikes such as the 959 Panigale, MV Agusta F3 8 00, incoming Triumph 7 65 and potential new Suz uki GSX -R7 50; we’d love it to be a 7 50cc motor. Should it ever come to pass that is! That way it could slot into a new Supersport class as a four-cylinder. Rumours do point towards 8 00cc being a potential choice given it was a MotoGP capacity for a few years. But with four pots, a three-q uarter-litre engine would be more than handy enough against an 8 00cc F3 , and so on.

Rumour rated

It’s possible, but we won’t hold our breath…


DUCATI PANIGALE ‘NUDO’ / STREETFIGHTER Yeah, the ‘ Nudo’ part we made up ( it means naked, in Italian) , as we haven’t heard any particular name being bandied about for this potential machine. Ducati have a terrific naked bike in the Monster, but haven’t really had a balls deep naked sportsbike since the madcap and sorely missed Streetfighter range. As ex cellent as the Monster is, it’s more Roadster material than pure sports fare, and Ducati do need a rival to Aprilia’s all conq uering Tuono 1100, don’t they? The Panigale 1100 engine with some slight fettling will make an absolute beast of a naked bike engine – drop the delivery curve way down the range, cap a stack of rpm off it and throw it all back down low – sorted! There’s ample rumours z apping about that point to this bike maybe being revealed later this year, and unless they really want to keep sports for their sportsbikes and all the rest of their range V -twin based, we reckon it’s more than likely.

Rumour rated

Please happen! Don’t let us down, Ducati!

8/10 MV AGUSTA F7 The long awaited replacement for the venerable ( but still proper Bo!) F4 range, allegedly called the F7 for now, was originally intended to be revealed last year, before MV hit the financial skids. Work was well down the line, and at one point apparently had some involvement from AMG with the engine side of things, before that relationship went down the swanny. Having spoken to those who’ve seen the bike, or plans for it at least at some stage of its development, it’s supposed to look like something between an F4 and a Panigale –and that’s probably not a bad thing! The last we heard it would remain an inline-four with a traditional firing order, but this was a while ago so it could have changed by now, but that remains the likely configuration. We also know that a ‘ Final Edition’ F4 is at the precipice of being released, probably some time in July, which all points to the F7 being incoming. With that being said, and with MV still recuperating and getting back to a healthy business, maybe this year is a little early – but we can’t wait!

Rumour rated

Stun us, MV! Even if we have to wait until 2020! 40 AUGUST 2018 WWW.FASTBIKESMAG.COM



SUZUKI GSX-R750 We were so ex cited a few months back when we heard there was to be a new Gix er Seven Fiddy on the way, in the same vein as Suz uki have so successfully updated the GSX -R1000. It’s sad that 2018 is the first year since 198 5 that a Gix er 7 50 hasn’t been on the market, especially as even when it wasn’t the latest and greatest it sold well and was a near perfect middle-range choice. O riginally we were told to ex pect a late 2018 reveal, but have recently learned that’s unlikely to be the case ( with Euro 5 not far off) , and now more likely to be a 2020/21 machine if they still go through with it. C’mon, Suz uki, you were doing so well with some of your new bikes, keep it up, and give us another bike for our new Supersport class! Er, please?

Rumour rated


We do hope they haven’t got cold feet…

MV AGUSTA BRUTALE U sing a larger capacity version of the F7 engine, MV boss Giovanni Castiglioni has been reported as saying he wants the new Brutale to be the most powerful naked sportsbike in the world. Not j ust by a bit, but by a lot! This would point to a much larger capacity, around 1,2001,3 00cc perhaps. They need it though, the Big Brutale has q uietly shuffled off, being non Euro 4 compliant and was the only MV to not have a RBW throttle assembly. It’s missed, q uite frankly, because even the ‘ lowly’ 910 version from a few years back was insane and a bag full of fun.

Rumour rated


Just give it to us already!

HONDA V4 FIREBLADE Those rumours never go away, but then neither did the ones for decades telling us a road going NSR500 was on its way, either. God we’d love to be proved wrong on this, we really would, but j ust can’t see it happening. Has no one else noticed how much of Honda’s range has been a little stifled of late? Sure, updates here and there, couple of new bikes here and there but nothing substantial bar the Fireblade and Fireblade SP – and even they are basically the old bike tarted up a bit, rather than being completely new. Yes we had the RCV -alike that cost £150k a couple of years back, but even that bike out of the box made less power than a 2003 Fireblade! Honda don’t tend to play any tune other than their own, which is fine, but what makes it hard for us lot is we all know what they’re capable of – Aprilia and Ducati can produce sub-£20,000 V 4 superbikes, and sell every one they make, so there’s no real ex cuse for the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world to not easily best or beat that, nay?

Rumour rated

Please, Honda, for the love of Pete make us wrong!


SUZUKI GSX-R1000R SE We’re q uite confident this is going to happen, although we’re basically ex pecting the same current machine to be fitted with Showa’s ridiculously good electronic suspension that’s fitted to this year’s K awasaki ZX -10R SE ( which is why we stole the ‘ SE’ bit for our purposes here!) . K awasaki had the ex clusive deal for 2018 , but we’ve heard that runs out for 2019, and as we’ve also heard Suz uki may not have a great deal to show this winter, this could be a no-brainer for them to get a bit of coverage.

Rumour rated


Highly likely, for 2020 if not 2019. AUGUST 2018 WWW.FASTBIKESMAG.COM 41


APRILIA RSV4 Can you believe we’ve had the V 4 Aprilia in our lives for nine years now? It’s still very much a masterpiece, but the Noale factory must be feeling the pressure to introduce something new to the market. Nothing too drastically different to the ex ceptional beast we know and love, but something that looks a little sharper, packs a few more ponies and carries the ex citement of a latest generation litre bike. We’ll be honest, we’ve heard from peeps on the inside that we can ex pect a new model to grace the EICMA show later this year, but have little idea of ex actly what to ex pect. With Ducati’s V 4 R hitting the scenes in the very near future, you’d be right to think Aprilia are going to want to better any brilliance that j oins the party.

Rumour rated

Extremely probable. Extremely awesome.


YOU SAID... Jon Heppell: Huge mistake. Ducati left a huge hole in their range when they discontinued the SF. I’ve heard all the reasons/ arguments why, but however hard they try the friggen Monster will never be a suitable replacement ( more so with that ragingly awful round headlamp no matter how many bloody LEDs are in it… it’s truly an archaic style) The Monster is NO T a naked bike given that when we mention nakeds... Aprilia Tuono, Yamaha MTs, etc. it j ust doesn’t meet the cut. We need a new model Ducati Streetfighter... Micael Henning: Husq varna Nuda with 13 9bhp with same torq ue character. Sam Lucas: The RSV 4 has been getting minor updates for nine solid years now. Surely it’s time to refresh the line-up?

Richard Wallington: I’d like to see 7 50 sportbikes make a comeback. Saif Syed: I’d like to see a new Aprilia RSV 4 and also a new K awasaki ZX -10R, cause the current one looks aged compared to other litre class beauties. A few new entry level beauties would be nice too, like a GSX -R3 00, a CBR3 00 RR\ 4 00 RR and Aprilia RSV 2 4 00. Hope all of these come to reality. Daive Haines: We need more V 4 s, Triples, and CPs. The world is getting bland with 1000cc inline-fours that can’t be used to their best on U K roads. Eddie Scarlet: I tried the Monster R which was really tame after the Street fighter S so bought a 2017 Tuono which is mad as a box of frogs. Ducati’s loss.

YAMAHA R1 Nex t year the ‘ new’ Yamaha R1 will be five years old! That’s a long time for a model at the cutting edge. Yes, the current bike is already at the current edge, but the words used to us were to ‘ j ust look at Yamaha’s usual schedule of releasing models, you get a new one, then an updated one a year or so before it goes off sale’. The R1M was updated for 2018 , so we could see a brand new R1 q uite soon. We’d go for 2020 ourselves; there’s enough life left in the current bike to sq ueez e out another year of stocker and R1M sales, we’d venture.

Rumour rated


It’s coming, just maybe not for 2019.



This has to be a no-brainer. The world over fell head over heels for the adored 67 5 Daytona, which got unceremoniously knocked on the head a wee while back. It’s left a big gap in Triumph’s line-up, but we reckon a 7 65 powered lovely would more than take away our agony. More to the point, Triumph’s already done the hard work by producing the donor engine, which could even utilise the Street Triple’s frame ( with some reworked geometry for good measure) . It’s not impossible, and it would make perfect sense to release such a model in 2019 – tying in nicely with the brand’s take over as official supplier to the Moto2 class. We want this very much, Triumph. Pretty please with sugar on top!

Let’s j ust be frank – this is happening and we should see it later this year – boom! From what we know so far, it’s a wholly new bike with a stiffer chassis and a torq uier motor, which should make road riding even more of a hoot. The craz y thing is that the current RR is still an absolute weapon on road and track, being one of the easiest bikes to ride fast. It’s not faultless though, and the new one will hopefully come with a decent shifter and slicker gearbox . That’s not much to ask. BMW’s very unlikely to move away from its inline-four disposition, but whether they follow suit with rivals and go for a big-bang( er) is still to be seen. We can wait. But not that long. Ex pect to start hearing teased facts in the near future.

Rumour rated It makes sense. Or at least we think so.


Rumour rated

This is coming. End of.





Sometimes, both his wheels were inline.

THANKS TO: Dunlop Tyres R&G Racing Rock Oil Pipe Werx Held Shoei Mish, George, Ian and Oatesy






Have you ever wondered what Boothy gets up to on his days off? No? Well we haven’t either but that’s not going to stop him telling us all about his experience as a privateer at this year’s Isle of Man TT.

y first experience at the Isle of Man TT was as a spectator and, I suppose, it was similar to that of most – frequented by sharp intakes of breath, elongated swearwords and disbelief. It was incredible, and I knew the second I saw the first bike fly past that I needed to have a go. So I did. Okay, it was five years later but that’s because in the early 2 010s I was writing more bikes off than C arole Nash in the British Superstock C hampionship (which was taking its toll on my body and my wallet). C ome 2 016 , I’d learnt to stop crashing (you just go a bit slower) so I entered the TT. I had to prove to the organisers that I was committed to getting myself fully prepared by completing in at least six race days during the period leading up to the TT, as well as spending half a doz en weekends over there going round and round and round in a hire car learning the course, all of which I did. And the hard work paid off. My first TT was an awesome experience, lapping at 12 3mph on a BMW S1000RR and winning the Vernon C ooper award for the Fastest Newcomer. Fast forward to this year, and after having had my 2 017 TT rug pulled from under me at the eleventh hour, I decided not to rely on other people to bring me a bike across. I thought I’d bring my own. The only problem with that was my K awasaki Z X -10R was already very ‘used’, and there were more than a few of my close friends and acquaintances who’d suggested that the old ‘Ten’ was far too old and worn out to tackle the TT course on, most vocal of whom was my chief mechanic, G eorge (who is also my dad). But what does he know? In 2 016 I raced a 6 00 too, which was great because it meant I got a few more laps in practice week to familiarise myself with the 37 .7 mile course, so I persuaded my mate Mish to lend me his Triumph D aytona 6 7 5 R. P erfect. It was great to have the Supersport bike with us, but I’m not much of a 6 00 rider. The real focus was on the big bike, but I didn’t give myself any particularly ambitious targets.

After having missed last year’s TT, my aim was to match my S1000RR lap speed from 2 016 , and I knew that with 15 or so fewer ponies in the Ten, it would be no mean feat. In 2 016 we used Metz eler tyres, mainly because at the time I was using the similar P irellis in the British C hampionship, but since my BSB days are now a distant memory, I thought I would opt for D unlops. I know the Metz elers would have been fine for me to wobble around on, but I had tried D unlop slicks and absolutely loved them so I thought I would give them a go.

Proper Preparation?

The Z X -10 was tired and need a good dollop of TL C before it would be anywhere near ready to take on the most demanding road race in the world, as well a bigger fuel tank to facilitate two laps at a time of full throttle madness. I had expected to have to get a tank fabricated, or at least have my standard tank altered to fit another seven litres of fuel in, but a mate (who had previously raced a Z X -10 at the TT) was selling a ready-made 2 4 litre tank so I snapped it up. I thought it’d be great to get something that’d fit straight away (as it had already been used on the same model bike) but that wasn’t the case. It was a right bitch to fit. The problem was the bent and twisted subframe (from C hrist-knows how many crashes). The fuel tank that we took off fit like a glove, but that was also a bit bent and twisted so when we tried to shoehorn the new bigger tank in, there was a lot of swearing and not a lot of joy. We eventually devised a system whereby we would remove the most misshapen side of the rear sub-frame, loosely fit the tank to the other side and then re-attach the errant piece, before tightening up each bolt gradually, a bit at a time. It was a pain in the arse to be quite honest but I suppose I have only got myself to blame. I thought it would be best to treat the bikes to some bits and bobs to tidy them up a bit. The K awasaki was pretty rough round the edges and the Triumph wasn’t much better, so I



No spr ay , no lay .

W as that supposed to happen?

had a look through the R& G catalogue to see what I could find. The reason I went down the R& G route was because I knew I could get everything I needed from one place, rather than having to order rearsets from here and engine covers from there. R& G stock just about everything you need to turn a road bike into a race bike, so I put a big order in and tidied the bikes up with full crash protection kit, rearsets, rain light, lever guard and a Scorpion exhaust for the Triumph. About a fortnight before we were due to leave for the TT, the Z X -10 developed an electrical fault that I spent hours and hours chasing. The traction control lights started flashing, and I couldn’t, for the life of me, get them to stop. I tried everything I could think of, and everything everybody I know could think of (aside from replacing the whole EC U and loom), but it was to no avail. It wasn’t causing the bike to run badly, but I couldn’t get the traction control to work. After more than nine hours of pulling my hair out, I thought fuck it; who needs TC anyway? So that was it, I was all ready for the TT. We needed a couple more sets of hands in the pits so I persuaded my mates Ian and Oatesy to come along to help out (Ian wasn’t very happy when he tried on the fireproof overalls that I had ordered for him… he could have done with the next siz e up but I told him they were out of stock because it wasn’t half funny watching him squeez e into them). We had been through both bikes with a fine tooth comb and aside from a bit of paint and a few stickers to spruce the job up a bit, all systems were go (well, apart from the K TRC – K awasaki Traction C ontrol).

‘ M y advice? J ust suck it up, B oothy .’


The 6 7 5 pr epped f or the fir st night of pr actice.

Practice makes perfect.

Without wishing to sound like a hippy, the Isle of Man is a pretty special place. It’s a mecca for motorcycling and every time I arrive there, be it by air or by sea, something peculiar happens deep in my very soul and the hairs on the back of my neck spring into action. We arrived on the Thursday before practice week which gave us enough time to tart the bikes up a bit before first session on the Saturday night. At the TT, the first week is dedicated to practice, with an hour or so of practice every night, weather permitting. On a good night, there is usually enough time for about four laps. That’s on a good night though. And although Saturday wasn’t a bad night for us, it could have been better. It was a Supersport only session so I took the Trumpet out for its maiden run round the TT course. Everything was going swimmingly for the first eight miles, until I felt the left footpeg wobbling loose so I pulled over to try and tighten it by hand. I got a bit of a nip on it and set off but it soon rattled loose again. I managed to get round to complete a lap so I pulled into the pits and got G eorge to swing on it with a big set of mole grips before getting another couple of laps in. Monday night was my first chance to get out on the Z X -10. I didn’t know how the old girl would cope with the TT C ourse, but for the best part of a lap, she lapped it up, if you’ll pardon the pun… that was until I heard an almighty bang from the engine

followed by an equally hideous sound, so I turned it off, quick smart. As luck would have it, this all happened metres after exiting the final corner so I was able to coast back into the pit lane, rather than being stranded out on the mountain course somewhere, so I parked it up and jumped on the 6 7 5 to get a few laps in. At first I thought the exhaust had come loose or blown a hole in itself, but after an inspection and a quick listen to the engine, the team and I deduced it was likely a dropped valve. Bastard. So we got on with whipping the engine out, or rather, they did. They were about three quarters of the way through said engine removal when a discovery duly was made. When Ian pulled the coil off the right hand spark plug, half of the plug came with it. So as it transpired that a spark plug had snapped and the likelihood that we had dropped a valve was slimmed to almost nothing, which as far as I was concerned was great news. We had to take the engine out to remove the duff plug, so we did, and replaced the full set (that were new prior to the TT, but had been fitted, and likely overtightened, by a ham-fisted farmer who thought he was doing me a favour). With new plugs and the engine back in, the Z X -10 purred away like a good un’, and come Tuesday night we were ready to give it another go. That we did, and had a really good run of it, lapping at 119mph. We suffered again with wobbly rear-sets, this time on the Z X -10, so



after the session, we completely dismantled them all, on both bikes, and L octited them to within an inch of their lives. It’s not a reflection of the rear-sets, more of the utter hammering everything gets at the IoM TT. Wednesday night practice didn’t go as planned. Twelve miles into the course, the red flags came out so me and a bunch of other riders sat and drank coffee with the marshals and had a group Tinder swiping session on a spectator’s phone; you’d be surprised how many girls there are on such a small island. Unfortunately the red flag was due to an incident in which Manxman D an K neen sadly lost his life. As can be expected, the mood in the paddock was a little subdued

that evening, which wasn’t helped when the news came through that Steve Mercer had had an accident involving the course car, sustaining some serious injuries. As always though the show had to go on, and we made the most of the Thursday and Friday evening practice sessions eventually getting into the 12 0mph bracket, which I thought ought to stand us in good stead for the six-lap Superbike TT on Saturday. But it was still going to be tough.

Shake and Bake

I remember lining up on G lencrutchery Road for my very first TT thinking to myself ‘what am I doing here?’ Well two years later on, the

Boothy is always on the lookout for the nearest camera.

exact same question was going through my head. I’ve done a lot of race starts in my time but nothing can prepare you for firing yourself down Bray H ill on a nigh-on 2 00bhp motorbike. It’s ridiculous. But it’s incredible. Unfortunately, for me, it was only incredible for half a lap, though. The clutch on the Z X -10 gave up the ghost halfway down Sulby Straight so I was forced to retire and watch from the side-lines. I say watch from the side-lines, what I actually did was watch one lap and then jump on the bike and ride it steadily back to the paddock via the coastal road (the clutch had just enough grab left for a gentle ride back to the paddock). Riding a race bike on the street in no fun at all. Sat on half an inch of foam, bouncing over every bump and drain cover wasn’t a nice experience. And I lost count of the times I tried to put the indicators on. Tit. One thing we deprived ourselves of was the chance of a wheel change in the pitstop. The idea was to do four laps on the rear D unlop slick and then throw a new one at it for the last few laps, but it wasn’t to be. Anyway I made it back and I gave the Z X -10 straight to G eorge to sort the clutch. I had more pressing issues to worry about; I was ready to let my hair down and paint the town red. The Isle of Man during the TT fortnight is the best place in the world for so many reasons. First and foremost the bike racing is beyond anything you will see anywhere else in the world, but closely following that is the people (both locals and visitors) that you bump into. G oing out for a beer on the Isle is like having a drink with 5 0,000 mates. It’s great. But it doesn’t make the hangovers any better. After a night out on Saturday and a Sunday spent soaking up the sun and swimming in the Irish Sea, Monday was set to be a busy day, with a four-lap Supersport TT followed by a four-lap Superstock TT. AUGUST 2018 WWW.FASTBIKESMAG.COM 47

FEATURE The fir st time he’ s got it up in a while.

B oothy ’ s mates alway s dr ess lik e oompa loompas.

Not being a particularly proficient Supersport racer all I was after was a finish, but a strong headwind and a little bit too much exuberance with the throttle meant I ran out of fuel a few miles short of the fuel stop, which was a total bummer because I was really enjoying bouncing my mate’s pride and joy off the rev limiter. D on’t tell him though. I hadn’t been back at the paddock for long when the news came through that TT newcomer Adam L yon had crashed on the mountain section of the course and lost his life. Adam Ther e’ s no fl ies was an amaz ing talent who, on B oothy . I’m proud to say, was a very close friend. H is TT debut was going incredibly and he The main event. Six laps, was already starting to turn a 2 2 6 miles, with two pit few heads. It was the first time C ould’ ve b een stops. After having a chat that I had lost someone I know wor se. with J ohn H iggins from so well to the sport, and after D unlop, we decided to run one spending some time with his set of tyres for the full six laps, family afterwards and witnessing the which meant we wouldn’t need to devastation first hand, it really hit home bother with a tyre change, much to G eorge’s how selfish those who participate in such delight. I’d had a reasonably good week and a dangerous sport are, myself included. I’d already matched my best time from 2 016 After what had happened the decision to so I was pretty chilled before the Senior, I race in the Superstock TT on the Monday just wanted to go out there and enjoy riding afternoon wasn’t taken lightly, but I knew the bike without any targets. But it’s a race that if I had pulled out for any reason, Adam so there is always a target; I was passed would have kicked me in the balls given the halfway round lap one by Micko Sweeney so chance. So there I was, lined up once again I did my best to stick to the back of his BMW on G lencrutchery Road ready to have another but I couldn’t quite keep up on some crack at the whip. Third time lucky. of the big long straights. And we did finally have some luck. The The same thing happened a couple whole race went perfectly, nothing shook more times – I did my best to hang on loose or snapped on the bike, in the pits but although the old Z X -10 was doing Oatesy got the visor changed with time to us proud, it just didn’t have the beans spare, while Ian filled the big 2 4 litre tank to keep up with newer Superbike spec up. I got my finger out, did a couple of engines round the TT course. At the 12 4mph laps and finished 2 5 th, which I end of the six laps, we managed to didn’t think was a bad day at the office. finish just inside the top 2 0, in 19th Next up was the second Supersport TT place, with a best lap of 12 5 mph. On a and we needed to get more fuel in the tank six-year-old bike. I had been slightly if we were going to be in with a chance of concerned about trying to squeez e a finishing, so the lads rammed an airline into full race distance out of a rear tyre the top, bunged the hole up and fired as (especially without traction control) much air into it as they dared in attempt to but the D unlops were spot on all blow the sides of the tank out. And believe it through the race and still looked as or not it worked. The tank ended up looking though they had life left in them a little bit bulbous but we were able to get afterwards. The sense of achievement another 2 .5 litres in which we knew would from finishing a six lap TT is beyond be the difference between getting round or words, I was so proud of myself, the not. And it was. Supersport 2 was another bike and the lads, G eorge, Ian and great race, I lapped at 119.97 mph (pretty Oatetsy who had worked their socks annoying, really) and finished 36 th. The off to keep the bikes up to scratch. last race of the week was the Senior TT. 48 AUGUST 2018 WWW.FASTBIKESMAG.COM

TT Blues

Now I’m home, the TT blues have well and truly set in – I have to wait another year for the opportunity to race in the most iconic motorcycling event in the world. But in all fairness it’s just as well, as the old K waka will almost certainly be ready for retirement soon so I’m going to need all the time I can get to save up for a new race bike for 2 019. H opefully, after having a good run at the 2 018 TT, there might be a sponsor or two who wants to get involved for next year, which would certainly make it a little easier for us to get a competitive package together. To cheer myself up I have sent my entries off for the Ulster G rand P rix, so I’ll spend the next few weekends turning the bikes back around so they are ready for that. It’s not quite the TT but it comes a close second, so if you are looking for something to do in August, why not come and pay a visit? I’ll even get Oatesy to make you a brew.

The D r eam Team.







Into your sporty tourers? Well MV tell us they’ve created the sportiest of them all; an F3 800 you can ride to work on, with an innovative clutch system thrown in for good measure. Meet the Turismo Veloce 800 Lusso SCS…


electronically controlled via the EC U to etween you and me, even though balance the amount of clutch slip to how I’m not 7 0 years old, I do love a much gas you’re giving. So basically, the EC U good sports tourer. Y ou can piss takes over from your left hand! C lever, eh? about all day, hoon your tits off and still And it’s not just the clutch that’s new either, arrive at your destination with your wrists as MV have equipped the same powerplant and bum cheeks intact. The problem is you’d find in the Brutale 8 00RR (with though, even the sportiest of sports tourers the same upgraded jaz z to meet aren’t really sharp enough, so when the Euro 4 regs with the same power invite came through to test out MV Agusta’s figures) with new transmission, Turismo Veloce 8 00 L usso SC S which is said balance shaft, primary gear to accelerate almost as quickly set and a load of EC U as a World Superbike, I Highlights algorithms for good measure. couldn’t wait to get my Throw that combo into the mits on one… Sporty handling same gorgeous chassis from With a price tag of over 17 Perky engine the previous Turismo Veloce and a half grand, you’d like to Snazzy clutch with some new electronically think that the Turismo Veloce 192kg (dry) dampened Sachs suspension, 8 00 L usso SC S is packing some 110hp and you’re left with the serious punch in the tech 80Nm of torque lightest bike in its sector, with department – and thankfully BRAKING 9 the best power to weight ratio the Italian brand haven’t Big ol’ Brembos! in its class. D ie hard tourers disappointed. The big hitter on STABILITY 8 shouldn’t fret though, as it’s offer here is the clutch, which Rock solid tourer not all sport and no tour; MV will leave your left hand free AGILITY 9 have cleverly equipped some to flick people off as you Impressively nimble slightly lower pegs and higher effortlessly hit 6 0mph in an DRIVE 7 bars (with heated grips), a impressive 3.15 seconds. Beefy for an 800 2 1.5 litre tank, impressively Sounds weird, right? Well this FUN 8 designed 30-litre panniers and is all thanks to the SC S, or Up for a good time… a range of engine maps for Smooth C lutch System, which a smoother ride – if that’s means you don’t have to touch what you fancy. the clutch lever whatsoever, For our first taste of the Turismo Veloce whether stopping, starting or manoeuvring at 8 00 L usso SC S, MV let us loose in a parking slow speeds, although the lever is still there lot where they’d set out some C BT style for the purpose of popping minging wheelies cones so we could try the Smart C lutch – or something like that. D on’t mix the SC S System at slow speeds. J umping on, the up with the weighty D C T or un-sporty C VT cockpit felt instantly comfortable and not too styles you’ve seen before though, as it’s high, with a crisp TFT dash giving all the essentially a standard manual gearbox with information you need, although things did an automatic Rekluse clutch, which engages get a little busy when looking on the go. in gear as the engine revs, and is then




We also got a taste of the standard MV Agusta Turismo Veloce 800 Lusso, which has a normal clutch system and comes in at £15,990.




The controls were well placed and firing up the engine induced that stunning soundtrack before I gave the MV its first real test. It’s a funny old feeling not touching the clutch, and the gearbox flicked effortlessly into first as I doused the power on and drove out, with the refined ride-by-wire throttle making starting and slow speed manoeuvring smoother than H ugh H efner’s pick-up lines. The real test came with a quick launch though, and to see if the head of R& D ’s claim of being able to go from 0-100% with the bike taking care of the rest was true. Not one to turn down such a kinky proposition, I gave the MV a fistful from nothing and closed my eyes as the MV fired off in the smoothest, fastest fashion; a start you could only dream of having while sitting on a starting grid as the algorithms worked like guardian angels, keeping everything from wheelspin to wheelies in check. Sh* t, this really could be the future… It wasn’t just the car park where the MV impressed though, as we headed out on the roads to get a true taste of the Turismo Veloce 8 00 L usso SC S. Starting off in the ‘touring’ maps to get through city traffic, the peaky motor was instantly levelled, quiet and easy to ride, with the clutchless action and refined shifter making the stop/start process easier than Boothy after a few pints – so much so that I didn’t even touch first gear, just rolling around happily in second. Even the design of the panniers being within the width of the handlebars made life easy, flicking through traffic without the worry of clobbering mirrors everywhere. It didn’t take long for the touring box to be ticked, before we found some open roads to see if it really was an F3 8 00 under that skin… and it’s safe to say it was. As soon as I flicked it back into ‘Sport’ mode (on the fly, may I add) the engine burst into life, screaming its tits off as I threw gears in return for that gorgeously engineered

Don’t be a recluse, get a Rekluse.


Nope, it’s not a spelling mistake! Think of Rekluse as the clutch equivalent of your Brembo brakes, or Ohlins suspension – a company based around one sole element of a machine, for the best, most focused results. The brand was founded in 2002 all the way over in the States, and now 16 years down the line, Rekluse have become a huge brand in the off-road world. Besides starting to do work on the roads with MV Agusta, Rekluse supply a whole host of Motocross teams, including the factory KTM and Husqvarna squads.

soundtrack – okay it would’ve been nice to have a little extra punch (and a few hundred more cc) but I didn’t feel cheated, and that 110hp does enough to keep you entertained, being just as happy pushed hard as it is pottering on a motorway. It’s when we entered the twisties though that the MV really came into its own, with those big ol’ Brembos offering a monumental amount of stopping power and feel, before abusing the gorgeously plush chassis to the point where you really could show up a sportsbike or two. As ever, ground clearance is exceptional and the Semi-active suspension works nicely on the sporty base settings, although if I had one myself, I’d have to bugger about with the

mechanical preload slightly for a firmer ride. But no one’s perfect, and the more miles we crunched, the more at home I felt. The word ‘refined’ and MV Agusta don’t always come hand in hand, but the Italians have genuinely pulled of a corker with the Turismo Veloce 8 00 L usso SC S. Okay, it comes in at a fair wad of money, but chances are if you fancy an MV that’s not going to be a worry. After a long day’s riding the seat did leave my ass a little sore, but aside from that, the Turismo Veloce 8 00 L usso SC S exceeded my expectations. It’s a sporty machine that you could crunch some miles on, and bloody fast. And once you try a launch on that SC S clutch, you’ll be instantly converted…



An F3 800 with added comfort! The sportiest of sports tourers, with more tech than a spaceship. + IMPRESSIVE CLUTCH, INCREDIBLE HANDLING – PRICE, SEAT, COULD DO WITH A LITTLE ADDED PUNCH

Beauty and comfort come at a price... £17,589.


MV AGUSTA TURISMO VELOCE 800 LUSSO SCS Wanna play the pan pipes?

Pretty Boy loaded every one of his 42 pairs of pants into those panniers.


MV Turismo V eloce 8 00 Lusso SCS ENGINE

Type: Bore x Stroke: Compression: Fuelling: Power: Torque:

7 98 cc three cylinder DO HC 7 9 x 54 .3 mm 12.2: 1 Fuel inj ection 110hp @ 10,150rpm 8 0nm @ 7 ,100rpm


RBW/Riding Modes: Traction Control: ABS: Quickshifter: Wheelie Control: Launch Control: Autoblipper:

Yes / 4 modes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes


Frame: Front Suspension: Rear Suspension: Front Brakes: Rear Brakes:


BRIAN GRILLEN, R&D TECHNICAL DIRECTOR AT MV AGUSTA FB: What made you go down the path of making the clutch lever redundant? BG: Here at MV Agusta, we have a technical roadmap we’re following with even more advanced technology coming on the drivetrain side, but the first step towards that was having an automatic clutch. We always want to strive at being pioneers in the market as we did with the ride-by-wire throttle systems, although this has turned out a lot better! FB: How did you decide on the Smart Clutch System? BG: We started analysis back in 2015, looking at everything from dual-clutch systems to Magnetti Marelli car systems, but everything we came up with was heavier and more complex than what we already had, which wouldn’t work as our goals are always to be performance orientated first. Anything that puts another gram on the motorcycle is going the wrong way for us, which led us to Rekluse! FB: How did you come up with the system, and how easy was development?

BG: Being an avid off-road rider, I knew about the brand Rekluse and what they were doing in the off-road market, and I had the opportunity to talk to them. They wanted to do something for the road, so we sent them a bike and they put together a kit for us, and after about a year and a half of pure development we got the system functional. From there on it took another two years to hone in the electronics and the algorithm changes on the software side – even j ust to get the first contact point right. If you touch the gas and you get a kick in the ass, you aren’t going to enj oy it very much, which is why it’s so important to test so much, in so many different conditions. The truth is, developing the system was incredibly challenging. FB: What was the most important aspect of development, and how durable is the system? BG: The most important thing with controlling a clutch is consistency. When you have electronics controlling something mechanical that has a lot of tolerances, it makes things difficult to keep the feeling constant.

ALS steel tubular trellis frame Sachs upside down semi-active hydraulic forks Sachs semi-active shock absorber 2 x 3 20mm discs with Brembo radially mounted 4 -piston calipers 220mm single disc with Brembo 2-piston caliper


Wheelbase: Seat Height: Dry Weight:

1,4 4 5mm 8 50mm 192kg


Price: From:

£17 ,590

The clutch uses a 12-pin drivepin kit which is DLC plated for really low friction inside the action of the clutch, so that the action is consistent in the way that it works. As far as long-term durability goes, if you want to kill a clutch in a day you can kill a clutch in a day! But no, it will be absolutely no different to the normal systems, and throughout the durability tests the kit has been incredibly robust. FB: So you’ve got a new Brutale coming up this year, and an F4 next year. Would you ever translate this technology into any of the proper sporty models? BG: You’re definitely going to see this technology on sportsbikes in the near future, as even on a racebike the starts are faster. We are looking to develop a race kit and a street kit, as if you have one less thing to control, that’s one more part of your brain that you have to concentrate on your riding. O n these models though, I can’t say…



It is big, and it is clever.




SPONDON STORY If powerful custom bikes are your thing, they don’t come much more powerful or more custom then Rob Bean’s Turbo Spondon. WORDS: ROB BEAN IMAGES: JAMIE MORRIS


t all started when I was a spotty teenager. I was taken in by the whole performance-custom bike scene, and I would spend hours flicking through Streetfighters magaz ine (it had nothing to do with the boobs in it, honest). I was completely blown away by the big tube aluminium frames with heavily tuned G SX -R Engines, then I saw the big lairy turbo bikes and my mind was made up – I had to have one, one day at least. When I left school, I joined the RAF as an aircraft engineer and learnt how to build and maintain things properly, so over the next ten years or so I owned, built, modified and repaired all manner of

motorcycles. Although I say ‘all manner of motorcycles’, it was almost always late-8 0s and early 90s sports bikes and, in particular, oil-cooled Suz ukis. I had a go at racing, starting on an SV6 5 0 and then, after a season or two, I raced a K awasaki Z X R7 5 0 H 1 then a 198 9 Suz uki G SX -R7 5 0 in a class based on a power to weight ratio with a maximum bhp limit (as well as cut off years for different capacity bikes). It was about this time I received a bonus for my time in service and the day I got the cheque I came across a very unloved (and dated) Spondon G SX -R online for reasonable money; it’s almost as though it was meant to be. I thought it must be fate

giving me a hint, so I snapped it up quick-smart. It was all there, complete with the D ucati 916 seat unit, leather embroidered knuckle duster, wide bars and lots and lots of purple anodising. All the important bits were in really good condition; I was chuffed to bits. My plan was never just to polish and look at it – I wanted one to ride properly so I decided to turn it into a race bike. Q uite conveniently, BEMSEE had just announced a new Thunderbike Extreme class for the following year which allowed a higher power limit than the class I had raced in previously. I spent the winter stripping everything down, selling off the dated



Brave indeed. TECH DATA

Rob’s Turbo Spondon Gixer ENGINE.

Type: Bore x Stroke: Compression: Fuelling: Power: Torque:

1,216cc, turbocharged, inline four 81 x 59 8:1 FBM Turbo kit with IHI VF23 Turbo 278bhp @ 9,500rpm 280Nm @ 6,000rpm


Riding Modes: Traction Control: ABS: Quickshifter: Wheelie Control: Launch Control:

No No No No No No

Impressive lean angle.


Frame: Front Suspension: Rear Suspension: Front Brakes: Rear Brake:

Spondon Big Tube Frame (early 90s) Ohlins R+T Forks with K-Tech upgrade Ohlins TTX shock revalved to suit (R1 originally) PVM Radial Monobloc callipers Harrison Billet Rear calliper


Wheelbase: Seat Height: Dry Weight: Fuel Capacity:

1,390mm 800mm 185kg 22 litres


Price: From:

£10,000 + hundreds of hours No chance

running gear and road kit and replacing it with better quality parts like an Ö hlins shock, Road and Track Forks, P FM/P VM discs and callipers, an 8 37 cc tuned G SX -R engine and some more modern bodywork. It took me a couple of rounds to get the thing handling properly; it used to drag the engine casings round fast right handers and the engine was a bit underpowered compared to the competition. Once we had got the suspension and everything set up something like right, and upgraded the engine to almost 1,000cc, it was really competitive and I picked up trophies and wins for the rest of the season, finishing third overall. If I hadn’t had so many mechanical issues causing D NFs, I reckon I could have won it. But, mechanical issues we did have, including throwing a rod Now that is seriously cool.


out of the engine casing (that set just a little bit on fire) at Snetterton. Oh and it didn’t help when I had a mega fast crash and barrel rolled the thing, either. I was invited to take the bike to France and race it in the Monsters Race series, a class which has no real rules (other than the handlebar ends being higher than where they are mounted). It is a multi-discipline series which includes sprint, circuit, endurance and drag events, but the bikes have to remain the same spec for all the different events. I managed to get over and have a go at the drag round and one of the circuit events too, it was a brilliant laugh. In fact it was so much fun, a plan was hatched to go back and compete the following year with one major difference; a dirty great turbo hanging off the front of the bike. Over the next winter more improvements were made; I swapped the old Ö hlins for a newer TTX unit and upgraded the forks with K -Tech internals. Rule changes in the Thunderbike class also meant I could fit a 1,2 16 cc motor and a set of flat-slide carbs. I used H ayabusa pistons which dropped the compression enough to allow us to bolt a turbo to the motor. A friend of mine (D ave D unlop at FBM Turbos) built the turbo kit with me. We used a TD 04 turbo off a Subaru Imprez a and also added a big intercooler to help keep the temperatures down during a race. The kit was made so I could easily swap between running it and running a normally aspirated setup for the Thunderbike class. At that stage, in turbo trim the bike was making 2 30bhp and 190Nm of torque. The following season I only managed to do a few UK rounds due to work commitments, but the improvements made a massive difference; the thing was significantly quicker. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get back to France to race, which left the turbo a bit redundant; that was until I was invited by a friend to have a go at a L andspeed event at


Highlights Öhlins suspension Switchable boost control 178mph Spondon frame 280Nm torque 278bhp BRAKING






More than acceptable Planted

Happy to turn





Stupidly fast A laugh a second

Gently does it.

It’s turbo time!

You know when you’ve been Tango'd.

Öhlins TTX? Shocking!



It’s better in a straight line.

Bose speakers, obviously.

Engine tuner ‘BOB’ always leaves his mark.



A total one-off that has heads turning all over the place. Great for the shops, great on the track and great on the dragstrip. + 278BHP – NO SAFETY FEATURES.

P endine Sands in Wales. It was the first event of its kind to be held on the H allowed Sands since P arry Thomas was killed during a record attempt in 192 7 . It was to be the first time (away from the dyno) the bike had moved under its own steam with the turbo fitted. I ended up winning the event outright with a top speed of 140mph which was fantastic but the best part of the weekend was being told by numerous ‘experts’ that a high powered bike, with no fairings, trackday tyres and short wheelbase would be pointless on the beach. They were interrupted by the timing man when he gave me the timing slip announcing I had won. Ace. I have since been back to P endine a few times and my speeds have

Great on sand...


increased, I currently hold three UK TA class records for standing km, standing mile and standing 1.5 mile, the fastest being 17 8 mph. G rowing up, getting married and buying a house has meant recently I have not been able to afford to do much racing, but rather than leave the bike unused I have put it on the road and have been using it loads and trying to develop it further. I have upgraded the turbo to an IH I VF2 3 unit from a high end 2 2 B Imprez a, added an adjustable electronic boost controller and swapped the head on the engine for a ported and flowed one (by ‘BOB’. Whoever he is, he’s done a pretty good job). The bike now makes 2 7 8 bhp and 2 8 0Nm of torque and weighs around 18 5 kg

... or on a circuit.

with half a tank of fuel – and it has no rider aids at all. I currently use the bike for everything, trips to the shop, landspeed stuff, trackdays, and the odd (fairly) long distance trip. It’s brilliant fun to ride and not like anything else – the time spent racing and getting the chassis right has really helped it handle the addition of the turbo, and the really tall gearing for landspeed stuff helps calm the wheelies down (marginally) making it surprisingly easy to ride. The only real downsides to it are the pathetic fuel consumption (around 8 mpg if ridden spiritedly) and how quickly it goes through rear tyres and sprocket carrier bearings. I don’t think I will ever sell it, and it will never really be finished, I am already building a new engine that will have stronger con rods, I am planning to have some new exhaust headers made for better flow, and there is the possibility of swapping the old C arbs for a fuel injection system. I would like to see over 300bhp from it while keeping it reliable and easy to ride. And I still have racing itches to scratch – time and money permitting I would like to get back to France and race it as I had originally intended to the Monsters Race, I want to break the 2 00mph barrier at P endine and the big dream would be to get it to Bonneville Salt Flats. One thing at a time though.






A fi rm-fav ourite in the litre bike class, with a little added bling…

g age I have absolutely may be 29 now, but since a youn cross I couldn’t wait moto en ridd ng havi loved bikes and enough to do my old was I to get on a road bike. Once sell it due to family to had but 0 -R75 GSX ki Suzu a test I got another one in 2016. commitments, before picking up d’s Honda CBR1000RR frien Problem was, after riding my I tried as many 0cc! 1,00 a get to had just I lade Fireb I decided on the ly final but d, coul I as different models ct all-rounder. perfe the like felt BMW S1000RR as it just standard bike, but it I started off with a completely bog cted to buying bits and doesn’t take long to get a bit addi ths I started replacing mon six next making mods! Over the


of bits, starting with an the standard stuff for a whole host er Commander 5 for Pow a and Can on Austin Racing Carb looking nice with it ng getti that little more go, alongside few little bits from the and work body s, look on the carb gh, so next up I’m going Lightec. I’m only just starting thou to a Brembo master ging chan to get the handling sorted by and then I’ll throw in lines ded Brai HEL e som der, cylin hoses. To be honest, some other bits, like a set of Samco p of friends who grou good a it all helps when you have t to keep riding and keep wan you es mak it as ther toge ride especially as a few of us working on improving the bike… too! days track have just started doing



TIONS SPECIFICA H’S LEWIS HIG0 0RR BMW S10 NCE: PERFORMA V3 decat ng ci Austin Ra • mander 5 • Power Com

HANDLING: ts ghtech rearse

• Li ain adjusters • Lightech ch



graphics • Motorsport levers ty or sh • Pazzo pan • White belly infills • Carbon fibre l rear seat cow re fib • Carbon ed rear pp di o dr hy • Carbon look ain guard hugger and ch




Imagine i if we ran our own trackday, t kd brimming bi i with ith sunshine, hi track t k time, ti race support, goody bags and even a big old competition as well. Well, we did just that and it was utter brillaint, thanks to you guys that came and joined us. Here’s what it looked like…


e all love trackdays right? I mean what’s not to love, thrashing round one of the best circuits on the planet, under the glorious sunshine with your mates without the worry of some old granny pulling out on you, or a dodgy-placed drainpipe making a mess of your pride and joy… it’s basically what dreams are made off. So with this in mind, we put our heads together at Fast Bikes H Q and thought well, how can we take a trackday to the next level and give you lovely lot that little extra for coming along? And then it hit us… we needed to go and get involved ourselves. So, enlisting the help of Bridgestone, RST

Motodirect and Arai, we hijacked an MSV Trackday at the infamous C adwell P ark, where we gave you free goody bags just for showing up, a tonne of race support and a big old priz e at the end for one lucky winner… and it’s fair to say it went down a treat. From a rider who was on his first trackday in five years to C hrissy Rouse who’s battling for the National Superstock 1000 title and just about anything in between, we had it all at our very first trackday, and it ran smooth as clockwork. So ladies and gents, here is the lowdown on our first very trackday in your words and ours…

OUR DAY IN A NUTSHELL... ‘Dangerous’ Bruce

“ After months of planning, too many emails and a few last minute banner fix ings around the circuit, Fast Bikes’ Cadwell Park trackday was upon us. And what a craic it was. Not j ust because the weather was warm enough to get a mild tan, but because you lot were there. It was great to speak to so many of the mag’s readers, who’d made the trek from all over the U K to take on the nation’s trickiest track. People of all paces, riding a broad slab of bikes, verging from box fresh to future classics. It was great to see, and even better to be a part of. We can’t wait to do it again, only bigger and better. Watch this space.”


‘The Sheriff’ Charlie

“ The overall feedback from this, our first Fast Bikes Trackday was all good and j ust reward from a lot of hard work from various people. You have to hand it to MSV T, they are a slick operation and run a brilliant day with all potential scenarios well drilled and covered. O ur partners Bridgestone, RST and Arai inj ected something a little bit different to the proceedings and all fell seamlessly into place, meaning even I managed a full day running out with the novices. Great track, great company and a fantastic day – will entertain a few more sleepless nights to do it again for sure.”

‘Pretty Boy’ Carl

“ Pft, unlike the other guys, I can’t really put my hands up to doing too much work, but I can put my hands up to coming and having an absolute blast on the day! Cadwell has got to be one of the best circuits on the planet, so give me that, a dose of sunshine and few bikes, and I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday. Burning rubber and fuel is the key to happiness in my opinion, and we couldn’t have had a better bunch of riders turn up. It was so cool being able to chill and chat two wheels with everyone, and the fact we had a load goody bags and freebies as well worked a dream. We need to do it again!"




This lovely lot kit out the main brunt of the BSB paddock, and for good reason. Their suits, boots and everything in between has become a staple for racers and road riders alike, thanks to the high q uality and reasonable prices. Check out the range at!


O ffering up some of the best race tyres in the business, Bridgestone are always a shout when looking for some new rubber, which is why so many of our long term bikes find themselves on the big B, for a q uality price. Check ‘ em out at!


Without these guys, there would be no trackday! They run events throughout the year at Brands Hatch, O ulton Park, Donington Park, Snetterton, Bedford Autodrome and of course Cadwell Park. You can book onto any of their days via

And that's how to nail the Mountain...


The sequel for Bayw atch is going well...

all over to People travelled from performance. e aok kar ce’s Bru r hea

All bikes, all sizes, all awesome.

ON HAND ON THE DAY! TRACK BIKE HIRE “ We’re a professional, premium track rental company for hire bikes throughout the U K and Europe supported by Yamaha U K . We run brand new Yamaha R6s and R1s, in a fully supported way aimed at everyone from beginners to intermediates and all the way through to advanced who don’t have their own bike or are worried about damaging their own. We take care of the fuel, tyres, tyre warmers… j ust about everything! You rock up like a factory rider, and we look after you, going through the basics and being almost a bit like a bike nursery if needs be – you can even hire our kit if you’re brand new to trackdays!”




“ We set up 16 years ago, because although there was suspension setup in BSB, there was none at trackdays or club racing! With this in mind, I travelled over to O hlins in Sweden to get an accreditation in suspension, and over times things have j ust progressed on. We’re the only independent suspension company doing what we do, and we do as many trackdays and club racing rounds as we can. From re-valving shocks to standard bike setup, we’re here to help!”

“ This is the rig we take along to the British Superbike rounds and the TT, so it’s nice coming somewhere a bit more chilled out. We offer a full servicing on your crash helmet, and will make it feel almost like brand new again! If you’ve never had it done, I’d definitely recommend giving it a go as we get rid of all the dirt and smells… ”

“ We’re based in Lincoln, and have been dealing with bike tyres for over 15 years now. We supply all the leading brands of rubber ( including Bridgestone!) and offer either a ride in/ride out service at our main office, or a full fitting at the circuit from our track. From wheel changes, tyres warmers to tyre pressures, we have you covered on the day!"



Free lid please, guv?



As a little thank you to you guys for coming along, and supporting the folks who support us, we offered up a little incentive. Everyone who finished the last session Bridgestone rubber was awarded a free Bridgestone/RST helmet bag, and if that wasn’t enough, one of the bags contained a lucky golden ticket, with the following fantastic priz es: A night away for two at the Lake V yrnwy Hotel, courtesy of the Bridgestone Ex perience. As an additional ex tra to the stay, it also included a day off-roading for two with the Mick Ex tance Ex perience. A ticket to take straight over to the Arai truck to pick up a brand new ‘ Arai Ax ces II’ in whatever siz e fits your noggin. And to top it off ( as we’re nice like that) a brand new Arai visor fresh from the Isle of Man TT, signed by a whole host of the current TT riders… Not bad aye? And the lucky winner was… Matt Ransome from Lincoln! He said: “ As far as weekends go, the Fast Bikes trackday one couldn’t have been any better. I picked up my new Aprilia RSV 4 RF on the Saturday, then loaded the CBR600RR track bike up for a day’s blasting on Sunday! The weather was perfect, the track was mint, and being in a group with all my mates was good fun all day. I’m subscribed to the mag as well, so it was great coming along and meeting everyone who makes it happen, and the fact that I then won the big priz e j ust for being on my Bridgestones was insane. Got me off the hook as well, because I can go play on bikes while the missus plays in the spa!”

I used to have an R1M, but after a few changes I decided to head down the 600 route and it’s a load of fun. It’s had a bit of work thanks to the guys down at Crescent to make a bit q uicker, and as I’ve been to Cadwell before, it was absolutely spot on. It’s hard to choose between that or Donington for my favourite track! The weather has been stunning; we couldn’t have wished for better. It’s worth the trek and it’s been an utterly superb day. It was a great laugh, and the support from the Fast Bikes guys was incredible. Cheers for helping to cure my cornering problem as well lads, I’ll see you on the nex t one!


This is my first trackday in about five years! I had one booked a couple of years ago, and things always seemed to go wrong. I thought I’d come and give it a go, set off, and realised on the way I’d lost the pillion pad! Fortunately, it wasn’t a sign of how the day was going to go though, as after getting a set of Bridgestone tyres thanks to the deal from Mark and running them in, I absolutely had a ball. You see the amount of gear that people come with and you think, oooh, am I in the wrong place, but as soon as you get out on track I knew that all the effort was working. I’ve had a ball, and can’t wait to come back!


Set of crutches/Triumph Daytona 675

Get it up, son!

I’ve got a 2008 Triumph Daytona 67 5, which has been pimped up with a steering damper, set of rearsets and race bodywork to keep my road bodywork in undamaged condition… but this year hasn’t gone to plan. I was at my first trackday of the year ( I usually try and do about five a year) and my first time at Silverstone in May, where I got knocked off my bike by another rider, or bike technically, as the machine slid into the side of mine unex pectedly, leaving me on crutches with an ankle/leg brace for the past five weeks. I was actually booked onto do the trackday here at Cadwell today as well but even though I can’t ride, I’ve decided to come hang out with my mates who are taking part in the day rather than sit at home wishing I was here. I can’t say that I don’t wish I was riding the circuit today! I was a little bit gutted when I found out about the Bridgestone/Arai competition during the morning briefly as my Triumph is fitted with Bridgestone S21 tyres, and after my crash I needed a new lid. Just typical! I spoke to Bruce for a little bit during the day and he was telling me about the three naked triples he was testing, so I’m looking forward to reading about that in the issue. I can’t wait for the nex t one! AUGUST 2018 WWW.FASTBIKESMAG.COM 69





our head is the most vital part of your whole body, and whenever the chance of giving mine a hard time is heightened, I pick up my SHARK Helmets Race-R Pro. It’s the company’s top of the range model and if I’m going on track, or riding something fast, then I’m a lot happier if my head is encased by the protective qualities of the Race-R Pro. Just over a year ago though, my attitude to risk was massively altered by a freak incident. Suddenly I was reminded why wearing the best shouldn’t just be reserved for times when you’re going to be pushing things. The fact is, there’s always a chance of

something occurring beyond your control, and when that happens then you need the ultimate protection. The event I was involved in served as a clear reminder that anything can happen at any time. I was on a modestly powered adventure bike, just ten miles from home on a quiet A road, riding in some of the best conditions possible. I was making good, confident progress and feeling as safe and secure as I could wish. Then, in an instant and with zero warning, I’m bouncing down the road at what felt like a much greater pace than I had been just a millisecond earlier. Because the transition from happily seated to rolling down the road occurred so


fast, at first I thought I must be dreaming. Am I crashing here? I questioned, totally bewildered by the whole bizarre event. Why the hell was this happening? When I finally stopped sliding I got the answer to why I’d gone from vertical to horizontal in a flash. A young deer had jumped out of the forest I was riding by, darting out right in front of my wheel so quickly I never had the chance to see it. There was no ‘oh my god, I’m going to go down here’ moment. No, I bypassed the whole pre-crash terror emotion, and went straight to ground. A totally shocked car driver who’d seen the whole thing was amazed I was okay. Not being the



first time I’ve ever hit the deck I was less affected, but I did feel hugely lucky. I have absolutely no doubt my now badly battle-scarred Race-R Pro had done a fantastic job of protecting me. By the look of it, it had obviously taken the full force of the impact, doing a perfect job of absorbing the blow and preventing any head injury. Sadly, it had been just one hour since I’d picked the brand new SHARK up from my helmet painter who’d done a superb job of customising it and ‘making it mine’. All his painstaking





From £269.99

Light and stylish with its aggressive looks, the Spartan is aimed at the sport touring rider who needs comfort and convenience as well as protection. Two shell siz es give a range of five siz es from X S to X X L, with the composite fibre shell featuring dual spoilers for stability and vents to keep cool. The plush removable lining is machine washable, and helps to give a good, comfortable fit. The anti-scratch visor is easy to remove for cleaning and an integrated sun visor features stepless adj ustment. A Pinlock® anti-mist visor is also included. The Spartan is Sharktooth® compatible, with its Easy Fit system making wearing glasses more comfortable.

artwork had been destroyed in an instant which was a massive shame. But god did I feel grateful I’d been wearing it. A head scan at the hospital later that night showed all was well and I’d been saved from any concussive inj ury. Believe me, after suffering a serious brain trauma several years back, I know full well it’s something you want to avoid. Luckily for me, thanks to my unscheduled, comprehensive test of the Race-R Pro, I discovered something that can really reduce the chances of that being repeated. I really hadn’t thought the test of the Shark was going to be that conclusive! Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised at the protective q ualities of the SHARK . The French firm are in the business of head protection, and have a lot of men helping them with their research in the form of speedy world class racers. Every time Lorenz o, Zarco, Lowes, Sykes and other SHARK Helmets Race-R Pro wearers crash, they are arming Shark with more and more knowledge to help them develop safer helmets for the likes of mere mortals like you and I. Thankfully, my crashes are much rarer than the racers and there are lots of other features I like about the Race-R Pro other than its sheer protective q ualities. O ne of the other main virtues is its comfort.


From £119.99

Featuring technology gained from the lessons learned in world level race competition, the Ridill brings protection to riders at a much lower cost. Its computerdesigned shell comes in a range of siz es from X S to X L and provides ex cellent ventilation when riding in hotter conditions. The 2.2mm flex ible, scratch resistant visor is Pinlock® compatible. Its integrated sun shield is easily brought into effect via its slider using one hand. The Ridill also benefits from a removable machine washable lining, highly convenient ratchet strap security, and Easy Fit system to assist spectacle wearing. It comes with a SHARK Helmets five-year warranty.



From £299.99

Turn heads as well as protecting your own with the super stylish SHARK Helmets S-DRAK . Available in a choice of striking colourways with premium finishes, the S-DRAK is the first choice of the streetbiking set. There’s much more to it than show of course, with the lightweight carbon fibre helmet offering approved levels of protection. It comes in two shell siz es to offer the best fit from its six different siz es ( X S to X X L) . Both the internal drop down sun visor and facemask are easily removable without tools. The S-DRAK is Sharktooth® compatible, features the Easy Fit system to allow comfortable spectacle wearing, and its lining can be machine washed.


SHARK Helmets have been producing helmets for over 25 years. Formed by former professional racers, SHARK Helmets’ passion for racing is still evident in their product design, which ensures only the highest level of performance and safety. The company’s ethos is to push the technical boundaries and innovate so each and every motorcyclist can enj oy the sheer pleasure and freedom of riding in complete safety. To locate your nearest SHARK Helmets dealer, visit

Fitting well all round my head without any pressure points means all-day comfort. Given I can sometimes ride for over 12 hours, this is a crucial plus point. O ther things also contribute to the SHARK being so agreeable to wear for long periods, with its light weight, ex cellent aerodynamics, and low noise really helping riding comfort, especially at continual high speed. Great venting is also beneficial. Being able to change the visor so q uickly is another bonus. Let’s face it, British weather is hardly what you’d describe as consistent, so

being able to swap visors to cope with different light levels in seconds is really useful. The convenience of the system means I’m much more likely to make the change thanks to it being so easy, which can only improve riding safety. The 4 .5mm thickness in the centre of the visor also boosts my confidence, as does its anti-mist coating. The antiscratch surface ex tends the life of clear vision significantly, especially at night. I’ve also occasionally taken advantage of the SHARK Easy Fit system which lets me wear glasses

with ease. The recesses in the interior allow room for the arms of the specs, preventing them from pressing against your head uncomfortably. It might seem like a small detail, but I for one appreciate the thoughtful design. It’s another indication of j ust how much effort SHARK Helmets are putting in to their products, and one of the many reasons I had no hesitation in ordering a replacement Race-R Pro to replace my damaged one. It doesn’t j ust enhance my life, it gives me a good chance of ex tending it too.


Used Bike Guide It’s no TL...



The bigger capacity version of Suzuki’s hugely popular SV twin.


2003-2008 SUZUKI SV1000S N

ot everything can be super-siz ed, occasionally items are better off left as a small parcel of loveliness rather than boosted in scale. Obviously in the case of a Big Mac bigger is most definitely better as any connoisseur of the new G rand Big Mac will testify. H owever in 2 003 Suz uki decided to take their fantastic mini-Vtwin, the SV6 5 0, and treat it to a dose of steroids. Surely a bigger capacity version of their hugely popular middleweight would replicate its phenomenal success. Sadly for Suz uki, the SV1000S didn’t. In fact, it bombed… When you look at the ingredients list, the SV1000 should have been a recipe for

success. Take the legendary TL 1000 V-twin, give it a rework and then stick it in a die-cast aluminium chassis, add a conventional shock absorber to banish the demons of the TL ’s rotary unit and finally, base its style on a much-loved bike. And the icing on the SV1000 cake – release it in two forms, a half-faired one for those who are more practically-minded and a naked one for the flat-bar hooligans. So why did it all go wrong for the SV1000S? The problems for the SV1000S started from the day it was released and it was all down to its parentage. The SV6 5 0 had a reputation as a bike that punched well above its middleweight

status thanks to a staggering chassis that even gave birth to a one-make race series. With this in mind, everyone expected great things from the SV1000S in the handling department. The thought of a small, light and agile litre V-twin was a mouthwatering prospect to many riders. Especially those who had grown up with the SV6 5 0. But the SV1000S was anything but small and agile. In fact, it was a bit long and ponderous as Suz uki had opted for stability over agility and had aimed the SV at a more mature and sensible rider. Y es, you got full adjustability in its suspension and brakes that were taken from the G SX -R7 5 0. But we were

PRICE GUIDE: £2,495 - £4,500 Cheapest private: £2,495 31,899 miles, silver 2003 model in decent condition Our choice private: £2,499 11,796 miles, blue 2003 model in good condition with MOT Cheapest dealer: £3,400 28,000 miles, 2007 bike with loud exhausts in red Our choice dealer: £3,499 12,272 miles, 2005 bike in copper with a colour-matched full-fairing Ex-demo: n/a

The sump panel’ s as helpf ul as a chocolate fir e guar d.



USED BIKE GUIDE 2003-2008 Suzuki SV1000S Type Bore x Stroke Compression Fuelling Tested Power


Tested Torque Frame Front Suspension Rear Suspension Front Brakes




Rear Brakes


Seat Height Dry Weight Fuel Capacity

0-100 0-140 Standing ¼mile Standing mile Top speed

996cc, liquid-cooled, 8v, V-twin 98mm x 66mm 11.3:1 Electronic Fuel Injection 107bhp @ 8,750rpm 93.5Nm @ 7,250rpm

Perhaps the prettiest part of the bike.

Aluminium alloy truss 46mm conventional forks, fully-adjustable Monoshock, fully-adjustable Four-piston Tokico calipers, 310mm discs Single-piston Nissin caliper, 220mm disc 1,430mm 810mm 189kg 17 litres


Despite its basic architecture being based around the TL1000S motor, the SV1000S’s engine is very different (Suzuki claimed 300 changes) with a redesigned clutch, 4mm smaller valves in a modified head with an altered combustion chamber and single fuel-injector with SDTV, Suzuki’s dual throttle valve system.

3.96 sec n/a 22.82 sec 11.38 sec @ 128.78mph n/a 157.48mph

talking conventional forks to keep costs down and a pretty relaxed riding position with more than the hint of a sports tourer about it, not a sporty V-twin racer like so many hoped. And the engine was a similar story. Basing the SV’s motor on the TL was basically asking for trouble. Everyone hears TL and assumes a rip-roaring V-twin with a thumping mid-range and wild nature. This wasn’t Suzuki’s intention with the SV and sure enough, like its chassis, the V-twin motor was shackled… Suzuki claimed 112bhp and 102Nm of torque from the SV’s V-twin. The problem was that this was considerably less than the 125bhp with 103Nm of torque that the TL-S was claimed to make and instantly the SV looked like a step in the wrong direction. True, the V-twin was more relaxed to ride and made its power far more smoothly than the aggressive TL, but for fans of performance V-twins the unassuming nature of the SV was a disappointment. Sadly, in making a big V-twin that was relaxed and friendly, Suzuki ended up failing to please any camp. SV650 owners were intimidated by the SV1000S’s size while TL1000S fans thought it was underpowered and soft. Sales never took off and once again Suzuki’s sporty V-twin experiment was a disaster.


The pads on the SV tend to show signs of surface rust, which is a bit ugly but doesn’t affect their performance, and if left standing the pads also transfer rust onto the discs. While a big patch of pad-shaped rust looks worrying, it’s not an issue and is due to Suzuki using a sintered pad on the SV. A bit of use and it quickly wears off.


More likely to get you a thump than a jump.


The SV1000S was originally launched in half-faired guise, however some of the later models gained a full fairing in an effort to help boost sales, which was just an aftermarket accessory bolted on. The SV1000SZ was released in 2005 and was a ‘special edition’ to celebrate the 20th year of the GSX-R brand and came with a black frame, full fairing carrying a GSX-R-style paint scheme and slightly retuned engine with 5bhp extra. In 2006 all of the SV models’ frames were painted black instead of silver.


The finish on the SV1000S is actually reasonably high with a lot of stainless steel being incorporated, however owners report the exhaust downpipes rust and the nuts that hold the pipe onto the front cylinder seize solid and often snap the stud rather than undo. Mechanically the SV is very solid, but as with all Suzukis, the paint finish is a little thin and the lacquer on the fork legs bubbles up. A lot of owners complain that, weirdly, the SV vibrates bolts loose, so check for any missing bolts and tighten them regularly if you own one.


Many owners modify the SV1000S and a popular update is to swap the OE shock for a GSX-R K3 item or ZX-6R unit, which delivers more adjustment. The forks benefit from a re-valve and re-spring while a race air filter and a set of cans releases a few extra ponies. If the bike has been modified, check it has been done competently and that no parts are rubbing or fouling any of the bike’s controls.


A lumpy or poorly running SV could be down to a few factors. A cam-position sensor failing can lead to it running roughly and costs about £200 to fix, however badly balanced throttle bodies also cause the bike to fail to tick over sweetly, which is cured by a good service. A misfire is generally a faulty HT lead or coil on the front cylinder, which is a simple fix.

RUNNING COSTS Service interval: Minor: Major: Valve clearances: Service costs: Minor: Major: Valve clearances: Right fairing: RH Engine casing: Brake lever:

4,000 8,000 15,000 £140 £250 £350 n/a £272.23 £55.15


Some SVs like to sip oil and it is recommended that you change it every 4000 miles and keep an eye on the level at regular intervals. It’s not a fault as such, just something they do. Owners also mention the magnets come loose on the stator, so if the battery is flat, check this area first. They can be glued back in place…


USED BIKE GUIDE 2003-2008 Suzuki SV1000S

It came, but it didn’t conquer.

ALSO CONSIDER THESE: HONDA VTR1000F FIRESTORM Private £2,300 Dealer £2,800 Engine Power Torque

996cc, l/c, 8 v, V -twin 105bhp @ 9,000rpm 93 Nm @ 7 ,000rpm

DUCATI SS1000S Private £2,700 Dealer £3,500 Engine Power Torque

Dealer £2,800 Engine Power Torque

20 003

Ducati’s air-cooled V -twin sportsbike’s look is a bit challenging, but the chassis and motor’s performance makes it stand out. Pricey, but a great bike. 992cc, a/c, 4 v desmo V -twin 8 5.5bhp @ 7 ,7 50rpm 8 7 .5Nm @ 5,7 50rpm

APRILIA SL1000 FALCO Private £2,300

20 003

The FireStorm is an easy going V -twin with sporting potential, but more of an eye on sports touring. It’s a cheap, and reliable, option – cursed with a crap tank range!

An underrated bike from Aprilia that packs a strong V -twin punch and handles surprisingly well. Rare in the used market, but a great machine if you can find one. 997 cc, l/c, 8 v V -twin 118 bhp @ 7 ,7 50rpm 95.6Nm @ 5,7 50rpm


Well, for everyone except used bike buyers… The unpopularity of the SV1000S saw its prices tumble and where the TL -models are now going up in value, the SV1000S remains firmly in the lower end of the price bracket. Y ou can easily get one for under £3,000 and that’s quite a lot of V-twin for your money. True, it’s not the most thrilling of bikes to be had for that sort of money, but with a nice loud set of cans and a bit of time spent on the dyno you will be able to release a few more ponies. And that’s just the start… The really cool thing about the SV1000S is the fact that loads of people customise them in an effort to create something much better. Replaced shocks, upgraded forks, radial brakes, you can really go to town on an SV1000S (and also the SV1000) to turn this C lark K ent of a bike into more of a Superman…



The SV1000S is a decent do-it-all bike with a good motor and solid handling. It’s not that thrilling, but it is practical. A decent, cheap machine for moderate thrills, not pant-wetting excitement. + ENGINE, RELAXED NATURE, MID-RANGE GRUNT





MASTERCLASS If you’ve been a naughty biker, you need some decent legal advice, get it from Costs can start piling up after a crash.

RECOVERY/ STORAGE CHARGES When it comes to costing an accident, bike damage might be the least of your worries.

ANDREW DALTON PENAL SERVITUDE PREVENTOR The Fast Bikes Legal Clinic is compiled by Andrew Dalton, and his bike riding barristers and solicitors at White Dalton Motorcycle Solicitors. They deal with personal inj ury claims and their sister company, Motor Defence Team, deals with all the motoring offences. They know everything about bike law. Andrew is a former London motorbike courier turned barrister and solicitor, and we know he’s good. All the White Dalton lawyers are q ualified barristers, or solicitors, or both - and they all have full bike licences, too. They don’t act for insurance companies or the prosecution. They are Britain’s most specialist law practice, and if they don’t know the answer to your q uestion, there probably isn’t one. Don’t rely on the advice from your insurance appointed solicitor, get proper independent advice. For road traffic offences call Motor Defence Team 0800 280 0912

For non-offence cases call White Dalton Motorcycle Solicitors 0800 783 6191

Visit their websites

I was involved in an unfortunate off. I own a 2017 BMW S1000 X R. As I was riding through Soho, on my j ourney into work a food delivery truck reversed out of a loading bay and into me. It was all very low speed. I got bumped off the bike, I j umped off it and the bike then got scraped along the deck. I was completely uninj ured. The bike suffered some plastics damage, but was largely unscathed. I thought, naively and stupidly, that I would call my insurers, they would get the bike, my fully comprehensive insurance would get the repairs done at my local BMW garage, they would reclaim the money off the delivery guy’s insurance and that would be the end of it. The bike was ridable. I regard myself as a reasonably bright and sophisticated graduate and I am the financial director of a medium siz ed business turning over around 10 million pounds a year, but I think that I have j ust entered a parallel universe. I phoned the insurers and when I pressed the button and said that I had a claim the phone was answered by somebody who said that she was a solicitor, or certainly representing a solicitor’s firm. They did everything they could to get me to use their “ approved dealers” and when I said no, it is a BMW with over a year left on its warranty and it is going to a BMW garage I was basically told that I was an idiot, I would lose my £8 00 policy ex cess, I would lose my no claims bonus and the whole attitude changed to one of passive aggressive patronising. Then, clearly following a script, I was told that I needed to hire a replacement motorcycle, for which I would not have to pay, and as this would make my j ourney into work easier, I accepted. A couple of men turned up in a smart and respectable looking van, and dropped off a fairly tired but basically sound V FR8 00. I was asked to sign the delivery note, which I read. The delivery note obliged me to pay something like


around £13 0 per day for the bike which the insurance clerk/solicitors’ clerk had told me was free. When I q ueried this with the delivery driver the driver became annoyed, albeit he was perfectly civil. He kept telling me it was j ust a delivery note and when I pointed out to him the hire charges he said the same as the solicitor’s clerk, namely that nobody ever pays for this and I was not to worry. I declined to sign and until my own bike is repaired I am going to work by public transport which is tedious, but £22 per day is a lot cheaper over five days than £13 0 every day for seven days a week. I am now trying to get my bike back to my dealers near London, but my bike is somewhere in a yard in NW England and I have been told that I will have to pay the recovery charge/storage charge and the delivery back to London otherwise my bike will not be released. Have I j ust gone into a parallel universe? Am I mad? What happened? Imran from North London Unfortunately you have just entered collision management. What you thought should happen is indeed what should happen but your insurers, their scummy brokers, and the claims vultures masquerading as solicitors have decided to squeeze every penny they can out of your case. Never mind what you want, and while they are at it, they will screw up your BMW warranty. Luckily, and I regret, unusually, you read the ‘delivery note’. I have had clients and friends caught up in this scam, but you were a bit too sharp to fall for it. Your bike was moved to the other end of the country for no purpose at all, other than to rack up delivery and movement charges, along with storage charges, as well as keeping the profit from the repairs in with your insurers. Your insurer was not acting on your instructions or to your benefit in moving your bike to the NW, well, apart from a benefit to


your insurers who will cream off a chunk of the ‘storage’ charges and the profit elements of the repair, which, and I know all the companies involved in your nightmare, will involve second hand parts salvaged off other bikes. Also, your bike was ridable. You had some plastic damage done to it. You made the fundamental but understandable error of trusting your insurer. I am afraid that most of the insurers I deal with treat a minor collision as a feeding frenzy. Some people just accept it. You have not. However the remedies available against your own insurers when they turn on you are limited. I always tell people on their first call to me keep hold of your bike and unless you have an overwhelming need avoid the ‘free replacement bike’ because you are personally liable for it. I regularly see these ‘free bikes’ generate five figure hire bills and for the poor buggers on these bikes, they are regularly forced to court, and obliged to reveal all of their bank statements and personal finances and fairly frequently they are encouraged to perjure themselves as to why they needed a bike and what they were told by bully boy tactics from insurers. You have now politely asked for your motorcycle to be returned and the next stage is an application to the court for an “order for delivery up”. I will not go into detail about this, it would bore a glass eye to sleep so I have sent you the relevant law by email, and if anyone else is in the same difficulty, if you Google “Torts (Unlawful Interference with Goods) Act 1977 and CPR 25 of the Civil Procedure Rules Para 25.1 (e)”, that’s the relevant law. I suspect once you lodge an application at your local county court, the bike will be delivered back to you pretty damned smartly. Like most bullies, when you fight back, insurers tend to buckle. Good luck.



S TA R L E T T E R NAKED ATTRACTION Hello Fast Bikes, I love reading your magaz ine and it would be amaz ing if you could do something on the great old naked bikes with the same engine as sports bikes like my Honda CB600f 1999. It goes like absolute stink for a 19-year-old and Honda did well taking the CBR600 engine and dropping it in this! It is my first real big bike so to speak as I passed my test in January and bought the bike in Feb this year. It was looking rather tatty and sorry for itself so I went about changing the handlebars for wide street

fighter ones, the grips to Dominos, new bar ends, new levers, new fly screen and a set of Ferodo race brake pads and discs so it stops as well as it goes. It already had the V enom ex haust which sounds lovely and I’ve surprised a lot of fellow 600 sports bike riders with its power… and I’d love to see a feature with these in the magaz ine! Lloyd Redsull FB: Nice! We love ‘em as well, so it’s a great point. We’ll see what we can make happen…


We’ve got another bike racing fan in our household. Here’s our rabbit Henri cheering on Bradley Ray to the double at Donington. Darren M FB: We see a lot of things here at Fast Bikes towers, but a bunny watching BSB is a first for us. And that doesn’t happen often, so have some gloves g as a reward!


You can win a pair of Weise eise Renegade gloves for simply writing the Fast Bikes Star Letter. Setting the standard for q uality & value in motorcycle clothing for 3 0 years, all Weise products have a two-year no-q uibble warranty. These sporty gloves are made from full grain leather with a polyester lining. Reinforced with integrated TPU to knuckles and fingers and twin layered leather to palm, stretch panels to fingers and above knuckles aid fit and flex ibility. Find out more at


FB, I wanted your thoughts on what would be a good buy for a new machine. I’ve been riding for over 3 0 years and had a load of bikes, which have near enough all been sporty. My current toy is a BMW S1000RR, but I’m looking to downgrade to something a bit smaller and easier. I still want sport, so I’m unsure about going for something like an R6, or going down the naked route… Chris Drunkall FB: Oooooh, that’s a toughie! The new R6 is a stunningly easy bike to ride, and our Charles absolutely adores his termer. That being said, we’ve actually got a middleweight naked test in this issue. If you’re looking for something a little smoother and naked, Triumph’s Speed Triple or Honda’s CB1000R might be right up your street…


Hi guys! Firstly, I j ust wanted to say I’m a big fan of the mag. I saw you had your trackday on but unfortunately I couldn’t make it, as trying to get a weekend off for good behaviour doesn’t seem to fly past the missus. Will you have another one in the works soon do you think? I want the goody bag! Jack T FB: Ahhhh, that’s not cool! Unfortunately, we had an absolute ball. The good news is, we do have more plans in the works. Keep your eyes peeled… FastBikes-Forum FastBikesMagazine


Want your greatest riding cock-up, triumph, or just the missus’ naked form immortalised in these hallowed pages? Email

AS SEEN ON FACEBOOK Fast Bikes Magazine: Mugello, plus wings, plus 212bhp. Tomorrow can’t come quick enough. Aprilia #RSV4FW Simon Stratford: Can you swipe me a few bits for mine while you’re there. Ta muchly. Michael Rowe: 212bhp... yeah sure lol. Martyn Jones Darren Cartwright Damian O’Kane: looks a weapon this does for a road bike Daniel Smith: Wings? Gary Sinclair: Not a fan of wings on road bikes. Looks like a ricer got his hands on a bike.

Darren Cartwright: The wings would have to go..

Kane Langston: Fw... Fucking wings!?

Ben Miller: It’s the stuff dreams are made of!

Chris Hull: Gis a go mister

Jake Martin Butcher: Just the sound of that bike is enough !

Chris Small-Dog Morris: Liking this new Aprilia even with the wings!


You probably get this a lot, but I just wanted to see what the stance is on zips for things like leathers and jeans. I had a crash a few weeks back and my zip burst open on my budget one-piece, but you never see it happen to the riders in Superbike or MotoGP. Why is this? Jeff Redsom FB: That’s a toughie! Obviously it depends on the quality of kit. A lot of even the lower end stuff these days come with good, quality zips like YKK, but it’s something you should keep an eye on. Never skimp out on kit!

AS SEEN ON TWITTER @CarlStevens1: Really starting to love this little thing. As it turns out, size doesn’t matter #Kawasaki Pic – Senor Gazza Chapo

@RnGRacing: We gave the @ fastbikesmag crew some of our Aero Knee Sliders for their Sports Bike of the Year test…but perhaps we should have looked into making some elbow sliders!

@OTTpix: Mike Booth giving it some – TT Senior Race @ boothyeight @fastbikesmag @ ttscwebsite @StevieRRN @ LivingRoadRaces @ roadracingdaily

@anthonymashford: Going through Hall bends @CadwellPark during the @MSVTrackdays with @fastbikesmag #fun

@BlackTopMediaUK: One of my fave ever pics, just makes me laugh. The late Ronnie Smith, road tester at @fastbikesmag... erm... testing a Gold Wing lol

@garybridgestone: We are @ CadwellPark today with @ fastbikesmag and @rst_ motodirect and @WhyArai Come say hello in the assembly area. Don’t forget the big prize if you’re running @BridgestoneUK rubber. You can buy it here today from Holbeach






To be in with a chancce of winning this most ta asteful of tops, j ust email us ( letters@ or post on our Facebook pa age with a pic of you, your bikke and a few words about itt, where you’ve been on it and a why you rate it so highly. We’ll ourite post then pick our favo each month and that t lucky person will be the e proud owner of their very own Fast Bikes hoodie – which is proven prove to make you at least 60% faster!*

Gavin Moore


I’ve been nowhere... too busy crying after someone knocked my bike over in their Range Rover.

* Disclaimer: May not actually mak you make y any faster.

FB: Gutted to see this, Gavin. At least no one got hurt in the process. Have a hoodie to cheer you up, chap. And send us a shot when you’re back out and about.

Send yours to

Kev Challis

Triumph Street Triple RS

Bike all ready for a trip to the Peak District, new Yoshi fitted and sounding lush.

Ben Varley

Yamaha MT-10SP

City night time ride on the beast.

Tony Gosling

Suzuki SV650

Doing the two best things on a Sunday morning: drinking strong coffee and spanking the SV around Derbyshire.

Mark Eggbeer

Honda VTR1000 SP2

Goodwood Racecourse.

Mark Webb

Honda Fireblade

Fast Bikes track day. 2013 Fireblade.


Andy Gordon


Nothing else to say. FastBikes-Forum FastBikesMagazine


Dale Emery Joe Woodvine

His Mrs…

Spent the last 10 days on the Isle of Man for arguably the best TT yet! This picture was taken Sunday while ex ploring up the Mountain!

Suzuki GSX-R1000

A rip around Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Peterborough, Northamptonshire. A visit to Chris Walker K awasaki, wheels at Peterborough, several petrol stations, McDonald’s, four wrong turns, a spell at the side of the road to find the Evotec parts falling off the blue GSX -R, more petrol stations. All riding new machinery. O ne GSX R1000R l7 , GSX R1000 l7 , ZX -10RR SE, Z1000SX , MT09SP, K TM Superduke, Panigale S, and a GSX R1000 l3 .

Mike Schaus

Aprilia RSV4

Recently took my Aprilia down to ride all the best roads around and including the Dragon’s Tail. Going back nex t year!

Sean Putter


Sunny Scotland with my highland cow mascot.

Liam Bennett

Honda Fireblade 954

Been to biking heaven on my Fireblade 954 with a great bunch of lads and watched your very own Mike Booth take on the course and do an awesome j ob of it!!!!

Stigg Hateley Matty Chunka Hughes

Ducati 748

Through the Derbyshire dales last weekend.

Suzuki GSX-R750

K emble, Sat, Avebury , V erwood and Poole! Sunday on the Gix er as it was feeling left out since I got the Fireblade!

Jay Tristram


Russ Foggan

Yamaha YZF750SP

Flew over to the TT from Atlanta GA U SA, borrowed a bike from a mate, spent eight sun-kissed days on the island!

Mike Canham

Aprilia Tuono V4

O ut with the lads in Saaarrfend. Michael Shuttleworth

Honda CBR650F

Zugspiteblick, Austria.


Giving the RR some welly round O ulton Park.


See page 6 for the best deals


Cheer up, it might run eventually.

PROJECT NINJA Rob has been working hard on the ZXR750. ZXR750 This month he’s been busy with the shock, linkages and exhaust system.


t’s time for a bit of a progress update on my Z X R project and things are moving along fairly quickly. After getting the swingarm fitted last time I could start to think about the shock and linkage arrangement. I had already acquired a ‘new old stock’ (that’s what NOS means on eBay apparently, nothing to do nitrous) FOX Racing shock. G iven that these were made in the early 90s my first job was to give it a good once over and take it into work for a re-gas as it was bound to have made an escape after 2 5 odd years on a shelf. Everything was still spot on though and I filled it up with 400psi worth of nitrogen during my dinner break. I could try to sound clever and say I went for nitrogen because it doesn’t have as high a coefficient of heat expansion as fresh air so

the shock will work better even when warm, but the truth is, it was just what was in the bottle. I bolted the shock in and also cleaned up and re-greased the original H 1 linkage. The original dog bones weren’t going to work with the new swingarm, and as the bike is going to see some track action when finished I decided to make some adjustable ones which will allow me to play with the geometry later on. I’ve made these linkages quite a few times before; it’s pretty easy and relatively cheap to do (less than £40) I got four M12 Female Rose J oints, 0.5 m of H igh Tensile threaded bar, some M12 H alf thickness nuts, M12 penny washers and new slightly longer linkage bolts (rose joints are thicker than dog bones). Then it


Rob’s ‘slipped’ a new clutch in. FastBikes-Forum FastBikesMagazine


Putting the wheels in motion.

was just a case of working out the length of rod I needed, cutting a bit of threaded bar putting two nuts on it, then a rose joint either end, the trick is getting a decent and equal amount of thread in each rose and leaving a bit of space for adjustment. When I was happy I put a bit of heat shrink over the bar in the middle just to make it look a bit posher and did another one and set it the same. Fitted with the longer bolts, I think they look pretty trick.

Rob’s been giving his pipe a well needed scrub.

Next job was trying to get my tired old Vance and H ines Supersport Exhaust system (which has sat in the back of my cave for about eight years gathering dust) looking a bit better. First task was to strip off the old heat wrap which just about fell off on its own. Underneath the pipes were still solid but had furred up fairly badly. A good hour or so with a wire wheel in my drill had all the rust successfully transferred from the pipes onto my face. After a few coats of barbecue paint from my local hardware store they were looking almost as good as new. I think I will thermal wrap them again soon before fitting. With forks and a swingarm properly in place, I turned my attention to the wheels. I have gone for a set from a Z X 9R C model, mainly because of the huge weight saving over the original Z X R wheels (which I am sure are made of depleted uranium) but also because they are easy and cheap to get hold of and the three-spoke pattern is in keeping with the late 8 0s style which I am going for – more modern wheels wouldn’t look right. I had them powder coated white at the same time the frame was done, chucked new bearings and dust seals in all round, and fitted the G alfer wavy discs and a spacer plate I acquired ages ago

Spec’ing it up Here’s a list of what’s gone into the build so far… ZX -9R Harris rearsets New old dtock Fox twin clicker shock V ance and Hines Supersport ex haust system ZX -9R C1 wheels Galfer discs BMW S1000RR Brembo rear caliper ZX -9R Sprint steering damper and mounts Ignitech CDi Carbon fibre H1 single seat unit GSX -R1000 yokes ZX -10R Radial forks and calipers Brembo radial brake and clutch masters H1 fairing Some fresh nitrogen ( in the shock) Homemade adj ustable dog bones

to the rear sprocket carrier, which gives the correct offset when using the later wheels in earlier Z X Rs. The rear fitted in easy enough, with clearance either side when the wheel is central. The front fits pretty well too, I’m just waiting on some aluminium to arrive up so I can turn up some spacers and make a hangar for the rear calliper;



P lay ing with his head ( stock ) .

I can’t use the standard one as it is a bit too thick to fit. But the most important thing is that it now looks like a proper motorbike not just some metal bits. Not wanting to sit idle while waiting for bits I did a few other engine jobs, cleaning and painting the gearbox cover, engine breather and sump. I stripped, checked, cleaned and fitted the water pump and alternator complete with a new belt (yep that’s right, how 8 0s, a belt driven alternator) and also got a clutch in there. A cool, and relatively unknown, thing about all Z X R 7 5 0s is they all come from the factory with a slipper clutch fitted, it’s just set up not to work (factory fitted slipper clutch in 198 9, way ahead of its time). It is activated by changing the stack height of the clutch pack, using different thickness of steel plates, to allow room for the slider to move and then changing the strength of the springs to get the desired amount of slip. To begin with I am going to stick with a new stock clutch until the motor has been set up and proven so I know where I am with it. Once I’m happy with things, I will have a play with getting the slipper to work as it will be needed with extra engine braking from the big bore high compression motor and more front bias weight distribution the bike will have. That about wraps it up for this instalment. By next month I should have the wheel spacers done, brakes sorted, exhaust, carbs, oil and cooling system all fitted and if I get on well enough I may even make a wiring loom too. If I do get to that stage there’s no reason I won’t be able to have it running, exciting times.

F ull of nitr ogen... shock ing.


I s ther e something missing ther e?

F or k in’ hell!

P er f ect fit.

H as that car pet ever seen a vacuum cleaner ?



TEN WITH At least one of them’s happy.

Hutchy tried his best.





After a couple of turbulent TTs and with the Ulster GP just around the corner, we caught up with Honda Racing manager Jonny Twelvetrees to get his lowdown on what’s been going on in the big H camp… FB: Jonny, last year was tough for Honda on the roads; tell us a bit about it, and did it affect things this year? J T: L ast year was really tough! We had our problems, and obviously what happened with J ohn [ McG uinness] crashing was horrible – and then we came to the TT and it was difficult with G uy, which was frustrating as we didn’t actually get any of the development we needed. We’ve basically started from scratch this year rather than last year with the new Fireblade, so even having things like a base setting for suspension has been new to us. The bike has a lot more power this year as well, so trying to work out the best way to get that to work as well was hard as everything at the TT course is such a difficult compromise. It seems like you get a lot of time at the TT, but as far as general laps goes you barely get any when you start making changes! And if you change too many things you can get really lost in translation of setup. FB: Can you share data and parts with the BSB team to help with that at all? J T: We share everything we can as we want wins on both sides! Any parts or bits that are working well, or not so well, we always share, so we can accelerate together. It actually goes the same for the H onda World Superbike team as well, as the rules allow us to run their stuff! Funnily enough, on the Superbikes we were running back to back 88 AUGUST 2018 WWW.FASTBIKESMAG.COM

with the WSBK and BSB spec engine to find which is best. As an example H utchy used the WSBK spec engine, and L ee used the BSB spec engine.

FB: Some of the competitors have been out racing. Does that give an advantage? J T: Other teams have been doing more racing then us, but we’ve still been out testing. A lot of the other guys, like H arrison who’s been out at BSB, is on Metz eler tyres which are incredibly close to the P irelli control tyre. We’re on D unlops, so it would be slightly different, and although you can get some feedback it will all change on different rubber. P lus the weather this year has been pretty rubbish even in Spain – we went to Monteblanco for four days and only got one day on track! FB: At the end of last year, who did you want on the bikes? J T: We basically wanted to be in a position where we could go win! Even just looking at H utchy and his determination, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he would’ve been able to have stuck it up there at the TT. The thing that gave us confidence is that he’s been through it all before, so there’s no one more qualified to know what he could do. If he’d have had 12 weeks instead of four, I think it could’ve been a very different place. And L ee is awesome, he just needs more time on the bike which is where the Ulster will be good.

FB: What’s the best course of improvement? J T: That’s a difficult one! From us there’s a lot to come with getting time on the bike and getting it dialled in. With H utchy, of course there’s lots of work, but it will come with time. With L ee we just need to make it easier to ride on our end – he’s only small, so it’s hard work for him muscling a big bike about. On the stock bike he absolutely flies. FB: Are you disappointed about the results? J T: At the end of the day, no teams had as much success as H onda, and sometimes it doesn’t go your way. That’s racing – it just happened to be with the new bike, which is shining in World Endurance. We would’ve liked to have done better, but with the way that H utchy was, what could we expect? H is cage only came off four weeks before he set off down Bray H ill. H ow he can do anywhere close to the lap times, let alone putting in four at a time is beyond me. L ee’s doing a great job at developing the bike as well. We’re learning a hell of a lot, pushing on into the Ulster. FB: Would you like to keep the team constant for next year? J T: Y eah we’re still early on the year, but at the moment it’s a good team with a good dynamic. The big challenge is in BSB you’ve got so many races to look at riders, or have a duff weekend, whereas the roads guys don’t have that many opportunities. We’ll leave it at a yes!




CROFT CIRCUIT Perhaps one of the fastest and bumpiest tracks the UK has to offer, it’s also one of the most relentless and exhilarating to ride. Here’s how to master it…



Y ou should be running tight to the pit wall on the approach to C roft’s first corner, pinned on the throttle until you reach the broken yellow markings that denote the pitlane exit. If you’re feeling brave, or are riding a smaller capacity bike, you can keep on the power a little bit longer, but ultimately you should be hard on the brakes by the time you reach the red-coloured banding to the left of the track. C oncentrate on staying out to the left of the track as you scrub off speed and go down sufficient gears to tackle C lervaux. There are two plastic posts on the left of the track edge; use the second one as your reference to turn in for the right hander’s apex. The bend’s less acute than you might think, and probably a bit more bumpy than you’d imagine too, but the trick is to apex tightly on the inside kerb, thinking simultaneously about getting on the power immediately (or even a bit before the kerb), to fire you out to the rumble strip on the left hand side of the track.

Keep far left on the run into Clervaux.


Hawthorn Bend

The run into H awthorn will see you crossing onto the thick banding of rumble strip on the left of the track. The initial foot of the banding is actually pretty smooth, and by taking this line you’ll be able to carry more speed into the fast right hand bend that suddenly appears before you. D on’t be afraid to use a bit of front brake to help manage your entry speed, as this will also help transfer weight to the front of the bike

and aid your entry into the long, sweeping corner. There’s a natural line into the bend, which sees you get your knee down up against the inside kerb, but soon after, as you start to feed in the power and up the corner speed, you have to let the bike edge out towards the left of the track. Stay within a metre or two initially, before crossing over a surface joint, after which you’ll want to sweep out wide to the left of the centre line. It’s really bumpy around here, so be

careful of highsides, or loading the front on the bumps. A nice progressive throttle works best, all the time building your speed and moderating your line on the throttle. The second half of the corner is a little blind, and the flat surface gives little clues to what’s coming next, but you will eventually see a raised rumble strip appear, and that’s your reference to aim for to tackle the next part of the track.


You need to run out wide at Hawthorne... but maybe not as wide as Pretty Boy.



Banging in laps is what’s needed to nail the perfect line into the chicane, which should see you running the white line on the right of the track before flicking the bike to the left, tight to its kerb, ready to drive hard on the run to Tower. Two things to be mindful of: not being too eager on the throttle at big lean (as you will highside – this is the first left on the track), and the the exit’s bumpy nature. H ard throttle and big bumps will cause your bike to run wide on the exit, so be mindful of this FastBikes-Forum FastBikesMagazine



Fast Facts Tough, technical & bumpy 2.1 miles long Ex-BSB track Super flat layout HOW FAST










Proper ballsy corners Limited but good

It’ll take a few days Laps is the answer You won’t be disappointed

2 1 Shakey showing us how to tackle Sunny Out.



8 6


TEL: 01325 721815


8 4

LAP RECORD: 1:19.695 Ryuichi Kiyonari 12/08/07



See page 6-7 for the best deals


Get your bike stood up before driving hard out of the chicane.

S UB S C ESSENTIAL TRACK KIT: BRIDGESTONE R11 TYRES When it comes to track rubber, Bridgestone’s R11s take some beating. The new generation rubber offers q uick warm-up times, fantastic feedback and longevity that’ll make you q uestion your throttle actions. Brimming with so much tech they’ll make your brain fry, the crux is that they’ve been designed to accentuate contact patches and flex on the ex treme shoulders of the multi-compound hoops, that are available in either soft or medium compounds. Trackday users and racers alike would be mad not to give them a go.


too, else you’ll find yourself mowing the grass on the outside of the course. It’s better to get your bike stood up as soon as you can, allowing you to maximise its engine on the long run to Tower Bend.


Tower Bend

Y ou’re stonking on by the time you kink left on the run into Tower Bend. It’s best to approach the kink from the right side of the track, aiming to end up on the left of centre on the final approach to the corner, or you’ll compromise your line and corner speed through Tower. Once through the kink, you’ll see three braking marker signs above the metal fence on your left; aim to break somewhere around the first one (15 0m). D ue to the cars that use the track frequently, the run in is pretty bumpy as you start pitching towards the right hander, so expect a few bumps and skids if you’re hard on the anchors. As tempting as it will seem, the trick to nailing Tower is to not turn in too soon. Y ou’ll see

the rumble strip appear on the inside of the corner, but don’t immediately be drawn into hugging it. The bend is sharper than 90º , so if you get in too soon, you’ll end up stuck riding it for far too long. There’s no defined piece of rumble strip to aim for, but aim for around the middle of the strip, that you’ll stay on for a couple of seconds at most before the exit starts to open up and you’re able to see the run up to the esses. A bit like the chicane, strong drive out of Tower is what’s crucial, so don’t be drawn into accelerating too hard, too soon, or you’ll be run wide onto the bumpy outside of the track, which will stop you accelerating as hard as you could have done. Take your time, get your line right and strangle the hell out of your throttle in due course.


Jim Clark Esses

This is one of the ballsiest bits of tarmac in the UK , and it’s bloody difficult to master. From tower, you’ll head over from the left of the track to the right on

the approach to the ballistic esses, driving hard as you pass the tarmac section that appears on your right, shortly followed by a tyre wall and a wooded area. Y ou need to be all the way to the right by this point, as you try to work out when to turn in for the initial left hander. The bad news is there is no immediate reference, but know that the turn in point will probably feel much later than you’ll expect. Aim to stick tight to the initial kerb, keeping your wheels inside of the overbanding line you’ll see on the ground a foot off the kerb. To help you turn the bike to the right, you can moderate your throttle, but don’t risk chopping it or you’ll load your front and can risk a crash – it’s bumpy and you’ll already be loading the front tyre massively by this point. Flicking right, you should run the inside kerb very tight too, but watch your engine casings on it. D on’t open the throttle too soon, or you’ll run wide too soon, and there’s very little run off at this superfast part of the track. It’s crucial to get strong drive down to Barcroft, so think more about exit drive than exit speed.


Stick to the inside of the overbanding into Jim Clark Esses.



This is the fastest corner on the track and it’s really hard to see the corner clearly before you’re on top of it because the layout’s so flat. When you’re close enough, you’ll pick out the low kerb on the inside of the bend. Y ou shouldn’t really need to break into this corner, but chop the throttle at a point you feel comfortable to help guide you in, being mindful of carrying a bit of throttle on the final approach to unload the front and prepare you for hard drive down to the next corner. The very inside of the apex is bumpy, so you’re better off being around a foot from the kerbing, and this will set you up better for the run into Sunny In. FastBikes-Forum FastBikesMagazine



Lee Wells What’s not to like about Croft, aside from the grass growing in the track. It’s fast, bumpy and proper ballsy. A real rider’s track. I’m all over it.

The Complex is a great place for passing.


Sunny In/ Sunny Out

There’s no real braking reference on the approach to Sunny In, but you should be all the way over to the left of the track as you head in, pretty much running the white line. Y ou’ll need to change down a gear or two on the final run in, as you scrub off speed, and aim tight for the inside kerb that appears. There’s a big drop-off on Sunny In, which can catch you out big time. It’s less aggressive from the very inside line, as being even a foot off the kerb exaggerates the drop – not good news for anyone that’s trail braking in. By being tight on the kerb, it’ll also mean you run deeper into the double bend, which is no bad thing, as it forces you to run more of a double apex through the two corners. Y ou tackle them as one big swoop. After Sunny In, you’ll want to be out wide to the left of the track, and ready to pitch back in for Sunny Out, aiming your line at the inside of the

long, grey patch of tarmac that sits just off the inside kerb. If you run this line you’ll be able to stand your bike up sooner on the exit, being able to get on the throttle much harder than someone that’s apexed wider and has been forced to run their bike at lean to the outside of the track – risking big slides and/or highsides. J ust for added entertainment, there’s a brow on the exit of Sunny Out, which makes for some great holiday snaps, as you power hard towards the C omplex.


Complex 1 and 2

This is a two-part section of very different bends that’s just as tricky as any other inch of C roft. Approach from right of centre, noting that there are loads of bumps to contend with as you brake hard and change down a gear. The track tries to draw you in to the left hander very early, but this is another late apex bend, that’s riddled with deep depressions on the inside of the

BONUS TIP If you’re new to Croft you’ll probably be shocked by its bumpy surface. There’s no sugar-coating it, but a softer setup can make the track much more rideable. If you’re finding your bike shaking like a leaf, don’t be afraid to back off a bit of damping, as it’ll make the course far easier going.

kerb. It’s better to go a little deeper than you’d imagine, not starting to turn into the corner until you’ve reached the beginning of the kerbs. This will mean you’re then on a line that sees you brush the inside kerb late on, before you get on the power again and swoop out to the right, ready to enter the second part of the C omplex. When you see the kerb on the right appear, aim to be tight against it, having braked enough to ensure you’re not running in deep to this double apex bend. H aving pitched in, you’ll then find your bike drifts out wide to the left, before you pull it back to the second apex of the bend, ready to get on the throttle as the H airpin comes into view.



Y ou should aim to be mid-track on the approach, or nearer to the left if you’re running a defensive line. This is a hairpin that’s really easy to over egg. It’s not that wide or complicated, so treat it with simplicity. There are no real braking markers to note, but aim to have slowed your bike enough so you can brush the inside kerb on the run in, before drifting out Don’t over-complicate the hairpin. Get in, get out, get gunning.

Gary Johnson Croft’s one of the most relatable tracks you’ll find to a road racer. It’s fast, technical and brilliant to ride.

Brod Wilson It’s a mega track, really fast and challenging. It takes some learning, but it’s mega.

a metre or so mid-turn, ready to pull it back tight and have the bike pretty much upright by the time you’ve completed the 18 0º needed to be looking up the start straight. Some people try to accelerate hard with the bike on its ear, but this just risks big slides and restricted exits, as the outside of the track soon comes to you. Think about the length of the straight, and acknowledge that while you might lose out to a high corner speed running bike in the initial ten metres of the exit, you’ll easily out accelerate them by the time you’re hammering the throttle and they’re still only just tickling theirs.

Verdict 8/10 It’s not the easiest to learn, but it’s a corker that’ll draw you back time and again. + FAST, HARD, REWARDING – LUMPIER THAN SCHOOL CUSTARD




‘Have you seen the sodium levels in that?’

LEARN FROM THE BEST. For the ultimate one-to-one instruction which includes everything from initial bike checks to video playback and on/off track tuition tailored to suit all abilities from a former WSBK racer, check out Dean Ellison Rider Coaching at


Y ou wouldn’t throw diesel into your pride and j oy would you? N o? Well don’t fi ll yourself with rubbish then!


kay, just so we’re clear… I’m not a super craz y nutritionist and I have no qualifications or training in sports nutrition – but this works for me, and will for most of you lot so give it a little go. I should point out that I’m writing this for trackday enthusiasts who want to feel fresh and full of energy on the day, so use this as a guide and adjust to suit your own diet and taste buds…

■ The night before: G ive yourself a head start by laying off the beer for just one evening, save it for the following night when you can tell everyone down the pub how fast you were. Eat a high carb meal like pasta with Bolognese or chicken (ditch the garlic bread) and drink plenty of water, it’s good to start the next day almost hydrated. D on’t feel bad for eating loads of carbs the night before, riding on track is very physical and most of us will put in 100% effort for all seven of the 2 0 minute sessions.

■ Breakfast: No doubt you’ll get up at 4am and have a two-hour drive ahead, with maybe a Starbucks stop to pick you up, but still keep going with the water – even more so if you’re a coffee drinker. Breakfast is probably the easiest of the meals to source though, either at a motorway service station or from the circuit café when you arrive. So many of the UK tracks offer good quality meals now, so choose from porridge with dried fruit and or honey, maybe some muesli followed by fresh fruit, or if you really have to go for the fry up, scrap the toast and limit it to bacon, eggs, tomatoes and mushrooms. That combo should take the edge off your craving. ■ Snacks: Gr az ing on good quality snacks will prevent fatigue and stop you from feeling ravenous at lunch time. Mars, Snickers, Skittles, H aribo… these are not healthy snacks, just have some willpower and avoid these addictive sweets for a few more hours. Almost all service stations

have a healthy food section, so go for the P aleo snack option, and if it wasn’t available to a caveman, don’t eat it. Stock up on dried fruit, nuts and seeds, push the boat out and grab a few granola bars and definitely include fresh fruit for your day at the track, try to mix it up as well, eating six bars of the same granola and a bunch of bananas can’t be good for the digestive system and will probably make your stomach a bit dodgy… ■ Lunch: By now you should’ve had four 2 0 minute track sessions and that’s a lot of riding, mental effort and decision making – not to mention the fact you’ve been awake a few hours more than normal. So there’s every chance you will just want the biggest meal deal available, but a large stodgy meal just leads to you feeling full and very tired. D o your best to follow the above advice and you should only want a light snack when lunchtime comes around. Ideally you should prepare your own healthy

lunch, but if the circuit café is offering cooked chicken with chips, then swap the chips for salad or even steamed veg, just avoid bread, pastry and too much pasta. Avoid the food coma! ■ Fluids: K eep sipping water and rehydration fluids throughout the day, as you should drink between three and five litres depending on the temperature. If you don’t start drinking early in the day, you’ll become dehydrated and that has a big effect on your concentration, vision and ultimately your ability to control a bike at speed. There’s some nice rehydration drinks on the market now, I’ve used SIS and SG UT which has been developed for MX racers and they work wonders. And go have fun! Even if you can improve on one aspect of nutrition at a time like drinking more water, every little bit will add up to helping you go quicker. And don’t forget, once you’ve finished and gone faster, then you can reward yourself!






SPROCKETS We caught up with Mark from Renthal sprocket importer B&C Express to see how these metal wonders work and why the perfect sprocket can transform your ride… FB: What is a sprocket?

MF: Technically, a sprocket or chain wheel is a profiled wheel with teeth that mesh with a chain to turn the rear wheel. The name ' sprocket' applies generally to any wheel upon which radial projections engage a chain passing over it, driving the machine. FB: What are they made of?

MF: Renthal rear sprockets are made from 7 07 5 T6 aluminium alloy which is then surface coated with a hard anodising for increased wear resistance, whereas Renthal front sprockets are made from 6 5 5 M13 nickel chromium steel that is then case hardened for maximum durability. G iven what they do, they need to be strong! FB: How long do they last?

MF: This is a very open ended question as sprocket life is dependant on so many things, such as riding conditions, weather conditions, maintenance regime, drive chain condition, riding style, power of the bike, chain pitch/siz e – these will all affect the longevity of the sprockets. As an example, a brand new front and rear steel sprocket fitted to an old 5 2 0 chain that has covered 3000 miles on a 15 0bhp machine ridden hard in the winter with snow, rain and road salt with virtually no cleaning or lubricating will last less than 3000 miles. If we then take the same bike but this time it’s fitted with a brand new 5 30 pitch chain, of the correct grade, and new sprockets ridden sedately in the summer while being cleaned and lubricated thoroughly on a regular basis it will see more than 15 ,000 miles.

FB: Is there a difference between standard and aftermarket sprockets?

MF: There shouldn’t be. The shape and profile for the teeth is an internationally accepted standard design. H owever, the type of material used, and the heat-treating process of steel sprockets could vary between manufacturers, affecting the way sprockets wear. OEM front sprockets generally have rubber pads bonded to them just below the teeth, which slightly reduces the noise of the chain as it engages with the front sprocket but has absolutely no benefits to the life of the sprocket. One of the biggest differences between an OEM rear sprocket and a Renthal rear sprocket is the weight. Obviously, this is because the Renthal rear is made from an aluminium alloy and the OEM is made from steel. For example; a 5 30 pitch, 47 tooth steel rear sprocket for a 2 014 Y amaha R1 weighs 1.1kg, whereas the same sprocket from Renthal is 0.44kg. There are weight savings to be made by fitting a Renthal Ultralight front sprocket, but obviously these are very small due to the siz e and material they are made from.

Look at that sexy mother hooker...

FB: Do they need any type of maintenance?

MF: Y es. The chain and the sprockets need to be cleaned regularly using a proprietary chain cleaner, such as TechC ote TC 16 0, and a stiff nylon bristle brush. This is done to remove the road dirt that has combined with the chain lube. Once this has all been removed and

One of the best upgrades you could ever make.

If you don’t know the difference between yokes and yolks, Dzus and Zeus, or suspension and suspenders – email the experts

96 AUGUST 2018 WWW.FASTBIKESMAG.COM FastB kes-Forum FastBikes-Forum


Renthal sprockets have won more championships than any other sprocket manufacturer.


Sprockets are still the best and most efficient way to drive a motorcycle.


Changing sprockets is one of the most popular modifications you can make to a bike.


B&C Ex press offer a one-off manufacturing service for rear sprockets in 7 07 5 T651 aluminium alloy.


Changing sprockets and using the same chain will alter your wheelbase, and therefore your geometry!

Facebook com Fas BikesMagaz ne FastBikesMagazine


Good sprockets offer better pulling power.

Powerful and pretty.

allowed to dry the chain needs to be re-lubricated with a quality chain lubricant, such as TechC ote TC 100 or TC 110. FB: How do you know if they need changing?

MF: As a rule, it is always recommended that a new chain is fitted with new sprockets, so it will always be the chain that dictates when the sprockets should be renewed, regardless of how good the sprockets look. Most modern bikes have indicators on the swingarm that show that the chain has stretched to a point that it needs to be replaced, and on the sprocket you can tell at the bottom of the teeth where the chain makes contact with it. Badly hooked teeth and excess wear in the bottom of the tooth area would require a sprocket change. This is more evident on off-road bikes due to the amount of whipping in the chain and dirty passing through the chain which grinds into the sprocket. FB: What difference does it make if you change the number of teeth?

MF: C hanging a sprocket tooth siz e is probably one of the most

popular and cost effective performance changes you can make to a motorcycle. Taking just one tooth off the front gearbox sprocket is the equivalent to going up three teeth on the rear sprocket. This makes the bike accelerate more quickly, giving you a noticeable difference in the feel of the bike. D ifferent sprocket siz es are crucial in racing to get the right set up gearing wise for a track or to achieve a certain wheel base length as well. C hanging gearing on a road bike can give you many advantages too, whether you’re touring and want a less revving motor or are seeking that extra advantage in performance with increased acceleration. FB: Will it alter anything else on the bike?

MF: D ependant on the motorcycle and how the speedo picks up its reading, changing the sprockets can alter a reading either by over reading slightly or under reading dependant on what you have done. Modern speedos take their speed readings electronically and some can be adjusted within the settings if the sensor reads from the gearbox.

FB: What’s the difference between 520 and 525 sprockets?

MF: It’s all down to the thickness of the sprocket. A 5 2 0 sprocket looks the same as a 5 2 5 sprocket from the side but look at it straight down the teeth and you can see the thickness difference – the thickness of a 5 2 5 sprocket is 7 .2 5 mm and a 5 2 0 pitch is 5 .9mm.There are many other pitches of sprockets available from 415 up to 6 30 – so as an example 42 8 is mainly used on 12 5 cc machines to keep costs down and as they have lower power outputs they don’t actually require a bigger sprocket and chain. On the opposite end, a C BR1000RR standard chain and sprocket set up is 5 2 5 , but if you were taking that bike racing you would swap them to Renthal 5 2 0 Sprockets which offer a weight saving and a much larger range of tooth siz es.

FB: How do you know what works best for you?

MF: Mainly by what you’re using it for. If you’re riding on the road mainly leave your chain and sprockets with the standard pitch and adjust the tooth siz es to suit you. If you’re going racing, then use the lighter 5 2 0 sprockets set up!

We’ve seen better teeth on crack whores. AUGUST 2018 WWW.FASTBIKESMAG.COM 97


Price from new: Insurance group:



Wild Ass air cushion Dunlop SportSmart TT R&G Engine Case Covers R&G Tail Tidy RUNNING TOTAL

£5,400 9 £14 1.66 £251.00 £122.99 £8 5.00 £600.65

W eapon. O r something lik e that...


0 1 3 6 7


BHP: 42 GAIN: 0


J ust the tick et!


“ Taking care of the finer details.”


K awasak i’ s hover b ik e never did tak e of f .

know, I know, if you read last month’s column you’d have seen that I was on the hunt for some more power. U nfortunately that will have to wait till nex t time, as a full system is in hot demand these days meaning I’ve still got a few more weeks of waiting… it’s almost as if there’s a whole championship full of kids racing these things who need ‘ em first or something. But on the flip side, it’s made me even more ex cited for when those new ponies do arrive. I haven’t j ust been sitting by the post box though, as I’ve actually been pretty busy getting my hands dirty, getting three of the essential parts I think every road bike needs covered. Number one of which is a new set of tyres; okay, it might come on Dunlop hoops but O E j obs aren’t the best in the world, and after sampling a set of SportSmart TTs at the launch a few months ago I

P r etty b oy finally got his k nee down...

couldn’t wait to see how they’d hold up through a summer of abuse. So far they’ve survived a good few hundred miles, a trackday and the odd burnout or three with flying colours, and they definitely help to inspire more confidence through the soft chassis. I even took the wheels out myself and it was an absolute doddle, but if that’s not your thing, get your ass down to your local tyre warehouse ( I use a lovely lot called Watling Tyres) , and get some new boots on. You won’t regret it. Number two on the list is crash protection, as no matter how careful you are ( or how good the tyres are!) all you need is a little diesel on the roads and a little spill can turn into big bucks. Being a creature of habit, I’ve gone down the R&G route with some engine and clutch casing protection for the moment, as even though I’ve been down the road more times than I’d care to admit they’ve always done the j ob. They’re nice and easy to stick on as they come with all the instructions and

bolts you need, and that ten minute j ob can save a lifetime of pain… O r something like that. You don’t even have to remove the fairings either, so there’s absolutely no ex cuses. Number three on the list was another j obby from R&G, but this time for fashion and not function. I’m a slave to appearances, and I j ust had to get a tail tidy on as soon as possible. You do have to bust the backseat off and mess around with the wiring slightly on this, but with the instructions given it’s simple, which is nice. I haven’t j ust been spending time ripping the thing apart though, as between laptop stints I’ve been out at every opportunity, and the K awasaki hasn’t missed a beat. Now I’ve got the Wild Ass cushion it’s comfy on long j ourneys, and as the World Cup has been on, I’ve been taking advantage of the q uiet roads. I might’ve been wary at first, but with every mile the little Ninj a is really coming into its own. Give her some power, and she’ll be the dream…


LONGTERMERS Beauty and these beasts...

Lock at that!


0 3 0 0 0


BHP: 150 GAIN: 0


THIS MONTH I HAVE MOSTLY BEEN… “Smashing big miles.”


The trek was worth it.

f you thought that covering shy of 2,500 miles in j ust four days would be a no-go on a naked, then think again. With my old man on his Street 67 5 in tow, we decided to put a tick firmly on the bucket list by having a lads’ tour to Italy. In all honesty, saying we were going to ‘ Italy’ is a little vague; truth be known we were headed for one of – if not one of the most – iconic rounds on the MotoGP calendar. Yes, you guessed it; we were destined for the one and only Mugello. U nfortunately we had a tight schedule to work to, meaning we had two days to ride down, with a couple of days at the track then another two to head back to Blighty. With the prospect of having to rack up 7 4 0 miles on day one, covering France, Belgium and Lux embourg to reach our first stop in Fü ssen, a Bavarian town in Germany


j ust north of the Austrian boarder, I have to admit, I was somewhat apprehensive. I’ve never covered so many miles in a single day, let alone while abroad and with less than three hours’ kip. If I said the day was a breez e I’d be bullshittin’. There were times where I j ust wanted to pull up in a services, throw off my clobber and grab forty winks but that’s only because I had done a 19 hour day before being out of bed again at 3 am to head due south – stupid, I know but that’s the j oys of working in the print game. Testament though to the GSX -S – credit where credit’s due n’all that – I didn’t feel ball achingly uncomfortable once ( that’s not to say that it wasn’t moderately painful) . Thankfully for me ( not so my wallet) the freq uent fuel stops that occurred every 14 0-160 miles gave me chance to fuel up on caffeine and soldier on. Another feature that contributed to making the j ourney more bearable was the addition of Suz uki’s genuine, large tank bag, which retails at an ex pected price of 150 notes. Being ex tendable from 11-15 litres, it provided me with the additional storage to carry one of our bulky lock and chains along with a selection of easily accessible snacks and other crap. Made all the more functional by being easily removable for tank top ups. Much to my surprise, I managed to sq ueez e our other lock and chain in under the pillion seat too, which meant that neither of us had to carry the weight of those darn locks on our back for hours on end – bliss! The tank bag itself is guaranteed to 8 0mph

Price from new: Insurance group:

£9,999 14

Modifications: Suz uki LED indicators ( set of four) Suz uki large tank bag RUNNING TOTAL

£210 £150 £360

but I thought it best to put it to the test on the autobahn and I can safely say that it reassuringly stayed put at 100 + 50mph – if you get my drift. Mugello alone was epic and totally insane – even if Lorenz o spoiled my fun by bagging the win. Never before have I felt so immersed by merely being on the spectator’s side of the fence, it’s a truly special place. Being there also made me wonder what will happen to MotoGP when The Goat announces retirement because as far as the eye could see the crowd was awash with yellow V R4 6 garments. Yellow flares were being deployed left, right and centre and chainsaw engines were bellowing out in all directions. All in all, the GSX -S1000 did me proud; she didn’t miss a beat and provided me with an arse-easing level of comfort that many nakeds would be envious of. She did a sterling j ob of slappin’ a grin across my chops when ripping up the mountain twisties, especially on the silky smooth and flowing E53 2 from Fü ssen towards Innsbruck – it’s a minter! Nex t month I’m hoping to add a little j e ne sais q uoi to my ride. It’s in need of a little ‘ character building’ so I’ve got an SC Proj ect pipe on order which should spice things up and help to unleash a little more of it’s inner sinner.


Superduke forum member Michael Hinz

Mile munching!

As background, I have had my road licence for about 15 years. My last bike was a ’06 Honda V TR1000F Firestorm which I had for eight years. Prior to that, I had two Suz uki SV 650S. I loved the Firestorm. It was analogue everything, not even fuel inj ected. I upgraded because I wanted something a bit more refined; something I could ride further on; and of course, a bit more power. Things I like about the GT... I commute 4 0km round trip each day through moderate traffic so I like the low speed stability. I regularly do 4 00-7 00km day trips. I visit my elderly father each fortnight and that’s a 4 00km round trip. Cruise control is the best thing ever! I do a lot of cruising on country roads ( you’d call them B-roads) . I use ‘ street’ suspension most of the time but ‘ sport’ in the twisties. I really like being able to change settings on the fly. The seating posture is in between sporty and cruisey. You can take your pick between relax ing or let the red mist descend. It’s a bit wanky but it looks cool. I’ve got the faster one ( orange) and I don’t mind it drawing a bit of attention. I initially did a 100km test ride and stopped part-way for a drink. In the couple minutes I was away, the bike was literally surrounded by onlookers. Needless to say, I bought it.


0 4 8 0 0


BHP: 173 GAIN: 0




A perfect playground for two-wheeled antics.

his month has all been about crunching the big miles, as me and five of my mates went touring in the Ardennes region for six days, which is a lovely little part of the world between France and Belgium which we meticulously planned down to the last detail. U sually I like to wing it by chucking a bag on and following the wind, but as I had five other reprobates on my tail I had to make a conscious effort to be organised… And I was, which meant usually eating up about 250 miles a day, taking on some stunning rolling countryside of fast blats and smooth tarmac accompanied by some sweet curves – and I couldn’t have asked for a better bike for the j ob. We covered 1900 miles with only a day of light showers, but in every condition the 1290 GT was mega. What made it even better was the K TM PowerParts Tank Bag and Roll Bag I stuck on before I left which was all waterproof and the perfect capacity for all my dirty underwear, alongside the

set of panniers I stuck on last month which j ust clip on nicely. To be honest, the only part of the bike I had a little issue with was the panniers, as they’re a little flimsy being plastic and my stupidly big Hulk-like hands had trouble getting the knack of opening the lock on a few occasions. O nce I mastered it though, they performed a dream, and I’m bloody happy I didn’t leave them at home, as they’re dead easy j ust to detach and use for sneaking a load of beer into your hotel room. The best part though? I had absolutely no idea I had them on! There’s no speed rating on them, which means they don’t bugger about with the aerodynamics of the 1290 GT, and no matter how fast we hammered the thing it made no difference to the stunning agility of the K TM – which is always a worry. Between us, I did clip a metal post in a supermarket car park with the panniers as well, and they didn’t crack, crumble or fall apart – j ust a scratch, which means they’re pretty damn durable. I can’t give the bike enough credit though, as it really did show its worth on the long stints. Although it’s incredibly comfortable, it still has a slightly sporty riding position to remind you of its mental side, meaning going from sensible to stupid takes one little flick of the wrist, which is j ust what I like. Even the seat which I thought was q uite firm was a delight, and having done 4 00 miles in one of the days I can vouch for the comfort, climbing off with both bum cheeks intact. Throw in Bluetooth connectivity, a comfort suspension mode and cruise control,

Price from new: Insurance group:

£16,299 16

Modifications: 600 mile service Sat-nav bracket Side cases Tank bag Hill Hold Control ( HHC) activation Motor Slip Regulation ( MSR) activation K TM Tank Bag K TM Roll Bag RUNNING TOTAL

£198 .00 £7 5.00 £668 .00 £13 2.00 £151.98 £121.3 8 £158 .10 £66.12 £1,570.58

and you have all the makings of an absolutely perfect mile muncher… well, besides the self-cancelling indicators which are a bit annoying as they went off a bit early in traffic. But maybe that’s j ust me being petty, I’d swap that out for a blipper any day of the week! Since I’ve been back, the K TM has developed a little surge in the throttle which I need to get sorted ( hopefully it’s going back to K TM) , but it’s no biggie and it hasn’t spoiled the month at all – I’ll let you know what it is when I know. But, if you’re thinking about a European blast I’d definitely recommend the Ardennes region; it’s a perfect haven to go mad on two wheels with roads and history galore. And for going touring, I couldn’t think of a better bike to do it on than K TM’s 1290 GT. Comfortable, fast and ex citing? Ticks all my box es, and then some…



No need to alert the Civil Aviation Authority just yet.


0 2 1 9 2


BHP: 198 GAIN: 0


THIS MONTH I HAVE MOSTLY BEEN… “Doing massive wheelies.”


The Isle of Man. Nuff said.

ou may have noticed that my R1M termer column was conspicuous by its absence last month. That was because I was over on the Isle of Man pretending to be a TT superstar, but don’t worry, I wasn’t going to leave it at home – I j ust can’t get enough of the R1M. And the more I ride it the more I love it. Before I went over to the island, I’d been clocking the miles up at home riding to work, and more often than not taking the long way home, so when I got over there I really felt at one with the big sex y Yam. I was a fairly busy boy during the TT fortnight but whenever I got a bit of down time I made sure I got a few laps in on the R1M as the Isle of Man is THE ( with a capital TH) best


place to wring the neck off your road bike, owing to the lack of speed limits. That said, during the TT there are a whole load of temporary speed limits in place due to the ex tra volume of traffic and multitude of camp site entrances lining the course. To make up for that though, there’s a good 10 mile section of road up on the mountain that is not only unrestricted, but one-way. It’s fantastic, and I lost count of how many laps I did flat-out over the mountain, left at the Creg-ny-Baa, through the back roads to the Gooseneck and then back over the mountain again. And you wouldn’t believe the attention the R1M got whenever it was parked up over there. It didn’t matter where it was, whether it was outside my race awning, in a layby up on the mountain or in Tesco’s car park, on an island full of motorbike people there was never a shortage of folk gawping at its sleek lines. I had a severe case of the TT Blues when I came home from the IO M and the only thing that got me through was swinging my leg over the R1M and going for a blast. In fact I was that desperate to stretch some cables that I booked onto a trackday at Cadwell Park. I had an itch that I needed to scratch and Cadders didn’t half scratch it – it’s such an awesome place. If you haven’t ridden there yet, you need to. What it highlighted, though, was the R1Ms brakes. I was well aware of the fact that they aren’t the most proficient anchors on the market but they really were a nuisance on track. It was mainly the ABS kicking it; with all the fancy

Price from new: Insurance group:

£20,199 17

A rose between two thorns.

electronics on the R1M I don’t know why there isn’t the option to turn it off. Rest assured, the nex t time I take it on track( which I’m hoping will be soon) it will be getting turned off, by hook or by crook – even if it’s only a case of yanking the ABS fuse out. As far as mods go, I haven’t made any yet. I’ll be honest, I like the thing j ust the way it is. I’ll probably chuck a tail tidy at it and maybe a can – I don’t want anything too noisy but something with a little bit more ‘ brap’ factor wouldn’t go a miss. In the meantime I’m going to carry on loving life on one wheel, as that’s where the I spend a good proportion of the time when astride my 2018 termer. Please don’t tell my mum.


Price from new: Insurance group:

£16,099 17


Too jazzy? Those wheels sure make a statement.


0 4 0 6 7


BHP: 184 GAIN: 12.5



THIS MONTH I HAVE MOSTLY BEEN… “Filling up less often...”


Goodridge goodies have transformed the brakes.

month of big changes it’s been for the big Suz ook, and mostly all because of, relatively, very little. You may remember last month me talking about wanting better fuel economy, but also the desire to be able to cruise at high speed in top gear, without the bike revving too high? You may also remember me saying I’d gotten around to fitting the Rotobox Boost carbon wheels, too? Well, an ordering glitch saw us sent a 4 3 -tooth rear sprocket ( rather than an O E matching 4 5-tooth item) , meaning I got the chance. Now, I had been considering a sprocket change anyway, but the 4 3 ’er was an ex tra tooth less, I was j ust thinking of losing one off the O E number originally. I did, also, want to see what kind of effect the light-weight wheels had on the bike in ( mostly) O E trim too, but that can wait for the time being. Not long after fitting the wheels I had a decent j ourney ahead of me, and

Pirelli Supercorsa tyres £200.00 Yoshi p’stand bobbins £3 5.00 SP E’ Diabolus can £250.00 ASV levers £220.00 Yoshimura tank pad £27 .00 Yoshimura yoke nut £3 2.00 Yoshimura ax le kit £7 7 .00 Yoshimura crank plugs £8 8 .00 Yoshimura R-11 £7 64 .00 HM P&P q ’shifter £4 4 9.98 Speedo Angels dash protector £10.99 Yoshimura bar ends £56.00 Yoshimura case savers £3 57 .00 Bridgestone T3 1 tyres £250.00 Suz uki fuel cap protector £15.00 Suz uki DB Screen £115.00 Rapid Bike EV O £4 14 .00 Rotobox Boost wheels £3 ,04 6.8 0 Goodridge ABS lines ( front) £125.96 RUNNING TOTAL £6,533.73

the initial impressions of the longer gearing were interesting to say the least. First off, having to pull the wheel so far back to accommodate the smaller sprocket obviously changed the wheelbase. The Suz uki was already very agile for an inline-four and could be lively in the bends ( in the very best possible sense) , but the longer base now means it has an ex tra dollop of stability and on the local roads round our way, which are mostly horribly bumpy, it’s now a far nicer bike to pootle around on. It took me a while to acclimatise to it though. After you’ve been riding a bike a long time you get used to it and how it behaves – how the chassis reacts as you open the gasser, no matter how fast or slow, and to what ex tent, and so on and so forth. The Gix er felt very different at first, everything had changed in how it responded to any inputs at the throttle or on the chassis front. I won’t lie, I didn’t like it much for the first ride! Now, however, with more time in the saddle, I’m enj oying it more. Engine-wise, it now feels more like the BMW S1000RR in delivery, though the Suz uki’s power plant has enough versatility to take the longer gearing in its stride, and still remain very ex citing. It was on my first long ride that the changes I’d been after really became obvious though. If we’re talking numbers, my average miles-per-gallon figure on her up to this point was around 4 0.1mpg. That’s over, for ex ample, a j ourney of around 250 miles taking in all sorts of roads in an eq ual mix of A/B-roads and motorways. JHS Racing www.j Performance Parts Ltd www.hmq Speedo Angels

Now my average over the same j ourney is 4 8 .7 mpg, which is a marked improvement. In more basic terms, when I usually ride from our Trowbridge office to, say, Silverstone, a j ourney of roughly 97 miles, usually the Gix er’s range is showing me about 20 miles until empty and the fuel light is on. Now, it’s showing me around 50 miles still to go and the light remains dark. I’ve also noticed I’m getting another 25 miles or so, roughly, before having to fill up. The bonus is it now cruises at high speed at around 6000rpm, too, nice and q uiet! So, the ex tra distance is great, but as previously mentioned the added stability makes her even more palatable on longer runs – it’s genuinely amaz ing the difference it’s made for that and my day-to-day riding. And it hasn’t lost any of it’s agility thanks to the wheels knocking off over 5kg of rotating, unsprung mass, but that’s another story. As are the brakes, which are now ex actly what I’ve always wanted them to be with the inclusion of the Goodridge braided lines. For now, I’m off for another long ride to go get her serviced at Suz uki including, finally, the recall work. At last!



Back on track at Silverstone...


0 4 5 7 6


BHP: 103 GAIN: 0


THIS MONTH I HAVE MOSTLY BEEN… “Quicker, much quicker...”


walked into Yamaha’s HQ with two four-packs of Peroni under my arm, one each for Zane and Bill who had put in overtime to get my R6 back together after its Spanish spill. As I have already wax ed lyrical about, the bike was not as bad as it could have been due to the crash protection, but even so the Yamaha chaps were incredibly busy meeting my deadline. The Supersport Pro Tour was in town at Silverstone, and they laboured above and beyond so I could take the R6 along. Tip of the cap chaps. As far as

Charlie’s used to men in garages checking him out.


the bike goes, having assessed the damage they did not seem to think the R6 had high-sided and the fact it hadn’t rolled seems to sustain that argument, but I could only go on what I had been told. My only addition to the R6 this time was an ex haust protector from R&G. Having had the PipeWerx stubby can destroyed in the shunt the O E can was back on, so a bit of protection was due. £4 5 spent, j ob done. Whatever happened it’s in the past now, and before me was my R6 reborn, sparkling clean, complete with renewed Yamaha/ Gilles Crash protection ready for my track-filled month to come. U nfortunately the R6 had not been ready for a trip to Silverstone to repeat my level 4 at the Superbike School. It had been five years since I had completed the four levels and I didn’t realise j ust how much I needed a refresher until I was advised on what I was no longer doing. I came out a better rider for sure and was ready to head to Silverstone once more the following week; only this time no Stowe – I was on the Grand Prix circuit, and on my beloved R6 rather than a Ducati 959. I have a lot of love for Silverstone having ridden both the National and

‘So, people have been complaining about an R6-shaped chicane.’

International circuits numerous times before, but never both at the same time. With it having only j ust been resurfaced I couldn’t wait to get round the 3 .66 mile circuit, which feels almost as wide as it is long, giving you plenty of room to play in, to pass and be passed. This was the perfect playground for me to put everything in place that I had learnt at CSS the week before, while also having a more familiar track to really test my skills on the R6. It did not disappoint, as I picked up where I had left off at Navarra successfully utilising the full rev range, benefiting from even sharper steering than the O E bike with Dymags carbon wheels and upgraded Nitron suspension. The bike was running so sweetly and having practiced ‘ overtaking drills’ with CSS the week before I was passing more effectively, efficiently and confidently than I have ever done before. The only place I was lacking was on the straights. Not getting on the power early enough, mix ed with inefficient corner speed, meant the big litre boys had me on the straights – of which there are many on the GP circuit, though later more effective braking aided by the lighter wheels usually had


Price from new: Insurance group:


£10,999 15


NTR TV T fork cartridges £7 50.00 NTR R3 rear shock £68 0.00 Front ax le protection kit £64 .7 0 RH crankcase protector £58 .20 LH crankcase protector £7 6.90 O ffset cotton reels £4 9.99 Licence plate holder £105.00 Frame sliders £17 8 .00 Tank pad £27 .4 9 Michelin Pilot Road 5s £260.00 Pipewerx R11 Carbon Edge £3 14 .50 Dymag C5 carbon wheels £2,58 0.00 RUNNING TOTAL £5,144.78 + VAT Watch out Marquez!

Charlie’s R6 isn’t lacking in bling.

Knee sliders were never in any danger.

me taking them back… a few friendly battles were had that Marq uez and Rossi would’ve been j ealous of. What made the day even better was the fact that Yamaha were present on the day with their Supersport Pro Tour as well. Fresh from Donington Park the tour is a gift from Yamaha giving all track day participants the chance to have the ultimate test ride of an R6, R1 or indeed the R1M totally free of charge ( unless you bin it) ! This provided me with another opportunity on the day, riding an R6 and R1 back to back, while also giving Yamaha’s Jeff Turner – the man who organised the R6 for me in the first place – a chance to take my bike out and give me his impression of my mods. Jumping onto the R1 I was surprised by how svelte it is, weighing in a mere 9kg more than the R6 and a slight ex tension of 3 0mm on the wheel base. I was ex pecting the steering to be more laboured than the R6, especially given the O E wheels, but it was not the case. The main difference I found being on the R1 was those aforementioned litre chaps were no longer getting me on the straight which was great feeling. In fact on return to the pits and j umping off

the R1, I was genuinely greeted with the comment: “ You are q uick.” No-one has ever said that to me before. Yamaha Jeff shortly returned full of praise for what I had done with the suspension and wheels on the R6. If anyone knows these bikes it is Jeff, so his appreciation of my mods further j ustified my choices. However he had struggled with the tyres at first, having ridden so far that day on Bridgestone R11s, as I j ust had on the R1. The T3 1s took him some time to gel with. But gel he did and this told me a lot about my choice of tyre.


The T3 1s are a Sports Touring tyre and have now completed 1,500 road miles, while being veterans of three trackdays which must be some 500 miles ridden in anger. They haven’t snotted up, the wear is marginal and I have to give a massive thumbs up as an all-round tyre suited to a high mileage rider who likes the occasional trackday without wanting to change wheels or tyres. They are a great all-rounder, as demonstrated later as the day at Silverstone came to a close and a downpour ensued that they lasted my entire, enthusiastic ride home. The T3 1s were as good at keeping me upright on wet roads as they had been knee down flying round Stowe corner. I fear though that I need to change the R6’s shoes in the not too distant future. I am now in my ninth month of ‘ ownership’ of the R6 and have more to do to make the most of the mods made thus far. Carbon wheels deserve a more focused circuit-based tyre to really max imise the difference they can make. I still need to add a full system to release the stifled ponies and reduce weight further and I need more time on track to make sure that I have absolutely no regrets when the R6 is finally returned. And j udging by the amount of fun Jeff had on my borrowed steed, he may be asking for it back pretty soon. Don’t worry though, I’ll be avoiding his calls. Sorry Yamaha.


You can ride an R6 or R1 for free on Yamaha’s Supersport Tour.

Yamaha Motors California Superbike School Silverstone Circuit PICTU RE CREDIT: Picman (



These guys are ready for part two. Are you?







y the time you lot feast your eyes on this column, K nockhill and Brands will be j ust a distant memory in what has been an incredible rollercoaster of a season – and we’re still only half way through which is absolutely bonkers. With ( arguably) the title favourite out of the running as well, it’s paved the way for the nippers to come forward and take the charge, and they’re biting at the heels of the established elite… Which is ex actly why I reckon this year will be the closest to date. These young whippersnappers like Brad Ray and Jake Dix on are confidently fast now, and with Shakey on the side-lines it’s only going to encourage them more – and I’ve got a funny feeling that Glenn Irwin will be able to step up to the plate and j oin that regular front-running party. He’s devastatingly fast, has all the resources behind him now and is brimming with confidence and ex perience… so much so it might even be a good bet to place at the end of the year! It seems like 2018 has really been the breakthrough year of the yoof, but someone else who’s been really impressive is Danny Buchan. After absolutely destroying the National Superstock Championship twice,


DB has always had the pace, but a few turbulent years in Superbikes of crashing and confidence knocking has seen him struggle way more than ex pected – and it looks j ust like he’s finally found his way with the FS-3 sq uad, building throughout the year. If he keeps it up, you could see the Essex lad sneak into that top six . But let’s not forget the old guard, as finally we see Josh Brookes back where he knows he belongs: on that bloody box . It’s been a long time coming to get that McAMS Yamaha working j ust right, but with a whole host of new parts ( including an engine) it looks like he’s getting closer to the sweet spot – which is a dangerous concept when you look at how he dominated back in ’15. No matter what happens though, things aren’t going to be easy with Haslam absolutely on fire. Being hot property at the moment with rumours galore about a factory K awasaki WSBK switch, the tenacious lad from Derby is class in every respect, and I’d bloody hate to see him have the bad luck of a Chris Walker moment and never make the title. O n the subj ect of bad luck, after the Snetterton misfortune I’m absolutely buz z ing to see O ’Halloran back on the pipe, as now him and

Haslam’s a strong favourite for the title.

Linfoot hopefully have their bad luck all done and dusted for the year, the Honda racing duo will be a force to be reckoned with coming into Thrux ton, which could very much shake up the leaderboards. Whatever happens, you’d probably have more chance of winning the lottery while being eaten by T-Rex on the planet Mars than you would predicting who’s going to finish where in this year’s championship. The fact of the matter is though, however it plays out as we get closer to the Showdown cut-off, things are only going to get better, closer and faster. Take it away lads…


MAGIC MARC This guy's next level.





ure, at Catalunya, Jorge Lorenz o’s soon-to-be former bosses at Ducati must have been crying into their cappuccinos after their Honda bound human metronome, gave the field a second consecutive masterclass. En route to victory, Lorenz o put in, a frankly ludicrous, 22 consecutive 1’4 0 laps. In any normal weekend, Lorenz o’s demolition j ob would be the lasting impression and the main talking point. MotoGP 2018 weekends, however, are anything but normal. For some reason, the lasting impression burned into most retinas, mine included, was the sight of Marc Marq uez , in FP4 , ‘ crashing’ in turn 14 at 150km/h with 61º of lean angle. O f course the ‘ crash’ was j ust the standard battle of nerves between Marc and machine, eventually his RC213 V cried ‘ enough’ and stood back up ready to fight another day, at a time when the other 99.9% of the paddock would be on their way to the medical centre. This was arguably his most spectacular save to date. Like Hailwood, Roberts and Rossi before him, j ust to name a few, Marq uez is redefining the boundaries and the

way we think about how a bike can be raced. What is setting Marq uez apart, and in the process defining the shape of the nex t great era, is not j ust what he can do come race day but crucially how he sets it up with what he is able to do on Friday and Saturday. Like the velociraptors in Jurassic Park, Marq uez spends the first part of every race weekend probing and testing the limits at every opportunity. As soon as he can get the bike pitched over to 60 degrees, his body position enables him to create a tripod effect with his knee and elbow almost j ammed into the asphalt. O nce he has his geometry set he can simply push the front harder and harder until it inevitably lets go. He has an unerring self-belief that by digging in a little harder with his knee and elbow, he can save the un-saveable. The fact that there isn’t another rider currently on the grid capable of copying his techniq ue gives him a huge edge. U ltimately there is another special ingredient that will see Marq uez remembered as a generation-defining great. Where riders like Lorenz o and Stoner are incredible talents, with skills every bit as j aw-dropping and

breathtaking as those of Marq uez , there’s a reason that they aren’t as ‘ loved’ as the Rossis and Marq uez s of this world. Being loved and a living the showbiz lifestyle has z ero interest to the likes of Lorenz o and Stoner. Their motivation has always been one of completely crushing the opposition. For good and for bad, Rossi and Marq uez attract a different kind of fan or, more appropriately, fanatic. They have the ability to whip up huge crowds into hysteria. Both men understand the old saying ‘ You don’t sell the sausage, you sell the siz z le’. The career of Marq uez has had many echoes and parallels to that of his childhood ( and very much former) hero, V alentino Rossi. Rossi is the sport’s ultimate showman. In his pomp, even when he had a huge advantage over the field he would rarely disappear into the distance for a Lorenz o-esq ue flag to flag win, even when he could with ease. He appreciated that the crowds had paid their hard-earned dollar to see a show. He would entertain the masses by toying with his rivals, more often than not it was Gibernau and Biaggi. Whenever he felt the need, he could unleash his ex tra 5% , almost at will, and take the spoils.

O f course it didn’t always go to plan but it was a risk he was willing to take to ensure his adoring public were left begging for more. This is where Marq uez is firmly forging his legend. It often feels like he is playing with the pack. This is made even more remarkable by virtue of the fact that he is doing it in what is unq uestionably the tightest ever era of Grand Prix motorcycle racing. At Assen, by some counts, there were an astounding 17 5 overtakes during the feature race. Marq uez probably could have upped his pace at almost any point, yet he only pulled the pin with four laps remaining, having chosen to take a huge risk by staying in the thick of the battle, risking everything in the process. Marq uez could probably run away with the championship if he wanted to and have it sewn up earlier than ever before, but like Rossi before him, that’s j ust not his style. At the end of the day this is showbusiness. Guys like Marq uez live for these brawls. The best of the best don’t keep winning j ust through sheer luck. Marq uez certainly lives up to the old sporting adage: “ The harder I practice, the luckier I get.”








wouldn’t have given it credit to have achieved this when the class was announced last year, but Supersport 300 is fast becoming a ‘must-watch’ part of a WSB weekend. My initial concerns with it were quite simply down to the base machines themselves, if I’m being brutally honest. Today’s A2 machines, while finally starting to show some promise on the production front, I’ve never thought of as a true replacement for what came before – back when I was of (then) A2 age. I’m talking about two-strokes of course, mainly, like Suz uki’s RG V, K awasaki’s K R-1 line or Aprilia’s RS2 5 0. And then let’s not forget exquisite little runners like H onda’s V4 NC 30, or K awasaki’s iconic Z X R400, never mind the imported Y amaha FZ R400, and so on. C ompare any of those bikes to what is available now, and you’d swear blind that ‘now’ should be 30 years ago, not the other way around. G P apeing chassis sporting multiple possible adjustments, super trick two and four-stroke engines, styling right off the race track – we were spoiled rotten. The A2 bikes that Supersport 300 is comprised of appear to be some form of regression in technology terms – spindly chassis, basic suspension and

small, cheap engines – some of which essentially hark back to cheap-as-chips four-stroke commuters from as far back as when we last had it really good in this sector. H owever, racing often improves the breed, and as the racing in WSS 300 is, frankly, utterly bonkers, I do have some hope. That’s only ‘hope’ though, especially given all of the controversial performance balancing that’s been going on this season, the latest bout being to stick around 10kg on every K awasaki 400 in the field for being too fast. Much like WSB, it seems a crime of sorts to punish a manufacturer for doing a good job. But my hope is that as this class grows in popularity (they’re springing up everywhere on the national scene), manufacturers will feel obliged to make the base machine better, therefore making owning one an enticing proposition, like it used to be. Okay, performance balancing so the worst machine on the grid still has a chance may stop some from putting a lot of effort in, but many will, and that makes me feel some sort of relief for the future. But, the racing? I certainly can’t complain about that! Even those two wins when Ana C arrasco vanished into the distance were still great to watch. Firstly to see a girl making all the

Chicken dinner!

Supersport 300 is about as exciting as it gets.

lads seem a little silly, in both qualifying and the races, but also the carnage going on behind her beggared belief. It’s a right mad house, if you haven’t watched it, please do! Ana did have a slight speed advantage, prior to the official weight gain, but she was still in the thick of things at that very round, Brno, before the race was red flagged. She does have another interesting advantage however, which is how she rides the bike. A lot of the grid kids are (understandably) emulating Marquez et al, elbow down on these little (yet heavy) machines, right on the edge of the tyre. Ana

is far more conservative, only leaning as much as she needs to which in theory should save the edge of her tyres for when she really needs them. She’s already shown great end of race pace and in a class of miniscule advantages often making the difference, that could serve her well for her title aspirations later down the line. She’s got a lot of craz y kids to beat first though!


WSB has had a reasonably interesting year thus far, with some terrific racing, nine different podium hitters and six different race winners. Yet despite this, serial victor Jonny Rea appears to already have the title reasonably wrapped up with five rounds ( at the time of writing) left, leading Chaz Davies by something like 7 5 points. So how ex actly has this happened? Mostly some wild inconsistency on the part of Ducati and Chaz Davies, with a heavy dash of newfound competitiveness from others thrown into the mix . Where an off-form Davies/Ducati combo may have still beaten the Yamahas into submission in the past, allowing him to keep close to or to beat Rea, now that’s not a given. Last year it was a couple of silly things like mechanical


breakdowns ( and the odd crash) that gave Rea a huge advantage early doors. The same thing is happening this year, and from the outside it would also seem Ducati have taken one eye off the V -twin ball. But, it’s not that simple. Despite taking four wins from the first six races, Davies knew they’d be in deep trouble when they got into the season proper. They have q uite easily been the hardest hit by the new regulations and to see both he and Marco Melandri so ridiculously off the pace at some rounds, clearly struggling, said as much. When you then throw in the near perfect combination of Rea and his K awasaki, it’s no real wonder why he’s running away with things again. There’s enough points left to be won that Davies could mount a challenge, but he’d have

It’s all a bit predictable.

to win every remaining race to do so. O r, something would have to happen to Rea, more bad luck like his coming together with Sykes at Brno, for ex ample. We’ve seen it happen in the past enough times, but at the same time, can we see it happening here in 2018 ? Right now, no, but we’d happily be proven wrong!


That new Arai hasn’t quite taken off yet.







We sat down with Jonathan Rea, to get his honest take on World Superbikes, life in the fast lane and lost opportunities in MotoGP…


e might be the most successful rider in World Superbike history, but J onathan Rea’s career has had more ups and downs than an Easyjet flight to Malaga, making his Foggy-crushing record of 6 0 race wins undeniably impressive. Y et even so, those of us with a short memory might think of the World Superbike C hampionship as a tedious procession with the Northern Irishman in front, followed not-so-closely by a chasing pack of desperados. But between horrendous injuries, battling on average machinery and years of tireless prep, Rea has worked barbarically hard at creating a pretty impressive legacy. H e might not have the charisma of Marc Marquez , the fanatical support of Valentino Rossi or the brutally alluring nature of C arl Fogarty, but he is just as fast on two wheels as any of those. And surprisingly, when I got to sit down with him over tea and cakes, he was way more brutally honest than I’d ever have expected the softly-spoken champ to be...

were travelling the length and breadth of the UK from Ireland most weekends and just knocking on the door of race wins, but to make the next step I needed a full investment, but as we weren’t rich it wasn’t going to happen. It made it worse as all my rivals were being home schooled and heading off to Europe and America to go race. To make it, I needed to find a lot of money to buy into a team so I had a go at entering the Red Bull Rookies scheme on tarmac alongside D aniel C ooper, and that ended up being my first step into road racing. Even during my first year I wanted to go back to motocross but it was just too hard getting to the top without the money. Things would’ve been pretty different if I would’ve gone that route, eh! ”

Easing in

When you get 2 0 minutes to chill out and chat with a factory rider, it’s all about picking your words carefully so you can get the real info – and not the P R bullsh* t. This meant that before we got into the nitty gritty, I had to get a bit of background on Rea, and paint a picture on how he ended up being so successful. So, having read that J onathan never actually wanted to race on short circuits (and was a self-confessed failed motocross racer), the first question was to see if he ever saw himself racing on a world level on tarmac. “ To be honest I wanted to race motocross, it was a bit of a decision when I was 15 years old and my dad had pretty much lost the appetite for MX as we

‘The secret to going fast? Cake.’


RACE FEATURE Rea was a Honda man for many years... But a Kawasaki man for the best years!

D amn straight they would, and you could really tell that Rea has worked bloody hard to get where he is today – it wasn’t just handed to him on a plate by rich parents which is refreshing to know. The motocross aspect really surprised me though, which is why I asked if he’d ever fancy trading road bikes for dirt again – constantly winning must be getting a bit tedious, mustn’t it? “ Funnily enough, I do a bit! The weekend after I won the World Superbike championship in 2 015 I entered into a Manx National C hampionship race and finished second to a World Enduro rider, so I was pretty happy with that. Maybe I love it because there’s no pressure; you can stick a bike in the back of a van and just race without any agro. I’m just not good enough to do it properly, and I’ve got a family to support, so it’ll stay something of a hobby” . With this little nugget of honesty and the first cup of tea consumed, it was time to delve into something a little darker, and I’m not talking about Boothy’s sex life – I’m talking about the current state of World Superbikes… although both could do with a bit of help. “ It’s a difficult subject, and I know that the organisers are doing their best to get more people through the gates but the rule changes for me just don’t really sit well; penalising the top guys rather than helping teams and riders that are struggling. It’s a difficult position to be in, and I know the championship has its issues but I’m having a great time, and still love it. It’s getting better, which is good.” So just how hard it is being a rider in World Superbikes, and does he still find it

He’s always this happy holding his helmet.


worthwhile – especially with the pressure of being a number one pilot for a factory. “ The perks are absolutely incredible, but the job itself can be really tough at times. When you’re employed by a factory to win races, and your confidence might’ve taken a knock yet you still need to go out and find two or three tenths a lap but you’re on your max, it is really stressful. It’s just lucky we have the team and setup we do to keep stress to a minimum, or I’d go a bit mental. Y ou have to remember though it’s not just one person that’s dependant on results, or under pressure. The whole team is.” Naturally, that led me to wonder what kind stress that put on the dad-of-two, and his relationship with his wife, who actively upped sticks and travelled the world to be by his side. “ Funnily enough I had a conversation with my wife about it all earlier in front of the kids which wasn’t ideal! She kind of threatened that they wouldn’t be able to get to any more races as my little boys are two and four now, and it’s incredibly difficult when I’m constantly travelling and working – but I’ll win her over. It’s hard as well as I’m very family

orientated, so the best way for me is to bring them on the road with me which makes it incredibly tough on the wife – she doesn’t get the highs of standing on the podium at the end of a hard weekend and the reward of the sacrifice but she has to deal with a lot of the lows of fighting kids alongside long flights and living out of hotels. “ She does a cracking job, though. It would never be an option to leave these guys at home, as these are the best days of my life and I want to share that with them. I even brought my boys onto the top step at Imola. That one photo and memory I’ll have forever. The team are incredibly welcoming as well and understand that – I had a commitment recently when I had my boys, so my crew chief took them to lunch for me.”

Back to the Future

Even from the outside, the immense stress of being a throttle jockey professionally is blatant, and knowing from his comments about the challenge involved with trekking around the world, it begged the question – would he ever decide to settle down into a domestic championship? Another little nugget rolling round the rumour mill for the future. “ Not really! I haven’t thought about the future that far ahead, and I’m not even thinking further than racing this year in all honesty. Riders aren’t lucky enough to decide where you go in all honesty; you just have to


The missed man in MotoGP?

REA’S CAREER SO FAR! 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014

take what opportunities arise at the right times. My manager, C huck, is the director of the Moto America series so he always jokes about going to ride with them, but I don’t look past my immediate future” . But where exactly would the factory racer be if he had every option on the table? Okay, he may have signed a two-year deal to stay with the K awasaki World Superbike squad, but was it his first choice? “ P fffft, to be honest it’s always difficult as there’s so many variables behind the scenes. C huck was obviously in contact with K awasaki in Superbike while he did his best to get an understanding of some opportunities within the MotoG P paddock, but they just weren’t perfect and that’s all there is too it. “ As much as I’d absolutely love to jump into MotoG P , I’d never ever go into the paddock unless it was on the right package, on the right bike, with the right team for the right wage. I have the hot seat in World Superbikes right now with the best team, the best people and the best bike, so what would be the point in chucking that away to finish tenth week-in, week-out?” It’s a pretty valid point, but it made me ask the question if he’d truly want to be in MotoG P no matter what. “ I would, but it’s worth remembering that it would be incredibly hard to make the jump personally as well, and I bet it would set the wife off going from 13 races in World Superbike to 2 0 next year in G P !

2015 2016 2017

14th British 125GP championship British Supersport championship 16th British Superbike championship 4th British Superbike championship Runner-up British Superbike championship / Winner 300km Suzuka Runner-up World Supersport championship 5th World Superbike championship – two wins 4th World Superbike championship – four wins 9th World Superbike championship – two wins 5th World Superbike championship – two wins / Winner Suzuka 8-Hour 9th World Superbike championship – one win 3rd World Superbike championship – four wins FIM Superbike World Champion – fourteen wins FIM Superbike World Champion – nine wins FIM Superbike World Champion – sixteen wins

Kid has style.



That alone would be bloody hard work, especially plus testing and any other bits. It’s also vital to have a good bike not just to go quick, but to keep the motivation up through the year, while still being well paid and that opportunity hasn’t come up yet.” While on the topic of MotoG P , I just had to be an incredibly awkward bastard and bring up the H onda relationship – and if he thought they took the piss, after six seasons riding on below par Superbikes and some impressive stand-in rides, I can’t have been the only person thinking he deserved a ride in the blue ribbon class. So did the big H take the piddle? “ Aha, not at all on the World Superbike side of things. The team were really good and I had a lot of good people there, but the level of the bike just wasn’t where it needed to be to go out and win it. “ As far as the MotoG P side of things goes, I felt like that a bit as there was a time where I should’ve been rewarded and it just never happened, so in a sense yeah. It’s funny, because I’ve just proof read the chapter in my upcoming book talking about that, and when it was written I’d had a bottle of wine or two, so I had to alter it slightly when my head was straight. At the time my face just didn’t fit and I was too valuable to H onda in Superbike, but it wasn’t ideal at all. I don’t regret anything though, as it made me the rider I am today, and it prepared me to jump on a bike ready to win a championship, which they’d done with Tom [S ykes] the previous year and go do it from the off.” Talking of Tom, there always seems to be so much tension in the K awasaki garage, but was that really the case, or just the efforts of

Taking wins to a whole new level.

some dramatic camera men? “ Erm, yeah – I suppose our relationship is as good as it can be when you have two top riders who want to fight for the title. We’re pretty good away from the track, so if we do any marketing or media events together we can sit down, have coffee and be how we have to be. “ At the track we actually work completely independently, so he’s got his half of the team working on his bike and his path of development and I have mine, and while we share and sometimes overlap data, it’s completely irrelevant as we’ve developed our bikes so differently – you’d have to ride them in a completely different way. H e’s a very stop and go rider, whereas I’m a bit smoother. If you gave Tom my bike, or vice-versa we would not be comfortable at all. There’s things he says and does that I don’t necessarily agree with at times, but I’m sure it’s probably the same the other way

The ice cream is on me tonight kids!


round as well. H e’s the toughest teammate I’ve ever had and that’s good for me, but yeah I’m sure you can see how it is.” With the interview coming to a close, I finished it off by asking him how easy it was to stay at K awasaki, and if he was truly content to stay for another two years. “ That’s the conversation we actually had a fair bit with our management team, and it wasn’t an easy position to be in at all, or give a simple answer to. The problem is, if I did go to MotoG P I’d have to get paid a hell of a lot more than I get paid here as it’s a lot more racing. There are positives and negatives, and again it just wasn’t worth the risks of being mediocre. As far as being content, I am. Y es, I would have to step up into MotoG P , but I’m still here with an incredible package, and I hopefully I can bring back another championship or two for the K awasaki factory. There are worse jobs to have! ”



ell, what can I say? After a pretty darn good start to the year at Snett and the beginning of C adwell, before I threw the Triumph into a barrier, things have gone to pants a fair bit, with Anglesey being a proper mixed bag. I’ve only been there once before but the track is bloody awesome, and the problem was I had a bit too much fun on the test day, enjoying riding round rather than sorting out the setup on the bike – and it really came to bite me in the ass. Although me and the R6 are getting on a bit better now (I’ve got to third base! ) it was just wallowing it’s rear off all weekend, and after a pretty shoddy qualifying I tried my best to get the best start possible for race one and go with the front lads. I did just that, but after one of the other guys tried to send himself into the sea, it meant a restart was in order. Whatever you do, don’t try and guess the lights though, as I did and jumped the gun. And then jumped on the brakes, as the lights went out. C rap. This meant not only did I get a ten second penalty, but I also dropped all the way down to about 15 th, which meant I had to get my elbows out and go hard just to salvage a 12 th place. With the Y amaha still not quite on its best behaviour, we buggered about with a few more bits and managed to salvage a few more third places with some pretty hardcore racing, before I decided to wind on a tonne of preload for the final outing. Finally, the R6 started to settle down, and with a good

IN BRIEF… … Rider: Farmer Brod Track: Anglesey Series: No Limits Class: Pirelli Super Series 600 Bike: 2007 Yamaha R6 Fastest Lap: 1:11.2 Position(s): 12th, 3rd, 3rd, DNF Championship Position: 3rd Excuse: Always going too early…

feeling I wanted to end the weekend on a high which I did – unfortunately it was just the wrong type. Someone went down right in front of me and Another busy commute. I got drawn in to the sparks, which meant instead of following my normal line I aimed straight protection, getting stuck underneath the bike for the bike and did my best impression of as we slid to a halt before having the other J akub K ornfeil in trying to use it as a take off guy come and save me by dragging it off. ramp. The bad news was I went down after That’s not cool. Things aren’t all bad though, hitting the tank incredibly hard, but the good as next up on the calendar is C roft, and I news is I managed to save the bike getting bloody love that place… damaged by using my face and body as crash


A beautiful place to stop and take in the view.



Ride me Carl. Why won’t you ride me?


ell, it’s been a bloody busy month! Although I haven’t swung a leg over the old girl in anger, things have been busy behind the scenes getting her ready for the nex t outing, which will be at Thundersport at the end of the month. Luckily for me, I’ve managed to offload it with the lovely lot down at Robinsons Foundry in Canterbury to do all the dirty work, as the Gix er is having a full service as well as hopefully getting some shiny new parts – although I’ll be all hush-hush until I get them on the bike. It’s going to be a busy few months ahead, but now Proj ect Stocker is

IN BRIEF… Rider: Pretty Boy Track: None Series: Something on Netflix Class: Has none Bike: 2017 Suz uki GSX -R1000R Fastest Lap: Three seconds, to the bar Position(s): Missionary Championship Position: Last Excuse: All about the TLC…

finally getting closer to the limit, I can’t wait to get out and spin some more laps. She’s going to be a rocketship…

Ain’t no mountain high enough for Boothy.

The Karma Sutra’s not exclusive to the bedroom.


was out for a few beers a couple of weeks ago and an old mate Ali, who I know from my days as a schoolboy motorcrosser, said to me he was doing a hill climb on his motocross bike and it would be right up my street. When I had only had the one bevvy I told him to shove his hill climb up his arse; I’d had an old VH S of some hill climbing as a kid so I’d seen the sort of things that go on – bodies and bikes cartwheeling backwards down a near vertical hill wasn’t my idea of fun. After half a doz en more beers though, I started coming round to the idea and ended up promising him I would drag my old H onda C R2 5 0 out the garage and come and have a go with him. A promise is a promise, so I gave the C R the once over, mixed myself some fuel and chucked it in van to take it up to K ilburn, in North Y orkshire, where the hill climb was taking place. I didn’t know what to expect, but Ali had told me that it’s not going to be like the ones you see on Y ouTube, where you either make it to the top or snap all your legs trying. ‘It will be fairly tame,’ he told me. When I arrived, it became clear that it wasn’t fairly tame at all. It was steep. I took one look it and instantly regretted my drunken promises (I’m sure we all know how that feels). I honestly didn’t think that I would be able to get to the top, but I’d come this far so I wasn’t going to back down. The first hour of the event was practice. Y ou’d queue up to tackle the hill, two at a time. I got to the front, still more than a little bit concerned for my own safety

IN BRIEF… … Rider: Boothy Track: K ilburn Hill Climb Series: Pickering DMC Class: Modern 250 Bike: 2002 Honda CR250 Fastest Lap: Can’t count that high Position(s): 2nd Championship Position: Who knows Excuse: Too old and fat for an off-road bike

Flippin’ ’eck!

(and everyone in the vicinity, for that matter) but there were two doz en bikes lined up behind me so I thought I better man up. The flag dropped and the old adage suddenly came to me in a flash: ‘if in doubt, flat out’ so I pinned the throttle and hoped for the best. The C R2 5 0 is a bit of an animal when it’s on song and it made mincemeat of the hill. Before you could say ‘air ambulance’ I was peaking the unpeakable time after time. With practice over, a can of C oke necked and a kingsiz e Mars bar destroyed, it was time for the actual competition. Because there were all sorts of bikes that turned up (and I mean all sorts, MX bikes, enduro bikes, road bikes, classic bikes, you name it), they split the field into different classes. I was in the modern 2 5 0 class, and it was a ‘knock out’ tournament, so you would race up in twos and the winner would stay on. This is

where it got exciting, because nobody wanted to get knocked out. I watched the first three races in my class and only once did both bikes make it to the top. I did momentarily tell myself I didn’t care about winning, I just wanted to make it to the top alive, but as soon as the flag dropped I wasn’t going to give an inch. I won the first three races and made it into the final with a lad on a Y amaha Y Z 2 5 0. I did all I could but was just beaten to the top so had to settle for second. Bastard. Other than not winning, it was a perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon. I had a top laugh with a load of mates and got chance to have a fly about on my MX bike, I even had a go on Ali’s K X 5 00 which was a right weapon. The moral of the story is this: if something sounds like a bad idea, have a load of beer and promise to do it anyway. It usually works for me. AUGUST 2018 WWW.FASTBIKESMAG.COM 117



We go back to basics and pitch six of the best base model litre bikes against each other on the road.

When can I get my next hit of Fast Bikes? Scan this, and we’ll tell you!

To clear up any confusion around what rubber you should fit next, we blind tested the six market leaders.

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Neave twins I

’m writing this on my way home from K nockhill, where we have just had an absolutely incredible weekend. If you’d have told me I could’ve finished on the podium in my third race in the British Superstock C hampionship, I’m not sure I would have believed you, but we have only gone and done it, with a second place finish. I can’t describe how it feels to surpass everyone’s expectations (including my own), but it’s the best feeling in the world. Our little team is like a family so when there is something to celebrate, it’s so good to celebrate it with them. The first race, which I finished seventh in, was actually the harder race; I was in a bit of clear track and I really had to concentrate on pushing to keep my pace up and I ended up getting arm pump and a bit of fatigue in my still slightly weak shoulder. In race two, everything just clicked into place nicely, and when you’re up at the front, having a really good race, there is no time to worry about arm pump and stuff like that. One thing that has really helped is racing legend Roger Marshall coming on board to help me out as a bit of a mentor. What he doesn’t know about bike racing isn’t worth knowing and I feel like I can learn so much from him. We have even got his son Adam helping out on the spanners too. Tim had a bit of bad luck at K nockhill in the Supersport class, with his mechanic not being able to come due to injury and then having to start from the back of the grid, due to not getting out of pit lane on time (I’d buy him a watch but I don’t think he can tell the time). I think it was a bit of a tough weekend for him; when you’re racing at this level you need stuff to be right and he didn’t have the people round him that he wanted. Saying that he still pulled it out the bag and got a top ten in the feature race finishing eighth, but I’ll let Tim tell you more about that next month.

Tom showed the stock lads his mettle...

And brother Tim bagged another top 10 in Supersport.

Away from the racing, we have both been working hard on the farm. We are about to start harvesting and with all this nice weather it looks as though everything is going to come at once. It couldn’t have come at a worse time really because we have got loads of stuff on. Tim and I are racing in the Moto Time Attack at C adwell P ark next weekend and its Brands H atch BSB the weekend after that so we are going to have to have our work cut out if we are going to get everything harvested in time. H opefully there will still be time to go out training on the mountain bike with my uncle Tim and the odd Thursday night mini-biking session with Rich C ooper and K yle Ryde because they are always a good laugh, and having the thing sliding about and drifting really helps keep your throttle control sharp (well that’s my excuse for going anyway). Whatever we are doing though, my focus is going to be on the next round and making sure I can carry all the positives from K nockhill through to Brands H atch. I can’t bloody wait.

Knockers at Knockhill...





Gary Johnson some good saddle time in preparation for the Macau G P in November, and there was the mention of the having a go at the Ulster G P too but it doesn’t look like I’ll be getting across for that, unless a deal comes up with another team in the meantime. I’ve got a few bits going on in the background with my Triumph 6 7 5 . I’m trying to build something a little bit trick to go short circuit racing and maybe enter the odd endurance race on. Without saying too much, I’m trying to work with Triumph to build myself something special (best guesses on the back of a postcard) – I want something that’s got plenty of poke but still nice and reliable. Speaking of Triumph, I have been doing quite a few bits with them recently. I was at Mallory P ark with them where I got the chance to fly round on the Street Triple and Speed Triple ranges. C oming from a racing and sportsbike background, it’s always interesting to have a blast on naked bikes like those and Guess that means I’ll tell you what, they aren’t half good. Within he is ‘ out out’ . a few laps round Mallory, I’d turned into a hooligan, backing all the bikes in on the lockstops and laughing my head off. They are bloody ace things to ride, I can see why so many people go down that route. Other than that it’s been a quiet month for me. L ike most bikers (I imagine), I’m not really that interested in football, but I have been enjoying going to the pub with a load of my mates and seeing England doing so well in the World C up. By the time you read this they will have either won it or not won and the World C up will be over so I’ll be in search of another excuse to go to the pub… did someone say Wimbledon was on?

i folks, how are we all doing? First of all I’d just like to say how sad it’s been to hear the news of William D unlop passing away after crashing at a road race in Ireland. It’s a massive loss to the sport, he was a great guy who I think everybody in the racing family got on well with, myself included. After coming home from the TT things have gone pretty damn quiet, really. After spending so long at the NW2 00 and the TT with L ee H ardy’s RAF Regular and Reserves K awasaki team, and living in each other’s pockets, it seems strange to be away from them but they are all back on BSB duty. And it looks like they have been having a good run of it too with J ake D ixon taking a win and a second place at K nockhill at the weekend, I’m sure the boys will be delighted with that. I had looked at trying to get to a few BSB meetings with the team for

Twisted fir e star ter .

All the b eer , no idea.




Christian Iddon T

hey say that variety is the spice of life and since my last column I’ve had plenty, not spending a single night in my own bed having gone to Snetterton, K nockhill and even Norfolk. But firstly, I jumped on a big Ryanair flying fun-bus direct from the Isle of Man to lodge in Monaco with Eugene L averty and Bradley Smith… I count them as little training camps as we get in as much peddling as we can (1,5 00km this month, roughly 6 5 hours on the bike) and fortunately they just happen to live in the same apartment block. Unfortunately for Brad this time it was his turn to have me as a lodger, and for three of the five days I was there he wasn’t so I just full on hammed it up and lived like a Monaco resident. I borrow Eugene’s spare road bicycle and together (with the addition of some car racers) we chalk up hours and hours of training miles around France and Italy. It’s the perfect place to train with beautiful weather and roads, and in the evenings we just chill and watch whatever Motocross (or porn) we can find on the internet. Soon though it was time to hand back the keys to Brad’s apartment and get back on the plane to Blighty. In the space of 2 4 hours I had gone from cycling with MotoG P , WSBK and F1 dudes on the C ote D ’Az ur to sheet piling on the Norfolk broads. I’d headed off early to Snetterton as one of my best mates lives half hour up the road and whenever I can, I go to stay with my Norfolk family. I rock up in the camper, plug myself in to their electric and that’s me all set up and ready to give him a lift at work. I actually enjoy working even though the team hate me doing it – two years ago I lost the end of my finger to the 100kg post knocker just days before the BSB race, but all was well in the end as I had the little sausage sewn back on before the weekend! Back to racing though, and Snetterton was damn tough on me. I hadn’t ridden a bike since I broke my hand six weeks earlier and every single other rider had tested, raced or done both and that showed. It wasn’t until Race 2 where I actually felt good on the bike again as the team put a good package underneath me for the last run of the weekend and I got my head down. The result didn’t show after some early carnage but the pace was there, thankfully before heading west for a couple of nights on the sofa with Eurosport as a WSBK pundit. I’ve had chance lately to do a few bits of commentary but this was my first chance at being a pundit. I was on with H aslam and the now recovering Shakey Byrne (and the addition of his extra metal bits).

Sof a sur fing in M onaco.

I had a blast. Everyone was really helpful and Matt Roberts is a legend. It’s not until you see what they actually have to do before you can really appreciate how complicated it is. For us it’s simple but Matt being the anchor-man has a dude talking in his ear constantly telling him all sorts of stuff: from how long he has to talk, when the next ad break is, who is talking next etc. It’s really not easy and I have a new level of respect for that side of things – I hope they have me back. From there on I headed straight to the centre of L ondon to collect my J apanese visa (oh yes… the next column is Suz uka! ) before the trek all the way to Bonnie Scotland for a one day test at K nockhill, then to C adwell for another test in which I had the mother of all crashes. I’ve been getting pretty good at BMW shot put this year and it’s certainly not like me to do it but this one really wasn’t my fault. I hit a false neutral into turn one and went over the grass at about 140mph. I quite badly underestimated how poorly a superbike would handle on grass at that speed and was suitably (and not nicely) surprised when I was flung clean over the handlebars at 12 0mph plus. Anyways, I got up somehow unscathed and I’m counting that as fortune turning in my favour. So there we have it. I’m looking forward to getting back in my own bed… for two nights. Next stop: Suz uka.

J apan’ s on the car ds.

H e’ s not sur e what he’ s doing either .

I ddon clock ed 1, 5 00 miles this month on his pushr od.



Steve Parrish


i everyone, how good was MotoG P at Assen? At last we’ve had a freight-train cracker from there. We’ve often had a couple of guys going at it in the premier class, but not almost the entire top ten riders at one point or another! Assen is one of those places where each rider usually has one spot where he can make up some time again, so you have this great see-saw effect which promotes overtaking, too. P lus some of them chose tyres they never usually would, which tossed things up in the air further with nobody quite knowing what would happen towards the end. I loved seeing J orge L orenz o sticking it back to anyone who overtook him, H onda must be well pleased seeing this, while D ucati must be sat there going ‘Oh, shit… ’! Okay he ended up finishing seventh, but he’s got his mojo back hasn’t he? I loved all the race long pushing and shoving, and even weirder nobody seemed to moan about anything anyone else did, which in MotoG P ’s modern era is something of a miracle. The cream rose to the top though, with Marc Marquez besting the lot of them and the next race up is Sachsenring which he really loves, so who knows how big his points lead will be coming out of there, with everyone else being rather inconsistent. H ave any of you ever ridden there in G ermany by the way? I did last weekend, and I can’t imagine how they get G P bikes round there, it’s like a go-kart track, it’s so nadgery, there’s no way they are allowing anything near the full 2 5 0bhp they’re capable of at the wheel, half the time you’re short-shifting and holding off getting on the gas, and that was on an old Suz uki RG 5 00! I marvel at how well the G P guys race there, it’s ridiculous in fact. I was there with a bunch of other old racers like K ork Ballington for a bit of a whip around at a classic event run by the man who started WSB, Steve McL aughlin. It was a good laugh, but I digress. I can’t see past Marquez for the MotoG P title right now, I know Rossi is 41-points behind him (post Assen) and I love him to bits, but he does seem to get a bit beaten up these days and he

needs to do better than thirds to give Marc any issues. I can see him wrapping things up with a few races to go, I really can. Now, last month I ran out of room to talk about the L owes twins. But, given Alex won his first ever WSB race the following weekend, It was probably a good thing! I was pleased for him and P ata Y amaha though, brilliant stuff. As for Sam, well, what’s going to happen with him? H is return to Moto2 was supposed to revive his career, but he’s ended up back where he was last time he was there – crashing a lot, but this time without any wins or podiums. H is few finishes haven’t been great either, which makes me wonder where he will end up next year. P lus, what about Bradley Smith and Scott Redding? Who will be rushing to scoop up either right now? Bradley could possibly do something left-field to bring his career back like go win World Supersport, or get some kind of success to get himself back on track. I heard Scott doesn’t want to do BSB and I can completely understand that, though he did say in a press release he was dim as a donut and couldn’t get any other job than racing bikes. Bless him, but I’ve always thought winning titles takes intelligence, so I do wonder if he hasn’t shot himself in the foot here! I hope both get good rides, though. Speaking of blowing your own toes off, Tom Sykes publicly alluding to P ere Riba as maybe not making life easy in the K awasaki camp could have finally ended his time with Team G reen. And Shane Byrne... I wonder if he’ll even come back. H arsh as it may sound, the best thing that can happen to BSB is him and H aslam not being there next season. Since the great exodus of 2 008 /9, when C amier, C rutchlow, Rea et al moved to world level, we’ve only had one rider make really make the move in ten years – Alex L owes. A changing of the guard will help, in this regard. L astly, I was on a flight the other day and managed to sneak my fake dog poo in the hostess’ life-belt, you know, for when they do the safety briefing? When it fell out during her routine she completely freaked, and the place erupted in laughter – the old ones are always the best! Our man’s been out bothering (more) folk.

Steve’s retirement plan...

Keep away.

Fast Bikes - August 2018 - Issue 343  

Gabrielle sang a song about dreams coming true, and do you know what, she wasn’t fibbing. After way too many hours, days and years of dreami...

Fast Bikes - August 2018 - Issue 343  

Gabrielle sang a song about dreams coming true, and do you know what, she wasn’t fibbing. After way too many hours, days and years of dreami...