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Lesson the experience Tony Carter


hings I have learnt in the past four weeks of being editor of Motorcycle Sport & Leisure, No. 34.

One: no matter how many times we do something on a motorcycle, it still only takes a split second to catch us out and dump us on our bottom. is was at Cadwell Park, we were there for the termers’ big adventure bike test that you can read about on page 82. Usual stuff; bikes checked over, pre-riding brief, assemble in the right group in the holding area, head off for a sedate sighting lap behind an instructor with no overtaking allowed. I was pootling around and coming up to Hall Bends when a chap one bike ahead dropped his shiny Kawasaki. We all felt sorry for him, it was slow, it was easy and it was warm and sunny. But an inch too soon on the turn in meant he’d clipped the kerb and the bike went down. An experienced rider, an ex-racer, he was as shocked as the rest of us about what happened. Two: giving someone their first ever pillion ride, and them loving the experience, is still one of the real joys of motorcycling. Twice this past month I’ve taken people out on the back of the 1190, twice it’s worked out really well. e first time was a bit of an experiment to see if this snarling, beast of a bike could actually plod along and be something a total newbie could get along with as pillion. e second was one of those, ‘Cor... i’d love a go on that!’ conversations that just happened to coincide with me having a spare lid at the time. Pillion one: young girl who wouldn’t say boo to a goose. Pillion two: ex-squaddie who’s

MSL: Meet the Team Bruce Wilson

MSL’s road tester started riding aged 10. He’s 26 now. Bruce has written for Motorcycle Racer, MCM, Classic Motorcycle Mechanics and others, before joining MSL three years ago. He has since tested almost every new bike launched.

Roland Brown

Has ridden for 37 years and been a bike journalist for more than 30. At Bike he ended up as deputy editor before going freelance. An author of 11 books, as a racer he was Bemsee 1300 champion 1984 and raced UK F1, Superstock and Superbike, plus World F1 races.

It might all seem like an endless maze of hassle, but nothing can dull the day when you’re bend swinging on a fast bike. served on the front line in Afghanistan. Chalk and cheese they are, the two rides were very different too... one sedate and calm, the other hectic and loud. Result, both now want to ride bikes. Yay! Three: moan all you want, but a bike ride blows the rubbish away. Tough day at work, rubbish day out and about, the usual fugg of daily life. It might all seem like an endless maze of hassle and nonsense but nothing, nothing, can dull the day when you’re bend swinging on a fast bike. And in the final days of the British summer we’ve just had, in the Lincolnshire wolds, there’s almost nowhere else better to do just that. I’m curious about what you’ve learnt through biking this summer. If someone new to motorcycling came up to you and asked why you ride, could you give an example of something that you learned (or re-discovered) over this summer’s few months of glorious sunshine and hot temperatures? I’d love to hear what has happened to you to help spread the word, be it cautious or fairly reckless. And you don’t have to have ridden since the year dot either, just the lesson expressed is the interesting bit here. So get in touch, usual place via the letters pages. Have a safe ride

Tony Carter Editor of MSL

Alan Cathcart

Alan Cathcart has been writing about bikes for over 30 years, and riding them for even longer. He’s regularly given the keys to factory prototypes and being on first name terms with the bosses of bike companies around the world allows him to bag many scoops.

Chris Moss

Mossy has raced the Isle of Man TT, dispatched in London and ridden everything from CX500s to full-blown GP prototypes. A former chief motorcycle tester for Motor Cycle News, the 53-year-old admits he’s still loving two-wheeled life, and still learning.

Tony Carter Tony has been riding for nearly 30 years, in most countries and on most types of bikes. A journalist for nearly 20 years, MSL’s editor has written for a host of newspapers including The Sun, The Mirror and The Observer. Formerly head of news at Motor Cycle News, he has written for dozens of motorcycle magazines around the world. Tony also edits the Isle of Man TT annual Island Racer, and can be seen most weekends as host of British Eurosport’s live British and World Superbike coverage. He currently owns two specials; a revamped Suzuki RGV250 and a Yamaha YZR500 replica.

Malc Wheeler

Has ridden motorcycles for 49 years. In the United States of America Malc would be politely called a senior. He started riding before he legally could and no one has been able to stop him since. Malc’s day job is editing Classic Racer. 3



EDITORIAL ADDRESS: MSL Magazine, Media Centre, Morton Way, Horncastle, Lincolnshire LN9 6JR WEBSITE: GENERAL QUERIES AND BACK ISSUES: 01507 529529 24 hr answerphone ARCHIVE ENQUIRIES: Jane Skayman 01507 529423 SUBSCRIPTION: Full subscription rates (but see page 38 for offer): (12 months 12 issues, inc post and packing) – UK £47.88. Export rates are also available – see page 38 for more details. UK subscriptions are zero-rated for the purposes of Value Added Tax. SUBSCRIPTION AGENTS: Media Centre, Morton Way, Horncastle, Lincolnshire LN9 6JR DISTRIBUTION: COMAG, Tavistock Road, West Drayton, Middlesex UB7 7QE. 01895 433600 PRINTED: William Gibbons & Sons, Wolverhampton The publisher accepts no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts or photographs. If you are sending material to us for publication, you are strongly advised to make copies and to include a stamped addressed envelope. Original material must be submitted and will be accepted solely on the basis that the author accepts the assessment of the publisher as to its commercial value. © Mortons Media Group Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage retrieval system without prior permission in writing from the publisher. ISSN: 1478-8390 MOTORCYCLE SPORT & LEISURE (USPS:001-522) is published monthly by Mortons Media Group Ltd, PO Box 99, Horncastle, Lincolnshire LN9 6LZ UK. USA subscriptions are $66 per year from Motorsport Publications LLC, 7164 Cty Rd N #441, Bancroft WI 54921. Periodical Postage is paid at Bancroft WI and additional entries. Postmaster: Send address changes to MOTORCYCLE SPORT & LEISURE, c/o Motorsport Publications LLC, 7164 Cty Rd N #441, Bancroft WI 54921. 715-572-4595

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Pay less, get MSL delivered to your door and get it earlier than the poor people rushing to the shops before we sell out (again). Cha-ching!

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There’s a new Ducati on the horizon and some other rather large bits of interesting things going on too.


This is something of a unique thing for Yamaha, a new bike that’s competitively priced, great fun and encourages silliness (but can also commute). Looks like the tuning fork lot have got their heads on the right way round again...

A real story about a real man who really did do just that with arguably the most iconic motorcycle of the last several years. And we’re explaining how you can do it, too.










A hugely significant bike this, but we bet you don’t see many of them around. This is the first Chinese/Italian four-cylinder coming together, okay... but does it work?

Four weeks on since the tweaked MSL hit your stands (or your doormat if you subscribe) and a few of you express your thoughts about it, and other items of interest.


Part two of our ongoing series about how to be a better, smoother and safer rider on the road.

Our Bruce had a certain idea of what riding a big, classy American bike across the heartland of America would be like. And it was pretty close to the ideal – until he got to Sturgis and saw the sights... poor boy...




Thirty pages of our top touring section, this month we’ve got a look at the Pan European motorcycle, a trip along the Roman Ermine Road, a tour to Monopoli in Italy and a jaunt (yeah, we said jaunt) through Romania to the Black Sea. Among other things.

So we all tend to think that just because we want to go on some life-changing ride around the world that it’s a unique thing... check out what the old boys were doing in 1925.


So there they were, Tony and Bruce, sat at Cadwell Park waiting to go out on track. Around them a selection of GSX-Rs and R1s. It was at this point that the editor (on his 1190 KTM) turned to Bruce (on the Tiger Sport) and said: ‘Whose bloody stupid idea was this?’. Bruce reminded the ginger idiot that it was his...



As crazy as this might sound these days, the 900SS wasn’t really liked when it was launched. It seemed a bit ‘odd looking’ for the time. Today though, there’s no denying its instant-classic appeal.

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A quiet, unassuming businessman from Nottingham and his collection of incredible GP motorcycles including bikes raced by Sheene, Mamola and Rossi.


It was the bike that launched Tom Cruise (literally, watch the film) in Top Gun and secured it’s place in history. The GPZ900R. 5

new News First Rides Products

Ducati unveils new 899 Panigale

£12,495 gets you the hottest road bike of 2014 weigHt

The 899 is no porker, tipping the scales at just 169kg dry

Clever tHings

Ride-by-wire, traction control and engine brake control are all as standard on the little brother Panigale


his is what Ducati is calling a ‘Supermid’ superbike. And there’s no getting away from the fact that it’s a stunningly pretty bit of kit. Not since the Honda Fireblade was launched in 1992 – effectively creating the 900cc class and single-handedly redefining what

How it compares: Bike: 899 Panigale 1199 Panigale Fireblade R1 GSX-R1000

Power: Weight: Price: 148bhp 169 (dry) £12,495 195bhp 188kg (wet) £19,545 175bhp 200kg (wet) £12,200 (ABS version) 180bhp 206kg (wet) £11,999 182bhp 203kg (wet) £10,999


Plenty of poke on tap, 148bhp at max power from the 900


Panigale family traits continue with the monocoque frame construction

motorcyclists expected from big bikes in terms of handling and performance – has a new 900 looked quite so tempting. e bike was unveiled at the VW Group Night in Frankfurt, Germany, on the eve of the IAA International Motor Show two weeks ago. e presentation was made by Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali and is an early look at what is apparently a ra of new models still to come for next year’s market. Looking virtually identical to its 1199 sibling it is claimed by the Italians to be the ideal compromise between highly strung track-based thoroughbred and everyday streetbike. e 899 Panigale will be priced at £12,495 and available in the UK from November onwards, it will come in two colour schemes: traditional Ducati red with black wheels or arctic white with red wheels.

the technical details The 899’s brand new Superquadro engine features a revised bore and stroke for a broad power delivery, making 148hp with a torque of 73lb-ft. The motor continues to be a fully stressed member of the Panigale monocoque construction (just like on the bigger bike), resulting in what Ducati is calling an “outstanding power-to-weight ratio and ride-enhancing agility with a dry weight of 169kg (372.5lb)”. The bike also comes with a quick shift system and rideby-wire, triple stage ABS and Ducati traction control.

According to the boss: Ducati’s CEO, Claudio Domenicali, said: “The 899 Panigale is a modern, innovative sports motorcycle which uses ground-breaking technology to ingeniously adjust to everyday use. User-friendly, safetyenhanced, and great fun at the same time. “This important concept will carry on into our future production.”

Top Stories The Bleedin’ Obvious... Inexperience and overconfidence are the biggest problems for young drivers, says an IAM poll. Inexperience (86%) and overconfidence (86%) are the main reasons that new drivers are the riskiest group of road users. Respondents also rated peer pressure (67%), immaturity (52%) and shortfalls in the learning process (45%) as being important risk factors. Sixty-eight per cent of respondents said they lacked faith in the current driving test as being an adequate system to produce safe drivers. There was a high degree of dissatisfaction with the current system for learning to drive. When asked to rate how well new drivers are being taught using a scale of one to 10 (one being poor, 10 being ideal), half (57%) of respondents rated it as a five or below. When asked about the idea of a minimum learning period, respondents’ opinion was split. Thirty-one per cent believe it should be six months with 30% believing it should be at least a year. Attitudes were more divided on night time curfews with 47% supporting a night time curfew while 45% did not want to see any curfew enforced for young people.


Two from the greens this month, one of the smallest bikes and one of the biggest get tweaked for 2014 ZZR1400

Big news for the big fast bike is that the ZZR1400 gets a Performance Sport edition. For the European market the bike

comes equipped with a bespoke Öhlins TTX rear shock absorber and Akrapovic lightweight titanium silencers.

And in the smaller corner A Special Edition Ninja 300. Based on the current, watercooled Ninja 300 twin. The Special Edition gets World Superbike style bodywork graphics and colour-coded wheel rim tapes. Featuring the ‘elliptical’ graphics of the machines ridden by WSBK stars Tom Sykes and

Loris Baz, the Special Edition will be available in standard and ABS versions from dealers late 2013.

e Öhlins TTX rear shock – with easy to alter remote preload adjuster – separates the compression side of the main piston and rebound valve, making it possible to separate the adjustment for each function. e TTX shock fitted to the ZZR1400 Performance Sport is a development between the two companies and claims to deliver increased rear stability, comfort and an even more ‘planted’ feel. e model features titanium Akrapovic slip-on silencers and a bubble screen for better wind blast deflection.

Speed Triple R gets facelift Triumph has given its Speed Triple R a makeover. e 2014 Speed Triple R faceli sees the addition of a matt crystal white version to complement the phantom black model. e new Speed Triple R’s radiator covers are red and the wheels get the same colour pinstriping. ere’s a colour matched fly screen, belly pan and seat cowl plus a clear rear light unit and black exhaust heat shield. e bike gets Brembo monobloc brakes and Öhlins suspension. e Hinckley streetfighter also comes with switchable ABS. e 2014 Speed Triple R is available now in UK dealers with an OTR price of £10,999.

Full-on! HP Sport Silencer for the R1200GS

Fancy a more rorty sound and more low and midrange power for your big GS? en how about this Akrapovic item? But you’re going to need pretty deep pockets for it: the silencer costs a whopping £840. But that price has to be in part down to the materials used. Made from high-grade titanium, the HP Sport Silencer saves weight over the stock unit. e hexagonal-cross section silencer features a carbon fibre conical end cap and heat shield, which keeps the same overall dimensions as the standard item, allowing the optional Vario Panniers to be fitted to the R1200GS as normal. Fitting the HP Sport Silencer gives a boost to both low and

midrange torque and power, without the need for engine remapping or modifications. e HP Sport Silencer is fully road legal in the UK and EU and is available now from BMW Motorrad Dealerships.

Top Stories International Dirt Bike Show

OctOBer 31 – NOvemBer 3, 2013 StONeleIgh Park, WarWIckShIre

The 2013 International Dirt Bike Show opens its doors at 9.30am on Thursday, October 31 with a welcome half-price admission policy for adult visitors – £6 if bought in advance, or £7.50 if bought on-the-door. What’s more, once inside the Stoneleigh Park halls, apart from grabbing a bargain or two in the retail hall, there will be little pressure on the family budget, as halls four and five will be stacked out with plenty of free live entertainment and have-ago activities.

all the BIkeS For the first time in a number of years, all major motocross/enduro manufacturers will exhibit their latest production and race-spec machinery in the main exhibition hall two, so that’s where you’ll find production and race-spec machinery from KTM, Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki, TM and Suzuki. On the trials/enduro front, GasGas, Beta, Sherco, Oset and Mecatecno will create a Trials Zone.

all the gear Show visitors looking to check out the latest kit and accessories will be pleased to hear that top brands will display their latest 2014 ranges, joining a healthy showing of tyre and oil distributors. Those looking to part with their hard-earned will be spoilt for choice in hall one where retail heavyweights will be selling a mind-boggling selection of goods for both rider and machine.

have-a-gO Family members wanting handson experience won’t be disappointed at the Show, as an array of activities including Oset trials for the kids and motor trials for adults as well as kids quads, remote control motocross bikes and the roadgoing Get On experience will all be free-of-charge.


According to YOU

Here’s what some of you are saying to questions we posed on the MSL Facebook page this month. Q

Have you bought or sold a bike recently? How was the process? Tell us what happened...


I bought a Honda VFR800Fi-1 privately. Got £300 off the initial asking price with a Givi V46 topbox and rack thrown in along with touring screen, seat cowl, disc lock, chain lock and bar risers. Owner was giving up motorcycling and I got a great deal.

Paul Frost (39, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne)


I recently sold my 1987 BMW K100 and bought a 1997 Kawa 550 Zephyr with ultra low genuine miles on a well-known auction website. Both easy transactions, sold to someone from Kent and bought locally. Only a couple of minor snags with the new bike easily rectified.

Mark Bright (54, from Yaxley, Cambs)


I sold my old bike, a Bonneville T100 03 plate, via an online site. The only guy interested turned out to be a dealer and haggled me down on my asking price; I even got talked into handing over some extras that I planned to sell separately. On a plus side I bought a used Harley-Davidson XL883 from West Coast Harley in Glasgow.

The staff there were first class and couldn’t do more to assist my purchase. They even undercut my budget and gave me a box of chocolates for the Mrs lol. I’ll definitively buy my next bike there.

Stevie Dolan (50ish, from Glasgow)


I bought a VFR1200X Crosstourer DCT 2013 Special Edition version , back in February from Grantham Honda. I had been phoning around and emailing a few Honda dealers around the country to see what their best price would be on a new bike. After two dealers said they would knock £1000 off the showroom price, it basically came down to Grantham giving me the first service on the bike for free, plus the fitting of my Autocom AVI pro and my Hot Hands heated grips free of charge. They were excellent to deal with and I was even rewarded with a cheque for £50 for recommending them to someone who bought a Crosstourer after my excellent recommendation of Grantham Honda. I also took out the service plan which will save me money whether I keep the bike until the bike’s 24k major service,or

sell the bike with the remainder of the service plan adding extra value to the bike. So far, it being a Honda, I have not had any warranty issues with the bike after 5180 miles. Three year’s manufacturer’s warranty also goes a long way to give you confidence as well. So impressed with the dealer that I convinced my 16-year-old daughter to buy a new Honda Vision 50, after passing her CBT yesterday. We also got a very good deal on the little 50. So top marks all round Grantham Honda.

Rob Cuffing (47, from Lincoln)


I bought an R1150GS BMW recently from a private seller. I got it at a good price with all the normal beemer owner extras, full luggage, nice exhaust, adjustable screen handguards, mudguard extenders manual etc. It was pretty much exactly as described bar a couple of niggles that are not really a big deal (leaky fork seal and a blown bulb), but it was a seamless sale, and probably the easiest bike I ever bought. I should say that it’s a joy to ride also and exactly as good as everyone described them.

John Regan (45, from Lancashire)

here’s an offer if you’re in a bike club... Now then, how about this for an offer for all you bike club types out there. At MSL, we know that many of our readers are active members of clubs and societies, perhaps even playing a role in the organisational side. We know too, because we’ve been there ourselves, that getting a club magazine, leaflet or poster produced and printed can be both costly and time consuming.

That is why we would like to introduce you to our parent company’s in-house print and mailing services, and to tell you that by working with us here at Mortons Media Group we think our contract print and mailing team can save you money. At MSL we are heavily invested in promoting and maintaining interest in biking clubs and we know just

how vital it is to support the clubs, societies and groups who do such fantastic work to encourage our unique passion at grass roots level. To find out what our enthusiastic and friendly staff can do for you, contact print and mailing manager Lorraine NobleThompson at lnoble-thompson, call her direct line on 01507 529256 or call her mobile on 07748 965894.

NEW MSL’s Cathcart smashes two world records at Bonneville on a Brough Riding a Brough Superior 750cc motorcycle specially constructed for the attempt, MSL’s Alan Cathcart has set two new officially-recognised FIM World Land Speed Records, and one AMA National record, at the Bonneville Salt Flats in the USA. In doing so, Alan has raised his current haul of FIM World Records to six in all, with the four world marks he set back in 2009 on two Triumph Bonneville bikes still standing unbroken. Cathcart put one of Britain’s most historic motorcycle marques back in the FIM record books for the first time since 1936, when Brough works rider Eric Fernihough set a new outright Motorcycle Land Speed Record for the flying mile on his 998cc streamlined V-twin. Seventy-seven years later, Cathcart set new records for the 750cc Twin-Cylinder



Unstreamlined Normally Aspirated (unsupercharged) category, with a two-way mean speed of 101.329mph for the flying kilometre, and 101.132mph for the flying mile. e latter speed also represents a new AMA National record for the 750cc Twin-Cylinder Unstreamlined,

Unsupercharged Vintage class using pump gas. Later attempts by the team to beat the existing 109mph Partially Streamlined record with just a token aluminium nacelle shrouding the forks came up short, in spite of setting a best one-way speed of 105.462mph.

20 14

BMW putting electric into production BMW Motorrad is putting its C evolution electric scooter into production. The production version of the electric maxi-scooter made its debut at the 2013 Frankfurt International Motor Show. The scooter is claimed to have a range of 62 miles under practical conditions. It’s powered by a drivetrain swingarm with liquid-cooled permanent magnet synchronous motor via a toothed belt and ring gearing. It makes 15bhp, with peak output of 47bhp for a top speed of 75mph and BMW say the electric scooter has better acceleration than some maxi scooters with engines of 600cc+. When plugged in to a standard 220v domestic socket with a 12A charge current, recharging fully from empty takes around four hours (with 220v/16A = three hours). The new C evolution is available with torque control assist (TCA), which works in a similar way to the Automatic

Stability Control feature on BMW motorcycles with combustion engines. TCA limits the motor’s torque depending on the slip at the rear wheel.

HERE’S THE ESSENTIAL BITS ■ Innovative electric drive system via drivetrain swingarm with liquid-cooled permanent magnet synchronous motor, toothed belt and ring gearing. ■ Rated power output 11kW (homologated according to ECE R85) and 35kW peak output. ■ Maximum torque 53lb-ft. ■ Top speed 75mph. ■ Acceleration 0-31mph in 2.7s. ■ Acceleration 0-62mph in 6.2s. ■ High range of 62 miles in practical operation. ■ Four ride modes available to choose from: Road, Eco Pro, Sail and Dynamic. ■ Reversing aid for supremely easy manoeuvring. ■ Torque control assist (TCA).

■ High-voltage battery with high capacity of 8kWh and innovative air cooling. ■ Intelligent recuperation when coasting and when braking. ■ Recharged from the domestic mains supply. ■ Takes just four hours to charge to 100% capacity at 220v/12A (220v/16A = three hours). ■ Synergies with BMW Automobile harnessed during development. ■ Electrical safety to passenger car standards. ■ Hybrid chassis with agile handling due to low c of g. ■ Powerful brakes with ABS. ■ Large TFT colour display. ■ LED daytime running lights.

■ The best super tourer ever ■ The best places to go ■ The best kit to use ■ The best things to see How to do it with top tips from the pros. Make next year your best ever biking year, and make it with MSL.


First Rides


Finally. A bike that’s the genuine grandson to the RD350, the TDM250 and the DT125 combined. And all for £6799 too. Read this, then go ride one. WORDS: Tony Carter PHOTOGRAPHY: Yamaha


h sweet baby Moses, Yamaha is back. And in a simply bloody brilliant way. Say hello to this not-so-little, little beauty, the MT-09. It’s a gem of a bike. It’s corking, it’s cracking, it’s something in the mould of the TDM250 or the RD350 (yep, really). at’s because it’s fun with a capital F, in the same way that Jeremy Clarkson is annoying with a capital A – that much fun. It’s crazy that it’s taken so long for Yamaha to come up with a bike that just makes you smile in the old hooligan ways, but let’s not dwell on that for too long because there are some salient points you need to know about this MT.

NEW A sweeping road, a 115bhp motorcycle and a rider who should know better. This is what the MT-09 is all about.

First, it’s not perfect; there are downsides to this bike. e throttle is ridiculously snatchy off low revs when you ask a handful of it, there’s no white colour scheme (orange, black, purple? Oh yes! Moderny-retro white? Nope), and the styling is perhaps too much on the conservative side. But apart from that, this is a great bike. Rest assured, dear biker that somewhere in Japan are working bike builders who still remember what’s it like to have a laugh on two wheels without the need to get all sportbike serious, thank goodness. e MT is wonderfully narrow, with an upright riding position that’s much more Street Triple (but not quite as pitched-forward as the Brit bike) than the FZ8 from the same firm. e bars are pulled back and are wide, the footrests low, the engine punchy from

In detail: Yamaha’s MT-09 RIDING POSITION  The 400mm long seat has an almost flat profile and the steel fuel tank has been made using a new process which achieves extremely tight curves which were previously not possible to sculpt in a steel design. The new tank is also very slim in the area close to the seat.

low-down (snatchy pick-up aside) and wind it up to north of 10,000rpm for some long-legged rushes too... it’s a motorcycle that’s easy to get on and feel like you’ve been riding it for years. It’s familiar in the way that all those loon bikes from so far back in your youth were, too. ere’s three modes available, accessed by a button on the le handlebar. ey work, just like they all do these days. e digital dash is simple in its information (gear change indicator included) and perched high on top of the handlebar clamp. Erm... sounds nice and rorty too, brakes are sharp and there’s even a pillion seat of sorts. Okay? Usual testing report stuff done? Right let’s get back to the ride. Yes, it’ll commute easily, it handles motorways well and on slippery roads

there’s a lot of feedback from the chassis underneath you. All of which we took in during a great day riding in Croatia along the Dalmation Coast. But this motorcycle is ALL about how it makes you feel right from the off. ere’s 64.4lb- of torque, delivered in a wonderfully linear wave of torque from 2000rpm and a tight chassis, great suspension and sharp brakes make this a punchy, engaging ride. A real-world word here though, this bike might have an astonishing 51º of lean angle (the same as an R6) and the suspension for the job but nobody on this world launch got to try it out, the roads in Croatia are all old and in poor, slippery, shiny state. MSL will put one of these on track in the future, just to see if this is as great at getting over as it is at everything else. 13

First Rides Shun Miyazawa, the project manager chap

Why this motorcycle, and why now? This bike has been a long time coming really. It’s a continuation of the MT family, which started back in 1999 with the MT-01 so really you can say this motorcycle started back then. But Yamaha wanted to show a different side to what we could do to bring back some fun and excitement. There are lots of stereotypes about Japan and while many of them are accurate there is also a different, darker side to what we do that this motorcycle brings out. Right now, the market perhaps likes the physically smaller bikes and bikes where you can commute, ride daily and still have a lot of fun with too. Not an intimidating motorcycle but a bike that allows all sides of a rider’s character to come out. The MT-09 is this motorcycle. So have you made a bike that fulfils that wideranging brief? I think so. We’ve built a bike that suits the rider who doesn’t have time to ride 200 miles in order to find a good road to ride. But the trick is to make the connection between rider and motorcycle an emotional one. Yes, mpg and price all have to be taken into account but


emotion is a very powerful thing for the rider to feel too. What’s all this dark side about then? Is it just a gimmick? No, the dark side is something we use to get across aspects of the Japanese people that are perhaps not obvious. Words like instinct, passion, madness and underground were used in the creation of this motorcycle. You can find this in the street culture of modern Japan and in things like anime etc. This is the side that is really intriguing to the younger generation. Dark side isn’t really a slogan for the MT-09 but a slogan for today’s Japanese culture. Why the triple engine in this one, especially when Yamaha has cross-plane crank technology for better torque feel at lower-to-mid revs? The engine is used because it lets new riders find a quiet confidence with the engine because of the way it delivers power too, and it’s much lighter compared to other engine layouts. We’re making 115bhp with this engine at peak power but we have a good delivery of power low down too. And this engine is very exciting for the rider to use at lower speed.

You can kit out the MT for touring. Kind of.

In short, if you’re looking for a motorcycle that’s a throwback to the fun of the RD350 but with the modern accoutrements of great motor, brakes, suspension etc. then get this bike. For £6799 OTR that’s a helluva motorcycle. In fact, this might not only be the bike that marks the return to the good times of the tuning fork brigade but it might also just be the deal of the century so far.


ere’s nothing new in the CF-diecast method used to form the frame and swingarm as such, but the process does mean that extra stiffness and more

ABOVE LEFT: Stubby exhaust sounds great. ABOVE RIGHT: Swingarm bolts on the outside of the frame. RIGHT: It’s a fairly pareddown design.

importantly flex can be built into the frame’s construction where wanted. It’s this that immediately gives a bike some kind of character. Combine the very efficient frame making tech with the very narrow engine and you’ve got a bike that feels more like a 500 than a 900 in physical terms. It’s really slim, so much so in fact that the MT-09 has an incredible 51º lean angle (the same as the current R6 supersport nutter machine), so narrow is the overall chassis that the swingarm is mounted on the outside of the frame. For the rider it makes the bike feel tiny, footrests are as close together as

NEW It’s a 900 but it really feels like a smaller bike on the move.The Yamaha engineers have pulled quite a stroke with this modern hoon.

Specification YAMAhA MT-09 Price: £6799 Engine: 847cc liquid-cooled four-stroke, dohc, four-valve inline three-cylinder Bore and stroke: 78mm x 59.1mm Compression ratio: 11.5:1 Maximum power: 115bhp @ 10,000rpm Maximum torque: 64.4lb-ft @ 8500rpm Transmission: Six-speed Frame: CF-diecast aluminium diamond shape Suspension: 48mm fully adjustable telescopic forks, 137mm of travel. Rear: Single shock with 130mm of travel. Brakes: Twin 298mm discs with ABS option to be announced. Rear: 245mm single disc. Wheels and tyres: Front: 120/70ZR x 17M/C (58W). Rear: 180/55ZR x 17M/C (73W) Seat height: 815mm Wheelbase: 1440mm Wet weight: 188kg (ABS 191kg) Tank capacity: 14 litres Colours: Deep armour with MT fuel tank logo graphic, blazing orange with MT fuel tank logo graphic, race blue, matt grey Contact:

The Japanese laid bare

In detail: Yamaha’s MT-09 RIdIng Modes  There are three different throttle settings, STD mode, A mode and B mode. STD mode gives the rider top performance right through the bike’s rpm range. A mode gives a sharper throttle response in the low to mid speed range. B mode gives a milder throttle with easier-touse power.

Accessories: PeRFoRMAnCe & sTYLIng

■ Akrapovic slip-on muffler. Soft side bags + stay. Smoked fly screen. Tank bags. Air intake mesh. Comfort design seat ■ Seat cover ■ Radiator side covers ■ Engine protectors ■ Chain guard ■ Chain adjuster ■ Billet foot pedals adjuster kit by Gilles Tooling ■ Billet clutch lever by Gilles Tooling ■ Billet brake lever by Gilles Tooling ■ Licence plate holder ■ LED flashers ■ Tank pad

CoMFoRT & ToURIng ■ Rear carriers ■ 39 litre Top case City ■ 39 litre Top case City passenger backrest ■ 39 litre Top case City inner bag ■ 50 litre Top case City ■ 50 litre Top case City passenger backrest ■ 50 litre Top case City inner bag ■ iPhone holders suitable for all iPhones 3, 4 and 5 ■ USB adaptor ■ 12v DC socket ■ GPS stay ■ Sidestand extension kit ■ Universal grip heaters (available at the end of 2013)

Calm Rational Technology Conformist office Brain

Passion Instinct Underground Madness Creative drift

Now, far be it from us to say that this seemed a bit odd during the launch, but this is what Yamaha said was behind the focus on the MT-09 being a sort of mini-nutter bike (our words, not theirs). Basically, Yamaha said that the stereotypical attributes usually given to Japanese people (those on the left in red) were not overly accurate and that there’s another side (those on the right in black), and this is what the MT-09 was all about. Waddya reckon to that then? 15

First Rides

Aggressive enough or too conservative?

In detail: Yamaha’s MT-09 ENGINE  The MT-09 is the first multi-cylinder production Yamaha motorcycle to utilise an offset cylinder design. The all new engine runs with a 120º crank that delivers a regularly spaced firing sequence at 0º, 240º and 480º. To cut vibration the engine comes with a primary coupled-force counter rotating balancer.

on parallel twin bikes – the MT-09 is actually 54mm narrower than a fourcylinder bike like the FZ8. Even the oil tank has been designed to keep a narrow profile, so as not to get in the way of that huge lean angle.


e MT-09 is the latest generation three-cylinder motor from Yamaha, which is meant to give a similar feeling to the firm’s much-

PETROL TANK  A claimed 240km-plus riding range from the 14 litre tank.


This person will buy this bike! At least, that’s what the Yamaha lot reckon. So if this is you then apparently this is your ideal motorcycle – so what are you sitting there for? Get buying! ■ Mainly male ■ 25-39 years old ■ Riding four days a week ■ Stepping up from smaller cc bikes ■ Switching from upper/mid class bikes ■ Shifting bike types from supersport sector

headlined crossplane motor used in the R1 superbike. Lots of low-and-midrange punch but still revs at the top end for when you want to wind it on. It’s a long way from being the first triple Yamaha has used in a bike though, way back in 1976 the XS750 was fitted with a triple, the XS850 made its debut in 1980 with a later version of the three-cylinder configuration. Yamaha reckons that this version of its triple has been made to feel very close to the (much more expensive to produce, and heavier) crossplane option with an uneven firing engine, linear power delivery and progressive torque wave. One thing that is certain about the motor is its physical attributes, the narrow triple layout means that this is the most compact engine in the class and even tips the scales at an astonishing 10kg less than Yamaha’s own FZ8. In fact, the FZ8 comes in for a pasting on paper when lined-up against the MT-09. Power outputs are greatly increased for the newer bike, 115bhp @ 10,500 for the MT, 106bhp @ 10,000 while torque is 64.4lb- @ 8500 on the MT and 60.5lb- @ 8000 on the FZ8.

Closest rival

TRIUMPH STREET TRIPLE £6999 It might seem like an odd choice, pitching the nearly 900cc Yamaha against the much smaller Triumph, but after riding the Yamaha it’s clear that these two bikes are head-on going for the same buyer’s pounds in their pocket. As a riding experience it’s very difficult to tell the pair apart, with both using triple motors to deliver lots of usable oomph in the lowto-midrange rev bracket, combined with narrow chassis and laugh-a-minute short wheelbase. The Triumph is a bit more perched-forward in the riding position though and as a result feels like it’s up for some fun that bit more.

In Detail

TRIPLES: WHY THEY WORK SO WELL Forty-four years after the introduction of the first commercial triple, the engine tuype is still going strong. worDS: Neil Charlton phoTography: Yamaha


lmost all manufacturers have dabbled with triples in the past. Honda made a beautiful, if flawed, V3 two-stroke GP replica in 1985 and both Kawasaki and Suzuki had already made three-cylinder twostrokes around 10 years before. Triumph tried to tackle the Japanese invasion with the Trident in 1968 but the buying public had been swept off its feet; Japan had shown them the future of motorcycling and it had four cylinders. So it now seems odd that of all people, Yamaha is suggesting that we

were all wrong. Aer all, it gave three cylinders a shot in 1976 with the XS750/850. Five years later Yamaha axed it and set about concentrating on manufacturing four-cylinder machines, just like everyone else. But now triples are back, Yamaha insists we’ve been missing something and three, not four, is the magic cylinder number. So, does lopping one cylinder off an inline-four bike engine really make good engineering sense? Absolutely it does, and here’s why. Firstly, fewer cylinders means bigger cylinders for a given displacement and this dictates lower peak revs with torque moved further down the rev range. e result is a

Does lopping one cylinder off an inlinefour make good engineering sense?


ABOVE: This is the new motor for the MT-09, it’s a triple and because of layout characteristics it’s ripe for keeping a bike’s central mass small. BELOW: The first incarnation of the Triumph Speed Triple was a great way to show off the triple.

more tractable engine with power and torque where most riders want it. Secondly, a triple is lighter and narrower than a comparable four. irdly, one less cylinder means less engine friction, which means better fuel economy and less exhaust emissions. Plus, all these above benefits can come at a lower cost to the manufacturer. Modular design philosophy is already well established with car makers, BMW for example shares a huge number of components between its two-litre four- and threelitre six-cylinder engines. But let’s not forget though, that it has been Triumph that really pioneered the modern three-cylinder motorcycle. It’s shown the buying public that less can actually offer more, particularly in terms of character. And this I think is the real reason for Yamaha’s rekindled romance with the triple. e term ‘Universal Japanese Motorcycle’ or UJM, coined by American Cycle magazine, was aimed at the ra of good quality, reliable but bland Japanese fourcylinder sports bikes available in the 1970s. I think that the slight still needles the Japanese. I think Yamaha is on a mission to find the elusive Xfactor that so many European manufacturers’ bikes seem to have. Take the 2009 YZF-R1. We all know how its crossplane crank is derived from the M1 MotoGP bike, and Yamaha claims reduced crank inertial torque and improved throttle response. I’m sure it has, but I couldn’t detect any significant difference in the R1’s power


The MT-09 uses a balancer shaft.

Irregular firing pattern gives character.

delivery from any other 160bhp-plus super bike’s when I rode it. My overriding memory of riding the crossplane crank R1 was the way it sounded; utterly enchanting and almost creepy for an inline fourcylinder engine. It was distinctive, individual and full of that elusive character that the Yamaha marketing department craves. So you can’t blame Yamaha for playing the ‘fancy-crank’ card again. It claims the 1200 crank pin offset in the MT-09 employs ‘crossplane philosophy’. In actual fact, evenly spacing the firing order at 1200 on a triple is really just the logical way to do it. Certainly, Triumph appears to take the view that a 1200 crank pin offset gives the rider what he/she wants from a modern triple cylinder bike.


e crossplane crank YZF-R1 has each crank-pin evenly spaced 900 from each other (3600 divided by four). Looking at the location of these crank pins on an end elevation and drawing a line between them would form a cross. Hence the name. According to Yamaha, the point of this is to cancel out piston inertial forces and reduce rotational speed fluctuations in the

crank, giving superior throttle response and improved drive out of corners. Each of the MT-09’s three crank pins is also evenly spaced around its endplane’s circumference. Divide 3600 by three and you get 1200 between each crank pin. Looking at the location of the crank pins on an end elevation on this engine and drawing a line between them would look like three pointed star, not a cross. Looking at Yamaha’s crossed tuning fork logo, I can’t help but think a marketing opportunity has been missed. Even so I’m not sure what philosophy Yamaha is employing here, a 1200 offset crank does have rotational balance, although a rotating balance sha is still needed to cancel out what’s known as a ‘rocking couple’. is is the tendency for this design of three-cylinder engine to rock from side to side about a centre line running along the length of the bike. But crucially, the piston’s inertial forces

aren’t all cancelled out in the MT-09’s engine like they are in a crossplane crank YZF-R1’s.


Yamaha doesn’t appear to have used the classic car maker’s trick of just adding or removing cylinders to create engines of different displacements. e engine is essentially new, not just an existing four-cylinder unit with one pot lopped off. e MT-09 has a bore and stroke of 78 x 59.1mm, giving a displacement of 847cc. Interestingly, the 2009-on crossplane crank YZF-R1 also has a 78mm bore, plus both bikes share the same inlet and exhaust valve sizes. Yamaha may well have saved some cash by robbing the parts bin when it designed this three-cylinder engine. e good news is, it has passed the savings on to the consumer with an admirable list price of well under £7000 .

ABOVE: When seen up close like this you can appreciate just how compact the three-cylinder engine really is. Loads of torque, bags of character and a freerevving nature at the top of the rev range makes this layout a dream to play with for engineers. And a joy to use for all manner of motorcycle applications. 19




BMW R1100GS prices are now probably at their lowest. Look around and you can find them for as little as a grand. But MSL thinks the smarter buyer spends a bit more and gets a much better bike for their money.

WORDS: Nick Berkeley / Bruce Wilson PHOTOGRAPHY: Joe Dick


e bumped into one GS owner who’d taken advantage of this golden GS buying period. As Mark Gammon is happy to admit, he paid a little over the odds for his 1996 example, but he had good reason. “I bought my 1100GS off a friend, so I knew its history well. e bike had been well looked aer and although it had some 67,000 miles on the clock and a few bits of corrosion here and there, it was mechanically sound and in decent enough aesthetic condition,” explained Mark. “I actually paid £3000 for the bike, but there was good cause to. e bike was full of expensive aermarket goodies and I knew that there were a number of bits that I could easily sell on, making the purchase more affordable. e bolt-ons I was le with I would have purchased anyway; pieces like the Remus end can, MRA screen, leather tank bag and Sergeant saddle.

Cylinder fins and rear wheel hubs are particuarly susceptible to rust.



“Adding the cost of these items on to the money I got back aer selling the fitted Garmin sat nav with its Touratech bracket, Hepco and Becker panniers and the fixed crash bars meant that the raw cost of the GS was actually just £1800. You can’t argue with that. I’ve seen plenty of examples priced around the same money and they’re scabby donkeys, not fit to be ridden.” He said the bike still needed a bit of attention but only because he felt it had to be perfect. “I’ve had a couple of panels powder coated and I’ve recently bought a new rim, which I’m still to fit,” he said. “You can see how the original is a bit corroded and I managed to pick a minter up for £90 at an autojumble. I’ll probably be able to sell my original one on eBay for £100, so I’ll be quids in. “If you buy right and you’re sensible, you can afford to buy the GS you want at the right price. I’m over the moon that I did. I can’t imagine ever wanting to sell it or that I’d choose to trump with any other bike. I’m a big fan of the machine, which has so much character. At first, it took a bit of getting used to. “I struggled most with the bizarre lack of dive on the brakes and the generally vague feel from the Telelever front end, but now I’m blown away by it. It makes perfect sense to me, as I’m now properly in tune with it. e engine was another mind boggler. e oscillating momentum caused by an increase of revs is a little quirky to say the least. e more miles I did, the more I got used to it and, a year on, I hardly notice it. In fact, I like it. It’s different. “e Boxer motor is simply fantastic. I’ve always been a BMW fan and it’s easy to see why the 1100GS is such a popular version. e key piece of advice I’d have to pass on is that you should buy the bike you actually want, rather than the one with the most attractive price tag. You might just regret it.”

Buying an R1100GS: The things you need to know


The 1100s ABS is non servo operated which means you still have normal braking power in the event of malfunction, and of course it can be discarded altogether. After the bike moves off you should hear a clunk as the ABS kicks in and the dashboard ABS lights go out. If they don’t, for whatever reason, don’t walk away – get the price adjusted down.

Owner: Mark Gammon

GENERAL STUFF Mark bought his GS off a friend a year a go. He’s had several parts replaced and a few panels powder coated. Overall it’s in very good condition and he’s very happy with his £3000 buy.


Setting aside the above issues, apply the same sort of logic that should be applied to buying any other bike. BMW owners score highly for maintenance – there really should be some fat service history. Ask for it. Check that the alternator belt has been replaced within living memory – they should be done between 35k and 50k miles intervals, depending on which expert you ask... Do try and test ride. This bike will feel different if you haven’t experienced a GS, so a test is arguably even more important than usual. Do an HPI check.


Paralever and telelever are a good road going combi, but depend on the quality of the shock at either end: refurbishment is a cheaper option than replacement (see contacts box). Rear shock adjustment is prone to seizure.



Should be free from any knocking when the rear wheel is rotated on the main stand. It’s worth putting a hand on the drive itself to make sure there are no nasty vibes. Problems relating to the driveshaft or paralever rear can be costly.

USEFUL CONTACTS ■ – boxer parts specialist ■ Phil Hawksley aka boxerman, servicing and repairs: ■ ABE offers a shock refurbishment service: 0208 858 9052 ■ CW Motorcycles in Dorchester is one of the oldest established main Motorrad dealers with indepth knowledge of the marque going back to the 1970s. Ian Wilson runs the service team: 01305 267262. ■ Ocean BMW is another main dealership and offers out of season deals on servicing and repairs. Call Peter Cramp on 01752 202828.

As a general rule any mechanical problem well to the rear of those boxer heads should be looked at with trepidation – we’re talking about anything which involves the clutch, gearbox or drive-train. The casings have to be split to sort any of the above, including the replacement of the output shaft seal. As a general rule, if the casings are being split, the clutch may as well be replaced anyway, since the stock item is inexpensive – it’s the labour involved in reaching it that will damage your wallet. A main dealer quoted a ‘ballpark figure’ of £800 plus VAT for work which involved splitting the casings. An independent specialist will be cheaper, but you should still budget for a minimum of £400.


Will have cried ‘enough’ once you get much beyond 50k miles. Our main dealer quoted £300 to replace them. Go to an independent and you should be looking at £150-£200 tops. 23

ABOVE: BMW’s R1100GS takes some getting used to, but those who stick it out often claim that the bike’s unique riding experience is better than anything else they’ve ever known.



e bottom end can be a bit rough – the GS was fuel injected from the 1100 on and purists prefer the smoothness of the earlier carbed bikes. Having said that, once under way a GS should pull smoothly through the rest of the range, the middle of which is particularly fat and rewarding, making the bike an ideal A-road conveyance. Compared to the down shiing oen required on your average sports 600, overtakes are straightforward and relaxed courtesy of torque on tap exactly where you need it. Earlier (and some later) GS models were streamlined compared to the 1100. ere is no getting away from it, the sheer bulk seems unnecessary and undermines what was otherwise a ground breaking design. As a result the bike can feel top heavy at slow speeds. Chuck in a recalcitrant gearbox familiar to many boxer riders and in the 1100 you have a conveyance horribly ill suited to urban riding. Although the Telelever front end theoretically lessens the sensation of diving on the brakes, older examples may well have a trampoline-like sense of weight transfer. e only real cure for this is to get both shocks out and sent off for refurbishing. Sort this and the difference will be remarkable. You may never hanker for a conventional front end again. Potential issues aside, a sweet 1100 is still a wonderful, effortless UK road performer, gliding over our troubled road surfaces while happily leaning and holding a predictable line at speed. e five-speed box and emphasis on midrange conspire to limit top speed to around a true 90-100mph: more than that is entirely missing the point of the beast. Just try and stay clear of the city streets...


Both ends of the 1100GS are unusual and buyers should be aware of the implications. e Telelever front end has its origins in the early 1980s British Saxon design. Telelever forks are responsible only for steering; a swing arm extends back from the fork tubes and connects to a single shock absorber. is means less unsprung weight, and since braking and suspension forces are not applied to the fork tubes, the result is a smoother front end experience, without the characteristic diving associated with conventional forks. As long as the shocks are in good condition and the rider can adjust to the feel, the system does offer a significant advantage, especially on poor surfaces. K series BMWs offer a further refinement in the Hossack inspired Duolever front end, which is arguably better suited to the greater power offered by BMW’s fourcylinder machines. e paralever rear on the GS is oen overlooked; the front end oen gets all the attention. But a single sided swingarm linked to a single shock absorber makes good design sense if allied to a sha drive design, as is the case on the GS. Paralever is a refinement on the original R80 GSs monolever system, permitting increased ground clearance. Many riders have been surprised by the GSs smooth and predictable handling at speed, and the unconventional suspension set up positively contributes to the bulky machine’s stability when cornering. e set up also comes into its own when the going gets tough: it’s a formula that is well suited to Brit roads and Brit weather.


The GS alternatives Yamaha’s TDM series comes to mind both in terms of value and relevance to the adventure bike sector, although the TDM is pretty much 100% road dedicated. Loved on the continent and underrated in Blighty means there are bargains out there. The second generation of 850s (1996-2000) offer real value and represent a significant upgrade over earlier bikes. Aprilia’s Caponord has recently been totally redesigned, meaning that earlier incarnations have seen used values take a hit – they can be found for a couple of grand. If you want a reliable motor with real power and decent handling on offer, the Capo should be on the Adventure bike shopping list.

As with the Capo, recent model developments have seen Ducati’s earlier litre Multistradas drop in value – hunt around and you’ll find a decent one for around £2k. And as you would with a GS, look for as full a service history as possible. A massively leftfield choice would be a big single, and none came bigger than Suzuki’s legendary DR BIG. An 800cc single is going to be a unique ride

experience by definition, and values are starting to rise. The lump is robust but the suspension will need help. The earlier DR 750 version is a fair bit lighter than the 800 and further weight can be shed by losing the massive enduro fuel tank. You can pick up a decent one for £1000 – it’s a far more engaging ride and a lot less money than something like an Africa Twin. Keep it, and you’re looking at an investment.

How to buy a GS for a grand I spotted a tatty one taken in as a trade part ex, and the vendor was subsequently messed around by an eBay dreamer. He needed to clear space and accepted a grand. I've not heard of a cheaper one but if you don’t ask... Buy in winter. Just before and after Christmas can be a happy hunting ground for punters. Check Gumtree, the local press, adventure rider and enthusiasts’ websites. Dealers tend to know the value of the bike and should be a last resort, unless they happen to be a BMW dealer... which sounds like a contradiction, but isn’t: virtually all Motorrad dealers trade on the tat and wouldn’t let an old shonker – even a reliable old shonker – within a mile of the showroom. Pester them to ring you when they’ve got an 1100 to trade – it may well turn out you’re on to a cheap bike with history that the dealer originally provided. Result. If you do find a cheap one which needs work beyond the scope of your mechanical skills, check out independent BMW specialists: the GSs peculiarities mean that finding the right establishment could save a lot of time in the long run. A BMW main dealer told me that his workshop is prepared to offer concessions on out of season jobs: ask away. You might be pleasantly surprised by what’s on offer.

Spend a grand and expect plenty of rust. 25

First rides Benelli BN600

two wAy


Italy’s first four-cylinder motorcycle – made in China! words: Alan Cathcart photography: Kel Edge



This is an important motor, engineered in Italy, made in China.


o when is a Chinese Italian bike a real first? When it’s the first ever fourcylinder bike made in China – that’s when... To understand why this bike is significant, you’ve got to know a bit of the back history. In December 2005 Qianjiang (pronounced Chin-jung) bought Benelli, one of the oldest Italian marques, with an idea to bring out several models. And, ta-da... What we have here is also significant because, really, it was the first longterm gameplan from a Chinese firm to actively get into the serious western market. As Benelli’s chief engineer Stefano Michelotti confirms, when this project kicked off in 2006, the BN600 was designed and initially developed in Italy in collaboration with QJ engineers, before it was transferred to China for final pre-production development. is meant that Benelli tester Gianluca Galasso covered countless test kilometres riding the prototype bike in the open on public roads, carefully disguised as a wellworn Honda Hornet that nobody would give a second look. “To begin with, it was difficult to work with Chinese engineers, not only with the language difficulties, but also because we were each accustomed to

pursuing different objectives in creating a new design,” says Michelotti. “But little by little we understood each other’s strengths, and now the collaboration is fantastic. It bodes well for the future, with other projects.” e BN600 is the first product QJ has built that’s over 250cc in capacity, and the Italian company’s female CEO Yan Haimei has confirmed to MSL that this is to be the first of several new models coming shortly from China bearing the Benelli badge, all of them like the BN600 engineered jointly by QJ and Benelli technicians, then manufactured in China to reduce costs. e EVO version of the BN600 being sold in Europe, North America and Australasia carries Brembo brakes, Marzocchi fork, and a Sachs shock, all replacing the less effective but also less costly Chinese-made original components, but at only a slight price increase. When it goes on sale around the world in November this year, the BN600 will retail for just 5890 euros on the road in Italy including 21% local tax, against 7660 euros for the equivalent Honda CB600F Hornet, both without ABS. However, that’s the same price as Yamaha’s entry-level XJ6 four, but with the Benelli offering significantly improved suspension and brakes versus the Japanese bike, plus a little more power from its slightly shorter-stroke four-cylinder motor.

This is at the same stage with fuelling as the Japanese 15 years ago... 27

First Rides Specification Benelli Bn600

This is a confidenceinspiring bike that is ideal for novice riders.

Engine: Four cylinders inline, fourstroke, liquid-cooled, four valves per cylinder double overhead camshaft Displacement: 600cc Compression: 11.5:1 Bore x stroke: 65 x 45.2mm Power: 80bhp @ 11,500rpm Torque: 38lb-ft @ 10,500rpm Engine management system: Electronic fuel injection with four throttle bodies 38mm Wheelbase: 1430mm Overall length: 2160mm Overall width: 800mm Seat height: 800mm Ground clearance: 180mm Weight (wet): 220kg Fuel tank capacity: 15 litres Frame: Front steel trestle, rear aluminium alloy casting Suspension: Front Marzocchi 50mm forks with rebound-compression damping and spring preload external and separate adjustment. Rear Progressive Öhlins, single shock absorber with rebound and compression damping and spring preload adjustment Wheels: Front aluminium alloy 3.50in x 17in. Rear aluminium alloy 5.50in x 17in Tyres: Front 120/70 – ZR 17 M/C (58 W). Rear 180/55 – ZR 17 M/C (73 W)

What’s it like to ride?

Tidy dash combines analogue and digi.

Side-mounted shock is trendy.

Gears need a kick down to get speed.


A full day’s ride along the Adriatic Coast from Pesaro aboard the preproduction prototype of the Benelli BN600 showed how much grunt this motor has and how good the pretty comfortable riding position for someone of my 5 11in stature. e 800mm seat, well shaped and narrow at the front for ease of use (paddling etc.) has minimal but adequate pillion space. e footrests are quite high-set, enough to be sure you won’t rub your boots in exploiting the good grip of the Metzeler Sportec tyres. You feel you’re sitting within the Benelli as an integrated part of the whole package, with your knees tucked in nicely to the flanks of the 15 litre fuel tank that’s good for a range of around 250km. Such a stance is a key factor in promoting rider confidence, especially for novice bikers – you feel at one with the bike, much more than on a sportier model where you’re more perched on top. e Chinese-made Benelli engine sounds rorty and promising and

comes with real substance too, pulling smoothly away from low revs with barely any use of the clutch. It really comes alive from 7000 revs upwards, and there’s an extra kick of performance when the needle on the analogue tacho hits the nine grand mark. From there to the 11,500rpm limiter there’s exhilarating performance that’s fully on a par with the Yamaha XJ6 or Honda Hornet, just that you must rev it harder to obtain that, since there isn’t as much low down torque as the Yamaha. So, if you want some acceleration to pass some traffic, you’ll have to kick the Benelli down a couple of gears, in which case you’ll be rewarded with quite zesty performance, and without the harsh patch of vibration felt through the footrests of its Yamaha rival. ough devoid of a counterbalancer, the Benelli is smooth and untiring to ride, with the engine’s only downside its very abrupt pickup from a closed throttle, verging on the snatchy. is started out being tiresomely brusque, then

in detail: Benelli Bn600 The short, compact design runs an 11.5:1 compression ratio and sees the double overhead camshafts chaindriven up the right side of the engine, with the six-speed transmission’s oil-bath clutch mounted quite high up. The engine cylinders are inclined forward by 10º, mounted on a crankcase that was originally intended for use as a frame.



Non-adjustable 50mm Marzocchi fork offering 120mm of wheel travel, matched to a Sachs cantilever rear monoshock offset to the right with 123mm of wheel travel, and has preload and rebound damping adjustment but not compression damping.


A 1430mm wheelbase, twin 320mm Brembo floating front discs are gripped by the latest design of radially mounted Brembo Monobloc four-pot calipers, with a twin-piston caliper and 260mm disc at the rear.

In detail: Benelli BN600 With a wheelbase of 1430mm the Benelli is similar to the Yamaha MT-09 albeit with a lot less grunt. Nothing here to scare new riders. It might be more in the mould of a beginner’s bike as such, but the Benelli comes with ‘proper’ sized tyres, a 180 on the rear.

downright annoying, because it may even mean you risk unhooking the rear tyre if you’re too aggressive with the throttle. is is exactly the same problem that all the Japanese manufacturers experienced at first when they began fuel-injecting fours 15 years ago. I’m sure the Chinese engineers will learn how to resolve this one way or the other. Everything falls to hand on the BN600, as per the old cliché, with the just-right handlebar shape delivering good leverage for easy handling and top manoeuvrability, the key point of the Benelli’s handling. Even with what felt like relatively conservative steering geometry (actual numbers remain undisclosed), this is a sharp steering motorcycle which relishes being hustled through turns on a winding country road. In spite of being just a touch low at the rear, especially with that riding position where you’re ensconced in the seat, the BN600 holds a line well at speed, and doesn’t ever push the front wheel. It has inherent stability and good

A conventional composite frame, which uses the engine as a fully stressed member, with a tubular steel upper subframe attached to twin cast aluminium chassis plates, in which the double-sided cast aluminium swingarm pivots.


A relatively conventional 16-valve four-cylinder wet sump power unit with no balance shaft, and its transverse inline cylinders measuring 65 x 45.2mm for a capacity of exactly 600cc. Rev limiter is set at 11,500rpm.

handling, meaning it never gets out of shape even when using the big twin 320mm Brembo radial front brakes and four-piston Monobloc calipers from the same company, to stop hard at the end of a fast straight. e Benelli BN600 is a sharp looking machine at an even sharper price, and QJ expects to make around 3500 examples of the model next year, with Yan Haimei confirming that another model using the same four-cylinder platform is under development. “We will make an Adventure Touring bike, a smaller capacity four-cylinder equivalent of our bigger three-cylinder 1130 TreK,” she says. “Probably, we will present that quite soon, at the end of this year at the official European launch of the BN600 Naked bike. At the moment we are making the final tests of the Touring model, but we’re not planning to make a 600cc Supersport bike. We only want to make a Naked bike and an Adventure Touring one, which will be available both with and without hard luggage.”

Closest rival

YAMAHA XJ6 £5999 (ABS VERSION £6399) Yamaha’s venerable XJ6 has had the cosmetic tweak treatment for this year with what Yamaha calls the ‘midship’ silencer and a more aggressive look. In the real world how many people would buy a Benelli over a Yamaha though? Well, on paper the Chinese/Italian cross has the upper hand though with the Benelli’s four-cylinder motor delivering a claimed 82bhp @ 11,500rpm. Compare that with the Yamaha’s claimed 78bhp at just 10,000rpm. 29

First Rides What’s it cost, Mister? The Rebello costs €13,900 in 100off limited edition Giubileo form, with a series production model to follow those first hundred bikes – most already pre-ordered. It’s worth noting that’s a hefty €2000 more than the Corsaro Veloce it’s essentially based on.


Pretty carbon everywhere costs lots.

The detail in the little things matters.

More 250 stroker than growling beast.

Moto Morini Rebello 1200


The bad boy with a cause. A bike that comes with quite the pedigree behind it and an electrically adjustable seat! WORDS: Alan Cathcart PHOTOGRAPHY: Kel Edge


here was a good reason why investment banker and Morini owner Sandro Capotosti allowed me to get my foot in the door first with the Rebello. I’m oen asked what bike I own myself, which one I ride whenever I don’t have a test model on loan from someone, and the answer oen confounds the asker. I’m the satisfied owner of a Moto Morini Corsaro 1200 and it’s still just as exhilarating and plain good fun to ride as it was the week I rode it back to Britain from Bologna in the summer of 2007. You can tell how pleased I am with it by the fact that, when the closure of the Morini factory was announced in 2010, I went and bought another in the form of my mate the Spanish importer’s Corsaro demonstrator. Not only was I concerned to make sure I wouldn’t be le without a bike which raises a smile on my face every time I ride it, it also meant that my son Andrew had one of his own to clock up the miles on, rather than pinching mine and wearing it out... So it was that the first 400m aboard the Rebello, riding down

the Via Porrettana away from the Morini factory, brought an instant smile to my face. e new bike delivers an enhanced version of the CorsaCorta engine I’ve grown to love, combining the eager appetite for revs of a heavily oversquare, ultra short-stroke motor measuring 107 x 66mm, with an improbable amount of torque for such a design. Even with the 106 x 67.9mm 1198, Ducati never did quite catch up before the arrival of the far more extreme, and expensive, Panigale, and this makes the Moto Morini both easy and enjoyable to ride hard. You can gas the Rebello’s CorsaCorta engine wide open in sixth gear at 2500rpm, and it’ll pull hard and strong in completely linear mode all the way through to the fierce-action 9300rpm rev limiter, without a trace of transmission snatch. is is quite unexpected for such a short stroke engine format, which you’d normally expect to have to rev quite hard to obtain this kind of performance. While the motor apparently has a serious

appetite for revs – designer Franco Lambertini says it runs safely to 13,000rpm – it’s also content to lug along off the cam in traffic, then report for duty ready for immediate action when you twist the wrist and ask it to deliver. is flexible, forgiving and fluent engine character means you don’t have to use the gearbox nearly as much as you might expect with that short an engine stroke, since the CorsaCorta motor is especially happy to operate in the 4000-7000rpm area. ere’s an average of 1200rpm between each of the evenly spaced top three gears, and indeed with this kind of engine performance there’s really no need for closed-up ratios in the sixspeed extractable cluster – just point and squirt, which is a pity in a way, considering how smooth and precise the Moto Morini’s Japanese-quality gearchange is. Moto Morini has also notably improved the clutch action on the Rebello compared to the slipper clutch on the new Corsaro I rode a year ago.

You can turn the Rebello from a monoposto to a biposto motorcycle 31



The Rebello is fitted with the same sturdy 50mm Marzocchi upside-down fork found on all Morini V-twins, albeit the enhanced version as used on the Corsaro Veloce. Each fork leg is fully adjustable for rebound and compression.


The Rebello now features a 1466mm wheelbase, 26mm longer than on the Corsaro thanks to a longer swingarm and one link extra in the chain, in order to provide space for the ingenious seat conceived by designer Marco Ciuti.

Specification MOTO MORINI REBELLO 1200 Engine Type: 87º longitudinal twincylinder V-twin Displacement: 798cc Compression: 131.9:1 Bore x stroke: 107mm x 66mm Power: 127bhp @ 8500rpm Torque: 79lb-ft @ 8000rpm Engine management system: Magneti Marelli electronic injection Clutch: Multi-disc wet clutch with in anti-hopping device (APTC) Wheelbase: 1466mm Overall length: 2186mm Overall width: 880mm Saddle height: 820mm Ground clearance: 120mm Trail: 103mm Dry weight: 189kg Frame Type: High tensile tubular steel trellis frame Front Suspenshion Type: Marzocchi 50mm forks with reboundcompression damping and spring preload external and separate adjustment Rear Suspenshion: Type Progressive Ohlins single shock absorber with rebound and compression damping and spring preload adjustment Wheels: Front: Aluminium alloy 3.50in x 17in Rear: Aluminium alloy 6in x 17in Tyers: Front 120/70 – ZR 17 M/C (58 W) Rear: 190/55 – ZR 17 M/C (73 W)


is had seemed stiffer than on my older bikes, with a rather sudden bite towards the end of the lever travel that made it easy to stall the engine manoeuvring the Corsaro at low speeds, and made riding it in town rather tiring and quite unenjoyable. On the Rebello, Tarroni & Co. have completely resolved this with the adoption of a Ducati-style APTC servo clutch, the same as used on the Diavel and all Monsters. e 54mm single butterfly throttle bodies now give a smooth, controllable pickup from 3000rpm upwards out of tight turns, now with not too jerky a pickup from a closed throttle, thanks to the updated mapping. In fact, just like on my remapped older bike, the legendary connection which GP riders dream of is present in spades here. It’s not quite as sweet-steering a motorcycle as its predecessor. is is surely also partly due to the Rebello’s 1466mm wheelbase – 26mm longer compared to the Corsaro – mainly thanks to the extra space needed for its unique electrically-operated moveable seat conceived by designer Marco Ciuti, that’s adjustable over a range of 250mm by literally just pressing a switch. is allows you to turn the Rebello from a monoposto to a biposto motorcycle in just a matter of seconds, but it also allows you to tailor the

The previous cam-type slipper clutch fitted as standard on the Corsaro, has been replaced on the Rebello by an APTC servo clutch system similar to that on the Ducati Diavel.


The Rebello’s proven 1187cc fuel-injected, liquid-cooled 87º V-twin eight-valve CorsaCorta (as in, short-stroke) motor weighing just 69kg, is unchanged mechanically from 2006, with heavily oversquare 107 x 66mm dimensions.

riding stance to suit your mood and/or the nature of the road you’re riding along. Cool – it’s a neat gizmo that actually works. At 820mm in height the rider’s seat height has also been lowered slightly on the Rebello compared to other Morinis, and the footrests are ideally positioned, too. ey’re high enough to avoid dragging, without cramping a taller rider’s knees up unduly, while well placed to grip the flanks of the 21.5 litre fuel tank, giving a good sense of control, of being at one with the bike. You snuggle into the Rebello, rather than sit aboard it. Under new management, Moto Morini has picked up where it le off, making great real world motorcycles that are full of personality and rewarding, and entertaining, to ride.

ABOVE: The battery and electric motor that powers the sliding seat which turns the bike from solo machine to biposto at the flick of a switch. 33

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★Star Letter

STUFF THE BELLS AND WHISTLES! Dear MSL, I’ve returned as an irregular reader of MSL as it is, to my mind, the best of a bad bunch as far as the motorbiking press goes – your tests seem to be the least “manufacturer’s propaganda” produced of all the monthlies. I do wonder where motorbiking is going though when most bikes now seem to be merely lifestyle/fashion trinket statements; not even remotely aimed as serious, regular, inexpensive transport solutions, as they surely could be if designers, manufacturers and testers woke up to the fact they are bringing on motorcycling’s demise? Probably the reason that super-duper scooters are THE growth area is that they are much more practical to use daily, with inbuilt storage, comfort, weather protection etc. as most bikes are not... and female friendlier than storage-

free, filthy, chain-driven impractical penis extensions. When I consider how much extra I had to spend to make my FJR1300 ‘fit for purpose’ from delivery it makes me so angry. The bike is marketed as a Sports Tourer, yet there was no inbuilt crash protection, a rubbish screen, and radiator protector, crash bungs, fender extenders, fairing lowers and soft grips were all needed from new... what? Imagine a new car being sold with no windscreen wipers or windscreen, no boot so you have to buy a rooox, no bumpers or side rubbing strips, pedals, seats and steering wheels that don’t adjust, no self cancelling indicators (a major safety item on a bike) a 20 litre petrol tank, no wheel arches etc? You get my drift... and what’s this ‘comfort seat’ extra to buy nonsense? Who the hell wants an ‘uncomfortable’ seat? That would be a car produced in 1910 – aka where practical

bike advances have remained, even down to final drive chains on most bikes, amazing! Bells, whistles, tilting headlights – all fantastic when the basics are in place and sorted, but not at their expense, what the hell’s the point if the bike is unusable in a regular comfortable, practical, safe form? So more and more impractical, nonsense (in this day and age) models are produced to chase an ever decreasing market, work it out, thickos!

Best wishes, David Cunliffe, Kendal

Love this letter, David, and welcome back (your comment did make me smile, but I have the sincere impression it perhaps wasn’t meant to!). I can’t wait to see other MSL readers’ responses to this letter. Let’s have it for the points raised here, bretheren of MSL! TC

NEW Still on character’s message Dear MSL, Further to John Murphy’s letter in your August edition, I have become quite intrigued by this ‘character’ thing with regard to our beloved motorcycles. A precis from the good old Concise Oxford could be: Character: characteristic, style, peculiarities, individuality, idiosyncrasy. My initial thought is that the engine configuration confers the majority of ‘character’ in terms of the characteristics of a bike. For example; you can’t beat a single for off-road thrills or urban hooliganism but I wouldn’t want to take the wife down to see the Millau Viaduct on one. I’d need a tourer for that but then, of course, I’m spoilt for choice... parallel twin, Vtwin, flat twin, triple, straight four, V-four, straight six, flat six... And now we get into the subjectives of style (peculiarities?) and individuality (idiosyncrasy?). Now I’m a BMW man (yes, I hear you say, peculiar and idiosyncratic!) and I’ve chosen the K1300GT over the R1200RT and the K1600GT... and the ‘why’ is because of my riding style. All bikes have practically identical luggage systems, electric screens, heated grips and seats and so on, but the RT and the 16GT are just too damn big with touring riding positions, whereas the 13GT is a much more compact machine with a sports touring riding position. e more grown-up among your readership may well choose the more sit-up touring option because that is their style. I’ve ridden both the RT and the enormously impressive six cylinder GT, both fantastic machines on which you can act the hooligan if you are so minded, but they’re just not my style. And I prefer the characteristics of the four cylinder for touring.

However, if I’m local or crossing the Pennines the pretty way I’ll take the R1200GS because the characteristics of the flat twin suit urban riding and the twisties more and the style of the monster trailie better handles the spreading plague of speed humps and the increasingly potholed surface in towns. However, if I were 30 years younger, I’d probably own a KTM990SMT or a Speed Triple... which neatly brings us to Roger Jones’ absolutely ridiculous comment about the Triumph Explorer’s perceived lack of ‘character’. e Triumph triples all have ‘character’ by the bucketful, as indeed do the oil-head BMW Boxers; they possess their own style (peculiarities) and individuality (idiosyncrasy). It’s horses for courses, Roger, and the course is defined by the individual. In conclusion, I’m with John in that I’ve also enjoyed every two-wheeled experience of my 44 years in the saddle... yes, even Lambrettas and Harleys have ‘character’ and I’ve ridden both! Si Bullock, Mirfield Good letter Si and I totally agree with you, any bike can have real character – but nailing exactly what that is remains something of an open book! Best wishes, TC

Car space? Vehicle space? Bike space! Dear MSL, Has anyone else experienced problems parking their motorcycle in a ‘car space’? Today I went to a large retail park in Cardiff for a coffee, as I have been doing weekly for at least the last three years... and before you ask, there must have been at least 500 empty spaces as it is a very large parking area and it was a weekday. As I was about to get off my bike I was confronted by an officious ‘gentleman’ in uniform who informed me I could not park as they were designated ‘car parking spaces’.

I asked why not and he said there were 16 motorcycle parking spaces on the other side of the site, quite a distance away in riding gear! I said this was ridiculous as my motorcycle is fairly large and I would take up more space if I had gone in my car. He said it was up to me and started to get out his ticket machine, at which point I gave up and went elsewhere. I wish I hadn’t now. Does anyone know what the legal position is? This seems yet another example of the unfair treatment of motorcyclists.

Mike Batten, email

As far as I’m aware Mike, you can park your bike in a car space... however, I stand to be corrected on that, and technically a shop’s car park is private land so I suppose that they can set the rules as they see fit. However, from your description of the events as they happened it seems incredibly harsh to move you out of the space as there were so many others free. Do any of you MSL readers have a similar experience? Let us know if you have! TC

Only £3.08 an issue when you subscribe

Pin sharp

Dear MSL, I’ve just purchased a new Caberg Modus helmet. Rather nice, does all I want, like my previous Caberg lid. The helmet has a pinlock system to stop the visor misting over. It’s the world’s most simple idea – create a double glazing type air pocket on the visor. It works, beautifully. Why have I never seen this before? The only possible problem is you have to leave it 24 hours to dry, so selling it in packs of two would be a huge advantage. As the air cools and the rain falls, being able to see where I’m going is a key requirement. This pinlock system has suddenly become priceless.

Mark Lysons email

Glad you found the pinlock system, Mark! Good, aren’t they. I use them on my lids too (sorry to tell you they’ve been around for quite a few years now), a direct descendant of the racing visor systems you’ll see the MotoGP lads using every other Sunday. Hope it means you’ll continue enjoying the rides, even in the rain. Best wishes, TC

On this new BMW GS Dear MSL, Is it just me? After 35 years of riding BMWs – some good, some just okay – I have had five 1200GSs since 2005. Now, I thought the new 1200GS would just be better, so I bought one. Oh dear! Not like the road tests said at all. Lovely bike on the open road, but use it in a town and you find out how awful the gearchange is and how the engine can just stall. So after seven weeks and 1800 miles it has gone, and a lovely new Adventure takes its place. I didn’t mention the awful indicator switch... okay ’nuf said.

J Stewart, email or see page 38 35

Letters The sporting aspect

Dear MSL, Your September 2013 special article on BMW (How BMW changed the modern world) caught my eye, especially the section titled ‘Best Forgotten’. As the original owner of a 2007 R1200ST, I have to agree with most of your comments about the bike when it was on the market. I’m not surprised that the production run was so short. Only 28 of the 2007 models were sold here in the USA. However, today the bike seems to be making somewhat of a comeback. The handling can be fixed with upgraded suspension components, and the styling is nowhere near as radical as many newer designs. People comment on how good my bike looks almost every day when I’m out riding. As for the bike’s touring capability, I can easily do 500-600 mile days. I consider my ST to be a true sport-tourer, similar to the Honda VFR 800... although it certainly doesn’t handle as well. Most newer ‘sport-touring’ motorcycles are all touring with very little sport (other than engine size).

Karl Hutchinson, Williamsville, New York, USA

Hi Karl, agree completely with you. Nice and eager motor but it just wasn’t enough. However, if you get a chance then please do try and get out on the K1300S, that’s really jolly good fun and plenty sporty too! TC


Law change Dear MSL, I have been completely in agreement with what you have been saying recently about the standard of driving in this country. I was interested, too in your recent editorial (MSL, September) regarding bikers who do, or do not, filter. Following on from that I was concerned to read a report in the Guardian talking about the new traffic laws that recently came into force.

Among the new offences listed are: ■ Overtaking and pushing into a queue of traffic ■ Being in the wrong lane and pushing into a queue on a roundabout. It says that police are expected to focus on these offences. Where does this leave motorcyclists and filtering? Any police officer who wished to apply these new laws in a

rigorous way could easily interpret filtering as falling into these categories. I do believe that clarification is quickly needed before we have bikers facing £100 onthe-spot fines!

David Hart, Essex

Good question David. Now, I know that a lot of our boys in blue read MSL so let’s get their views. Come on Coppers, let’s hear from you. TC

One moment, sir! A slur? Dear MSL, I refer to Julian Berry’s letter in September’s MSL supporting what he calls “Britain’s Finest”. I’ve spent a lifetime on the roads of Britain as a heavy articulated vehicle driver and riding motorcycles as a hobby, and in that time I’ve witnessed some appalling driving by all kinds of vehicles/drivers and I’ve seen the results of accidents of the worst kind. In all those years and countless miles I’ve encountered ill

trained, thoughtless and inconsiderate driving not just by motorcyclists but by the drivers of trucks, buses, cars, vans... even fire engines and ambulances, and very sadly police vehicles. In the course of my working life I was on many occasions helped by the police, but I was also deliberately harassed by them for no other reason than a bit of sport, presumably to relieve the boredom of a dull shift. I cannot support anyone using insulting words to

describe my fellow man, not because of their job, their race or their creed, but each and every one of us has to earn respect. Unfortunately the police sometimes invite the insulting terms to which Julian Berry refers because they don’t all always live up to being “Britain’s Finest”. Extending a police officer’s ‘judge and jury powers’ will not serve to improve the public perception of them.

Berry Mason, Lancashire 37

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Tried & Tested Richa Cloud Jacket

TU one-piece oversuit NAME: Mau Spencer DURATION: 2 months MILES: 700 PRICE: £77.99 AVAILABLE NOW: Yes CONTACT: I was a bit apprehensive when the Tuta Nano oversuit first arrived. This Tucano Urbano one-piece oversuit is called the Tuta Nano 730 and TU claims it to be fully waterproof and breathable, courtesy of the polyamide outer shell. I’ve tried various ‘waterproof’ over clothing in the past and have always reserved judgment; I’ve so often been disappointed with these claims and ended up with wet underclothing as a result – but not in this case and my nether regions remained dry, even after using it in heavy rain.The Tuta Nano has features like taped seams, adjustable ankle straps with a lateral zip fastening and a side zip opening to the calf; it also sports a reflective safety band. TU has also made it ‘super compact’, coming in a small storage sack, which you could almost fit into your pocket. Having experienced this ‘super

9 10

8 10

compact’ packing previously, I’ve often found that once you unpack an item, you’ve literally no chance of being able to repack it – but this wasn’t the case and I was quite proud that I was able to roll it up small enough to repack without too much effort. Size availability is XS to 3XL – but remember to order your oversuit according to what you’ll be wearing underneath.

NAME: Carli Ann Smith DURATION: 1 month MILES: 400 PRICE: £159.99 SIZES: XS–3XL AVAILABLE NOW: Yes CONTACT: The Cloud jacket combines everything I look for in my motorcycle clothing: a good fit, a stylish but not overtly ‘girly’ look and a high standard of protection given by strategically placed CE approved armour at the

shoulders, elbows and back. The basics on this jacket are great, it’s waterproof, has a multitude of pockets including a nifty one for your phone on the inside and has a removable ‘thermo’ liner. The reflective sections on the arms and body of the jacket will ensure you’re seen and their layout follow the natural line of a waist meaning you won’t look box shaped, to further help with this there is an adjustable waist too. It’s kept me warm and dry while riding to and from work – what more can you ask for?

Richa X-Street Waterproof Blue NAME: Bruce Wilson DURATION: 3 months MILES: 1500 PRICE: £119.99 SIZES: 36-48 AVAILABLE NOW: Yes CONTACT: I got these boots specifically for a couple of recent cruiser launches. I’ve always liked the look of them, but lacked the purpose to get some in to test. They arrived just in time for my first trip out to the States and I was pleasantly surprised on fitting them at just how sturdily they supported my ankle. Until you actually try one on, you can’t appreciate how well supported


these boots are, all the way up to the top. They also proved really comfortable and looked smart, paired up with my bike jeans. A thousand miles on, on my second trip to America, I got caught out in the most unreal storm I’ve ever known. These boots claim to be waterproof, but understandably so, the soles were like swimming pools after the downpours we experienced that day. On arrival at my hotel, I wrung out my socks and removed the sole liner with ease. The boots dried overnight and I was good to go again the next day.

8 10

Since then I’ve put them through a number of showery conditions and remained bone dry, so I can only put their leaking down to the

severity of the weather. Overall, I really rate these boots and would recommend them to others without any hesitation. 43

Improve Your Riding: Part Two

Junctions: GeT Them RiGhT anD suRvive

Be safer, smarter, and a better biker. All in 15 minutes. Read this and then do this. words: Tony Carter and Rob Chandler photography: Joe Dick

How these features work

In the pictures, Lego-man Smoothie- Dave (red bike) will show you the correct position to be in, his two


helpers, PC Gary and PC Roy will risk all by showing you what NOT to do on the road where needed.

So follow Fast-andSmooth Dave and you’ll soon be getting things sorted.


elcome to the second instalment of MSL’s Improve section, where we show you an easy and free way to kick out some bad habits you may have picked up over the years and replace them with ways to be a safer, better and cooler (okay, maybe not cooler) rider for no money down and just a few minutes of your time. is month, we’re looking at junctions. Sounds easy, working a junction, but just like the basic road positioning we covered last month, it’s all about being in the right place at the right time but here, maybe more than in any other type of road riding, it’s crucial to work out what you want to do then do it nice and early. Rushing or chopping and changing at junctions is definitely the wrong way to go, it’ll wind up other road users, leave you in a very vulnerable position and cause you much stress. So this is the best way to go about dealing with all types of junctions, all types of problems and all types of ways to control the road around you. Good luck out there.

Improve your rIdIng

Step one: Right for right turn is is all about thinking ahead and getting into the correct position when turning right at a T-junction. ere are a few points to note about this. From the correct position, two-thirds across your lane, you need to position yourself as close as you can to the centre line and as near to the front of the junction as it’s possible to be without straying into the oncoming road. is is primarily for observation purposes. Yes, you need to be ready to ride off when the coast is clear but being here is also a good way to control the part of the road around you. is position makes you very visible to other road users. ey can see you easily; you’re not likely to be obscured by other vehicles.

Key points: ■ Think ahead early ■ Right, square on to the centre line at the end of the junction ■ As far up the junction to the T-line as possible


As far over to the right in the lane as it’s possible to be.

Step two: Right, now for left turn Basically, this is the same principle as for right turn out of junctions but this time you’re in position early and slightly pointing in the direction you’re going. Don’t be too le-turned on the bike otherwise you could seriously restrict how much of the traffic in the lane you’re joining because you won’t be able to turn your head far enough. But again, from here you can see, you’re right up to the edge of the junction (safely) and the other road users can see you. Lovely.


Key points: ■ Think ahead early ■ Position far left, slight angle in favour of direction ■ Make sure you’re as far up the junction as possible

For the lefts you need to be as far over to the left of the lane as possible. So I said, ‘You can’t do that mate, I’m a Lego cop!’ and he pulled me head clean off me shoulders! 45

Improve your rIdIng

Step three: Wrong way to approach is is about turning off a main carriageway and into a junction. And this is one of the most common mistakes made by motorcyclists. Just because the part of the junction you can see on the approach is clear, it doesn’t mean it’ll stay that way. So while idiot Dave in his souped-up, 20-yearold Golf comes slamming up to the junction, jamming his brakes on at the last second, you’re going to be in a massive amount of trouble if you’ve clipped the corner of the lane because you lack the discipline to do it right.

Key points: ■ Don’t turn in early ■ Wait until you can see all of the lane entry you’re turning into


Cut the junction and you could find a pleb in a car eager to mash your right leg and bike.

Step four: Right way to approach Discipline. Yeah, it sounds boring but if it stops your leg being smashed in by dozy Dave then it’s worth it for every single junction you come across. Basically this is all about getting far enough along so that you are at a 90º angle to the middle of the lane to the right. Stop at that point, in the three-quarters position of the lane you’re in, and then when the traffic is clear make sure that you turn leaving as much space between you and any on the other side of the lane you are joining.

Key points:


■ Get to a 90º angle to the centre line of the junction you’re turning into ■ Wait until you are stopped before you start to turn ■ Be disciplined

This is correct, draw level and then take a progressive sweep into the lane, staying left.

Junctions – by Dave (who’s just like you) Most bike collisions happen near T junctions, crossroads, side turnings or roundabouts – so beware. Statistics suggest most of these are caused by driver rather then biker error; the SMIDSY scenario. Since as a biker you’re likely to come off worst you need to develop a systematic approach. So a few basics: never ever overtake at or near a road junction or a petrol filling station however clear it may seem. Perhaps the car in front


hasn’t seen you and is going to turn right, or maybe left and the cyclist emerging from the junction thinks it’ll be okay to pull out across the road. That car stationary at the offside junction, front wheel not moving, should be okay but… preoccupied driver not looking at the road but talking to his passenger so not expecting a bike to be accelerating straight at him, so without looking he pulls out – bang! At Norfolk Advanced

Motorcyclists (NAM) we use the tried and tested IPSGA system so for example for a left turn: Information: mirrors, all round vision, signal if necessary. Position: bike towards the left of the road. Speed: mirrors, check speed, signal if necessary. Gears: right speed, right gear, final mirror. Accelerate: After the turn progressively accelerate to an appropriate speed. NB: Give yourself time and make your intentions as clear as it’s possible to

make them. Remember too many drivers are involved with stuff other than driving the car, like tuning the radio, looking at themselves in the rear-view mirror, shouting at the kids, checking the GPS or of course taking that all important phone call. They look, and some really do look, but far too many do not ‘see’ single track vehicles, aka motorbikes. This means you must assume a driver might do anything because he might and

probably will, so always expect the unexpected. The old saying that a winking indicator means nowt except that the bulb is working could save your life, so don’t rely on any vehicle’s indicator as gospel.

Get it wrong and you’re left with no room to manoeuvre.

Step five: Gaps and when to chop in


Get in front early and control the traffic at the junction with your position.

Improve your skills with the NAM If you fancy upping your skills on the road in the real world with a group of brilliantly nice chaps who don’t make life boring then check out the Norfolk Advanced Motorcyclists. Here’s what they say: “If you’re in Norfolk and feel you don’t know everything (or even if you do) come

along to one of NAM’s Sunday morning club rides out – around 80 miles through some of Norfolk’s finest. “We meet at the Tesco car park, Ipswich Road, Norwich, 9am to 9.15am ready to ride at 9.30am. If you make it on either the first or the third Sunday you’ll be sure of tagging along with one of the NAM observers –

which is handy first time around; no charge. “The other way to introduce yourself is to come along to one of our Thursday evening club meetings, held on the third Thursday each month at the Dunston Hall Hotel, Ipswich Road, Norwich NR14 8PQ.” For more information check out:

Now, this is one of the true joys of being on a motorcycle. ere’s a gap in the traffic, it’s a junction and without much hassle you’ve got a great chance to make up some time and ground on your journey. But there are two things to bear in mind here. e first is the approach speed into the situation (we’re assuming that we don’t have to explain to people not to rush to a junction... we don’t, do we? You are more savvy than that, aren’t you?), don’t use the junction line as an imaginary armco barrier to stop before otherwise you won’t leave yourself enough time to take advantage of gaps opening up. e idea here is to control the space, so slow-moving traffic in the run up which oen leaves gaps can be ideal for a biker to make the most of. Make your move early, recover into the correct lane position and then go slow in the final feet to the junction. Don’t leave it too late otherwise you’ll find yourself in the wrong position, squashed up against traffic, annoying everyone and with very limited visibility. A rookie mistake.

Key points: ■ Look ahead, plan your move early. If it’s on, it’s on. If not, never force it ■ Leave enough time to be able to get back into the correct lane position ■ Once you’re in the gap, control the road around you with your pace and position

Step six: One way into two way Early positioning is key, ensure your approach speed gives you the time to plan. For a right turn you need to be on the extreme right of the right hand side of the right lane. Le if you’re turning le.

Key points:


Early positioning is everything, and you need to make sure of yours early on ■ Use all of the road, get over to the far right when on the one-way systems ■

Position early for stress-free lane-changing. 47

Banning bikers, what’s the problem? Leon Mannings


utrageous as it may seem, there is a really effective way to stop bikers causing problems on UK roads and that’s to ban the buggers. All of them. Now, and worryingly, that ‘solution’ is being used on a back street in Wembley. e ban is to curb the anti-social antics of a few bikers who turned a newly surfaced road into a race track – and an unauthorised arena for cunning stunts. Actually, Rainsford Road is truly exceptional. But a blanket ban on biking there may be using a sledgehammer to crack a few nuts. Some things are certain now though. Critical attention has been focused on the bad behaviour of some bikers on the one hand, and the badness of banning biking on the other. Unsurprisingly, riders’ rights groups saw the ban as a nasty problem, and the BMF sent a stiff letter of objection as news of it broke. Meanwhile, MAG has taken different action that I’ll come to later, but similar concerns emerged. Some saw a precedent being set for banning bikers that could spread nationwide. Some wanted to fight. Outrage about this particular ban on biking is understandable. But as a matter of under-recognised fact, motorcyclists have been banned from countless parts of UK roads for decades. Worse in some ways, thousands of schemes involving such bans have been imposed without being clearly seen or opposed as such by most bikers. Most UK towns have bus lanes, and most of those involve bikers being banned from them. A new example is being pushed through ‘consultation’ in Leeds right now. Bikers can use bus lanes in a rising number of places due to the efforts of biking campaigners, and I’m proud to be one of them. But heartening stories about gaining access to road space that we were previously banned from can divert attention from a real nationwide problem. We have lost sight of an underlying plot in which our rights to use public roads are ignored far more than most bikers and policymakers realise. ‘Reallocating’ road space for bus lanes is so widespread that its legitimacy is rarely questioned. One result is that our rights to use public highways are regularly ignored. In theory, there must be very good reasons to ban any vehicle from parts of public road. In practice, it doesn’t work like that and bikers’ rights get lost. But, there are other under-recognised facts. ere is an abundance of evidence to show many safety and environmental benefits from motorcycles using bus lanes – and arguments for banning bikers 48

Banning bikers from public roads is a bad way to go and threatens our freedoms to ride, but Dr M questions what and where the biggest problems really are...

Who is Mannings? Leon is MSL’s political man. Working within the corridors of power Dr Mannings is consistently on the inside picking up the big political changes and whispers that threaten to change the motorcycle world we all inhabit. Always on the side of the biker, Leon is a hardedged, educated campaigner for twowheeled rights and has been hugely influential where it really matters

don’t stand up. It is also irrefutably true that cutting the width of road space for bikers to manoeuvre in adversely affects our safety. So the key question about bikes in bus lanes is not whether it should be allowed, it is, are there any truly valid reasons for banning us from them? Now back to Brent. On MAG’s behalf I met senior officers from the council and police to discuss a biker ban on one particular road – and the ban they currently have on bikes in all their bus lanes. e first thing that became clear was how unusual Rainsford Road is. A developer bought derelict land and built a road to service new buildings that didn’t get built. is le an enticing new road with sweeping bends and almost no traffic. Some bikers found it, publicised the ‘facility’ online – and huge problems blighted the area ever since. Problems included 174 reported bike crashes in a year and many more unreported. A death was inevitable sooner or later with bikes frequently roaring past a hospital at 80+mph into the night. e full list of problems and attempted solutions revealed that banning these selfish bastards might be too kind. No fatalities so far ruled out automated speed cameras, and traffic calming was out for other sound reasons. All policing options were considered or tried which le one cost-effective method. CCTV was already there but prosecutions with that evidence required a court case each – whereas enforcing traffic signs for an experimental bike ban could be automated. ankfully in some ways there is less to worry about than it seemed and good news to report as well. e ban is actually temporary and my suggestion that it remains an ‘experimental’ scheme was welcomed as the situation and need for a ban will end. e developer now has permission to include housing in his scheme and construction is about to start. e road will soon be normally trafficked and no longer work for illegal racing or stunt shows. And, aer the realities of bikes in bus lanes were explained, both officers saw how irrefutably good that idea that is and work has started on its introduction in Brent. So, although banning bikers from UK roads is a widespread problem, opening our eyes wider may help us see what and where the worst problems really are.

                            

 

  49

My big summer trip, part one Maynard Hershon


n August, I rode old roads, predating the interstates, to Indiana to visit friends and family and to watch the MotoGP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. From there, I rode north on more old roads through Indiana and Michigan. I rode across the Mackinac Bridge to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I wandered west across the UP (on US Highway 2, the northernmost US highway, extending 2100 miles from St Ignace, Michigan, to Everett, Washington) and through northern Wisconsin and across the bridge into Duluth, Minnesota, home of Aerostich and the third Very Boring Rally. Aer the rally I rode south on genuinely boring I-35 to Ames, Iowa, to visit friends. I stopped at Clear Lake, Iowa, and stood in front of the Surf Ballroom. e Surf, on the National Register of Historic Places, was the site of the last Buddy Holly concert, the show before the awful plane crash that killed Holly, the Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens. From Ames I rode west through Iowa and Nebraska on old Highway 30, the Lincoln Highway, until Nebraska threatened to turn into Wyoming, when I turned south to join I-76 into Denver. Perhaps because I allowed myself lots of time to reach my Indianapolis and Duluth weekends, I found I was not in the usual rush. If I only rode a few hundred miles in a day, that was fine. I don’t know what I’d do without the old roads. I never meet riders on interstates. On the old highways this trip, I saw (and rode with or chatted with) lots of other motorcyclists. If I never met other riders on the endless roads we travel to reach our destinations, it’d be far more daunting to take these trips. e old roads pass right through countless small towns along the way, so you have a chance to say hi to other riders at fuel stops and cafes. Or you can adjust your pace up or down a bit and ride along with other motorcyclists you encounter as you travel. Curiously, most of the people I met on bikes rode Harleys. Maybe it’s a Midwestern thing. In Bloomington, Indiana, my old college town, I asked directions of a guy on a Yamaha cruiser. He started to explain how I might want to go, then motioned me to pull in with him to a Walmart parking lot. As he was giving me directions, his phone rang. He said the caller’s name when he answered the call, and I knew the guy. From 50 years ago. e Yamaha rider took me to visit our mutual friend at his home. He’s 90 now, still witty and a bit caustic. He was a champion enduro and woods rider in his day and has more recently done a ride around the four corners of the US on a Honda scooter, a 250 Helix. 50

Our Maynard’s been all about the riding experience, all over the place...

Who is Hershon? MSL’s Maynard is our man with a very unique view on motorcycling from both sides of the pond. Yes, he is American, yes, he does ride around on a second-hand Kawasaki that causes him grief... and yes, he does have his finger right on the pulse of life on two wheels

e Yamaha rider also took me to see my old boss from the mid-1960s, the long-ago owner of a HondaTriumph-Greeves-Bultaco-Cotton-Ducati store in Ellettsville, Indiana, near Bloomington. On the way north in Indiana, I rode with a guy on a sweet early 1980s Suzuki sha-drive four (with original fairing and bags) and a husband and wife on a Triumph Speed Triple. ey turned out to be the Suzuki rider’s son and daughter-in-law. ey too had been in Indy for the MotoGP. I noticed square black stickers on the Suzuki’s luggage reading in white the numbers of a couple of Michigan highways. I learned that they are destination roads, fun rides that draw riders from far-flung areas. When we stopped for lunch, the three told me about two must-ride roads in western and northwestern Michigan, only one of which I was able to ride: the Tunnel of Trees, north of Petoskey, a lovely two-lane meandering through heavily forested countryside. ere appeared to be lots of great riding in Michigan. Aer a couple of warnings from riders I was nervous about the Mackinac Bridge. ere are two lanes in each direction. e outer one is paved. e inner is steel grate. If you could simply ride the paved lane, all would be well. But they’re always working on (or from) the paved lane so inevitably you have to ride the grating for the three or four miles across the span. My bike wiggled on the grating just as you’d expect. I was happy to reach the north end and solid pavement. Once on the UP, I met a guy from Duluth in the only cafe in the tiny Highway 2 town where I’d spent the night. He was riding a 30,000-mile Victory with bags and a windshield. He said he loved it but had just seen the new Indians and been won over. I’m buying one in the spring, he said. I’ll look for you at the rally, I said to my breakfast companion, but he shook his head. He was boycotting the Very Boring Rally even though he’s a Duluth local and a loyal, Aerostich equipment user. He said the rally fee, $67, was the same if you spent all day Friday and Saturday plus Sunday morning for the farewell breakfast… or if you just dropped in for a couple of hours during the weekend. I’m protesting, he said lightheartedly. But hey, you enjoy the rally! I did, and I’ll tell you about it next month.

TOURING Your rides Our rides Tips and tricks

Career disconnect:

TOUR THE WORLD... GOT A PLAN! One man’s doing what we all want to. Giving up the job, getting on his bike and heading off to the southern hemisphere to find some adventure!


onathan Blackburn is going on an adventure of a lifetime when he rides from England to Cape Town in support of two well-deserved charities, the Multihelp Trust Orphanage and Riders for Health. He will ride a modified KTM 690 Enduro R machine supplied by P&H Motorcycles based in Crawley and KTM UK, through Europe and Africa, stopping off at a children’s orphanage in Zimbabwe. P&H has also prepped his machine and adventure kit, which includes long distance luggage, sat nav and protection from the elements. Multihelp Trust Orphanage is currently helping 30 orphaned children in Zimbabwe. eir

Stuff to do

Out there diary dates

current water borehole collapsed, so they’re using a temporary one which is not adequate. Riders for Health, the official charity of MotoGP, is helping to mobilise thousands of health workers so they can reach even the most

The man who can, and is! Jonathan Blackburn How did you come up with this idea? Cape Town has always seemed like a good goal, and I figured if I did not disconnect from my career and do an adventure like this now, I would never get to do it. Why did you choose the KTM? The 690 Enduro R is a perfect machine for when the conditions get


tough; light, agile and plenty of torque. The comfort level is good with really top notch suspension and once I put the Dakar style bodywork, tank and screen on, it really is ready for a round the world adventure! What are you worried about? There are parts of Africa that can be dangerous, so it’s

going to take quite a bit of patience dealing with that. How long do you think the trip will take? I plan on it taking three or four months to reach Cape Town, depending on how bad the roads are. At least my motorbike is an off-road one so it should be more than capable!

remote communities, providing low-cost, high impact health care. Paul Searle, P&H Motorcycles owner, said: “We are proud to be supporting Jonathan on his journey to Cape Town. It sounds like a dream for many of us, but he will face some very tough days and he is doing it all to raise money for two great causes. Along with the KTM, we will be supplying him with the essential items he will need to successfully complete his journey. We wish him the very best of luck!”


Up close

Honda’s big Pan plan


FOLLOW JONATHAN You can follow Jonathan on his exploits on Facebook ‘Overland Rider’ and on P&H’s page at ‘phmotorcycles’.

© 2013 Google, MapLink, INEGI

Panther stalking

Romania on old bikes

Great Rides #2

The White Horses Run

Turn left onto Station Road/B3084. Go 0.5 miles

Head west on Station Road/B3084 toward King Lane. Go 4.7 miles

Turn left to stay on B3084. Total travelled so far 25.4 miles

Head south-west on B3084, at the roundabout, take fourth exit onto Salisbury Road/A338

Turn left to stay on Salisbury Road/A338. Go through two roundabouts

Starting from the Premier Inn (Ower Services), Ower, Southampton, Hampshire SO51 6ZJ

Third exit at roundabout – Romsey Rd/A3090. Go 3.3 miles Follow A3090 for 3.4 miles, go through one roundabout At next roundabout, take first exit onto Winchester Road/A3090

Whose route is it? This route was devised by Lymington Motor Cycle and Light Car Club Ltd, which was reformed on September 30, 1963 at the Angel Hotel, Lymington. Membership is available to anyone who is interested in riding on or in, looking and talking about motorcycles or light cars. The club wants to encourage the use of motorcycles and light cars for pleasure and in a humorous and friendly manner. Any bike, be it modern or classic, is welcome. For more details see the website:

Now then... be sensible! These pages are a guide only, please check details prior to setting out on your journey – after all, who knows what might happen to stop an event happening? So do give things a prior check out before suiting up and heading out... Okay? Okay!


 

  

Head north-east on Romsey Road/A36. Go 0.1 miles

Head north-west on Southampton Road/ A3090 At the roundabout, take the first exit onto Winchester Road/A3057

Head north on Pennings Road/A338 toward Sidbury Circular Road, continue to follow A338 then turn left onto A342 and go 2.2 miles

Turn right onto Alma Rd/A3057 then go 0.4 miles. Continue to follow A3057 for 4 miles. Go through one roundabout

Turn right onto Marlborough Road, heading north-west

Turn right onto Duttons Road/A3057 and follow A3057 through one roundabout

Slight left towards Everleigh Road. Go 3.9 miles and continue straight onto Everleigh Road

Turn left onto Old Salisbury Lane/B3084

Turn left onto Swan Road. Go 0.3 miles

Head west on Stanbridge Ln/B3084 toward Cooks Lane, then turn right to stay on B3084

Turn right onto Church Street/A345, then go 0.1 mile

Continue on B3084 (Salisbury Road/B3084) towards School Lane

Take the first left onto River Street/A345

Turn right onto A343, go 0.3 miles – total so far 16.1 miles

Take a slight right onto High Street/B3087 and head southwest on towards North St/A345

Turn left onto Station Road/ B3084. Go 0.5 miles

Turn right onto North St/A345. Go 1.3 miles and continue A345, through two roundabouts

Continue onto Salisbury Road/B3084. Go 3.0 miles

Turn left, travel for just 151ft then take the first right and go 0.6 miles

Turn right onto A343. Go 0.3 miles

Turn left, travel 0.4 miles and head north

If you have a great route, or have one planned and would like to share your experience with other MSL readers, please email the route and the details to:


Story of the route

© 2013 Google

At the roundabout, take the second exit onto Pewsey Road/A345. Go 6.6 miles and continue to follow A345. Go through three roundabouts

Turn right onto Church Street/A345. Go 0.1 miles

 

At the roundabout, take the second exit onto Countess Road/A345. Go 7.5 miles Continue to follow A345. Go through eight roundabouts

Turn right onto Bath Road/A4 go 0.9 miles. Continue to follow A4

Take the first left onto A345. Continue for 8.6 miles and go through two roundabouts

Continue onto Bridge Street, Go 0.2 miles. Total travelled 50.4 miles

Turn right onto Devizes Road/ A342

 

 

Continue onto High Street and head east towards Bergamot Close

At the roundabout, take the first exit and stay on A345. Go 1.3 miles

Go straight onto Ryles Lane, travel for 0.2 miles then continue onto Manton Road and go for 0.5 miles

Head south, go 0.3 miles and turn sharp left toward Ryles Lane

Take the first right onto Salisbury Road/A345. Continue to follow A345

Turn right, go 1.5 miles then head north-east, travelling for 4.5 miles

Turn left onto Swan Road/A345 and continue to head south on A345 toward Manor Court

Turn left, go 0.6 miles. Total travelled so far 41.8 miles

There are around 24 ‘white horses’ in Britain, 13 of which are in Wiltshire; of these 13, eight are still clearly visible. Most of the horses are dated from the last 300 years. Our route, which is a mix of town and country, takes in Hampshire and Wiltshire and is named after the white horses carved into the surrounding hills. The starting point is at Ower Services, just on the edge of the New Forest National Park, and from here you travel northwards towards Pewsey where the first white horse is located. Following the route to Alton Barnes, you will see the second white horse. The third white horse is on the A345 Marlborough and Pewsey road. Travelling from Pewsey on the A345 back to Salisbury, there is a crossroads with the A303. A right turn here leads back to Stonehenge, a world famous heritage site which needs no introduction. The route takes in Salisbury, where you may like to stop off. Salisbury’s early English gothic cathedral is home to one of the four remaining copies of the original Magna Carta. The A36, which takes you back to Ower Services, passes through the New Forest National Park.

At the roundabout, take the first exit onto Churchill Way N/A36. Go 0.2 miles

Head east on Churchill Way N/A36, continue for 0.3 miles

At the roundabout, take the fourth exit onto Churchill Way E/A36. Go 0.8 miles

Head east on Churchill Way N/A36 go 0.3 miles

At the roundabout, take the fourth exit onto Churchill Way E/A36. Go 0.8 miles. Total travelled 80.7 miles At the roundabout, take the first exit onto Southampton Road/ A36. Go 14.2 miles. Continue to follow A36. Go through two roundabouts

At the roundabout, take the fourth exit onto Romsey Road/A35 Destination will be on the right. Total covered 95.2 miles

Premier Inn (Ower Services), Ower, Southampton, Hampshire SO51 6ZJ 53

EVENTS October



British Superbikes,


Honda Hornet Swarm,


round 11 – Silverstone

Ace Cafe, Ace Corner, North Circular Road, Stonebridge, London NW10 7UD 020 8961 1000

Normous Newark Autojumble, Newark

Showground, Notts NG24 2NY 01507 529529


World Superbikes,


British Motocross Championship, round 8 –


If you would like your group or event to appear in these pages, please email the details to:


13 18-20 19-20

round 13 – Magny-Cours

Farleigh Castle, Wilts

22nd Copdock Motorcycle Show, Trinity Park, Ipswich

20 20

Brisca F1 Stock Cars,


Brisca F2 Stock Cars and 2L Saloons Stock Cars, Skegness Stadium PE24 5JA 08445 591228

South of England Real Classic Show, Ardingly,


West Sussex TH17 6TL, 01797 344277 MotoGP, Malaysia

British Superbikes,

round 12 – Brands Hatch


Stafford Showground ST18 0BD 01507 529529 MotoGP, Australia


round 14 – Jerez

27 31

20th Carole Nash Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show,

World Superbikes,

It’s not bikes... but you might find this a great place to visit…

All Day Red Oktober, Eastern Bloc Bikes, Ace Cafe, Ace Corner, North Circular Road, Stonebridge, London NW10 7UD,, 020 8961 1000 GT Hot Rods, MD Hot Rods and Junior Rods Gold Roof Champs, plus other events, Skegness Stadium, PE24 5JA 08445 591228 Brisca F2 Stock Cars, Rookie Bangers (non-Honda mv) and Mini Stox, Skegness Stadium

Gathering of the Clan,

The Victoria, Whitwick Road, Coalville, Leics LE67 3FA 01530 814718 MotoGP, Japan

International Dirt Bike Show, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire CV8 2LZ 01507 529529

November 1-3 3 10 17


17 23-1 Eden Camp Modern History Theme Museum, Malton, North Yorkshire YO17 6RT. 01653 697777

OPENING TIMES: Monday-Sunday, 10am-5pm (last admission 4pm). Eden Camp is a modern history theme museum,


which has won numerous awards since it opened in March 1987. It is built within the grounds of an original Second World War prisoner of war camp. The story of the Second World War is recreated in 33 different huts using sight, sounds, smells and moving figures, and stands as a tribute


International Dirt Bike Show, End of Season Party, Skegness Stadium PE24 5JA. MotoGP, Valencia

Super Moto & Scramblers Day, Ace Cafe, Ace Corner, North Circular Road, Stonebridge, London NW10 7UD 020 8961 1000

Normous Newark Autojumble, Newark

Showground, Notts NG24 2NY 01507 529529

World Superbikes,

round 15 – Buddh, India

Motorcycle Live Show, The NEC Birmingham, West Midlands B40 1NT 02476 408020


Skegness Stadium PE24 5JA 08445 591228 to those people, both civilian and military, who endured hardship throughout the war.

December 1

All Day Ace Cafe Club Day, Ace Cafe, Ace Corner, London NW10 7UD. 020 8961 1000


Top Event

OCTOBER 19-20 20th Carole Nash Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show Stafford County Showground ST18 0BD


Bike Day, Ace Cafe, Ace


Corner, London NW10 7UD Toy Run, Ace Cafe, Ace Corner, London NW10 7UD



22 26

More than 30,000 enthusiasts are expected to visit this year’s show, where bikes from the 1960s, 70s and 80s will be on display. Also returning will be the wall of death, where the team will be performing


Kempton Park, Staines Road East, Sunbury on Thames, Middlesex TW6 5AQ 01344 883961

Normous Newark Autojumble, Newark

Showground NG24 2NY 01507 529529 Xmas Toy Run, The Victoria, Whitwick Road, Coalville, Leics LE67 3FA 01530 814718 Paw ’n’ Claws Run, Ace Cafe, Ace Corner, London NW10 7UD

February 8-9

March 22


The Carole Nash Classic Bike Guide Winter Classic, Newark Showground, Newark, Notts NG24 2NY 01507 529529

The Brass Monkey Run, The Victoria, Whitwick Road, Coalville, Leics LE67 3FA 01530 814718

Kempton Bike Jumble, Kempton Park, Staines Road East, Sunbury on Thames, Middlesex TW6 5AQ 01344 883961

January 4-5

34th Carole Nash Bristol Classic MotorCycle Show, The Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, Somerset BA4 6QN. 01507 529529

Cold Turkey Meet, Ace Cafe, Ace Corner, London NW10 7UD

Kempton Bike Jumble,

April 26-27

34th Carole Nash International Classic MotorCycle Show, Stafford County Showground, Staffordshire ST18 0BD 01507 529529

breathtaking shows, while guest of honour will be racing legend Christian Sarron. For further details, log on to or telephone 01507 529529.

Dealer Destination Streetbike, Mucklow Hill, Halesowen, West Midlands B62 8BW Tel: 0121 506 6800

OPENING HOURS: Monday-Saturday: 9am-6pm Sunday: 10am-4pm

WHAT’S THERE? Streetbike is the Suzuki, Yamaha, Zero and Dainese premier dealer for Birmingham and the West Midlands. To find out more about new models, finance, part exchange or to check out the new clothing ranges, contact Streetbike as it is constantly updating its website.

WHY VISIT? Streetbike has more than 20 years’ experience with major manufacturers. It has a showroom, clothing and accessory displays, workshop, its own rider training school and a cafe in the showroom, all under one roof. The staff who work there are professional and enthusiastic people, who can offer customers their experience and knowledge. They even offer motorcycle recovery. 55


Know Your Bikes



Comfy enough for all day autobahn cruising, with riding position to match, though 1300 thought to have slightly sportier lean forward ergonomics.

Why feature this machine? Well, thousands of police officers, paramedics and AA staff can’t be wrong… and they’re not, because Honda’s Pan Euro is a useful tool of a bike.

WORDS: Peter Henshaw


f a Goldwing was the big H’s idea of what American motorcyclists wanted to tour on, then the Pan Euro was aimed at us, something that was as happy being thrown over the Alps or through the Brecon Beacons as spending the day on a motorway. e original 1100 was in production for 13 years (1989/2002) and the 1300 that replaced it is still going strong at 11 years old (2002 to date). At the heart of each is a smooth and ‘torquey’ V4, typical Honda, that has a surprising liking for revs. e Pan weighs more than 300kg, but that engine makes it a quick bike. Add in decent quality, fine handling for something so heavy, and surprising rideability, as well as relaxed high-speed cruising.

Owners tell us the only real drawbacks of the 1100 are shortish 4000 mile service intervals, corrosion on the swingarm and seizing brake calipers. e 1300 is a few kilos lighter, slightly more compact and sportier in feel, but had its teething troubles in the first couple of years. Some reckon it’s still not as stable as the original at speed. Either way, Pans don’t come up for sale very oen as owners tend to hang on to them. Don’t be put off by high mileages, as the engine will easily take more than 100,000 miles without major attention. Aer all, that’s what they were built for.


about your perfect tourer –

My Tourer is…


After 50 years on two wheels, old age and insanity have caught up with me, and I’ve bought a sidecar. It’s a Dutch made Tripteq, UK importer (www.scotiasidecars .com), designed specifically for BMWs, and here’s what I think of the whole outfit. It’s heavy, as the GS is a bit of a lump, but luggage space is humongous and the GS tank is a halfdecent size, which cuts down on fuel stops. Tyres have been changed to a sidecarsuitable square section.



Hard panniers are standard and most bikes have the optional topbox, so you won’t be lacking for luggage

Not sure about crashability – haven’t done that since giving up sidecar grasstrack racing in the ’60s! Shaft drive means minimal maintenance and the whole thing does attract lots of

attention from ‘oglers’. The downside is that you can’t filter through traffic. First big trip should be to the west coast of Scotland, when I’ve finished the paintwork…

Andy Stork





Better than you might think, thanks to protectors on the 1100 which stop the V4 cylinder heads from meeting Tarmac. The 1300 doesn’t have them though.

What else but shaft drive? Trouble-free as far as we can tell, and banishes tiresome chain lubing and adjustment back to medieval motorcycling.


28 litres on the 1100, a litre extra on the 1300, and both deliver 44-45mpg, so let’s say a safe 250 miles, giving a good margin for nail-biting, fuel light flashes.

Super smooth, super strong V4, possibly the last in a long line of Honda V4s. Oodles of torque, but likes to rev. Long-lived too.

Good and protective without being from the barn door school of fairing design, keeps the wind and rain off a treat.


At just shy of 300kg dry (330 fuelled up and ready to go) the Pan Euro is a weighty old beast, but owners tell us it doesn’t feel that heavy, being well balanced and carrying the lard low.


Early brakes good enough, but ABS optional from 1992 and Honda’s linked-brake CBS from ’96. Pan Euro 1300 has standard CBS and optional ABS. 57

One Day ride

Airships & Romans

Deserted back roads and massive airship hangers on a half-day circuit... and all of this only an hour from London. What could possibly be better?



Would you base jump from the top of RAF Barkway mast? It’s been done.

generally try to be healthy in eating and living, but a bike ride has to start the right way. In this case it’s a proper full English served at the Silver Ball transport cafe just south of Royston on the A10. Inside, there’s a particularly good chalk sketch of a Vincent-HRD hung from one wall. Outside, the road is the Roman Ermine Street, stretching south to London and north to (eventually) the Humber. Breakfast done, head south on the Ermine to Buckland, a mile down the road, and just inside the 40 limit take an unclassified road le. Immediately, you could be in France. Tree-lined, open arable land all around you, hardly any cars. Just watch for the two 90° bends...

At the T-junction turn right on to the B1368, a deliciously underused ribbon of now worn Tarmac exiting a pretty village called Barkway. e big communications mast visible here used to be part of an early warning system during the Second World War. Long since closed, a base jumper broke into the site in 2008, scaled the mast and managed to get his parachute open before he hit the deck. Turn le on to the B1038 and again you’ll probably have the road to yourself. Unrestricted bliss, punctuated by the odd charming village to get your breath back. You’ll pass the pub where Jamie Oliver learnt to cook (e Cricketers, in Clavering) before reaching Newport. Here, turn right at the T-junction on to the B1383, then le almost immediately into Debden Road. is is quite technical, with some tightening curves and adverse camber, and it keeps you focused all the way to a crossroads where you need to go right towards Debden. is one twists and turns like the best fairground ride all the way to axted (named in the Domesday Book) then turn right by the church on to the B1051, down the hill to a fantastic piece of half-timbered architecture, then le on to Bardfield Road. e road will be yours to enjoy all the way to Great Bardfield, and it’s hard to believe all this is only an hour from London. Le at the T-junction on to the High Street, lined with proper village shops, and head to another T-junction where it’s le on to the B1057 to Finchingfield. Anybody with a stereotypical picture of Essex should come here – there is a village green and pond which is overlooked by Bosworth’s, a cafe/restaurant well-used by bikers, cyclists and walkers.

Silver Ball does a good breakfast.

Essex as you never imagined it – Finchingfield Common.


All the roads leaving Finchingfield are good, but you want the B1053 to Radwinter. It’s initially much wider than you expect, and you can indulge yourself here with good views over gently undulating landscape... or just ‘bimble’ and take in the view, which I generally do. You’ll end up in Saffron Walden, another town with a Roman legacy and a rich, English history. Well worth a stop if you haven’t already.


Staying roughly straight, leave on the B1052 and meet the B1383, heading north briefly before turning west (le) on to the B1039 at Wendens Ambo. If you’ve had too much breakfast don’t overdo it down here. e road lulls you into a false sense of security, before throwing viciously tightening bends at you. You’re running roughly parallel to the B1038 you rode before, but the two bits of blacktop differ hugely in character. Follow this to Royston, on to the short one-way system, then north on the A10 again, and take a le at the first roundabout which leads to the A505 dual carriageway. Now, I always advocate watching the road in preference to your dials, but aer 3.8 miles turn right for Ashwell, a lovely village with history spanning several centuries, including medieval graffiti about the bubonic plague on the walls of the 14th century church. Turn le at the T-junction out of the village on the same road, and aer a twisty climb you’ll be rewarded with sweeping open roads (where I’ve seen a few miss the hidden dips and get airborne) down to a tiny village called Newnham. Le at the only junction in the village

© 2013 Google

Don’t overdo it. The road lulls you into a false sense of security, before throwing viciously tightening bends at you. ABOVE LEFT: Park within spitting distance of Second World War planes at the Shuttleworth Collection. ABOVE RIGHT: Cardington hangars, built for airships around 1915.

and you’ll reach a T-junction where turning right takes you to Baldock services. You’ve been going for about two hours, so it’s probably time to fuel up. You could have a cuppa here, but would you want to, aer passing all those lovely pubs and cafes? Now take the A1 north for about seven miles to the A658 and take first le at a roundabout with a massive Sainsbury’s on your right. e surface is good, but make the most of this because aer you’ve gone straight on at the next roundabout, the road changes to unclassified. Twisting like a rugby winger, it passes the Shuttleworth Collection, a mixture of amazing old aeroplanes, cars and motorcycles, established in memory of a gent of the same name by his mother, aer he tragically died in a flying accident. Past the museum, and turn right where the road swings 90° le, for Cardington, a village smaller than its biggest landmark. e two massive hangars were built by Short Brothers in about 1915 to house airships. More than 200m long, they look impressive enough now – imagine their impact in an age when horsepower involved real horses. Once in Cardington turn le (Bedford Road), past the DSA training centre, and le again on to the A600 towards Shortstown, built by Shorts for workers at its airship factories. Follow this road, which briefly becomes the A507, to the A1(M) and Baldock services again where the route ends, as the Silver Ball cafe you started from (15 minutes away) shuts at 3pm. at’s 99 miles – or about three hours if you don’t stop – but easy to stretch to a full day or more if you take advantage of only half of the attractions demanding your attention. You can do it on anything from a C90 to a superbike – something in between might be best. I used to ride this route reasonably regularly, and having just read this report back to myself, feel the need to do it again. 59

Weekend Ride

Sunny Italia?

Never rains in Italy, does it? Ask Howard Dawson, who rode the length of Europe’s sunshine nation on a Bonneville. worDs & photoGraphy: Howard Dawson

© Geo Basis-DE/BKG


Do pass Go... Monopoli’s worth the ride.


he day we crossed into Italy John and I rode eight mountain passes. It had been just over 1000 miles since leaving home, and we still had a long way to go. Our goal was Monopoli, in the far southern tip of Italy’s boot, and it would be our biggest trip yet – five weeks and 4000-odd miles. We’d been best mates at school, did long cycle trips together, lost touch, then years later found each other through Friends Reunited – better still, found we both rode bikes. About a week into this trip we were flipping between Switzerland and Italy, John on the BMW F650 he’d bought especially, me on my one-year-old Bonneville, and both of us with sheep’s wool seat pads, which I can’t recommend strongly enough for long days in the saddle. What had stood out so far were gale force winds in northern France, the French National Motor Museum (what used to be the Schlumpf Collection) and the beauty of Lake Zurich. Now things were getting a bit more serious. Fortified by a bratwurst mit rosti brunch (that’s posh sausage, onion gravy and rostis) we tackled the Umbrail Pass. It rained hard all the way up and the road was dreadful – wet and rough like a rally ‘white road’, one car wide and with torrents of water gushing across it. By the time we reached the 2500m pass we’d ridden through clouds. All of the passes had stunning scenery, even in the rain, but we could only keep up 20-30mph, struggling with tight hairpins that were almost impossible to take smoothly on a fully laden bike. On the Gavia Pass (I was ticking them off) we rode above the clouds and into sunshine – it was actually warm, and our gear started to

Ride italy Modern Bonnevilles aren’t just for quick Sunday blasts to the Ace Cafe.

Motor museum at Mulhouse. We don’t know where this is, but it looks jolly scenic.

steam as it dried. Of course, as soon as we headed back into the clouds we got wet all over again, but it had been a nice interlude. e cloud was so thick it was like riding in dense fog, and sometimes we were down to 10mph, especially through the dozens of mountain tunnels which didn’t have lights. Of the eight passes we rode that day, the Stelvio was the easiest, and that was far higher, steeper and twistier than anything I had ridden before. All in all, what with the stunning scenery and constant wetness, it was a bit like the Lake District on steroids. Next day, we rode through Trento past fields of tomatoes, vines, and apples, and then on to Riva and Lake Garda, the easternmost of northern Italy’s beautiful lakes. is one was thick with windsurfers at the northern end, with speedboats, swimmers and sunbathers further round. Clouds were looming over the Alps but there was little chance of outrunning them as the lakeside road was very busy and slow. Picking up the autostrada to Rovigo a torrential storm hit us and we got soaked all over again. Just to underline the fact, aer leaving the motorway a car coming the other way drove fast through standing water, and the bow wave hit me so hard it rushed up under my helmet mouthpiece, down my neck, inside my visor and into my mouth. How both bikes kept going I will never know as it was like riding through a river, so all credit to Triumph and BMW. Drying out in the Hotel Cristallo in Rovigo, I

With stunning scenery and wetness, it was the Lake District on steroids

found that my Frank omas boots had leaked dye on to my lower legs and feet, which were now blue. Water had even got right inside the panniers, despite waterproof covers, but our dry clothes were in sealed waterproof bags, so no problem there. Next morning, a local on a Lambretta invited us to a bike and scooter show that aernoon, but we wanted to keep moving southwards, away from the rain. Sure enough, it didn’t rain that day as we headed down the Adriatic coast, through Riccione, Pesaro, Fano and the very industrial Anconato. e coast road was packed, but the Adriatic wasn’t the tranquil blue you might expect – choppy, even rough, was a more accurate description – and the resorts were more like Blackpool than the quiet beaches of southern Italy. ree pints of Italian beer and a seafood pizza later, we were hitting the pillows for another good night’s sleep. It was hot the next day as we set off on the final 300 miles or so to Monopoli. Once we le the towns we hit nice fast roads and we decided to skip the Ferrari Museum, revelling in being able to cruise at 80-90mph on the autostrada – both bikes being very stable at that speed despite being heavily laden.

Left: Autocycle at San Remo station – it was being used! Above: Lots of these in the Alps. 61

Top: Very southern Europe… this is heading home through Italy. Above: Italy as we think it should be – Polignano.

We made it to Monopoli with jackets unzipped at the top, sleeve cuffs open, open face helmets and thin summer gloves, though the breeze was as hot as a hair dryer. Nine days and 1800 miles aer leaving home, it was time for a cold beer and a good rest. e next few days were spent chilling out – fishing, wandering, swimming and meeting Italian friends. We both bought sandals and sun hats, as the temperature was around 35ºC with no breeze. ere were a few jobs to do: one of my boot soles had come adri, but I found a cobbler who repaired it for €1 (I gave him three); one of the BMW’s side panels had blistered due to the radiator not getting enough air past the throwovers so we made an air duct out of drainpipe, secured with duct tape. Amazing what people get up to on holiday... e local bike shops were worth visiting, with plenty of classic Italians on display, the owners active in classic racing. Most of the 50cc machines were Ducati, Moto Morini and Itom, all of them beautiful. We met two German bikers on Harleys who had ridden from Munich via the Black Forest – not as far as us, but one of their bikes was a hardtail, so respect. It was a Tuesday morning when we set off for the long ride north, sampling the local pasta at Campobasso

Old BMW and nearly new Triumph covered the 4000 miles with hardly a problem.


(different to Puglian pasta) and enjoying a landscape of hillside towns scattered among the fields of fruit trees, vines, olive groves and sunflowers, the latter just dying back ready for harvesting. We were heading up towards the west coast of Italy now, and with no set itinerary or rooms booked, we could stop where we liked. It was all very relaxed, the Bonnie averaging 58mpg at our 50-55mph cruising speed, as we just enjoyed the ride. Highlight of the first day back on the road was a toss-up between the delicious roast chicken at a small trattoria, and a John Wayne movie on TV, dubbed into Italian with the Duke having a high-pitched voice. It was raining next day as we headed up towards Rome, picking up the autostrada to get around the city – it’s a mad place to ride in and much better to explore by foot or by train/bus. One job as we rode north was to find a new rear tyre for the BMW, now getting well worn in its centre, which wasn’t good news as the rain kept coming and going, with thunderstorms hitting us as we headed up towards Genoa. With nowhere to shelter we just kept riding. Mud and water were pouring down from the hillsides and across the roads, bringing gravel and stones. e wind was snapping branches and dumping them on the road too, so it was like riding an obstacle course, which we did for over an hour. It was getting crazy on the small roads so we headed for the relative safety of the autostrada. Just as we were nearing a tunnel I thought I had been hit by a stone thrown up by a car, but then another and another hit until I realised these were big hailstones! It was like being hit by an airgun pellet, so we stopped and sheltered at the far end of the tunnel with a couple of other bikers. Meanwhile the hail got worse, and it was scary to watch cars come out of the tunnel at 70mph, then slam their brakes on and slither on the layer of hailstones covering the Tarmac. Eventually, the hail eased back to heavy rain, and we made a run for it. A week or so later, we were riding north from Dover through fearsome winds, and just 100 miles from home, the heavens opened. Still, John and I had a great holiday. If you are thinking about doing something similar, get planning and do it – you won’t regret it, even if it rains.


Your page

This is the place for your touring hints, tips and tales. Tell us where you’ve been, whether you have a favourite piece of kit... or have you a question (or answer) for fellow readers? Email it to us at

Question and Answer Corner Q

The tyres on my FJR1300 are quite squared off after 2000 miles, which included a long trip of mostly motorways and dual carriageways earlier this year – plenty of tread on either side though. We’re planning a tour to Italy soon, and I’d like to start it with more evenly worn tyres. Will riding a lot of twisty roads in the meantime do the trick?

Ian Davidson


I asked my favourite tyre dealer this question, and he said no! You wouldn’t believe (he said) how much the centre section of tyre is being used, even on the twistiest of back roads, so these won’t level out the wear across your tyres. His advice (inevitably) is to bite the bullet and fit new tyres (or at least a new rear) before heading off on a long trip. You can always have the part-worn tyres refitted next time. Either that, or be prepared to have new rubber fitted on holiday, but that’s always a hassle.

Frank Baker


I’m looking to buy a midsized sports tourer, and want to compare fuel consumption figures. It’s easy if you buy a car, as the official figures, although they might not be representative of the real world in absolute terms, at least give a level playing field for comparison. Is there nothing similar for bikes?

Paul Johnson


These figures do exist, as manufacturers have to put all bikes through the

same homologation tests, but they’re not obliged to publicise them (at least, not yet). BMW is the notable exception, and does this voluntarily. That means you’re reliant on road test figures – try to compare like with like (e.g. a magazine that does a standardised mpg test, but even there, variables such as riding style can creep in). Personally, I would narrow your choice down to two or three bikes, ‘blag’ a demo ride on each and do your own mpg test over the same stretch of road.

Where have you been? Mark Glendon has just got back from exploring the endless tracks of the Picos, in northern Spain, not on the 250cc ‘trailie’ you might expect, but on his Triumph Street Triple. It seemed to

cope okay, even though he never planned to ride rutted tracks with 1-in-3 gradients, but his sat nav seemed to think that forest tracks are a piece of cake. Read all about it in our touring section soon.

Henry Scales



Has anyone ridden south through Serbia to Greece? What did they think, and what were roads and accommodation like, and were there enough filling stations? I need to reach Volos, the Greek ferry port for the Sporades, and other islands. Last time I rode my Blackbird from England down to Brindisi in Italy to get the ferry to Igoumenitsa (northeast of Athens, Greece, and south of Albania), and rode across from there to Volos. A great ride, but it’d be good to avoid that ferry if Serbia is okay.

Chris Gibbs


We missed out on a bike touring holiday this summer, but still want to find somewhere with reasonable weather in October/November. Is it possible in Europe without riding a long way south?

Jen French

CLEVER FORECAST If it looks like rain, take spare gloves and socks, and it won’t! Works for me every time. Mind you, that’s no guarantee it will for you…


John Bradbury

WAIT FOR IT, MAN When touring (or even doing a day ride) in a group, always have a contingency meeting point up the road. With the best will in the


world, groups often get split up by traffic lights or overtaking opportunities. This means that everyone needs to have a good idea of the route (or at least a means of working it out), but that’s no bad thing in my experience, as everyone needs to have a measure of selfsufficiency. I know some people swear by the drop-off system, where the second rider waits at each turn off.

Julian Chalmer

Get in touch with YOUR stories at: write to us at: email or MSL Letters, Mortons Media Group Ltd, Media Centre, Morton Way, Horncastle, Lincolnshire LN9 6JR 63

week Ride

Black Panther

Riding 3000 miles to the Black Sea (and back again) on a 60-year-old Panther. Breakdowns feature... but they made it. WoRDs & PhoTogRaPhy: Rollo Turner


Above: Romania does well from Dracula-themed tourism – this is the fang-man’s castle. Right: The Moselle’s always good for a picture. below: Peter’s bike museum at Vransko is worth a detour.

have always wanted to see the Black Sea. e name itself is evocative of mysterious lands, strange peoples and a fabled stretch of water. In fact I thought it would probably be little different from much of the rest of Europe with people every bit as friendly to an itinerant stranger on a 1948 Panther as they usually are. Bike prepared (complete rebuild of engine, gearbox and forks) I took the ferry to Boulogne then rode through France and Germany to north-eastern Italy. e plan was to then turn le for Slovenia, travel on through Austria and Hungary to Romania, see the Black Sea and come home. Simple really... I had even bought a map. I hit cold, wind and rain through England and northern France, thunderstorms in the Black Forest and a short circuit in a long dark tunnel in Germany. is le me without lights or power by the side of the unlit road, lorries thundering by inches from the bike while I changed the fuse by torchlight. I rode out without lights, keeping tight behind a relatively slow moving lorry. Scary. Italy finally brought sunshine, but as I le I felt entirely on my own for the first time, heading into the old Eastern Europe. e rain came back and the bike’s electrical gremlins returned, 1500m up in the Alps – the ammeter telling me the alternator wasn’t charging at any speed much over 40. I stopped on top of the pass to see if tightening the alternator drive belt would make any difference (my Panther has electronic ignition, the 12v it needs supplied by a car alternator). It looked as if it might be on the limit of its adjustment, which meant either shortening the belt (tricky) or taking a bit off the top of the alternator. I chose the latter, borrowed a gigantic file and set to work. is le the alternator looking as though a camel had chewed it, but it made no difference, it was still not charging properly. I pressed on to the Wurzenpass to Slovenia, a lowish pass but still full of wonderful bends through the steep forested slopes.

Nice bridge in Romania’s northern mountains.


e ride down the other side was pure magic with fantastic scenery, and I stopped at Bled to see the lake (all chocolate box image stuff) then pressed on to Vransko and a friend’s classic bike museum. is included rare Indians, unique Puchs, a Bohmerland hanging from the breakfast room ceiling, racing Tomas bikes and many, many others. Well worth a visit, even if you have to make a big detour. Better still, Peter knows a motorcycle electrician just five miles down the road, who pronounced the alternator and charging circuit as A1 and the ammeter as not. I set off for Hungary reassured it was the ammeter at fault. Aer a mountainous few days of Slovenia, Italy and Germany, Hungary seemed terribly flat, though a slight navigational error saw me entering Croatia (I think) through the truck lane. e border guard said in language that was all too clear (even if I couldn’t understand a word) ‘p*** off back the way you came’. at meant the wrong way down the trucks’ one way system, but luckily there were few about. Splashing through the countryside, I became aware of a nasty gravelly noise from the engine. It sounded exactly like the noises before the big-end failed in Ireland last year. I attempted to contact a Hungarian

black sea ride

Every time I tell people I am going to Romania they shake their heads and give me terrible warnings with a workshop on my rarely used mobile. He, wisely, did not answer, so I poked and prodded for a day with no improvement. e next day dawned brightly and amazingly the noise was not quite as bad, and over the next 100 miles it wore off until the bike was once again purring along. I’ve never experienced anything like it. So trimming the sails accordingly, I headed north of Budapest and ran with the wind along the Danube towards Romania. Every time I tell people I am going to Romania they shake their heads and give me terrible warnings about the place, but I was hopeful that the dreaded Romanians would turn out to be people just like everyone else. e border guards shook their heads in amazement, or pity, over the bike, and told me the Black Sea was a long way away. It was actually only another

© Basarsoft, GeoBasis-DE/BKG, Google 65

Monastery at Bistrita.

Spot the tiny old motorcycle

Above: Traveller returns to leafy English suburbia. Bike and rider managed 5000+ miles without major problems. below: Heading up to the Brenner Pass.

Typical coffee stop, Hungary.

Romanian transport. See if you can spot the handbrake.

600 miles or so, and as I had by now ridden more than 2000 miles it seemed quite a short hop to me. e sun disappeared and it was grey and drizzling as I entered Satu Mare to change money and see my first Romanian town. Ye Gods! I hadn’t gone far before some fool forced me on to the pavement, and there was a ‘pothole’ which turned out to be a coverless manhole which could have swallowed my Panther whole. In a while I adapted, rode more aggressively, and all was well. People all pointed at me and one chap shook me by the hand for being the first Brit to ride these roads on an old bike. Which incidentally was still working fine – there were no problems with electrics and bearings and I was beginning to really enjoy myself on the traffic-free roads. Romania looks and feels different. Every small village seems drab and they all have one thing in common. At the village/town boundary, the road surface instantly disintegrates. Sometimes it is just bad, but hit a big town and the ruts, potholes etc., enlarge to mega truck size.

ese shook me and the bike something dreadful. ere are also very few bikes in Romania (and Eastern Europe generally, it appears) so they were quite unused to one weaving its way between the holes. Local drivers thought I was suicidal and I thought them a bunch of lunatics. At one point I ran into a police speed trap and out hopped a policeman signalling me to a stop, not knowing that 60-year-old brakes made this a big ask. But I did it. When he was happy that my pilot light was actually on, all 8W or whatever, he smiled, said “Da” and waved me on. A good thing he didn’t ask for the bike’s documents as I’d le them all at home. By now I’d covered about 2500 miles and it was time for a service – a really nice man at a B&B let me do the work in his garage, even taking his car out to make room. e chain needed tightening, I added oil to engine, gearbox and primary chaincase, adjusted the brakes a bit and le everything I could damage well alone. e pounding we were taking from the roads was incredible, but nothing appeared to be broken.

Seized forkS

On and ever on, over some of the most beautiful roads in the world: mountains and trees go on for ever in Transylvania – all sweeping bends and vertiginous descents. One of the surprising things about the Romanian countryside is the local transport system – the horse and cart. Great to see them, but less fun as you swing round a bend only to find two having a chat in the middle of the road. Coming down from the mountains I hit the Danube at Brăila, where the forks gave up working altogether. ey had seized on the lower bushes and once compressed were staying down, clonking and squeaking their protest. I considered my options and decided I’d have to free them up. I found something close to WD-40 and squirted the bushes through the screw holes holding them in place. Aer much squirting and dropping of small screws in supermarket car parks in the rain, I bounced up and down on the forks and with one mighty


black sea ride

bound they were free. I headed for a B&B in the gathering gloom but all I could find was the local brothel. Still, it had a bed and the girls seemed to be on holiday since it was a Sunday. Constantia on the Black Sea is an experience. It must be one of the world’s most ugly cities – square miles of concrete blocks of flats, everything grey and drab even in the sunshine, and it goes on for ever. ere were more main roads unfit even to bear the name of a track, but eventually there I was, on a beach at the Black Sea. My arms and legs were aching, my back was sore from the rough going but I was finally and undeniably there. e bike was still thumping along, totally unconcerned by all the crashes and bangs, started first kick every time and nothing other than the horn mounting had broken. Up the coast and away from Constantia I visited the Danube delta at its furthest point reachable by a diabolical road. e bike bumped and crashed all over the place but we made it. ere was little to see at first but a stroll to the waterside in huge heat revealed literally hundreds of dragonflies and walking up the bank a bit I scattered scores of butterflies with each footstep. Sheer magic. Back into the mountains, and Romania changed completely. Suddenly it was staggeringly beautiful, places to stay were much easier to find, the towns were more prosperous and the roads were sometimes rather better, sometimes much worse. But they were all wonderful to ride with little or no traffic, continuous bends – just motorcycle heaven. Postscript: I rode home through Hungary, the Czech Republic, Germany and France. e bike didn’t miss a beat, thumping along at a steady 55 – the only problem was when refuelling 50 miles from home. e alternator belt was de-laminating, and a sudden break at speed could do serious engine damage if it jammed the pulley. I worked out I could ride the last hour without it, on the battery alone. And we made it, aer 5560 miles at about 60mpg. But never let anybody tell you they have less rain on the continent.

top: Cheb, Czech Republic... or is that Rutland Water? Above: Made it. Panther sighted by the Black Sea. RIGHt: One of the milder potholes. below: Romanian scaffolding. 67


From the archive

AUSTRALIA, CAIRO, LIBYA AND BLIGHTY! Epoch-making postwar endurance tests at home and abroad which have proved the mettle of British motorcycles

PHOTOGRAPHY: Mortons Media Archive ILLUSTRATION: Rosie Ward

Welcome to real touring history This is the second in our ongoing delve into the archives that spawned MSL. The article reprinted here was originally published in our mother title, The Motor Cycle, in December 1925. It’s priceless for giving us a view of big touring on two wheels at the time. Check out the references to the mileages, the attitudes to women and the sniffy way the writers play off the perceived attitude of the degenerate youth!



s it not rather strange that so little attention is paid by the world to the great British achievements which are making motorcycle history? Every year daring feats are carried through and amazing journeys are accomplished, the history of which, were they carried out on any other type of vehicle, would fill many columns of the daily press. Yet the two-wheeler, which is oen the only mount which could survive the hardships of such a journey, remains unsung except by those journals specially devoted to its welfare. Only last week, the editor received calls from (1) a young Englishman who had made a trip to Constantinople on a model P Triumph, (2) a Persian gentleman who is buying a sidecar outi with the intention of making his way home by land, and (3) a Manxman who is contemplating a trip round the world by motorcycle.


If the general public realised the frequency of such feats of endurance and the precision with which they are carried out, we should hear less about the unreliability of motorcycles, and, incidentally, less about the degeneracy of modern youth. If we were to go back to prewar days we should find instances in plenty of hardy pioneers who undertook all sorts of feats on early types of motorcycles, when conditions were harder than they are today; and we must not forget – as some are apt to forget – the deeds of our dispatch riders during the war, the tales of which would make a thrilling book. But interesting and exciting though these stories would be, the present article must confine its scope to

The editor received calls from a young Englishman who had made a trip to Constantinople on a model P Triumph those postwar rides which, besides forming milestones in motorcycle history, will provide ample proof of the soundness of British motorcycle construction and of sturdy spirit of our present-day riders.


In all corners of the world and in all parts of our empire great rides have been carried through on British machines which will live in the memory of motorcyclists and might be commemorated more widely. Such a journey, for instance, was the circuit of Australia by Mr A W Grady, mounted on a 348cc Douglas solo machine. e journey necessitated covering miles of sand and bush country, and since the rider was oen far from the outposts of civilisation he was forced to carry spare petrol to the extent of three gallons. At least 800 miles of sand had to be covered in low gear, and the fording of one river necessitated the partial dismantling of the machine, which was carried over in sections. e journey occupied five and a half months and in spite of the almost heartbreaking conditions no part of the sturdy little Douglas failed to function, and even the tyres were unpunctured. Another destination for great rides, Africa has become well known. In the south the great Durban-Johannesburg race itself constitutes annually a great feat of endurance,

ABOVE: From the first well in the Northern Territory to the typicalfor-the-time donkey teams, the early explorers had it tough – sometimes having no roads at all to ride along as they tried to cross the Aussie outback not long into the start of the 20th century. 69

GRAND OLD ADVENTURE STORY though this kind of event differs considerably from the lone ventures of the solo motorcyclist, such, for instance, as the 2000-mile trip to the Ruwenzori Mountains and back to Nairobi, accomplished by Mr E R Wood on a 147cc Francis-Barnett. Another strenuous journey was that of Messrs Moore and Whitaker, who crossed the Libyan desert from Cairo to Siwa and back on two 499cc Dunelt sidecar outfits. e riders encountered frequent sandstorms and rainstorms and so heavy was the going in some of the deep sand that of the 1200 miles, 600 had to be covered in middle gear and 100 in low. at these hardships alone did not cause the failure of the expedition is striking testimony to the efficient cooling and of the engine and the sound transmission. Standard Dunelts were used, fitted with box van sidecar bodies to accommodate the large supplies of fuel and of water which had to be carried through the desert, and, though each outfit weighed nearly nine hundred pounds loaded, both negotiated with ease a long hill with a maximum gradient of 1 in 31⁄2.


In January 1923, the firm of Phelon and Moore decided to demonstrate the reliability of its standard 555cc P&M machine with a sidecar, by undertaking a run of 1000 miles under ACU observation without an engine stop. e route chosen was from London to Brighton and back, and this double journey of 100 miles had to be completed 10 times. In spite of heavy fog, which caused some considerable delay, the test was successfully completed to schedule time. It must be remembered that the machine used was standard in every respect and that the feat was equivalent to covering, without an engine stop or a mechanical failure of any sort, about one-fih of the distance placed annually to the credit of a touring sidecar outfit. e fog imposed a very severe strain on the riders, G A Cade, P Cuningham and E Chidley, who divided the trip into five-hour spells. e very fact that the test was undertaken in January, when heavy roads, fogs and bad weather might be expected, was sufficient proof of the manufacturer’s confidence in the machine. In February 1925 an even more strenuous programme was laid out by Humphries and Dawes Ltd, as a test for the 349cc OK-Bradshaw outfit. is small machine was set to accomplish 2000 miles without an engine stop, again in winter time, but matters were complicated by the fact that eight different riders were employed, some

ABOVE: Crossing the Libyan Desert: One of the Dunelt outfits on the way to Siwa. BELOW: No matter where you are in the world, there’s always time for a stop off with some young goats and a photographer.

The spirit of adventure Who, when he has pondered over these tales of British hardihood, and the dependability of British products, can deny that the spirit of adventure still exists in the hearts of our people, that the healthy love of pioneering is still being gratified by those who have pluck and initiative, and that British motorcycles constitute a most fitting mode of transport for such adventurous expeditions into the unknown.


Even now an attempt is being made by an Englishman, his wife and a cinematographer, to travel the length of Africa from the Cape to Cairo with two Douglas outfits. To all bold adventure-seekers, and to all the many who will follow them in demonstrating to the world the sterling qualities of British-made machines, The Motor Cycle would echo the good wishes of all British riders.

of whom had never handled the machine beforehand; the human element, therefore, entered very considerably into the test. A heavy sidecar carried an official observer throughout, and the route covered a wide area, radiating from Birmingham in all directions. Snow and heavy rain were encountered and a few minor engine stops experienced were caused by such trivial details as oiled sparking plugs and carelessness in allowing the tanks to run dry. At the conclusion of the trial, when the engine was dismantled, very little carbon formation was found, and the engine and machine in general were in excellent condition.


e longest officially observed trial up to that time was undertaken on behalf of the Raleigh Company in June, 1924, by Hugh Gibson and Miss Marjorie Cottle. e former with a Raleigh sidecar outfit, under ACU observation, completed a circuit of Great Britain by the coast route, and Miss Cottle on a solo Raleigh traversed a similar route in the reverse direction. e total distance was 3404 miles and was covered in 12 days, an average of just under 300 miles per day. is is no mean performance for any man and machine, while it was an exceptionally plucky feat for a girl, Gibson’s sidecar machine was a 798cc twin, while Miss Cottle’s was a 350cc solo model. All kinds of weather and road conditions were encountered, and the trip stands out as a monument to the reliability of the machines and the pluck of their riders. In September and October of the same year Norton Motors Ltd, organised a particularly interesting test, the route consisting of four journeys from end to end of Great Britain. e total mileage was even greater than that in the historic Raleigh trip, amounting indeed to 4000 miles, under ACU observation. An interesting feature of this test was that the outfit – a 633cc side valve Norton with sidecar – was erected from stock parts chosen by an ACU representative and assembled under his observation. At the end of 3905 miles the outfit was badly damaged aer colliding with a motor coach, but in

ABOVE: Through Russia, the outfit of Messrs A Pratt and E S Armstrong near the zechoslovakian frontier on their adventurous trip to Moscow.

spite of this it was repaired by the rider, P Pike, and the test was successfully concluded with 20 consecutive ascents of Porlock Hill, the final ascent being accomplished at an average speed of over 20mph. e outfit with passenger and luggage weighed just over 800 pounds, yet for the distance of 4083 miles the fuel consumption averaged 68.4mpg. With the exception of replacements as a result of the crash, all adjustments were of a minor nature only.


Not content with this, the same firm entered for a somewhat similar test a year later. In this case two overhead valve Nortons were submitted, a 490cc solo machine and a 588cc sidecar outfit, again standard in every respect and built up under ACU observation from stock by officials of the governing body. In this instance 3190 miles were covered in 14 riding days, the routes including those of all the classic MCC trials. At the conclusion of the road test the machines were taken to Brooklands, where, aer minor adjustments, high speed tests of one hour’s duration were carried out. e average speeds maintained were 61.5mpg by the solo Norton and 53.4mph by the sidecar outfit.

Few have undertaken such extensive tours as Lt Cdr Oswald Frewen, RN, who, with his sister, Mrs Clare Sheridan, travelled across Europe to the Crimea

e solo machine’s average fuel consumption was 112.1mpg while the sidecar averaged 81.1mpg. Finally, to cap this amazing performance, the solo machine, in the hands of H W Hassall and A Denly, riding alternately, was used to break eight world records, including the 12 hours, the figures standing for the 500cc, 750cc and 1000cc classes. Six more world records were captured by P Pike and D R O’Donovan with the sidecar outfit. e story of the epoch-making postwar rides in this country having been retold in brief, it is permissible now to turn to feats of endurance in foreign lands which have helped so much to establish the supremacy of British motorcycle overseas.


Few motorists have undertaken such extensive tours as Lt Cdr Oswald Frewen, RN, who, with his sister, Mrs Clare Sheridan, as passenger, drove his AJS sidecar outfit right across Europe to the Crimea. Passing through nine countries, the tourists covered 4226 miles. e roads encountered were oen no more than a name, and the conditions experienced at times were extraordinarily rough. e now famous Satanella was, of course, heavily loaded with luggage, spare parts, fuel, camping equipment, etc., and though Lt Cdr Frewen can surely now be considered a most experienced motorcyclist, at the beginning of the trip he made no claim to any special knowledge of motorcycles. Except for minor breakages, due to the appalling surfaces, the machines behaved admirably, and the tyres and equipment – all British – stood the severe test in an equally satisfactory manner. 71


Wild and wet

IN THE MID-WEST ‘Only two kind’sa people try ta guess the weather round here; fools and outsiders’. Well, we were definitely outsiders and, as we were soon to discover, fools as well.

WORDS: Bruce Wilson PHOTOS: Bruce Wilson / Indian


don’t know a great deal about tornadoes, but what I learnt over the next 50 miles of Route 85 taught me all I ever wish to know. To the people of Lusk in Wyoming, tornadoes are as common as sunny days are to us; they do get them on occasion. Which explains why the locals munched on nonchalantly as the radio blasted out severe weather warnings. “Do not attempt to drive... Be prepared to seek shelter...” And so they went on, planting a genuine degree of concern into our naive foreign minds. e opening words of wisdom came complements of the oldest guy we could find on the street, who we asked about the weather. Old people always know best, don’t they? is chap certainly did. But we had no alternative route and if we were to reach our hotel in Cheyenne before nightfall, our bikes’ wheels were going to have to start turning pretty soon. We needed to take a gamble.

Our journey from the north hadn’t started off as dramatically. Rocking up the day before in Rapid City, we rocked out that night at Buffalo Chip, witnessing the close-to-a-week long party in the biker town of Sturgis. I’ve been to one or two motorcycle rallies over the years, but nothing comes close to the sights and sounds which that place had to offer. If you had a bike, you were God. If your neighbour owned a bike, you were God. If you once saw a bike on TV, that wasn’t quite so good, but you were still God. It was crazy. ese guys didn’t care who you were or what you did, they just wanted to have a great time and me and my bunch of riding buddies had no objections with that. Early the following morning we were to commence a ride south to Denver, stopping off that first night in the city of Cheyenne, some 300 miles away, taking in some of the most stunning roads and views that the mid-west had to offer. Simultaneously covering the launch of Indian’s new trio of cruisers, I was partnered up with two fellow Brits, two Swedes, two South Africans and a Dutchman. We made for an unlikely bunch, each struggling to understand each other’s mother tongue, but having a great time nonetheless. e weather was exceptional and the mood was too, as we departed Rapid City, destined for the famous faces of the Mount Rushmore variety. Route 16 led us south west and into the winding roads of the Black Hills National Forest. Huge formations of trees and rocky backdrops fuelled our path, occasionally spiced up by the most eclectic mix of attractions, ranging from bear centres to gold sieving experiences, reptile worlds to water parks. e cowboy theme was also a popular one along with that of Indians. For every lasso you saw, there was a tepee to match it.


ABOVE: The Rapid City Police Department is still waiting on its fleet update. BELOW LEFT: Sturgis is the Mecca of American motorcycling. Only the really hardcore can last the entirety of its week long street partying. BELOW: In Sturgis, image is everything. If you haven’t got the girth, you’re not a real biker. The guy on the left was clearly dedicated.

I don’t know what I was expecting from Mount Rushmore, but it didn’t overwhelm me as much as I’d hoped it would. e guys in my group felt the same. It was weird. And as glad as I am to have seen what I did, no one felt the urge to linger too long or fill a camera full of poorly taken photos. We just wanted to crack on. e road was our excitement, which by this point had turned into a bit of a rollercoaster as it raised and dropped hundreds of feet with every few miles passed. Meandering on, we eventually passed a sign telling us the Black Hills were no more, being replaced by the landscape of the equally as stunning Custer State Park. Not long aer passing through Custer, the terrain began to change substantially. e aggressive rock faces withered in favour of rolling hills and lush green pastures, similar to the kind you’d find in the Dales. e road got a whole lot straighter too and it wasn’t long before people came to realise we were now in a 200 mile slither of pretty much nothing. Having only been to the States once previously, I slotted nicely into that category of a tourist who had no idea of how vast America was. at morning we’d been warned about this barren channel of land, which played host to a few forgotten villages and a couple of herds of cattle. It made the mind boggle. I was still enjoying my ride though, which now followed the path of route 85, running almost due south. Around 100 miles in, we veered off the main road in search of a fuel station. I don’t remember the name of the town we passed through, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget the retail outlets that perched


Born to be bad? The Black Hills proved the perfect place for Bruce to practice his mean face.

Pride of place was the grocery store, plonked next to a cocktail bar side-by-side. Pride of place was the grocery store, plonked next to a cocktail bar, backed up by a gun and pawn shop. ere was literally nothing else to be found, other than a derelict railway station and a number of destitute looking wooden houses. It was saddening. e side of the Land of the Great which people oen don’t see or, maybe more to the point, don’t choose to. A few decades earlier, the scenes I saw would probably have been very different to the destitution I did, but that’s an era long gone and this was today’s reality I was witnessing. A happier note came about at our filling station when we bumped into Dollar the dog, perched up in a wooden box on the back of his owner’s Eliminator. It was around this point that the radio began broadcasting threats of tornadoes, which seemed pure bonkers. e sky was clear blue without a single hint of a cloud. We made note but thought nothing more until we arrived in Lusk and saw a policeman shepherding vehicles and closing off roads. A Subway sandwich was calling, so while we grabbed a bite to eat, we also debated our plan of action. We were some 30 miles further on from our fuel stop and the view ahead was anything other than the blue sky of earlier; transformed into a sea of purple and black. Our group was leading the way, with both French and German journalists biting at our heels to make a call. If we had any sense, we’d have stayed put, but we threw caution to the wind, quite literally, and headed off in pursuit of stragglers who’d clearly also been at Sturgis. In America, in certain states, you don’t have to wear a helmet. As long as you’ve got something in place to protect your eyes, you’re good to go. It didn’t appeal to me, but it seemed more people than not preferred a simple pair of sunglasses to the protection offered by a helmet, just as a T-shirt was more to their taste than

If you’re in the area, Mount Rushmore is worth a visit.

Custer was a great stop off, full of bikes and heritage.

This guy’s jokes were a little on the wooden side. 75


This view remains the same for the best part of 200 miles to Cheyenne.

If you’ve got 15 minutes to kill, why not pull up in front of a one mile long coal train?

ABOVE: The weather took a nasty turn on the way in to Lusk... RIGHT: ... Meaning riders had to quickly adapt to the ice laden lanes for the best part of 20 miles. Unfortunately, skis weren’t included.


anything substantial like a bike jacket. Witnessing this flurry of casually dressed bikers heading towards the eye of the storm, we figured we were maybe being a little bit cautious. And so we lined up and set off. e first few miles were easy. I watched the temperature drop from 35ºC to 15ºC, but that was about as exciting as things got. A few more miles in, rain started to fall and by the time we’d gone another five miles, we were mostly drenched. e further we went, the more intense the rain got. e sky in front was devilishly dark and I kept getting my hopes up each time the road’s direction changed slightly, reassuring myself that we were going to avoid the real serious stuff. But that didn’t happen. For every bend that directed us away, another one directed us back. It was around 10 miles in that the first bout of hail hit us. It was unpleasant but nothing worse than what we’re used to back home. I huddled down behind my Chieain’s huge screen and simply kept on trucking, throwing a thought or two to the American’s in their T-shirt and sunglasses ensemble. As if graded, the lumps of ice gradually increased in size and it wasn’t long before we saw hazard lights up ahead. Our American friends had had enough. A whole tribe of them had pulled over, along with a few cars and one or two lorries. We stopped, debated. en debated a bit more, before finally making the decision to double back the way we’d come and stop somewhere out of the now painful hail. is we did, only to debate again and eventually come to the conclusion that we should mount up once more and see this storm through. It made no sense to stand there getting pelted, not knowing how long it would take for the storm to pass. Soaked through and fed up, we braved the hail once more and found a new foe in the wind, which had increased in its intensity. Passing the Americans, we went deeper than we had before, getting pummelled by all that was imaginable. e worst of the tornado was about three miles east of us, but we were still getting a good taste of this natural phenomenon. Focussing so hard on staying upright, a collapsed road in front completely caught us off guard. e torrents of water had taken the whole of its le side, bringing mud and other debris sailing on to our path. e scenes were crazy, but still we carried on, eventually reaching a calmer environment in the town of Lingle. It was still raining, but that was fine by us. e plan had been to

Loveland was laced with beautiful relics like this.

detour off to Fort Laramie, but unfortunately that had been outlawed in favour of covering miles. We stopped once more for fuel, which gave me chance to wring out my socks and take in the local scenery. Most of the locals looked like cowboys, hats and all. American towns look a little prefabricated and this one was no exception. It looked like a Lego town, mostly single story with flat, rendered walls. Paint colour offered the only variety, along with a resident’s preference to how many old vehicles they had rusting away on the outset of their land. For a classic car enthusiast, America is a dream land and I couldn’t help but lust aer the rusted shells abandoned on most people’s front lawns. With the demise of the rain, the weather perked up once more and with it came glorious heat. As we passed through Torrington, the drama we’d experienced earlier seemed a distant dream. We were back to the same, plain, vast landscape and scorching hot sun. e ride into Cheyenne was pleasurable. A simple 300 mile route had been spiced up somewhat, but we’d made it through unlike the trailing journalists, who’d opted to take a more elaborate and, perhaps, sensible route, completely bypassing the storm. at night the beers flowed and so did the tales. Next morning, we headed south on Route 87, down to Lovelands on the interstate. It was all plain sailing and pretty boring too. Compared to the Black Hills, Cheyenne lacked in geographical beauty and the straight, wide roads gained little love. On arrival at our set destination, we le the interstate behind, continuing west on the narrow 34. We were essentially riding on a B-road, which had a few corners and an abundance of riding schools and saddlers littered along its sides. I was so taken in by the random assortment of shops that I simply hadn’t realised the mountains were up front. By this point we were on the edge of the Rocky Mountains, which I soon discovered were absolutely amazing to ride through. Leaving the mundane behind, we fast found ourselves overwhelmed with corners as our route swung

I soon saw why cafe notice boards were filled with dent repair firms

from le to right, while rapidly rising in altitude. e road flowed alongside a river bed, where holiday makers were fly fishing and swimming in the fresh, clear water. Enormous trees were everywhere and so was bright, warm sunshine. We eventually reached the pleasant town of Estes Park, where most had a second breakfast, while others explored the town. I got talking with a few locals who said the town gets cut off in the winter when the snow falls, which was why the place had to be capable of supporting itself year round. e place had everything, from sports parks to shopping departments, along with one of the most stunning backdrops I’ve ever seen. It was sad to have to move on but, once more, our friend the weather was turning nasty and it was proving likely that our planned route across the top of the Rockies was set to be hampered at best. On reaching the foot of the gated park, the skies were black and it meant the day’s photoshoots were going to be compromised if we’d have continued. Instead, a diverted path led us on a still stunning journey along route 7 aiming towards Boulder. Photoshoots completed, the weather let us have it once more, this time completely flooding the town of Allenspark where we’d stopped once more for food. It was like the tornado all over, witnessing huge lumps of ice hit down and explode on impact. I quickly gathered why the notice boards of the cafe were filled with dent repair firms, touting for business. Continuing our descent towards Denver, our final destination, the roads became simple once more and the volume of traffic grew tenfold. As soon as I hit the interstate, I knew the journey was over, but I’d experienced things I’d never imagined I would in my life. Some things good, some bad. Overall a little confusing, yet in a brilliant kind of way. If I had the chance, I’d do it again tomorrow.

ABOVE: After the boredom of the flatlands, the stunning views of the Rocky Mountains were nothing short of overwhelming. The roads were fantastic too. BELOW: Trip completed, a note worth making is the affordability of petrol. This sign shows the price per gallon. Live to ride! 77


The full package?

So just how sporty are these so-called ‘sport’ adventure bikes? Only one way to find out...

WORDS: Bruce Wilson PHOTOGRAPHY: Joe Dick


A few weeks back my friend, Neil, called wanting some advice on a new bike. He’d not long before splashed out on a Triumph Explorer, but it wasn’t ticking all the boxes for him. Sure enough, it had the comfort, but lacked the sporting excitement of the Gixxer 750 he’d part-ex’d. His question was whether I knew of a bike that’d be right up his street? Something practical enough for the everyday stuff, suitable too for his yearly getaway, and sporty enough to enjoy the odd flurry on track.

ere was really only one bike that came to mind, but as much as I felt I knew KTM’s 1190 Adventure and could vouch for it being exactly what he was aer on the touring and commuting front, I had no idea how genuinely capable it was on track. Ever since Tony’s long termer rocked up at the start of the season, it’s been the subject of many a debate in the MSL office. It’s a bike with an output oen compared to that of the early R1, packing more electronics than the entirety of the British Superbike grid. eoretically, it should’ve made a corker of a


track weapon, but theory and speculation was all we had to go on. Or at least it was before we got invited along on a recent Bikesure track day at Cadwell Park. Blessed with beautiful weather and a bone dry track, Tony and I set out with a simple agenda of weighing up just how capable the wild child of the adventure bike market could perform. Judgement day was upon us and as I swung a leg over the bike’s high mounted saddle, clunked into first gear and set off down into Hall Bends for the first time, I couldn’t help but question my sanity. Knowing little more than the bike’s weight and wheelbase, logic told me I was likely to be in for a ride to remember; I just didn’t know whether it would be for good or bad reason. I eased myself in, letting the bike settle and flow, gradually building pace and heat into the dual-purpose rubber below. e V-twin motor felt provocative and it took some serious restraint to go steady on the first few laps, as I was getting a feel for the KTM’s suspension which was set to the firmest of its three options. Cruising around, it felt okay and I was genuinely impressed at how flickable it proved through the right-le transition of the New Chicane. For such a beast of a bike, it sure felt like it could dance. Cranking up the pace, it wasn’t long before I was scratching away at the pegs which highlighted the ground clearance limitations. e traction control had also become a regular in this cocktail of activity, along with a broad smile on my face. It felt wrong to be passing S1000RRs and the like, but yet genius all the same. With every lap chalked off, I felt more and more comfortable with the Adventure, which was fast proving to be as capable as I’d have hoped it would be.

You may be the pilot of an out of control, 150bhp motor.


e abundance of torque on tap made up for the compromised corner speeds and I felt safe as houses with the traction control, midcorner. e only place where I really had to watch things was at the Mountain. Let me warn you that this bike’s tech isn’t keen on jumping and should you go at it like I did, you may also find yourself the pilot of an out of control, 150bhp motor, desperate to flip rearward on landing. In fairness, Ducati’s Panigale struggled to register what was happening when I introduced one to the Mountain last year. And it’s quite probable every other traction control equipped bike of this generation would struggle in exactly the same way. Forgetting that little hiccough, I couldn’t rate the system’s intentions and performance any higher. It made riding a doddle and loads of fun. Cornering too was fun, if not a little unpredictable at times. Achieving knee down angles isn’t hard, but when you start to load the pressure and ask the bike to turn at speed, as a track bike needs to, it becomes unstable. e front oen provokes a wallow that transfers rearwards, giving off the most peculiar of sensations. e 19in front is a real head hitter. It’s tall and skinny and unusual. e reality is that it copes just fine, but I felt a time or two that I was pushing my luck through the faster corners and was ridiculously careful when trailing a brake. It felt worst into Coppice, which is a super fast le hander that requires commitment and speed. at’s possibly my favourite corner on the track that I’ve raced on since I was 16. I know the cambers and I know the lines, but most importantly, I know when a bike doesn’t feel right there. Constant throttle or resisting a down change pre corner entry didn’t really make any difference to the initial unpleasantness at the front, although the smoother I was, the less rowdy the rear end got. is also helped the bike from running as wide as it had done, meaning I could hold a better line into Charlies thereaer.

The KTM really didn’t like The Mountain.

Even while writing this I’m having to remind myself that the bike is actually an Adventure bike, first and foremost. It’s not a sportbike, even if it does harness the potential to be ridden like one. Neil, if you’re reading this, I think you’ve just found exactly what you were looking for.


Now, as this is my long term test bike this year I’d wondered just how this thing would handle when really pushed on a track. And yes, when you’re talking 150bhp and grippy tyres – at a sunny and warm Cadwell Park – then you’re going to find out pretty flipping quickly. I could blather on about this and that to do with this upright superbike. I could talk about how I’ve now put more than 6000 miles on it over the past four months, how I can’t leave it alone. How it never fails to please even when plodding along. How it’s got real character. But you know what? e most salient point about this test was, is it sporty enough? On the road it’s always egging you on, there’s clearly the potential there but on track oen you’ll find that the promise doesn’t live up to reality. e KTM definitely lives up to its promise though. e handling is sublime, even when the bike’s banked over and the motor’s plenty powerful enough to pass the likes of GSX-Rs and R1s at 140mph+ on track. But a surprising area where the KTM really had an advantage over the other bikes on track was on the brakes. I’d like to think it was down to rider skill but in reality the natural sail and very upright riding position, combined with superbike stoppers were probably the actual reason for the advantage. Plus, being that high up, you could really get a feel for what the bike was doing when hankered up on the brakes. Okay, I’m not claiming that this is as much fun on a track as a proper sportbike, but I am


saying that this huge motorcycle, that I’ve done thousands of miles on already, was great fun in its own right. Another string to the KTM’s considerable bow. And another reason I’ll happily fight anyone from KTM in MSL Towers’ car park when they come to get it back later in the year.


How many times do you see a vehicle with ‘sport’ slapped on it? Too oen, I believe. It’s normally a marketing exercise, fuelled by a provocative and lustful word, like that of the one above. Let’s be honest, if a bike looks fundamentally the same as it did before, weighing the same, powered the same and with a similar wheelbase to the original, there’s every chance that your new spec ‘sport’ model will essentially be the same as the lesser regarded bike we knew before it. Knowing this, I wasn’t all that surprised when I took the new Tiger Sport out for a few laps of Cadwell Park and failed to be as blown away as the sticker suggested I would be. e Tiger is a heavy, long bike. It’s a great road machine, but it’s far from being a sporty, track weapon. Its motor doesn’t punch like the KTM’s does and it’s void of any kind of electronic wizardry to help you break lap records. Possibly its worst trait is its lethargic handling, encouraged by overly so suspension and a top heavy feel. I rode this bike on a 300 mile round trip a couple of

weeks earlier and it was absolutely perfect for the role of being a fast and comfortable sports tourer. ere’s no way on earth I’d warrant it sporty, but competent and enjoyable it did prove to be. Maybe that badge should be replaced to say ‘dependable’? Not as sexy, is it? But it’s probably more fitting. I’m writing this perhaps a little bitter. Year long I’ve read such great reports about the trumpet and I get why Steve’s been so excited about his experiences, because none of them have taken the bike to the extremes that track riding allows. It’s understandable that he shouldn’t have experienced the instability which I did, cresting nearly 140mph down the back straight of the circuit, just as he wouldn’t have had chance to gauge how clumsy the throttle felt as I snatched my way up through the gears. Without wishing to turn this piece into a rant, I merely mean to point out the ‘sport’ badge is a little misleading? Triumph will have its own reason for describing the bike as such and, when ridden in context on roads at a lesser pace, it better reflects what it probably means.


When I rode this bike on the world launch I was really impressed. During the long road days we spent in the mountains near Taragona, Spain, this thing was sharp, rorty and eager. Here was an adventure bike in the raw. No electronics getting in the way either. Unadulterated fun in the Hinckley tradition.

The Tiger felt more settled at a fast pace.

So I was really curious to see how the Tiger would perform on track. Technically, this bike has never made any claims to be much of a sportbike-in-disguise but if you’re going to slap the name sport on anything then inevitably it’ll get put on track at some point... Where the KTM was easy to move through the fast flick flack of Hall Bends the Tiger felt slower and in need of much more effort on the wide handlebars. Stability wise, the Triumph was much more stable and secure than the KTM but the engine actually felt less potent as a result of the direct comparison between the pair. In isolation, I’m sure the Tiger would have thrilled and wowed me as much as it had done on that launch ride earlier this year, but up against the astonishing KTM I’m afraid that the Tiger Sport felt much more the road bike. On the road though, it is brilliant. 81

Just the job RIDER: James Duke BIKE: Triumph Sprint GT PRICE: £8499


he last month or so has been pretty much business as usual for the Sprint and I’ve continued to use the bike for the daily commute, but perhaps more enjoyably, I’ve been pressing the big Triumph into service for social and domestic rides wherever possible too. Recent GT mounted escapades have included family visits, friends’ barbecues, the weekly shop, two separate riding assessment courses and attending a 10km race. Before you say anything, the riding assessments were work related and not by any means punitive – honest. So, a pretty eclectic range of activities I’m sure you’ll agree, but one thing that has proved consistently useful throughout is the Sprint’s generous luggage provision. Whether it be sausages, sports kit or cornflakes, the cavernous

panniers really have come into their own over the past few weeks. e setup is a little weird. Rather than being fixed rigidly to either side of the bike, the boxes hinge at the top while resting on a sort of hydraulic buffer at the bottom. e result is the panniers have a degree of articulation which allows them to tilt from side to side through the bends. ink Richard Branson’s high speed trains and you’ll get the idea. e theory is that if a sudden gust catches the boxes it’s only the boxes that move, and not the whole bike. It’s a system that seems to work pretty well too. Considering the panniers have a capacity of over 30 litres each, there really is little discernible difference in ride quality when riding with the boxes attached compared with riding without. I was caught out once, exiting a series of S-bends on a dual carriageway section of the A1. It really

wasn’t anything too dramatic, just a slight weave that was soon corrected by easing off the power slightly. I’m not sure how fast I was going, but it was certainly faster than everyone else and almost certainly too fast anyway, so probably serves me right. What’s great is that every month I seem to find a new facet of the Triumph that I appreciate or enjoy. I guess you could call it a jack of all trades, but I think that would be verging on unkind; the Sprint is too good at too many things to be tarred with that brush. Impressively versatile is probably more like it. I’ve always been a bit of a sucker for traditional sports tourers, which is a shame as they seem to be heading fast towards extinction these days. e Sprint GT is one of few that fits legitimately into the genre, and so far I’m struggling to find a box it doesn’t tick.

You could call the Triumph a jack of all trades, but I think that would be verging on unkind.



Polishing up… RIDER: Carli-Ann Smith BIKE: Honda CB500F PRICE: £4799


hen I was told I would be taking part in an advanced riding day, I thought that I would be riding round cones in a car park and being shouted at for all the slack habits I had picked up since passing my test, but I couldn’t have been further from the truth. Pulling up in the car park with a full tank of fuel in my CB500F, along with colleague James Duke on his long term Triumph Sprint GT, we were greeted by our instructor for the day, Mark from Rapid Training. I knew, as soon as I spoke to him, over a cup of tea, that the day would be great and the majority of my preconceptions about the day had already been smashed – we weren’t in a car park, we were going on a jaunt round Lincolnshire and venturing into Cambridgeshire. Off we went, taking it in turns to lead the group around the country roads and small towns of Lincolnshire, all under the watchful eye of Mark. I wouldn’t have wanted any other bike to complete the day on; the liquid-cooled, parallel-twin engine purred away round every bend and pulled away easily on the straights. It’s amazing the types of things you do without realising it and it’s great to have someone who is objective and highly trained

to point them out. My main point to work on was close following of cars in front. In my head I was waiting to overtake but Mark advised to drop back when there wasn’t the chance and then accelerate smoothly and progressively when the opportunity came. e CB500F was a perfect bike to do this on because the six-speed gearbox works perfectly with the 500cc engine to give power when needed to nip past traffic in a controlled and safe way. Aer spending some time on some fantastic country roads – I was trying to make a mental note where they were so I can travel down them again. We headed for a new challenge, in town. e 790mm seat height offers great visibility in town and the light weight of the bike makes it nimble when filtering. I’ve never been one for filtering too much as I am always nervous that I will be stranded at the other side of the road unable to get back into my lane, but Mark’s tip was to “always have a bolthole”. Over 100 miles later, our day of training

was finished and do you know what, I’d had fun and learned a lot. It didn’t feel like I’d been assessed or trained and I certainly hadn’t been shouted at. We’d been blessed with fabulous weather, some great riding routes and lovely cake – what more could you want from a day out? e 15.7 litre fuel tank meant that we didn’t have to stop and wait for me to fill up and the digital fuel gauge came in extremely handy as it meant I didn’t have to second-guess how much I had le. On many other bikes my wrists, arms, back and bum would be aching, but not on my CB. e street-style handlebars and comfortable seat meant that even at the end of the day, I was still enjoying the ride. e more time I spend on the CB, the more I like it. It’s stood up gallantly to every challenge I have faced on it and now that the weather is turning chilly I am still thinking of ways to prolong my riding season. Next on the list: heated grips. I promise I’ll get them on before the next issue.

The more time I spend on the CB, the more I like it. It’s stood up well to every challenge. 83

Loud ‘n’ proud! RIDER: Dave Bell BIKE: WK 650i PRICE: £4199


he WK 650i has proven to be a real head turner – especially with the fantastic grumbling sounds barking from the aermarket Scorpion exhaust. Although I’m not sure my neighbours enjoy the angry burble resonating down my street at 7am quite as much as I do. I have to say that I have found this naked WK 650i great fun to ride. It’s incredibly nimble and holds its own through all scenarios. In fact, the guys at WK have a video on their Facebook page of this bike doing a lap at the Isle of Man and it is very impressive to watch – is bike’s still got the battle scars on the tyres from its exploits, vividly

demonstrating the commitment and trust that can be given freely to this machine. While the weather continued to be bike friendly I took the opportunity to try the machine with a pillion. I was interested as to how the bike would handle with two up and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. e WK took the challenge in its stride with no particular handling or power issues to moan about. e braking performance was also good and my passenger had nothing but positive stuff to say once we had returned. I know that our oriental friends have a reputation for doing cheap copies but I believe that WK Bikes should be regarded as an exception to that rule. Everywhere I’ve gone,

the WK 650i has received many compliments and lots of attention at bike nights. All of which I think is deserving. is bike’s a corker.

Spruce up RIDER: Steff Woodhouse BIKE: Victory Jackpot PRICE: £14,495


ou may recall in the September issue I was going to come back to you with details of the Victory’s first service. Well, I am pleased to say this has now been completed and I have great pleasure in telling you that it cost diddlysquat. Zilch. Nowt. Not a bloody penny. You heard me right. e reason being that Victory Motorcycles provides the first service for you free of charge as a goodwill gesture for purchasing one of its machines. In my book, that’s customer service at its best. To be fair it is not a massive job although it does take up to two hours, consisting of a simple oil and filter change and an allround nut and bolt check. e belt drive is also tensioned up, as it’s quite typical that they stretch a little come the first 500 miles of use. But once they’re bedded in, they’re good for several more thousand miles, with the next service scheduled in at 5000 miles. at service repeats all of the above, along with a few more bits and bobs like brake pad checks and the like. Impressively, the Victory’s first major service doesn’t come until you reach 30,000 miles and that’s the one which will set you back a few more pennies, mostly because the drive belt is changed and plugs are replaced. Now I have to admit, this year I took myself right out of my comfort zone with this Jackpot. Yes, I have always loved the look of them but never have I yearned to have one sat in my garage. And, if I’m honest, 84

the novelty was starting to wear off a little, because, for one thing, in stock form the Jackpot sounds a little like a sewing machine. I found myself riding it harder than I should have to get my kicks and I soon got bored of the bike’s awkward handling on the slower paced stuff. Roundabouts are a nightmare at best and the novelty of sparking the pegs has long since vanished too. With the above dwindling my love a little, I decided a spruce up was called for, which came in the shape of fitting a stage

one tune and some loud pipes. I tell you what, the difference they’ve made is awesome. e tune comprised of a modification to the airbox which allows the bike to breathe better, thanks to an alternate filter. Because of this and the sexier new pipes, the ECU also needed remapping to complete the tune which cost around £1100. You might think that’s a lot of money to invest, but I can vouch that it’s money well spent. It may have been raining all the way home, but that couldn’t remove the smile from my face.


Run-in and ready RIDER: Ian Fisher BIKE: Yamaha Super Ténéré PRICE: £11,999


ith the first service now a distant memory I have felt free to explore the full delights of the big Yam’s motor and on balance would have to say I think it is a bit of a gem. I had previously highlighted that the oodles of readily available torque encouraged short shiing and a deceptively relaxed riding style. Now I can add that it remains equally as strong right through to the redline without any complaint, vibration or wheeziness that might otherwise leave you feeling you should have changed up earlier. In acknowledging the headline output figure is perhaps lower than some of the competition, for me the way it makes all 109 ponies just so accessible more than makes up for it in real world riding. Of late, I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time riding two up, with my longest

dual stint being some 135 miles or so. I can report that both bike and companion were unfazed by the experience, though with the overall size of the machine allowing for generous saddling, it is easy to see why the bike can offer comfort for rider and passenger alike. On a detail point I have finally got round to raising the screen height as buffeting at speed around the head can become intrusive aer a while. e job of adjustment itself can be a little fiddly and is not one that can be readily made when out and about. However, with the screen raised matters are seemingly much improved, even if it has

now le a gap between its base and the edges of the instrument binnacle. Being aware of this has prompted me to notice that other XT riders have fitted a tall screen option to their steed which in my opinion does not detract from the bike’s lines and is one I would definitely fit. Fuel consumption is now improving as the engine loosens up from a disappointing sub 40mpg to an average of 42mpg. is latter figure has included my aforementioned two up jaunts with a modicum of luggage. I would like to think that 45mpg was possible, though stretching the legs of the big twin is still proving too much of a temptation.

Fuel useage improves as the engine loosens up from 40mpg to now averaging 42mpg. 85

Sportie and practical RIDER: Julie Brown BIKE: Sportster 1200 PRICE: £8895


hat do you think of my new screen? No, I’m not too sure about it either. Actually, let me qualify that. e performance is excellent, although it took a little faffing to get the height right. With the windshield fitted I can sit happily at motorway speeds for a couple of tanks of fuel (about 300 miles) in complete comfort. Not having to tense neck, arms, stomach and thighs against a 70mph headwind (round here we call it the Julie Brown wrecking-crew wrestle-a-cise program) makes a huge difference. I wanted a relaxed ride and that is exactly what I now have. But, er, it’s not exactly pretty is it? ankfully, it takes less than 30 seconds to take it off and refit when I need it. And that is the best bit. My Sportster can either be practical or pretty – just not at the same time. Having the aerodynamics of a fat piano (with candelabras) hasn’t done much for the mpg though. On a long run, it’s doing about 5mpg less than before although

that could be because I can now cruise at higher speeds, of course. Last summer I rode 2700 miles across America on a Sportster without a screen. It was fine, but on that trip the speeds were lower, the weather considerably warmer and I didn’t have to be in places for any particular time. e other additions this month have been the saddlebags. ey look flimsy, but are, in fact, solid and mounted on frames so there’s no flapping or drooping on to hot pipes (every motorcyclist has their own throw over flaming underwear story – what’s yours?) Ignore the fancy chrome buckles, the bags open and close with clips and you’d be amazed just how much stuff you can, er stuff inside them. Downsides are that they aren’t waterproof, or secure. I can keep out the rain with a couple of bin bags, making them secure is a little more tricky. Miles this month have been mainly just local and blatting around for work, but I did lend it to MSL’s Steve Rose for a night. His take on the Harley follows.


What is it about Sportsters? Every time I ride one I want one. And every year they get better and better. I hadn’t ridden MSL’s Sportie since it had the engine pepped up and I can’t believe how much difference the mods have made with absolutely no detrimental effect whatsoever. Julie’s Harley now has enough stomp to overtake easily, feels more relaxed at motorway cruising speeds and yet still fuels perfectly right the way through the rev range. Me and Bruce had a memorable ride down to Silverstone, cutting through rush hour traffic with a mirror full of him on my Triumph Tiger. And then blasting back, late at night – made me feel 18 again. Having the fuel light come on 30 miles before it normally does was a slightly worrying reminder of how enthusiastically we might have been riding on some stretches. For me, it was the ride of the year so far, no question. And this has been a good year for riding. Ultimately though, there’s no point getting too analytical with a Harley, it’s just a fun bike to ride, that’s it.

KNOWLEDGE Retro Skills Technical



Time of year to ease off on biking? Don’t you believe it. This is prime bike buying time. So if you’re interested then don’t hang about, get on the job right now.


ow is the time to get shiing on getting that motorcycle if you’re looking across the second-hand market, especially at dealers. At this time of year dealers are looking at the stock of secondhand motorcycles they’re holding and are keen to shi them in advance of part-exchange bikes coming in on 2014 models, some of which have started arriving already.

Recent dealer reports have said that the second-hand market has been active in the £1500 to £4000 sector, especially from June to July. While the great summer weather actually seems to have turned buyers away from dealers in favour of bikers riding the machines they have, those that did buy a new (second-hand) bike mostly stayed in the under £4000 bracket. One friendly dealer, who didn’t want to be named, said: “is is

the time of year when clever buyers will really make a killing – providing they know what they want, have the cash ready to go, are sharp about identifying what we have had in stock for a while and what we need to get rid of. “Because it’s coming up to winter then things like consumables, tyres, chains etc., aren’t so vital and can be replaced steadily over the coming months. It’s not a sticking point in a motorcycle sale right now, so get buying if you can.”


1999’s 900SS – the Buyer’s Guide to ugly


Big bikes on the up – what a surprise

While the big bikes might be doing well, there’s some worrying figures from the smaller side of the sales market. From July 2012 to July 2013 sales of 50cc machines dropped by a massive 31.2% (eek), the year to date figures for the 50cc lot are almost equally bleak too, down 22.7%. Sales from 50 to 125cc looking at July last year to 2013 have dropped 8.5%.

Awesome collection projected sales



Garage Life


22,090 20,547 18,907 18,858 16,104 15,340 11,221

Projected sales in the sector have sales for 2013 rising to 15,876 compared to last year’s tally of 15,340. Line that up against relatively recent sales figures of 22,090 in 2007 and you can immediately get an idea of the level of decline recently felt in big bikes sales across the the country.

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013

We all know the story that over the past few years sales of large capacity motorcycles have been on the decrease... well if July’s registrations are any indications of things then that’s all starting to change. The over-1000cc sector has grown over the three months up to and including July with July’s improvement being a whopping 12.9% to a total of 1586 registrations. The best seller in the over-1000cc category was the BMW R1200GS which sold 165 bikes in the UK (although given how many of them you see on the roads, that’s hardly going to come as a surprise). Triumph is reportedly bouying up the sector too with its Explorer Adventure 1200 and KTM’s 1190 Adventure superbike-engined big bike is adding to the elevated sales figures.

The old Z650 Kwak’s speedy little’un

Market News



New BMW R1200GS Adventures sold

23.7% touring sector up


Summer sales figures in the UK cast a cloud over what might have been. Bike riding and selling bikes is all about the weather, if it’s cold, wet or miserable nobody wants to buy a new bike, so decent weather should see riders flocking to dealers… or at least that’s what you’d think. Despite record temperatures and weeks of dry, sunny weather our gloriously long summer actually had a negative effect on year to date total the bike market. MCI figures to the end registrations


of August saw a 5.1% drop over the same period last year, with a year to date total registration of 63,872 (compared to 67,338 in August 2012). e moped market was hit hardest, with a drop of 22.9%, thankfully the touring sector was up by 23.7% and the trail/enduro market saw a 10.4% rise, Honda’s CRF250L topped that segment with 27 new bikes registered. Highest registering model overall was the basic but competent commuter friendly Yamaha YBR125, with 188 new bikes hitting

the road, the Honda PCX 125 was second with 138 registrations and third place went to the sporty Yamaha YZF-R125 with 132. Best selling larger capacity bike was the invincible BMW R1200GS with 83 new wannabe adventurers hitting the dirt (well local biker hangout at any rate). Despite having two models in the top three, Yamaha was second in the manufacturers’ list with 797 new registrations, Honda topped the charts with 1197 and Triumph took third place on the podium with 432 registrations.

Honda off-road trial experiences Honda is offering off-road trial experiences on its 2014 range for just £30. At each event, you will have the opportunity to test ride the all new 2014 CRF250R and the updated CRF450R, as well as special edition models – including the Buildbase and Muscle Milk ‘specials’ – plus the CRF250 and 450X enduro models.

Events will take place at six UK venues. You can also take your own bike along at no extra cost. All levels of experience and rider skill are catered for, so whether you’re new to off-road or you’re a seasoned rider, you can test the latest offerings from Honda to help you decide which bike is right for you.

Want a go yourself? To secure your place or to find out more about any of the test ride events, contact Molly Jackson on 01844 266443 / 07734 943798 or talk to your


local Honda off-road dealer. Further details about Honda’s off-road model range can be found at motorcycles/offroad


KTM Duke deals up

Honda’s new 0% deals  Honda is offering attractive finance on new bikes with some models, like the CBR600RR and 20th anniversary Fireblade on 0% finance. For the latest autumn deals log on to and click on the ‘Offers’ link.

Vespa GTS cutting out

e stunning KTM Duke 125 and 690s are available on 0% or low rate finance and can be had with as little as £99 deposit. e 125 Duke comes with ABS as standard and is the coolest naked learner bike on the road; it can be yours for £162.33 for 24 months with a £99 deposit. e 125 also comes with subsidised insurance at

£349 for TPFT (17 to 19 years old), or free TPO. You can ride away on a 690 Duke for just £99 deposit and pay £140.49 a month for three years, plus an optional final payment of £2252.50, that deal has a 4.5% APR. If you put down £1698.75 and pay £212.34 for 24 months you’ll get 0% interest. Other offers are also available.

42 penalty points and not out Drivers with as many as 42 penalty points are being allowed to drive because offence information isn’t being shared properly between the courts and DVLA. A woman from Isleworth, West London topped a poll of the highest penalty points with 42, according to the DVLA. The points were accrued for failure to disclose the identity of a driver. Second place went to a man from Warrington, Cheshire with 36 points; he was caught driving without insurance… six times in less than a fortnight. IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “It’s disappointing to see that this issue has not yet

been resolved. DVLA and the Courts Service are upgrading their computer systems to ensure that offence information is shared more efficiently, but this is not due to be in place until October. “When drivers with 10 speeding offences are getting away with holding a licence, these improvements cannot come quickly enough. Drivers must expect that 12 points means a ban or the whole system falls into disrepute.” Drivers with such a blatant disregard for the law aren’t likely to worry too much about who they harm in the process, so keep your eyes peeled, they’re out to get you.

Oxford premises double in size

 Piaggio is currently testing a remap for the popular Vespa GTS to try and solve an intermittent cutting out issue that causes the scooter to momentarily lose power at speed. The issue affects bikes registered from March 2012 onwards. Owners should contact their local Piaggio dealer.

Exclusive bikers club  According to the latest statistics there are currently 1.2 million bikes on the roads in the UK, down from 1.3 million (although how many of those are languishing as projects or part of an owner’s collection is unsure). Last year 40,000 bikers gained a full licence, down from 70,000 in 2008/09 and the total distance us riders covered was 2.9 billion miles in 2010/11, down from 3.2 billion. That means our army of readers are part of an exclusive club. Congratulations.

Custom trends  Work is currently under way to double the size of leading motorcycle and cycle accessories company Oxford Products premises from 45,000, to 90,000sq ft. The expansion has been necessary due to booming business.

 The Custom market is showing signs of attracting new money. July’s figures have the Custom lot a full 26.1% up. According to reports, dealers across the country have been seeing an increased interest in the Custom market. 89

Ducati 900SS:

Pure Panache. Prime Power. You don’t need the ‘look at me’ latest Ducati hyperbike to show you’ve got biking class. This 24-year-old 900SS proves that this is one classy old timer who can really pack a modern punch for not much cash. words: Chris Moss photography: Mike Weston




he 900SS is one of Ducati’s most famous models ever, with a long and illustrious history. Following Paul Smart’s famous Imola 200 victory on a desmodromic 750GT in 1972, and a production run of street-legal 750 replicas, the factory built a 900 production version in 1975. It quickly became one of the true superbikes of the era, matching any other machine of the day, and soon becoming a classic. ese days it’s a highly-prized collector’s item. During the 1970s and 80s, the 900SS was developed further. But its dominance was constantly challenged by the arrival of Japanese competition, and the performance of the two-valve engine lagged behind. 91

By the time the new trellis-framed version of the model arrived in 1988, the 900SS could only be seen as an ‘alternative’ in the sportbike class. e birth of the amazing 916 in 1994, effectively demoted the SS to the lower ranks. In 1998 the bike was completely restyled and revamped, featuring fuel-injection for the first time. It remained a two-valver, though in 2002 the then twinspark engine was enlarged to a 1000cc, before the 900SS model was retired in 2006. Above: Brakes are solidly good. Left: A complex layout for the cockpit.

I sell them Jeff Green of Ducati specialist GTEC Performance in Leicestershire (01858 535411, knows his way round 900SSs well. “It’s one of the most reliable Ducatis built, and problems with them are very rare. They’re owned by older, more mature riders and because it’s pointless revving the two-valve motor, they last well. It’s

the same bottom end as the 999 superbike’s which can be reliably tuned to make over double the 900SS engine’s power. It’s very understressed. “As long as the overall condition of the bike is good, and there’s a good service history to look at, then it ought to be reliable. I’ve worked on bikes with over 40,000 miles on the clock that are still going strong.

“Engine temperature senders have been known to go, which can lead to poor fuel economy and hot starting problems. And water in the fuel system can cause tanks to rot. Bar those issues, the Duke is as good as many Japanese bikes. The reputation of Ducati unreliability is unfounded as far as this model 900SS is concerned.”

WHAt’S It LIke to RIDe?

is 900SS is very much a Ducati. Its colour, style, noise, and the fulfilling way it rides make its birthplace unmistakeable. It’s from Bologna. It’s a Duke. It’s class. One thing some may want to debate is the look of the 900. Causing a bit of a stir back in 1998 when it was first unveiled, the Pierre Terblanche styled machine polarised opinion. In no way did it win anywhere near the same level of approval as the 916 range. In fact many considered it ugly at the time, just as they did the 749/999 series, and original Multistrada – also penned by the South African designer. But as time has gone by, the visual appeal of his 900SS has grown. ese days, it’s considered much more acceptable and eye-catching. Luckily riding impressions of the Ducati are far less controversial and although the performance of the 900 won’t ever match the Ducati WSB-type headliners, it’s still decent, and pretty easy to get on with and make the most of on the road. You will need some commitment to get on with the Duke, and that’s obvious as soon as you nestle into the seat. Because though that itself is plush enough to give the impression longer runs will be manageable, the drop to the bars doesn’t feel quite as accommodating. As the

other bikes to consider


bMW R1100S,


HoNDA vtR1000,

1999-2004, 998cc 60° V-twin, 118bhp, 190kg If you’re after something rare, the Aprilia’s worth a look. Like the Duke, the Falco’s style may not be to everyone’s taste. But it’s a solid performer with the bonus of practicality thanks to being easy to get on with and comfortable enough for all day runs. Its retuned 60° V-twin engine has plenty of punchy, usable power, and combined with a competent chassis package the Falco can provide some speedy fun. Average dealer back up spoils its overall appeal.

1998-2005, 1085cc flat twin, 98bhp, 208kg One of the very first BMWs that helped rid the brand of its dour and dull image. Quirky details like its funny front end and switchgear can divide opinion a little. But what’s less in question is the strength of drive from its flat twin engine and secure, if heavy, feel of the sportbike’s handling. Built solidly, the bike will last well with some regular care, and provided that’s delivered, residuals always remain high. Developing classic status now too.

1998-2006, 955cc, inline three, 147bhp, 191kg A fair bit more powerful than the Ducati, the British bike also has tons of character and charm. The inline three-cylinder engine pulls strongly and doesn’t need lots of revs to enjoy its impressive thrust. Higher revs are rarely required to make good progress, though the superb soundtrack that’s delivered when you do makes using the gearbox tempting. Stable handling and great brakes are among the many virtues of this fine machine.

1997-2005, 996cc, 90° V-twin, 109bhp, 192kg The Japanese answer to the Ducati is a credible machine, even if it’s unable to match the allure of the Italian bike. The big V-twin has good engine and chassis performance and like all Hondas is easy to live with. However, just like all Hondas it’s a bit short of character too. Being a bit thirsty limits its practicality over longer distances. But even with its shortcomings, the VTR’s overall dependability give it a useful ride-it-forget-it level of use.

vALUeS £1500-4000 * Prices for models in average condition sold privately, to immaculate late-registered examples available at dealers. They are rare, so you’ll have to be patient.


Modern retro

I own one

when it was first unveiled, Terblanche style polarised opinion. two tours of Europe undertaken by the bike’s owner show, the sporty riding position is tolerable enough. Just don’t expect a super easy, all-day Goldwing-esque sort of ride. It’s the only real issue some might find offputting. e rest of the bike is much more accommodating and captivating. Engine manners are typically good. Making just 80bhp maximum, the motor’s power can’t be described as anything other than modest. Yet if there’s ever an example of the seat of the pants feeling being more relevant than any dyno figures, it’s definitely the case with this Duke. From tickover there’s lovely, smooth and creamy drive available, making dealing with anything and everything it has an easy experience. ere are no flat spots or peaks, to either avoid or search for to get the best out of the torquey twin. Most of the time, twisting the throttle is all that’s needed to have fluid drive delivered to the rear tyre. e gearbox action is nice and slick, but you won’t need to trouble the lehand pedal too oen. In fact trying to rev it hard is pointless as the two-valve heads can’t flow enough gas. You’re best off just sampling the meat of the midrange. e engine won’t always excite, but it regularly impresses. It’s a real world power unit that’s both easy and pleasurable to use. e owner’s open pipes add to the satisfaction of the ride, and his fitment of a Power

After-market exhaust looks the part, sounds terrific.

Commander could well have contributed to the perfect fuelling. e allure of the Ducati also extends to the behaviour of the chassis. Again, it’s not a case of feeling ‘wow’ at any point, more of a case of ‘hmm, that’s pretty damned good’. Geometry gives a nice balance of agility and stability, and with excellent feedback from the firmly set suspension, trust is a byword on the 900SS. It took me all of two or three corners to feel right at home on the bike, and pushing it harder never felt risky. Steering is

Pat Jones has owned his 900SS for over three years, clocking up half of its near 30,000 recorded miles. He isn’t a typically affluent owner, and had to work to a budget. “I’d been out of biking for over 20 years, I’d fancied a Duke for a while. After my wife bought me a place at a Ducati experience I was hooked. I waited for one to come up at the right price, and luckily got the 900 for just £1000 – even if it was a bit tatty and didn’t really have any service history. “Nevertheless, I made it pretty and got it running well for around £700. Since then I’ve been to France on it twice and use it for general stuff like commuting when the weather’s okay. I’ve only had trouble with it once when a sensor failed and it wouldn’t start. Otherwise it’s been great. “I like the usable low down power, and absolutely love the sound of the pipes I’ve fitted. I reckon I’ll never sell it, and though I’d like a 999 Duke or old classic British or Italian bike, I would have it as well as my 900SS, not instead of it. I love it, for me it’s a keeper.” 93

Modern retro MaINtENaNcE


Only the low bars really compromise the comfort of the Ducati.

Water can get into the fuel tank and rot it from the inside. A good dealer will remove the fuel pump from the tank to clean the fuel filter at the 6000 mile service, so any corrosion should be noted then.


The fuelling of the injected engine is good in standard trim. Fitting aftermarket end cans usually won’t alter its refinement. Even so, fitting a Power Commander will help mpg.







Regular stuff like oil and filter changes can be tackled by anyone smart, and many owners even undertake the more complex stuff like valve clearance checks and cam belt renewals. It can significantly reduce costs.

Braking on the Ducati is good. But as it’s now an old bike, servicing the calipers and fitting braided hoses and new pads will undoubtedly improve them.

Specification DUcatI 900SS Year: 1999 Engine: 904cc, aircooled, 4v, desmo, 90º V-twin Maximum power: 80bhp @ 7500rpm Maximum torque: 59lbft @ 7000rpm Gearbox: Six-speed Final drive: Chain Frame: Steel-tube trellis Suspension: Front: 43mm inverted forks, fully adjustable Rear: monoshock, fully adjustable Brakes: Front: twin 320mm discs, fourpiston calipers Rear: 245mm disc, twin-piston caliper Tyres: Front: 120/70 x 17 Rear: 170/60 x 17 Seat Height: 820mm Wheelbase: 1395mm Dry weight: 188kg Fuel capacity: 16 litres


The low-tech two-valve motor only makes 80bhp. But its relaxed and usable manners are its real advantage. Lovely torquey drive is a joy to use.


The dry clutch is strong and robust. Only severe abuse will make it fail. However, the plates do tend to wear the clutch basket, causing plenty of rattle.

neutral, ground clearance excellent and with decent brakes helping you to moderate speed with confidence the package is impressive enough to have you search for twistier routes. It’s in its element in these zones and generates much pleasure as it makes healthy progress. e only thing I found a bit annoying on occasion was the poor steering lock, and there were times when some better mirrors joined my wish list. But as the rewards from riding the 900SS are so high, just like anything else that ever caused me any irritation, I pretty much forgave them instantly. ere’s too much to like about this Ducati. And though it appeals in an understated fashion, its ability to satisfy shouldn’t be underestimated. It may not be one of the sexy, high profile superbikes that have helped to make the brand so famous, but it’s no lesser a Duke because of it. Being a bit less obvious, doesn’t mean less per se. Certainly not in this case.


You’ll have to be prepared to search for a 900SS as they didn’t sell in big numbers. As this model is well over 10 years old now, you should expect a bit of wear and tear. In saying that, the majority of Ducati owners treat their bikes well and service them regularly so most are in good order. e 900SS is an easy bike to work on at home, so make sure you get evidence to support any service history claims. Intervals are shorter than many modern Japanese bikes, with valve clearances needing to be checked every

The fully adjustable suspension borders on the firm side. But it’s not too harsh and gives excellent feedback to allow you to use more of the 900’s performance in confidence.

Though the finish is more durable than you’d think, it’s nevertheless worth keeping on top of the Duke. Engine alloy and exhaust headers need good care.

Irrespective of the reputation of older Ducatis, the 900SS is a solid bike. As long as it’s been looked after and serviced regularly, then problems are rare.

Short service intervals can really add cost to the 900SS.

6000 miles. Major services at 12,000, including changing the cam belts that’s crucial to reliability, will cost around £500-600 at dealers. Renewing the belts alone costs £150-200. Clutch wear can lead to plates rattling in the basket, but you have to be very abusive to make one slip. e running gear is of sufficiently good quality for issues to be rare and stuff like leaking fork oil seals and seized brake calipers isn’t common. Most owners leave their bikes standard, though fitting open pipes is quite popular. Choose a reputable dealer to look aer your bike, or give good advice for you to do the same and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to rely on your 900SS.

Special virtues Kevin Cameron


’m not happy thinking about the future of the motorcycle. We’ve all seen the recent EU proposal to limit highway vehicles to 70mph. We all know that autonomous (self-driving) vehicles are being actively planned for the future – a future that would not include the motorcycle at all. Electronics – which can potentially provide so much freedom – are also a Trojan horse that brings the following: ■ Interested parties can know where you (or at least your phone or your vehicle) are at all times ■ Your computer-controlled vehicle can rat you out by reporting speeding violations ■ Your computer-controlled vehicle is at this moment constructing its manufacturer’s defence against any future warranty claim you may make, collecting damning information about how you misuse your vehicle. On the other hand, anything e Man can do, clever extra-legal thinkers with computer/electronic skills can also do. We’ve seen the video; someone walks up alongside a nice-looking car in a dimly-lit car park. He is carrying a small box. Blink, the interior lights go on. Click, the doors unlock themselves. Weo-weo, the engine starts. e extralegal operator sits in the driver’s seat and motors away. In at least a digital sense, the car is now his. As unlikely as I once thought this was, I am now having to reconsider more basic motorcycles – ones that are not able to overleap tall buildings in a single cybernetic bound. My first motorcycle – a BSA D1 Bantam – was a pile, I readily admit. But I would be quite happy with, say, a light and agile 250 or 350 single-cylinder machine. It would be okay with me if its electricity came from an alternator with the usual set of rectifier diodes. But otherwise, why couldn’t it be dead simple? One man, one cylinder, a Lucas magneto and an Amal carburettor? I don’t insist on the brands – I just like the sound of the words. But such a simple machine would not have a cellphone chip built into its ECU, which could be interrogated by MI5 or by any other outfit with similarly obscure aims, and made to read off my current position, speed, heading and fuel state. If they so badly wanted to know where I was, they would have to assign an actual plod-in-a-car to dog my wheeltracks in the good old George Smiley manner. If my basic single-cylinder bike had decent ground clearance, I could just deke through a wood and shed my pursuer. en I could enter a state that is becoming less and less likely with every passing day;

Beware The Man, says our Kevin Cameron. Especially if he’s all for this new-fangled electronic stuff. Behind which may lie an extra-legal, dark purpose...

Who is Cameron? Kevin is one of the most widely-respected technical gurus on the planet. Author of some of the most iconic and landmark books in motorcycle publishing, Cameron brings the innermost workings of what goes on in an engine to the fore in an easy-to-access way. Simply put, Kevin Cameron is a genius of all things metal that are fixed to two wheels.

anonymity. Well, yes, I’d still show up on the speed cameras, but people know where they are. Decent folk will quickly remind me that if I am doing nothing wrong, I have nothing to fear. e problem there is that definitions change. What is ‘wrong’? If I am a news reporter or opposition backbencher, making perfectly legal but embarrassing trouble for somebody BIG, am I ‘wrong’ in his or her view? Is there indeed such a thing as truth at all, or is everything a matter of viewpoint? It would not be hard to upload information to my vehicle’s ECU, suggesting that I had visited places I shouldn’t, in order to create what we might call a ‘counterembarrassment’. is restores balance, just as did renaming Windscale as ‘Sellafield’ helped concerned citizens to stop over-thinking the radiation issue. Electronics makes so many new forms of communication possible! Such as the little box in the car park video. I have only one motorcycle at the moment – a 1965 Yamaha TD1-B. Its sparks are not triggered by a Halleffect device, or by magnetic reluctance. ey are triggered by a big crude cam lobe coming up against the phenolic plastic rubbing-block of a contactbreaker set. at’s right folks – a mechanical switch. A rotating magnet induced rapid changes in the magnetisation of iron poles, which in turn caused currents to flow in coils wrapped around them. All this is stuff I did as a lad, sprawled on the blue rug in my room with batteries, nails and magnet wire strewn about. When the mechanical switch was opened by the cam, the coil current was interrupted, and its magnetic field collapsed, inducing current in a second coil, wrapped around the first. Since it had a zillion turns of wire, the result was a brief pulse at a voltage high enough to jump the gap in an NGK B10EN spark plug. It wasn’t a very good ignition, but it didn’t rat me out to the FBI, MI5 or NSA. It existed to serve me, not some extra-legal external entity. I find that attractive now. I think I may go up to the shop and find that Hitachi MC2RY magneto and bring it down to the house so I can admire its special virtues. 95

The Collection

“I’ve got...

...Barry Sheene’S, randy MaMola’S and Graziano roSSi’S race Bike!”

An almost anonymous businessman from Northampton has one passion above all else. And it’s led to a private collection of the world’s finest old Suzuki race bikes. Unusual chap. Amazing collection. words: Malc Wheeler and Tony carter photography: Joe dick and Stephen davison




teve Wheatman isn’t a flash chap. Meet him in the pub and you could never guess what lies behind his garage doors. Steve is a very private person, almost shy among strangers, and completely unassuming. But he also has the quiet confidence of a self-made man. But get him talking about incredibly rare metal and his passion rushes to the surface. Growing up with a developing interest in racing, around the time of the glory days of Barry Sheene and Suzuki on the world stage, le a lasting impression on the 49-year-old. But way back then, having le school at 15 to work in Barclays bank, he could have had no idea that one day he would own a genuine Sheene Suzuki, along with scores more factory racers. Although he had always had bikes, like the rest of us Steve had sold one to buy the next, but with a bit of money coming back in from an investment in a business in Nigeria (yes!) he set about tracking down the RG500 road bike he had owned and sold. Aer a successful search the cornerstone of his current impressive collection was laid: “I guess it’s a bit like Friends Reunited trying to find your first bike. People

use it to find their first girlfriend, but I think finding your first bike is likely to give you a lot more pleasure and cause you a lot less trouble.” With the collecting bug biting hard, thankfully wife Sandra was very supportive, especially when Steve sold a couple of bikes that didn’t quite fit the bill and made a handsome profit, Steve enlisted the help of Steve Griffiths to help him track down genuine ex-factory race bikes. “At first Steve warned me against trying to start collecting factory XRs, rather than easier to buy and maintain RGs, but with my mind made up he used all his contacts, especially in Italy, and I can’t thank him enough.” Like any addiction, once you’ve started there is little chance of going back. “Once people knew (I was building a collection) they came to me, and I think in just three years I have bought pretty much all the factory bikes that are out there, from Italy, Japan, and the USA.” With such a precious and valuable collection you would forgive Wheatman if the bikes were locked away in an air conditioned workshop for his own pleasure, but nothing could be further from his mind. As he says: “I’m keen for people to see and enjoy the bikes in action, and whenever possible reunited with the original rider. I don’t want to see them locked away in cellars and in time every bike in the collection will be running.”

TOP: Steve Wheatman and just part of his amazing collection of some of the most exotic motorcycles ever built. ABOVE: The bikes take some tinkering to keep them in fine form. 97

Pick a favourite “My favourite bike? It changes all the time. At the moment it’s the Tepi Lansivuori TR750 XR11,” Steve says with obvious enthusiasm: “The bike is the sister bike to the TR750 on which Barry Sheene had his massive Daytona accident in 1975.” History says that it was a tyre delaminating that caused Sheene’s crash, something the tyre company always refuted and perhaps Lansivuori’s version of events prove them correct. “In the race Tepi had exactly the same problem when he was leading,” confirms Steve: “But the problem was caused by a chain tensioner which broke and damaged the tyre.”

Stan WoodS/Percy tait rG500 Mk.1 – Xr14

Barry Sheene Factory Xr27

Model year – 1976 BHP – 100 MaxiMuM SPeed – 170mph

Model year – 1979 BHP – 125 MaxiMuM SPeed – 180mph

Former Suzuki team mechanic, Paul Boulton, is kept busy keeping the Wheatman collection running.

Steve Wheatman has a so spot for Mk.1 RG500s, he has at least four in his collection, but this is his favourite. Originally supplied to Suzuki GB in 1976, the XR14 was allocated to team rider Percy Tait for the North West 200, in which he finished third. Aer Tait crashed heavily in the TT (in the Production race) the 500 was passed to Stan Woods and he went on to win the Ulster Grand Prix on it. e bike remained with Suzuki GB for the following season and was then sold on to Frank Kennedy, who took it to victory in the 1978 Irish Road Race Championship.

is is one of the XR27 machines used by British hero Barry Sheene. e bike uses the modified frame originally used on the oversize 650cc XR23B machines. Despite Sheene’s best efforts he could only manage third in the World Championship, victory going to his arch rival Kenny Roberts, and at the end of the season Sheene le to ride for Yamaha in 1980. Most remarkable was the increase in bhp output over a short time frame. In 1977, just two years before, Sheene’s bike made ‘just’ 108bhp and squeezed that useful power into a powerband of just 3500rpm from 7000 to 10,500rpm. But it did top the scales at 135kg!

Graziano roSSi Factory Xr34M1

Marco lucchinelli Factory Xr34h

Barry Sheene/randy MaMola Factory Xr35/40

Model year – 1980 BHP – 128 MaxiMuM SPeed – 180mph

Model year – 1980 BHP – 128 MaxiMuM SPeed – 180mph

Model year – 1981 BHP – 120 MaxiMuM SPeed – 180mph

As rare as you like, with only two known to be in existence, both of which are in Steve Wheatman’s collection. is is the first of the Full-Floater monoshock XRs, which le the factory in late 1980. is bike was provided by Team Gallina for Graziano Rossi, father of Valentino. Graziano Rossi had considerable success in the Grands Prix with this bike, finishing fih in the final World Championship standings, having finished second in the Dutch TT at Assen, third in Misano and fourth at both Paul Ricard and Silverstone.

Italian bad boy Marco Lucchinelli used this Gallina run XR34H for the first five Grands Prix, on his way to third place in the 1980 World Championship, before going two places better the following year. On the last of the twinshock bikes; the Full-Floater suspension arrived later that season, Marco qualified on pole at Misano and Paul Ricard and had podiums in Spain, France and Belgium on this XR34H, which still boasts matching engine and frame numbers. Having spent a long period in a private collection in California the bike was restored to racing condition by Steve and his team.

Amazingly, when Barry Sheene returned to the Suzuki squad in 1981 he was welcomed back with standard RG500 Mk.8s and not full factory XR machinery. Eventually he was supplied with Randy Mamola hand-me-downs in the form of this XR35/40, on which the American had secured second place in the 1981 World Championship. e bike turned into something of a bitza, with the lightweight aluminium XR35 chassis and the engine upgraded using XR40 parts. Still sporting its original bodywork, the bike holds a unique place in racing history.


In the GaraGe

noRMan BRown RG500 Mk.7

BaRRy SHeene/Randy MaMola XR45

Randy MaMola TeaM Gallina HB XR45

Model year – 1982 BHP – 120 MaxiMuM sPeed – 175mph

Model year – 1983 BHP – 125 MaxiMuM sPeed – 185

Model year – 1983 BHP – 120 MaxiMuM sPeed – 185mph

No ordinary RG500 this one, it is the machine on which rising Irish star Norman Brown won the Senior TT in his debut year, lapping at over 110mph. e RG500 was supplied to prolific Irish sponsor Hector Neil, who is still heavily involved in racing running the Relentless by TAS Suzuki team, by Rex White of Suzuki GB. Norman also set the fastest lap in the same year at the North West 200, an incredible 122mph. Tragically, Norman Brown was killed in a freak accident during the British Grand Prix the following season while riding a different Suzuki.

One of the bikes used by Barry Sheene in his final season of Grand Prix racing in 1984, this XR45 had previously seen active service in the hands of Randy Mamola when he finished third in the title chase. For most of the season Sheene used a Harris framed XR45, which forms part of his family’s collection in Australia. e Wheatman bike still sports Sheene’s original and unrestored DAF Trucks livery. Handed back to Suzuki GB at the end of the GP season, in which Sheene finished sixth, it was mechanically restored by factory mechanics. is is the last factory Suzuki which Barry rode.

In the quest to match the Honda triples Suzuki built this ultra light XR45 for team member Randy Mamola. But they had taken things beyond the limit and only ran the bike in the early season GPs in South Africa and France, before reverting to a modified 1982 XR40 chassis, before a much improved XR45 chassis became available later in the season. Evidence of just how far the desire for weight saving went is clear in the fuel tank, which is of such thin gauge aluminium that it had to have the pressing in the side added to stop it being deformed each time Mamola climbed off the side.

RoB MCelnea HeRon SUzUki CaRBon XR45

FRanCo UnCini TeaM Gallina HB XR45

FRankie CHili/dave PeTeRSon FaCToRy XR70Rv

Model year – 1984 BHP – 130 MaxiMuM sPeed – 185mph

Model year – 1985 BHP – 135 MaxiMuM sPeed – 195mph

Model year – 1986 BHP – 145 MaxiMuM sPeed – 200mph

One of only six carbon composite chassis made during the 1984 season by the Heron Suzuki squad, the XR45 powered machine was raced by Rob McElnea and Australian Paul Lewis. Designed by Nigel Leaper, of Ciba-Geigy, the chassis, this one is number four of six, used car race technology. e engine is an ex-Barry Sheene power valve XR45. It is believed that only three of the carbon XRs survive today. is is one bike in the Wheatman collection which won’t be used on track again; no one knows how ageing affects the carbon.

is XR45 power valve was used by the Gallina team for Franco Uncini’s final Grand Prix season. By 1985 the Suzuki was outpaced by the Honda and Yamaha and Uncini and team-mate Sito Pons had a disappointing season. Uncini also used the XR45 in the Imola 200 and it is restored in the team livery from that race. At the end of the year Uncini retired from the sport and Gallina sold the bike to Team Greco which provided it for Marco Marchesani for a few, largely unsuccessful, GP outings.

One of the last square four power valve factory bikes. is XR70RV was campaigned by both Frankie Chili and South African Dave Peterson. Following separate practice crashes at the British Grand Prix in 1986, the team was le with just one serviceable machine, which is this one. Dave Peterson got the British Grand Prix ride and the bike has his chassis with Chili’s engine. is XR70RV was also acquired by Team Greco for the 1987 season.. 99

Throwing down

the gauntlet Earlier this year, James Hillier made history by lapping the TT at 119mph on a mini twin and 131mph on a superbike. A proven race winner, he’s promoted himself to that elite band of TT heroes. words: Bruce Wilson photography: Stephen Davison / Jon Jessop

The pressure goes when I get on a bike… ere’s simply no time to think about anything other than the road you’re racing. e TT takes 100% concentration at all times. e upside of that is you leave every other thought in your mind behind from the first turn of the wheel. I can’t pretend the pressure hasn’t stepped up a level recently. I guess with better results come more expectations. People expect me to be scrapping it out with the guys at the front and I am well aware of that. Naturally, that’s my goal. e truth is I know what I can do and there’s still a lot more to come. Every lap I learn and that learning has been reflected in my results. I’m ready to race with the best. The TT’s my challenge… I find it hard to explain just what it means to me, but it’s consuming. I couldn’t imagine not racing there. It’s a big part of my life and I’m hooked by it to the extent that it feels like a drug and there’s no rehab for it. You see the old guys coming back year aer year with no less enthusiasm. I don’t know how long it will have such a hold over me, but right now the thought of not coming back the next year is inconceivable. I’m going to keep doing this for as long as I enjoy it. The Mountain’s the hardest part of the track… It’s difficult to learn because there are so few solid reference points. A lot of the corners are blind and very fast. It’s taken me a huge amount of time to trust myself up there, to just let the bike flow underneath me and to hold off from wanting to rein things in out of sheer fear. At times it feels like you’re sprinting flat-out in the dark, not knowing whether you’re on firm ground or about to run off the edge of a cliff. It’s a real test of nerve. To help me better myself, I’ve taught myself to relax more and to trust the track. ere is no other way. There’s still loads to come from the mini twins… Just before I went out for the mini twin race I sat down with Guy Martin, who asked me what I was hoping to lap at on the little 650? e previous best had been a 115mph average, so I thought a 117mph would be achievable. When I got back in and found out I’d done

Newcomers, like Josh Brookes, rock up and go quick, but I question how safe their riding is... 100

a 119mph I was blown away. e scary thing was I knew the bike had so much more to give. On my last lap I was so paranoid that the Kawasaki was making funny noises that I throttled off over the Mountain section. I was desperate to cross the line and knew I had time in the bag to take things easy and survive the distance. ankfully, it did just that, but I regretted not being able to give it everything on that last lap. Looking ahead to the future, I know the bike is going to be even better for 2014 and I’m hoping to up my game also. I’m pretty sure we’ll be lapping in the 120s next time. I feel most comfortable on a superbike… I’m not quite sure why. It just suits me in size and I like the speed. Four laps on one of the little bikes can be quite painful. I get a lot of aches and cramp on the smaller options, which is probably why I’m not as fond of them. I also find the smaller bikes more challenging to ride. All of my markers are relevant to big bike speeds, so riding anything less means I have to recalibrate my mind and ride past that point where I should have started braking. Some people prefer things this way round as the ride is a lot less physical, but for me it’s more mentally draining. Staying safe is my priority… e TT’s an unforgiving place and I’ve seen it bite a lot of people over the years. I made a conscious decision when I started riding it to take my time and learn my way around properly. It’s taken me six years to win a TT, but I’m comfortable with the place and know it well enough. You see some newcomers, like Josh Brookes, who’ll rock up and set a blistering time, but I question how safe their riding is. I wouldn’t want to be on the back of guys like that. e secret to speed on the island is riding it smoothly and in control. Riding aggressively is only going to end in tears. I never planned to race the TT… I always liked the place, but my focus was elsewhere. I went over for the first time in 1997. My dad took me with him and I had a great time. In 2000 I went again to race mini motos on the Prom, but still it didn’t jump out at me. Years later, when I was racing short circuits in the UK, I was offered the chance by the TT organisers to have a trip over and check it out. I went with Ollie Bridewell and we had an awesome time. I was in awe and knew there and then that I would need to go back and race it the following year, which I did in 2008. I’ve never looked back.

One tO One 101

Kawasaki Z650

RazOR shaRp sportbike of its day In 1977 this bike was billed as proper quick. Able to blow bigger bikes into the weeds. And it’s got a proper cool pedigree too. Built by the man who made the Z1, no less.

words: Roland Brown photoGrAphY: Oli Tennent


The 652cc, twin-cam air-cooled engine was virtually a small-scale version of the iconic Z1000 lump.


awasaki’s advertising copywriters didn’t hold back when the Z650 was launched back in speed-hungry 1977. ‘Right out of the crate it will outperform any 750 in the world,’ bragged the ads in American magazines. Elsewhere the Z650 was marketed as ‘a sports machine that is more than a match for 750s – and a whole lot of fun to run’. ey were right about the fun, even if the 750-beating performance claims turned out to be exaggerated. e Kawasaki was indeed competitive with existing bikes from the 750cc class; the likes of Honda’s CB750 four and Suzuki’s GT750 triple. It certainly had the legs on less powerful twins such as BMW’s R75, Yamaha’s XS-1, Triumph’s T140 Bonneville and the Big K’s own Z750. Kawasaki hadn’t planned on coming up against Suzuki’s GS750, which was launched at the same time, and was slightly more powerful and generally faster. But as Kawasaki’s copywriters would doubtless have said, why let the facts get in the way of a good advertising line? Besides, they weren’t stretching the truth too far. e Z650 was the Ninja ZX-6R 636 of its day: a sporty four with heaps of attitude, a unique capacity and enough pace to compete with plenty of bigger bikes. e Z650 was designed by a team headed by Gyoichi ‘Ben’ Inamura, famed creator of the Z1. Its straight-line performance came from a 652cc, twin-cam, eight-valve air-cooled engine that was in many ways a small-scale version of Kawasaki’s mighty Z1000 unit. But the smaller motor incorporated some notable technical differences, including its one-piece forged cranksha and primary drive by central chain (the bigger engine used a pressed crank and gear primary drive). e 652cc unit was also notable for pioneering the ‘shims-under-buckets’ valve operating layout that is still widely used today. e design negated the possibility of a shim being spat out at high revs, which occasionally happened with Kawasaki’s bigger four. e drawback was that cams had to be removed for adjustment, albeit less frequently. Claimed peak power was 64bhp at

Simple lines, hit 8500rpm though and it’s top power.

8500rpm – which as well as being up on those 750cc twins, matched the output of Yamaha’s new XS750 triple. Kawasaki’s performance claims stemmed from the fact that the 650 was lighter and more compact than its bigger-engined rivals. Weighing 218kg with a part-full tank of fuel, it had a 20kg advantage over the CB750 and GT750. e Z650’s twin-cradle tubular steel frame was a scaled-down version of the Z1000’s similar trellis. Like the bigger bike the 650 had wire wheels in 19in front, 18in rear sizes. Braking was by a single front disc and rear drum. Styling was very derivative of the Z1000, particularly in the rounded fuel tank and trademark duck-tail rear end. One welcome difference was the Z650’s almost flat handlebar layout, in contrast to the higher, wider bars that were ill-suited to the litre-bike. Although the 650’s footrests were placed quite far forward, the overall riding position was sporty by 1970’s standards, giving plenty of room and a slight lean forward to the controls. at was useful when Kawasaki invited journalists to the first UK press launch of a Japanese bike, at the Ingliston circuit and on the surrounding roads near Edinburgh. As John Nutting, tester for weekly paper Motor Cycle, noted: “You can skim through bends much more confidently than the Z900 or Z1000 would ever allow, and with none of the gut-churning high-speed wobbles that still mark the Z1000 as a bike to be respected when the going gets hot.” 103

Specification KAwAsAKi Z650 Year: (1977) Bike supplied by RAP Superbikes, Engine: Air-cooled dohc, 8-valve transverse four Displacement: 652cc Bore x stroke: 62 x 54mm Compression ratio: 9.5:1 Carburation 4 x 24mm Mikunis Claimed power: 64bhp @ 8500rpm Transmission: 5-speed Electrics: 12v battery; 45/40W headlamp Frame: Tubular steel cradle Front suspension: Telescopic, no adjustment Rear suspension: Twin shock absorbers, adjustable preload Front brake: Single 244mm disc Rear brake: 178mm sls drum Front tyre: 3.25 x 19in Rear tyre: 4.00 x 18in Wheelbase: 1435mm Seat height: 800mm Fuel capacity: 17 litres Weight: 218kg wet

Good forks give stability even when flat out.


Above: Come on, that’s cool! right: Kick-start and carbs are very much of the time, and good for 115mph.

Over in the States, Cycle World journalists had a slightly more glamorous testing trip to Bonneville salt flats, where the KZ650, as it was called there, recorded about 115mph; and then to a road and track test at Fuji in Japan. Cook Neilson, editor of Cycle, joined racers including Wes Cooley and Keith Code in setting a bunch of speed records on the Daytona banking. Riding bored out, 720cc Zeds fitted with half-fairings, they took the FIM/AMA record for 100km at 133.6mph, and also averaged just over 117mph for 24 hours, another record. at helped give the Z650 an aggressive image in the US but the bike didn’t require such stunts to become popular in Europe. In its heyday the Zed was oen modified with even flatter bars, a four-into-one pipe and aermarket shocks. Sometimes, too, by removal of the rear mudguard, which gave a neat, cut-down appearance (and a dirty stripe up the rider’s back when it rained). at image suited the bike’s character because by the standards of the day the Z650 was a sportster. Midrange response was reasonable but to get the best from the Kawasaki you had to ignore the tingling vibration at high revs, and keep its engine spinning between 6000rpm and the 9000rpm redline. Riding fast on the Z650 required commitment: lots of revs, frequent gearchanges, muscle at the handlebars in the twisty bits, and a heavy hand on the brake lever. When you put in the effort, though, the Zed responded in a manner that suggested Kawasaki copywriters had not been too far out. It was quick off the

Rapid response and instant swervability are the Z650’s strong suits line, cruised effortlessly at an indicated 90mph, and could manage an indicated 120mph. Ridden hard, it was a genuinely rapid machine that gave away little even to the biggest Japanese superbikes of the day. Straight-line stability was fine even when flat-out, which in 1977 came as a welcome surprise to those who’d ridden some of this bike’s Z900 and Z1000 predecessors. Hard cornering could provoke a little bit of uncertainly from the rear shocks, but under normal use the Kawasaki’s fairly firm suspension kept both ends well under control. As one tester put it at the time: “Rapid response and instant swervability are the Z650’s strong suits. e duplex cradle frame retains its rigidity and strength on even the hardest cornering, and as I dropped lower and lower trying to find the scratching point, the more I marvelled at how Kawasaki have come up with a delightful little number.” e Z650 was also respectably roomy and comfortable, despite the tingles and the lack of a grab-rail for the pillion, who at least got a typically large dual-seat to share. For a four-cylinder bike the Zed was also relatively cheap to buy (£1075


against the Z1000’s £1500 in 1977) and economical on fuel and tyres. It was a very handy bike for a typical younger rider’s blend of commuting to work in the week, scratching round the lanes at the weekend, and occasional touring with a pillion and a bundle of luggage. Just a year later, in 1978, Kawasaki produced a follow-up model, the Z650C, sometimes referred to as the Custom. is featured silver paint, polished engine cases, revised forks, cast wheels and a second front disc. It looked good and its extra stopping power was welcome. But the Zed’s relatively small capacity and sporty nature were not enough to make it a hit in the important American market. at was confirmed by the appearance of the following year’s Z650SR, a so factory custom with high bars, small tank, longer forks, fat rear tyre and detuned engine. ose mods succeeded in attracting more American cruiser fans. But the original Z650’s twin assets of performance and practicality were lacking in the SR, along with its much hyped potential for giant killing. e Z650 remained in production for several more years in a confusing variety of model names and types. Along the way it gained an initially unreliable automatic camchain tensioner with the B3 model in 1979, a HyVo camchain with 1980’s version of the SR model, plus sintered brake pads and needle-roller swingarm bearings. By the time production ended in 1983 the

faithful 652cc four had gained an electronic ignition and black-finished engine, and lost the kick-start. By that time Kawasaki’s sporty new stars came from the red-painted air-cooled GPz range, with 550 and 750cc models backing up the fiery GPz1100 flagship. But the Z650 had endeared itself to a generation of riders. And it had establisheda Kawasaki tradition of building a middleweight four with unconventional engine capacity – which is still being upheld three decades later.

WhaT’s iT like To ride?

On an enjoyable aernoon spent hacking down A-roads and country lanes on the Z650, using the slick five-speed gearbox to keep the motor spinning hard, it was easy to see how Kawasaki’s mid-sized four earned its reputation for big-bike performance. Despite this 1977-model Zed’s age it still felt eager, unburstable and fun to ride. On the open road the Kawasaki cruised at 80mph with ease, its leaning-into-the-wind riding position meaning I stayed relatively comfortable. is elderly bike was happy to accelerate to an indicated 90mph or even a ton. No wonder the Z650 appealed to performance hungry younger riders of the late 1970s. e Kawa was rather low-geared, though, showing 7000rpm at 90mph in top. is and the four-pot motor’s high-pitched vibration contributed to a rather busy feel at speed, blurring the mirrors, dislodging a side-panel and making my hands and feet tingle slightly aer half an hour of fast cruising.

Top: Firm-ish suspension gave the Z650 a great quality of ride, even when pushed hard. 105

Reflections HAndlebArs

petrol tAnk

The Z650s flattish one-piece bar gave a sportier, more ‘European’ riding position than that of the faster Z1000

Front brAke

The Zed’s small, 244mm disc and single-piston caliper was uprated with a second disc with the 1978-model Z650C

The rounded tank and rear ducktail echoed the style that Kawasaki’s mighty Z1 had established on its launch in 1973


The 652cc eight-valve unit made a handy 64bhp, tingled at higher revs but had the strength typical of a Kawasaki four

is nicely preserved bike’s only other flaw was a slight carburation fault that made the motor run erratically at low revs, and caused a few embarrassing stalls at the traffic lights until I learned to keep blipping the throttle. at glitch was typical of a low-mileage classic (this US import had only 25,000 on the clock) that had been sitting around for a few years, though not of a new Z650, which would have idled smoothly and accelerated cleanly from as low as 2000rpm. However light and compact the Z650 was by 1977 Superbike standards, in comparison with a modern middleweight it inevitably felt heavy and as manoeuvrable as a brontosaurus. Its low bars required a firm hoick for quick direction changes, though at least the Kawa held its line pretty well in corners, helped by the Hagon shocks that were its only significant departure from standard. at’s unless you count its relatively new tyres, Chen Shins from Taiwan, which gave more than enough grip to find the fairly modest limits of the Zed’s ground-clearance. e front brake was less impressive, requiring a very firm pull – and preferably some assistance from the rear drum – to make the Kawasaki slow down in a hurry.

WHAt tHey cost

When it was new the Z650 was something of a poor boy’s Z1000, and all these years later that’s still the case. While good examples of the big four typically cost around £10,000, a Z650 in similar condition would cost roughly half that figure. “It’s a bit of a cult bike and well worth restoring,” says Tony Galea of RAP Superbikes in north London (, who provided this Kawasaki. “You can find them a fair bit cheaper than that, but if you pay £1000 for a Z650 you’ll probably spend a lot more to get it to decent condition.” 106



The generous dual-seat was expected even on a sporty middleweight in the 1970s, but unlike some rivals the Zed didn’t come with a grab-rail

Traditional steel tube design was nothing special but the 650’s relatively modest output helped it handle better than the Z1000

WHAt to look out For

reAr suspension

This bike’s Hagon shocks are a typical departure from standard, and helped give decent handling by 1970’s Japanese standards

e mid-sized Zed’s design was pretty sound but that doesn’t mean it didn’t have a few problems over the years. e early troubles with the automatic camchain tensioner should have been resolved long ago, but the camchain design is complex, involving a series of jockey wheels. “Some of those cost £70 each so if they all need doing you’re looking at £200 just for that,” says Galea. e later, HyVo type camchain is longer lasting. Particular weak spots are the starter clutch, which normally necessitates splitting the engine cases to fix; and the rear brake disc of C and D models, which is prone to cracking. Oil leaks from the cylinder head and camsha end rubbers were common. Other typical problems are more general with 30-year-old bikes, especially ones that have been ridden and maintained irregularly. Carbs can clog up, and the plain bearing crank can suffer if the oil level is allowed to drop. “Sometimes the valve stem seals go hard, or the bores corrode,” says Galea. In either case you should get a warning from a smoky engine.

Above: If you’re in the market for one of these bikes and can find one with the original exhaust in this sort of condition then bag it. A rare find.


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Mike 351141; 01622 silver, 2003, round condition, VESPA VX125 2013, give that jacket size approx Tel. 07802 125 Marauder 07770 987038. 32", average Derbyshire. 4 s steel rad good clean all ono. Tel. 01942 still 17,000k, t&t Sept off and try size approx at cost. Tel. 700S DCT, only day damage etc, 735456. Kent. BEOWULF stainlesBandit GSF HONDA NC some s/h, £2650 mls, big brute a condition (no Suffolk. £1100 ovno. £25. Tel. 07847 TENERE 13 plate, 1500 5 1986 model, cover for Suzuki Tel. 0789 790486. Gtr Man. T ST 995, months old, something small, . Bucks. and plenty of life left), ts. ono. HONDA MTX12 YAMAHA SUPER ABS, Givi rack 1250, £40 then extensively te bike for spares TRIUMPH SPRIN condition, /P RS D/L elec Tel. 07812 959906 407463. Northan750 FL/M/N centre stand, ono. 9 stored 19 years 660cc comple two new tyres, original SAKI 400 GPZ HONDA CB250 from met, £5500 4078815. Notts.R Trelgo, fully t&t, many new parts, 2001, immac 4 883R,A06VFR 2 X WE KAWA and tax, 1985, topbox, silver orig cond apart full ap XLHOND or repair, £395; fuelSPORT STER rebuilt using exc remote years, long pump/t . Cornwall. 700S DCT, only start,(non BIKE TRAILE weight 350kg, relive your rear & shock, owned 10 grips, H/D 400R, full MoT in storage, £695; HONDA NC new batt accept mls, . S Yorks. 1977 .vgc, Nitron t&t, £800 to gross respoked rims, Tel. 01736 874646 will heated info sed, . 2/1, 390667 900SD new, mths’ H miles, s, more galvani £400 01302 been Motad 13 plate, 1500 and and 6,500 5 1986 model, DARMA 01670 851392 £2150. , s/s and Ielectric needs tlc, type), cost . Photosreg, DUCAT months old, and spare motor models Tel. 07817 T ST 955i 52, troublewith HONDA MTX12 C2, needs coil teens!! Tel. Jim very good tyres 6. Herts. ABS, Givi rack test, 14k, c/w platform last of the carb £24007816 style, bevel gear + £15 postage then extensively TRIUMPH SPRINnew, vgc, fsh horn, 106259 RS D/L elec Racer no 2 WE ZX400 g over for MoT, ism and for lot. Tel. Jim Cafe centre stand, Tel. berland. ono. CB250 Tel. 0781 mechan 17,700 £825 9 stored 19 years rack. from Northum parts, new tipping checkin back HONDA valves, , Glam. owner & met, £5500 other 06 one fit Tel. loading pack and dromic 762804. berland. many new parts, exhaust cond apart from MoT, recent topbox, silver ER BELT. Northum STER XL 883R, & rebuilt using project, £350. new red, one owner for easy bikeDesmo . Cornwall. start, exc orig full and 01670 851392 and bills, Sorn, not used for to relive your on H/D SPORT unresto rackvgc ideal winter NEW BMW LEATH 236265. N Yorks miles, respoked rims, Tel. 01736 874646 vgc, new batt BMW rondel . Armagh. . two garaged, MoT. mths’ t&t, £800 galvanised bike H 900SD 1977 Motad 2/1, and battery and tyres, er, d/-bubble 07849 876510 O Factory 660, can carryalways up to 40 waist present, £12 inc reg, 6,500 miles, 01670 851392 s/s DUCATI DARMA bevel gear with spare motor O carb models, jockey wheel,fromal1978, good . Essex teens!! Tel. Jim rack,373439 test, 14k, c/w commuting, Scottoil APRILIA PEGASvgc, MoT 5/14, buckle, unused 01287 651116 ROBIN/RIALT horn, last of the Racer style, . lot. Tel. Jim addition 07816 King bar risers, T for Cafe 01708 with Tel. Sky berland Tel. 17,700 £825 mls, Tel. RELIAN rack. bikes Eric rack, engine, Northum parts, valves, screen, . seat, as in other be seen.. 2008, 3500 p&p. Tel. exhaust & back keys & books, tool kit under Desmodromic . N Yorks. . Northumberland spares wanted the 1990s era condition, must . Dorset. v red, one owner NWS hugger, Rfl 11/13, 2 coded K&N filter & 07747 675016 motorcycle, all 01670 851392 from 236265. N Yorks not in use, miles, vgc unresto except fit to but gearbox etc, Paul 01202 882857 garaged when £1200 ono Tel. standard bike filter just done, SAT NAV to tions etc, full kit, 1978, always garaged, MoT. CRASH BARS s! (we are brave!) non & from for a rebuild BMW REAR . reluctant sale, Middx. red, even gel seat, oil . Essex fittings, connec Garmin Street precious panneras 15,000 . 01361 884222 anything considetrailer away.. Tel. protect those Tel. 01708 373439 ER6F 2008, 07970 527841 £2800 ono. Tel. been on a BMW, in original box, 2010 RT 1200, Tel. KAWASAKI 660cc, 2012, ,2 history, ABS, runners and canwith details price Came from YAMAHA MT03 n, warranty, 350cc, 2-stroke 7k, sell £80. Berks. Pilot 2610/2650,car connec-tions miles, full servicevgc, great bike white, 2011, JAWA SPORT -in 01205 260874 new, cost £210,Herts. reg, t&t, ono excellent conditio ler, careful running BMW F800 GS all manuals etc, 01274 584095 6. 125,; black, 08 heated grips, r p/x, £4250 , h/grips, Scottoi mths’ old, 5600 ycle etc.. Lincs. 0781 106259 I RM full fairing, £85. , Tel. HONDA XL £2600 Tel. 07985 may conside ABS, c/stand months' tax, one too, Shadow 3,615 miles, 90+ 6. Bristol. D 1980 SUZUK 174 HH rear motorc Yorks. official import, as new, in regular use, 15,000 FA W . 9 immac, 750DC Tel. 409172 , Tel. WANTE . EBC miles, s/h, VT £15. 0777 582922 tax/MoT helmet, old man’s toy, ER6F 2008, ed, Tel. full BMW 07771 front wheel, £3700, STAR 2002, May 14, KAWASAKI , A-6,and HONDA black 077559. Bucks £6500. Tel. 07984 ,2 125 forks brake pads, unopen V-Tech Oct, MoT 07906 rear rack, cost history, ABS, ERT S2 YAMAHA ROYALmetallic silver, taxor31 mpg, at 65mph owner bike, SCHUB box, 258312 350cc, 2-stroke 5. Notts. VFR 800F 9673008. Bristol. Mustang54-55cm, in theand on 016332003, miles, full servicevgc, great bike gloves, no offers. rd sports/ Peter 0789 407881 HONDA JAWA SPORT -in £2950. Tel. 0117 standa small reg, Venture TF, 2-tone low t&t, rt. miles, vgc, extras free helmet the 512433 after 526376. Surrey. size c/bars, plate, ABS, 1997 57 careful running 4,500 .. Newpo til Mar 14, taxed, 125, black, 08 heated grips, £1000 extras, h twice, bought 622247 FIRESTORM 2007,rear shock, mths’ old, 5600 from new, ENFIELDchrome Tel. 01263 33k miles, MoT HONDA XL BMW F800S worn only £2600 Tel. 07985 , import, full fairing, p/x Triump red, 2.474s,milesWANTE D ROYAL seat plus orig,87 Tel. as£2200. 3,615 miles, 90+ cassette, ipod/CD new, cost £449, tourer, in regular use, seat £3200. size, silencers, pipes 750DC Shadow miles, official p LU/592 trim, wrong full s/h, radio c condition, new s, clip-on Norfolk tax/MoT, immac, old man’s toy, miles, vgc, £4750 full s/h, alarm,twin headlam 6pm. half price HONDA VT 14, £3700, as new, MoT, chrome radiator than 667905. N Lincs. , A-6, turbo arks, 11 mths’ footrests, linkage 077559. Bucks 13 yrs,no chips/m sprock Oct, MoT May g rear rack, cost see Waleswill sell for less player, fantasti and852597 . et the stored cond, 500. Tel. 07780 mpg, at 65mph VFR 800F V-Tech Tel. 07946 2003, tax 31 no offers. 9673008. Bristol. pipes, dry brakes, first to brake drum 01248 exc 1984, a GS for Mustan HONDA 0117 p&p. new gloves, plus brake 0117 Tel. Lincs. cowl, sports/ . and tyre, will extras R80ST Tel. rear £2950. ABS, Norfolk No. 37471. 602257 BMW £200 free helmet 595342.49t ono. Tel. 07972 classic, good 4,500 miles, vgc, part 01945600, 512433 after 2007, 57 plate, £165. Tel. 07505 £5200. chrome c/bars, will buy, £5000 Street and a future miles, £3395. 484209. W Yorks. miles from new, SR 125 XJ £2200. Tel. 01263 monokey frame seat plus orig, Tel. 25k 9568938. Bristol. GS, GZ 125, tourer, red, 2.474 739825. W Mids. TENERE Big trim, £3200. will post. Tel. alarm, seat original cond, TOP BOX and £110 6pm. Norfolk . Powys. XJ6, as new, 11 mths’ MoT, full s/h, chrome radiator FZR 600, 3HE,Suffolk. arks, YAMAHA SUPER has been Tel. 01547 550658 PH pre-unit to fit Yamaha 622062. Lancs. . . Wales cond, no chips/m TRIUM 07770 987038 leather Gortex 01248 852597 Thumper, 660cc, as exc EXCHANGE ono. Tel. 07857 s for S known cowl, to petrol pump 595342. Norfolk 1957 onward IXS SKAR lli LIGHT 125cc, standing due recommisoning, £5200. 01945 petrol tank, TWO BIKE STANDsolid ramp, trousers, unworn 1000 Gianne n, KEEWAY SUPER a 1954/5 Triumph and motorcycle 1998, may APRILIA RSV good conditio failure.will need 650 similar tank for bike grabs for transporting , size 38-40 (euro ZZR 600 E6, 2004 model, tyres and heated 12 months’ old, till June 2014, have a Duplex Xmas present KAWASAKI Tel. 0789 Titanium can, used has two new spares or repairs, 2014, no Tel. S 650 A7F, pre-unit; also mainly used splitVERSY willAKI like to swop £100 ono. till end July mileage, taxed as models, good Tel. . £150 would low 58), MoT selling top other ycles, 479338 vgc, just fit grips, Nacelle motorc KAWAS +44 7970 + £11 p&p. 1062596. Herts. service done, top.. Tel. 07443 Big wheel, 3. Devon. 4078815. Notts. 6k, long t&t, hugger, £1250 ono Tel. condition, £140KAWAS tax, just had black, £395. Tel. 0781 LIGHT 125cc, AKI KX85 0781 605846 for 1955 5T 01639 2007,ERS helmet KZ550 H1 engine,n ion, 125 black, miles, Tel. pipe, and n, KEEWAY SUPER KAWASAKI r, tank protect 3055692. Notts. TRATIO W Mids N'S LEATH Ndep WOMA unknow A1, 1984, 0785 YAMAHA YBR n, 2100 miles, 1998, 550 over 14,900 n 438187. S Yorks. S new tyres, good conditio full face 2 keys, tool kit, Fender extende conditio 100cc REGISkit fitted, underu AKIr..GPZX ZZR 600 E6, sed and Scorpio Tel. 1982, KAWAS , 12 months’ old, till June 2014, tax JCA KAWASAKI no excellent conditio owner, great 07/14, SHED HONDA CB500 new battery and gloves, 700728. Glam - R6fitted to collecto XS, no MoT CHERI A7F, bling Alphado taxed sizet security for sale 07759 miles, one end July 2014, ets, to race therefore free 59,750 . ts. VERSYS 650 low mileage, (Exo 400), cond, and R6other for Yamaha year's tax, vgc, MoT till £2750 ono. Tel. just chain, sprock 9 months MoT, helmet clean, ready . S Northan Tel. v07740 KAWASAKI +44 7970 479338 £500. cared new parts fitted uter bike, £1700 n, well kept in box when service done, manyshock 07799 804878 12/13, twin ts and exc £795. Tel. 6k, long t&t, hugger, £1250 ono Tel. - onicretentio work learner/comm 362786. Bristol. KX85 Big wheel, on, acciden regulator rec, 07941 140312. tax, just had good S Yorks 01639 2007, black, ion, KAWASAKI items .are Surrey.or hoon around all 392656 KTM MOTOCROSS miles, Tel. aboutcosmet r, tank protect for some dep pipe, and complete, 355577.Tel. W Mids ono Tel. 07868 Gericke £850 ono. Tel. Owned 550 A1, 1984, over 14,900 . Surreynot used, protection/ armour, - Hein580401 Fender extende 2 keys, tool kit, . £700 ono ING 07734 100cc kit fitted, rolling frame. may sed and the way. KAWASAKI GPZX 07/14, tax , CLOTH gotbeinrequired Surrey. quality with ts 700728. Glam Sheltex pant, MoT bling fitted underu to race Alphadot security 1000 A6 ABS, 8-10, £190 ono. years but life . S. Northan 07759 other miles, Desert 20 size CBF Tel. 732028 A suit 804878 little ono. 59,750 gents and ready 01278 HOND would 07799 Tel. clean, . Bucks/Berks. size XL, very met white, 3000 new parts fitted exc cond, £2750 Offers please well cared v black/sand, £795. Tel. 12/13, many n, cost 2011, 61 plate, mature owner, Tel. 07850 421878 . S Yorks et. around on, cosmetic work new conditio plus oval 'slip on' one 392656 hoon Somers as BOX some TI by or te, miles TOP used, OVIC dry comple , Tel. AND at £85 AKRAP . Surrey books, always . £700 ono nt PANNIERS BMW K1200S ; 07734 580401 £159 new, offered all keys and may be required Northants Honda, excellefor exhaust for 01235 535807 dust covers, made by . S condition, original £10 p&p. Tel. Gtr London. split, sell garaged, with07794 224011. E 00 K6 Bandit, and 07799 804878 exceptional . condition, will 764351. Lincs. paperwork SUZUKI GSF12 ARROW model only 38", 07795 672445 new, £5395 ono. Tel. packaging, d condition, AIRFIX ARIEL JEANS waist SPY 350F1, as ors Offers. Tel. 01780 or parts, also Tel. Mike 01270 & lovely standar DRAGGING colour grey/blue, QUAD BIKE Riding of Yorks. 600F 1998, R Tel. cash protect fittings, £175. e. new rear tyre kit, built or unbuilt,CB450, unbuilt 750cc, 1965, , £1800 ono. R & G AERO teardrop shaped 10,500 miles, inside leg 29", 01302 846682. N ATLAS HONDA CBR 2014, MoT Jun very low mileage . Cambs. C15 Honda 764782. Cheshir atic NORTO Airfix3.5V8, ono Tel. 07531 Tel. Wunderlich d, bills Superm c/w all fittings/ little use, £50. MoT, £2750 GSF 1250 GT Honda regd, taxed April new rectifier, CAR Rover to show standar Mick 01733 239423 BMW K1200S& clutch levers, 00 K6 Bandit, Revell etc, g rebuilt Midlands price details. MGTF V8 KIT bobbins for Suzuki£95 ono Tel. SUZUKI GSF12 see, matchin S Yorks. only mesh 124492. West 14, new battery, . Items plus new, adjustable brake le toafter wantedcan (American) V50 Mk 2, 1980, version), e, wire wheels d condition, n, avialab £1500. Tel. 07857 Mike 01270 HEER (faired GUZZI Tel. 158030 overdriv SPY 350F1, as conditio £60. FIELDS & liner, MOTO lovely standar s/s 07780 new front tyre, £7995 t n, Tel./tex 5. Notts. QUAD BIKE Tel. as new, with zip-in new rear tyre drive, Keihnan nt conditio numbers, superb p/x. e. 0789 407881 500cc , £1800 ono. shaft seat, 750cc, 1965, ite vented jacket excelle Military 10,500 miles, 183388. Lincs. 600FH 1987 US higher E Sussex. take small bike .. 764782. Cheshir SON M, blue/wh 1994 very low mileage . Cambs. 6pm. may for Harley GL1000 NORTON ATLASstandard, bills ono Tel. 07531 , t&t,newreliable p/x back, tags, size £8500; SUZUKI GLADI never with 1000 DAVID ilencers 3.5V8, deliver, new Gtr anytime Y GL . HONDA CBR first ever CBR part Rover A pipes/s MoT, £2750 exc 21667 HARLE 866071 pads, CAR Mick 01733 239423 runner, g rebuilt to show the parts, primary x, history, e, CEWLA. genuine Suzuki p&p Tel. Midlands prefer01905 Tel. 07798 HOND ng wanted 07504 Tel., Pete MGTF V8 KIT etc, a motorcycle, see, matchin engine/gearbo canreflectiv 124492. West oval FLSTF Fat Boy , keeps you Goldwi deliver. Tel. by Honda, and ered. Tel. V50 Mk 2, 1980, e, wire wheels can n, rs, elbows avialable to used, £60 inc new, £140; 2 D, ono; as considGUZZI overdriv p&p g conditio shoulde se, London £1500 600 introduced eight sports bike, plus MOTO s/s chainca n, £7995 but anythin Harley e & protected, £50 174923. Kent. cond, new, drive, Keihnan numbers, superb . Cheshir . Notts. cool bike p/x. excellent conditio brand . Lincs. classic middlew ver colours, 71k 474309 t 500cc shaft mirrors, genuine 07828 103437 may take small for Harley Military 01522 871098 pore lower exhaus TANK BAG 07920 PH TR6 Pre , t&t, reliable black, p/x John .. £8500; £45; Tel. TRIUM size, ilencers deliver, D original blue/sil s/h, recently Gtr anytime . boxed, pipes/s exc 21667 AS aqua WANTE 866071 of pair of passing magnetic, mednot been used, ex police, any x, history, Tel. Pete 01905 FRANK THOM miles, lots WLA. Tel. 07798 shield, new, £25;as new, £15; engine/gearbo can deliver. Tel. OIF Civy or new battery, with hood, olive bought in error, 804893. Beds. red, also 5TA, textile jacket ono; serviced, brand ts, fitted with London lamp visors, detail, should condition conside cond, £1500 coil cover, as £15. Tel. 07704 Tel. 0151 259 green with black , room for T 3 Touring, . Cheshire chain and sprocke exhaust & chrome ignition01253 867210. 885i Outfit, same details. armour 07920 474309 TRIUMPH ROCKE silencers, ol. and elbow TRIUMPH TIGER of fun, large a stainless Nexxus l rear grab chrome new, £15. Tel. l lining, size L, 1596. Liverpo (origina ERBIRD 900 & lots 2008 original mint back plate, therma Rentec rack very robust miles only, Lancs. TRIUMPH THUND original and p&p Tel. 01553 N Sportster d with the bike), ker, chair brake, used 1000 c/w VILLE T100 £50 ono inc . and rail is supplie ono. Tel. 07904 , padded seat/loc HARLEY DAVISO by Revloc, 900cc, vgc, 18k, t, windshield, maintained TRIUMPH BONNEthe clock, as tyres & service condition, £120 811497. Norfolk . clean, well 800 1999, on full MoT, recent automatic clutch collectable 885i Outfit, aftermarket exhaus rack, MoT re, £3600 good I MARAUDER 302373. Gtr London since new, £595. 2009, 2k miles adventu roads, miles SUZUK any MoT wet , 500 luggage reliable, 117 for on TRIUMPH TIGER of fun, large Richard very done . ready , all original ono. Tel. sissy bar and never been Tel. . Derbyshire. gazine 750F 85, the . Co Durham ERBIRD 900 new, & lots not vgc, low mileage 2013, mslma condition, £750 . Surrey. tax, £2300 ono. c/w Givi SUZUKI GSXR very robust Tel. 07772 797112 tax and MoT, Tel. 01325 288652 TRIUMPH THUND original and until 8/2/14 + GIXER, not Jap ker, chair brake, kept in garage, c/w 01823 VILLE T100 on 07952 635662 Mar 14, tax Sept 07799 458426. 7. Surrey , first F slab sided from s/s laser padded seat/loc , £3700 Tel. 900cc, vgc, 18k, t, windshield, . Tel. 0208 643748 TRIUMPH BONNEthe clock, as tyres & service to be missed hard luggage 800 1999, import, std apart damper, etc, full MoT, recent 2k miles on aftermarket exhaus rack, MoT . Somerset MARAUDER I 2009, adventure, £3600 412802 steering SUZUK & MoT , t luggage Ayrshire on wet roads, very . exhaus ready for any ono. , all original sissy bar and Tel. 750F 85, the . Co Durham new, never been and MoT, not 24 yrs, £3250 vgc, low mileage 2013, c/w Givi tax, £2300 ono. SUZUKI GSXR 22k, owned Tel. 01325 288652 Eire until 8/2/14 + Sept in garage, tax GIXER, not Jap tax 913. kept 14, sided 01823 . 872581 Mar slab 7. Surrey first F Tel. 00 353 , £3700 Tel. . Tel. 07799 458426 0208 643748 from s/s laser to be missed hard luggage import, std apart damper, etc, et 412802. Somers Ayrshire exhaust & steering £3250 ono. 24 yrs, 22k, owned gazine Eire 913. mslma 116 Tel. 00 353 872581







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APRILIA MOJITO 125cc, exc cond, 12 mths’ MoT, 11 mths’ tax, black, 3,470 miles, £900 ono. Tel. Andy 07948 373206. W Mids.

BMW 1150 GSA, 2004, one mature owner, garaged, 34k, superb, all extras inc Remus, Steibel, plus much more, £5950 ovno. Tel. 07802 351141; 01622 735456. Kent

BMW F800S 2006, yellow, 23,867 miles, v nice cond, std apart from AC Schnitizer lower fairing and handlebar conv, mirror extenders and BMW seat cowl, s/h. Tel. 07446 368003. W Mids

BMW K1300S Oct 09 (59), 10,700 miles, granite grey/red met, immac, full BMW s/h, ABS/ ESA/ASC/Gear assyst, BMW panniers, 9 mths’ MoT/warranty, £8250. Tel. 07878 360361. Kent

BMW R1200 RT SE 2010, 22k, twin cam model, polar blue, t&t Apr, s/h, ESA, ABS, h/grips and seats, c/c, traction control, elec screen, tyre pressure monitors, £8500. 01900 818516. Cumbria.

BMW R1200GS 54 plate, 38k, full BMW s/h, ex cond, full set BMW panniers, BMW Navigator 2 satnav, Km clocks, just had massive service, new tyres, pads, Tel. 07525 050891. Strathclyde.

BMW R1200RT, exc cond, 13,400 miles, MoT, h/grips, great tourer, on board computer, new tyre, £7000. Tel. 01925 601952. Cheshire.

DUCATI 695 Monster, 2007, one owner, 2,626 miles, MoT, just serviced, new cam belt and battery, c/w spare keys and handbook, dry use only, garaged, £2700. 07772 595265. Durham

DUCATI 749 BIPOSTO 6,170 dry miles, full s/h, t&t, belts done, carbon hugger, Datatool alarm, paddock stand, exc cond, £3600. Tel. 01434 685121; 07884 377938. Northumberland.

HARLEY DAVIDSON 883L, 2005, 5k dry miles, over £2000 of extras inc sat nav, leather saddle bags, sissy bar, Screaming Eagle pipes, t&t, £5500 ono. Tel. 07970 505033. Kent.

HONDA INNOVA 125cc semi manual scooter, 03 reg, great condition, 5k miles only, previously a motorhome mule! Sorned, £795. Tel. 07866 622196. N Yorks.

HONDA ST1100 1995, 46k, engineer owned from new and in vgc, incl Honda top box, s/s exhaust, 5 mths’ tax, 10 mths’ MoT, £2250. Tel. 01766 523790. Gwynedd.

HONDA VTR 1990, Interceptor 250cc - bike is located in USA 16K miles - A rare classic converted to a tourer. Tel. 3478 783622. Email: tembaj@gmail. com Atlanta, USA

HONDA XL 125 Black, 08 reg, tax/MoT, immac, 3,615 miles, 90+ mpg, at 65mph, old man’s toy, free helmet and gloves, no offers. £2200. Tel. 01263 512433 after 6pm. Norfolk

JAWA SPORT 350cc, 2-stroke, 2 mths’ old, 5600 careful running-in miles, official import, full fairing, rear rack, cost £3700, as new, £2950. Tel. 0117 9673008. Bristol.

KAWASAKI VN1600 2006, classic tourer, 23,500 miles s/h, t&t. Tel. 07730 333049 for more info. Wilts.

KAWASAKI VULCAN NOMAD VN 1500 GL Classic Tourer, 1500cc, V reg (2000), low mileage (14,561), 12 mths’ MoT, exc A1 cond, health issues forces sale, £3850. Tel. 07903 266855. Lancs.

KAWASAKI W650 04 reg, 4k miles, taxed and MoT till Jun 14, excellent condition, Givi rack and top box plus windshield plus cover, red, £2850. Tel. 07745 462254. Shrops

KAWASAKI Z750S 2006, 17,900 miles, one owner, t&t till Dec, ZX6R r/shock, new f/tyre, recent oil and filter and K&N air filter change, avg cond for year, £2595 ovno. 0745 6005727. Hampshire.

KAWASAKI ZXR 1200 2007, 15k miles, full service history, tax/MoT, £3500 ono. Tel. 07531 197779. Gtr Man

ROYAL ENFIELD 2010, Bullet Classic EFi trials style, 1k miles, owned by me from new, perfect, spares, manuals, £2950. Tel. 01522 810661. Lincs.

SUZUKI GSXR 750F, 85, the first F slab sided GIXER, not Jap import, std apart from s/s laser exhaust & steering damper, etc. only 22k, £3250 ono. Tel. 00 353 872581913. Eire.

SUZUKI INTRUDER 1800RT 2009, great cond, 12k miles, fully loaded, £7000 ono. Tel. 07846 378609. Merseyside.

SYM XS125K, black, 2009, good condition, new rear tyre and chain, two female owners, approx 14k miles, currently on Sorn, £695 ono. Tel. 01209 212034. Cornwall.

TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE T100 2009, 2k miles on the clock, as new, never been on wet roads, kept in garage, tax and MoT, not to be missed, £3700. Tel. 01823 412802. Somerset

TRIUMPH ROCKET III Touring, 2008, chrome silencers, used for 1000 miles only, mint condition, £120 ono. Tel. 07904 302373. London

TRIUMPH SCRAMBLER 60 plate, only 700 miles, garaged, Arrow plus orig system, alarm, tacho, frame bars, c/stand, screen, etc. stunning, £5600. Tel. 01359 244176. Suffolk.

TRIUMPH STREET TRIPLE R, 09, MoT, 16,554 miles, orig met black, hugger, Beowulf radiator guard, exc cond, full s/h, £4250 ono. Tel. 07982 231175; 0115 8418275. Notts.

TRIUMPH TIGER 1050 2011, one owner, 8,500 miles, full s/h, exc cond, brand new tyres, loads of expensive extras, £6595 ovno Tel. 07779 645953 anytime. Herts.

YAMAHA XJ6N 2011 (11 plate), only 860 miles from new and in showroom condition, taxed til May 2014, lovely bike, rides perfectly, £3500 ono Tel. 07973 983296. Glam


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For Sale BSA LIGHTNING or Thunderbolt wanted, any considered, please telephone with details. Private. Tel. 07710 757007. Durham. HONDA CB650Z 1981, X reg, lovely classic in vgc, blue, t&t May 2014, many new parts, 36k miles, £995 no offers Tel. 0775 1066492. Glam. HONDA SL350 K1 1971, I bought this and rode it around Texas, now home in the UK, duty paid, too good to restore, lots of pics available, £4300 ono. Tel. 01227 360735. Kent. IXS SKAR leather Gortex motorcycle trousers, unworn Xmas present, size 38-40, 58 Euros, £100 ono. Tel. 078940 78815. Notts. KAWASAKI EN 500 Very good condition for year, 11 months' MoT, £595 ono. Tel. 07766 653614. Devon. KAWASAKI ER5 2000, 56k miles, red, Givi box, engine bars, new tyres, MoT and tax, very well maintained and kept, shining condition, standard, enthauiast owned, starts and runs well, photos by request, £725. Tel. 07905 420055. London. KAWASAKI ZEPHYR 500cc, good price paid for clean tidy bike,. Tel. 01751 474350. N Yorks. SYM SIMPLY 2 2012, 125 scooter, 1700 km, blue with top box, immobiliser a few scratches, 2 year warranty remaining, £750 or swap for Jap 125 eg: Yamaha SR125. Tel. 074370 15952. Cambs. TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE 2009, 8k, immac condition, genuine reason for sale, £4200. Tel. 01298 78100. Derbys. TRIUMPH ROCKET III Touring, 2300cc, black, 2011, 7k miles, dealer serviced, clean, £9500. Tel. 01483 234589; 079520 36624. Surrey. TRIUMPH T100SS 1964, long t&t, bought part rebuilt, spent £2000 on final restoration, green log book, original reg, ridden 100 miles since rebuid, veiwing available. £2000. Tel. 01772 635161 for details. Lancs. TRIUMPH THUNDER SPORT 1998, tax 31/1/14, MoT 09/7/14, good runner, good cond, extras, yellow/ black, two silencers on one side model, 9,500 miles, £3100 firm. Tel. 01206 230379. Essex. TRIUMPH THUNDERBIRD 900 1999, gold/green, 28k miles, good cond, screen and rear seat rest, c/stand and luggage rack, Triumph panniers & cover, tax til Dec 13, MoT til Jun 14, great runner, £2950. Tel. 07795 625617. W Sussex. TRIUMPH SPRINT ST 995, 2001, red, immac orig cond, long t&t, 22k miles, owned 10 years, long t&t, £2150. Tel. 01302 390667. S Yorks.

BMW R1200C MoT and tax, 36k miles, well maintained, fully documented, full extras, cruising seat, engine bars, windshield, etc, £3250. Tel. 07801 547884. Suffolk. YAMAHA AEROX 50cc, black, 2011, 3k miles, owned from new, still under warranty, used for college run, ideal first bike, brilliant runner, £800 ono. Tel. 07908 176256. Cambs. YAMAHA FZR 400 MoT 27/7/14, runs well, starts easy spares or repair, £300, Takachi motorcycle jacket red/black, worn twice, size large, £40. Tel. 07580 728231. Suffolk. YAMAHA NEOS YN50 10 miles only on clock, first reg 1st Aug 2013, black, £1500 in showroom, lovely bike, sadly unwanted present, road ready around £400 to insure, will accept £1300. Tel. 07576 952900. W Mids.

PartS For Sale APRILIA RSV fuel end can, came off my 02 Mille, super light and sounds nice, comes with all fittings, £60. Tel. 0751 9071515. Wilts. APRILIA TUONO Akrapovic titanium race cans, with baffles, excellent condition and boxed, all fittings inc, £375 ono. Tel. 01332 725510; 07885 469552. Derbys. BATTERY YT12 ABS bought new in error for 1250 Bandit, still in box, £20. Tel. 0161 371 1960. Gtr Man. EBC FA 174 HH rear motorcycle brake pads, unopened, £15. Tel. 0789 4078815. Notts. FRANK THOMAS aquare pore textile jacket with hood, olive green with black detail, size large, shoulder and elbow armour, room for back plate, thermal lining, size large, £35 ono inc p&p. Tel. 07941 670049. Norfolk. GIVI A660 Universal screen, very nice condition, 1 yr old, c/w fittings, £85 ono. Tel. 01344 453654; 07738 900449. Berks. GN 125 GZ 125 Marauder, FZR 600 3he, CBR 400, NC 29, XJ 600, all must go, all cheap. Tel. 07770 987038 . Suffolk. HARLEY DAVIDSON 1994 FLSTF Fat Boy parts, primary chaincase, as new, £140; 2 oval mirrors, genuine Harley D, boxed, £45; lower exhaust shield, new, £25; 1pair of passing lamp visors, as new, £15; chrome ignition coil cover, as new, £15. Tel. 01253 867210. Lancs. THROW OVER EXPANDING PANNIERS by Nelson Rigg, excellent condition, couple of very slight stains on under side, all zips and Velcro perfect, £40 ono. Tel. 07505 119429. Cheshire. HONDA CB900 HORNET end cans, wing mirrors, very good condition £50. Tel. 01582 733202. Beds.

GIVI TOP BOX E450 model, simply monolock with adaptor plate and side rails to fit Honda CB1300, complete, £100 buyer to collect Tel. Phil 07806 701122. Essex. HONDA FMX650 MIVV Xcone, stainless exhausts, road legal, almost new, £250; also brand new low seat/red & black, £40. Tel. 01905 726247. Worcs. HONDA GL 1000 Goldwing Jama, original, complete exhaust system, little use, vgc, £275. Tel. 0161 766 6353. Man. HYDRA TRAIL Easy Lifter, small bike or scooter trailer,, 2 years old, good condition, £600. Tel. 01472 398012. Lincs. KH 250 S1 PARTS tank forks, swinging arm, one silencer, wheels, heads and various casings, £250. Tel. 01530 455720. Leics. R & G AERO crash protectors, c/w all fittings/teardrop shaped bobbins for Suzuki GSF1250 GT, (faired version), £95 ono. Tel. 0789 4078815. Notts. RENTEC REAR RACK and tail pack for Triumph Bonneville/Thruxton, chrome, as new condition, £70; VFR VTEC 09 Honda inner bags for panniers and top box, £70; Baglux tank cover for VFR VTEC, white/ black, £50; all items good cond. Tel. 07745 020903. Aberdeenshire. SINGLE BIKE TRAILER exc cond, plenty of lashing points, spare wheel, loading ramp, recently repainted, tows very well, can deliver locally, £95. Tel. 0191 285 8856. Tyneside. SUZUKI BANDIT 1250 Pazzo racing brake/clutch levers, boxed and unmarked, £65; also Pyramid light smoked double bubble screen, unmarked, £35; Haynes w/shop manual, £10 all plus p&p Tel. 01639 642477. Neath, S Wales. SUZUKI END CAN plus link pipe, used three months only, £70 plus postage Tel. 0777 3094508. Merseyside. SUZUKI HAYABUSA Gen 2, genuine exhausts, very light marks, Genmar riser, Scottoiler & dual injector, SW Motech rack and Kappa K47 box screen, Hayabusa cover, heated grips, still in box. Can send pics if required. £240 and I will pay postage Tel. Rab 01387 279451. Dumfriesshire. TRIUMPH MERIDEN 750 Twin, rubber mounted footrests, £40; Baglux alpha tank bag, new, £40; workshop manual, 650cc, Meriden Triumphs, £40. Tel. 01245 400261. Essex. TRIUMPH ROCKET 3 2200cc, front wheel and tyre less rotors, pair front fork stanchions without yolks, front mudguard, rear tyre, all parts 3,000 dry miles only, buyer to collect. For prices tel. 01452 812158 (answer machine). Glos.

SPEEDMASTER SEAT 2006, as new, £100 ovno. Tel. 07594 420715. Notts. TRIUMPH SPRINT ST 2003 r/h panels wanted please, plus brake lever and footrest r/h/s and front brake lever, want the best I can get in silver. Tel. 01628 668799. Bucks. TRIUMPH THUNDERBIRD rubber kneepads for petrol tank, £15; front mudguard extender £10, both new. Tel. 01624 844256. Isle of Man. TWO SECURITY POSTS heavy-duty, retractable, 31⁄2" square x 24" above ground, retracts flush with ground, galvanised and powder coated, cost £240 each, £160 the pair Tel. 01625 613600. Cheshire. WUNDERLICH CRASH BUNGS to fit BMW K1200R/ K1300R, as new, only £35. Tel. 01625 531109. Cheshire. ZX6R J2 rear shock, clean, no damage or corrosion, removed from my 23k bike, £185 ono. Tel. 07989 983281. Oxon.

PartSWanted HONDA CB250 RS 1995, metal front mudguard wanted. Tel. 0116 2124910. Leics.

MiScellaneouS BEOWULF RAD COVER Beowulf s/s rad cover for Suzuki Bandit GSF 1250, £40 ono. 0789 4078815. Notts. BIKER JACKET 'Brando' style black leather, hi-waist zips n studs, belt n buckle, size S, suit small lady/teen, used, vgc, £50. Tel. 01933 276962. Northants. BIRDS/WILDLIFE books/ magazines, swap same motorcycle any country.. Tel. 01277 200530. Essex. CLYMER MANUAL Honda 100-125 singles, 1970 to 1972, used condition, £8 plus p&p. 07848 917218. Lincs. FRANK THOMAS BOOTS ladies, size 7, £20; BMW summer Gortex leather gloves, size 6/6.5, £15 collection or post at cost. Tel. 07812 350169. S Yorks. GIVI T470 Silver Line magnetic tank bag, exc cond, used only once, c/w magnets, 4 x securing straps, ruck sack adaptor strap, preattached rain cover, expandable, buyer will not be disappointed, £55 ono. Tel. 01344 453654 or 07738 900449. Berks. HALVARSSONS NEWMAN motorcycle gloves, size 10, great condition, £45 ono. Tel. 0789 4078815. Notts. LEATHER JACKET with tassles, size med, vgc, swap biker badges; WANTED Lewis leather lightning jacket, gloves. Tel. 01277 200530. Essex.

HAYNES MANUAL Honda 750 Four all models, 1969 on, good condition, £8 plus p&p. Tel. 07848 917218. Lincs. HAYNES MANUAL Honda Shadow VT600 & 750, 1988 to 2003, vgc, £8 plus p&p. Tel. 07848 917218. Lincs. HAYNES MANUALS BSA Bantam, 1948 to 1971, good condition, £8 plus p&p. Tel. 07848 917218. Lincs. BELSTAFF WANTED wax cotton jacket, trials or road, will collect or pay postage.. Tel. 01432 353313. Herefordshire. HAYNES MANUALS Honda Four 500 & 350, 1971 on, cover dirty, £8 plus p&p. Tel. 078489 17218. Lincs. MOTORCYCLE SPORT MAGAZINES 1962 to 2010, Classic Bike magazines, complete set to 2010. Tel. 01993 830443. Oxford. ROCK BOOTS size 10, purple flame design, brand new, never worn, cost £140, sell for £80 collect only Tel. 07847 407463. Northants. RUKKA ATLAS gloves, size 7, excellent condition, worn only twice, all but brand new, genuine reason for sale, £85 ono. Tel. 07738 900449 or 01344 453654. Berks. SUZUKI BANDIT Mk1 1200cc, Haynes manual, £10; Renthal rack, £20; road legal can, £50, all good condition. Tel. 07775 565288. Lincs. TRIUMPH M/C JACKET black, in good condition, no tears or scratches, size 48, £80 ono. Tel. 07970 455884. Essex. WILDLIFE/BIRDS BOOKS/ MAGAZINES swap same m/cycle, any country. Tel. 01277 200530. Essex. dcian@

Wanted AIRFIX ARIEL ARROW model kit, built or unbuilt, or parts, also Airfix C15 Honda CB450, unbuilt Revell Honda Supermatic wanted. Items plus price details, . Tel. text 07780 158030 after 6pm. E Sussex. HOLDSWORTH TRIKE CONVERSION wanted, any condition. Send pictures, or . Tel. 01642 586303 (eves) with details. Durham. HONDA GL 1000 GOLDWING wanted, prefer runner, but anything considered,. Tel. 07828 103437. Notts. REAR MUDGUARD WANTED to fit 1998 Virago XV 1100, any condition. Tel. 01444 416931. W Sussex. WANTED - HONDA SLR 650W rear wheel, must be in good condition, no buckles, damage, loose spokes etc, would collect. Tel. 07976 666460. W Mids. YAMAHA RADIAN 600cc wanted, good price paid for clean model, will travel for nice one. Tel. 01751 474350. N Yorks. 109



Deadline for advertising in the next issue is Thursday October 10 To advertise call 01507 529575 TOURING



Kawasaki’s GPZ900R



No, really – and it takes your breath away WORDS: Tony Carter PHOTOGRAPHY: Joe Dick

Specification KAWASAKI GPZ900R A8 Engine: 908cc liquid cooled, 16 valve dohc inline, four-cylinder four-stroke Bore x stroke: 72.5 x 55mm Compression ratio: 11.0:1 Fuelling: 4 x Keihin CVK34mm Ignition: Transistorised CDI Power: 108bhp @ 9500rpm Torque: 61lb-ft @ 6000rpm Clutch: Wet, multiplate, hydraulic actuation Gearbox: Six-speed Final drive: Chain Frame: Steel, triangulated backbone (‘diamond’) frame with engine as stressed member, aluminium subframe, Uni-Trak (monoshock) rear suspension with box-section aluminium swingarm Wheelbase: 1495mm Brakes: Twin 300mm discs, Tokico four-piston calipers, rear: 270mm disc single piston caliper Tyres: 120/80 ZR17 150/80 ZR17 Weight: 234kg Performance: 155mph


The GPz Zone: Owners’ club and parts sales 01380 860641 The GPz900R Shop: 07740 026852



kay, let’s get the debate out of the way first of all – and settle it while we’re here. is IS the model of bike that Tom Cruise rode in Top Gun, the seminal film for beach volleyball fans in the 1980s. Evidence from the supplier, copies of the bill of sale to Paramount Pictures and even confirmation from Cruise, T himself confirm that it was a 900R that he rode in the film. Not a 750 as your mate down the pub might reckon. By the time Top Gun came out in 1986 the GPZ900 had been making a big splash in the biking world for two years. Anti-dive forks, a ‘diamond’ steel frame and the 16in front wheel were quickly consigned to the parts bin of history – which seems a shame when you ride one today. Because yes, it’s got the looks of the time and encapsulates what made a motorcycle a staple of the two-wheeled world for two decades. On paper, this bike isn’t what you’d call incredible. A hey 228kg and just 113bhp are the sort of figures put out for more learner-friendly machines than earth shattering film star big bikes… but still, there’s something about the GPZ (big Z for later models, little z for early ones) that has seriously stood the test of time in terms of an iconic two-wheeler.


If you were looking at one of these a few years ago then you’d have been able to get a nice example for under a grand, these days a similar bike could set you back nearer five times that figure. But they’re not all that pricey, a good A8 version of this bike from a dealer will be around the £3000 mark. Mechanically these bikes are pretty good but be aware that the earlier models were recalled by the factory many times while a long list of technical issues were sorted, so it’s worth being aware of the recall history of a bike especially if you’re going for an early GPz. e early models carry a lot of charm but if you’re looking for a specific model then go for one of the A7 or A8 versions. If you are in the market then look out for a bike with original exhausts if possible. You can find an original system for around £500-£600 online although Marving (via Wemoto) makes a replica full system for just over £500 too. Be aware that the suspension might need refreshing as well, which is worth haggling down the price over if the test ride is less than reassuringly pert. 113

Arbitrary anti-motorcycle decision making Steve Rose


very summer has one great ride. e unplanned, and unexpected blast that reaffirms everything we love about riding. Mine tend to be late at night, in cool, dense, summer air, charging home with no more reward than a cold one in the fridge and a quick romantic snuggle before she falls asleep. Last Wednesday night was this year’s blast. Leaving Silverstone, me on MSL’s long term Harley Sportster, Bruce on my Triumph Tiger. Carving through the Broads of Middle England, gliding round corners. Darkness brings focus with no scenery or landscape to distract us. And focus brings hormones – the good stuff; the ones your body only lets go when it really needs to. Adrenaline, endorphins and more. e Sportster is good enough to be not holding up the Triumph, with a headlight that shames any current Japanese bike. is is motorcycling – pure and undistilled. No bullshit, no bravado – controlled survival. Money can’t buy a feeling like this. Two days later, news comes in that Brent Council has banned motorcycles from the Rainsford Road near the Ace Cafe because of continued and persistent antisocial behaviour. Excuse me? A few riders misbehaving and we all get banned. Is that legal? I suspect it isn’t and I’d hope that someone makes a proper challenge because we still have a justice system here that almost always makes the right decision if asked to. But it got me thinking. If this ban is enforceable, it surely opens the floodgates for every grumpy citizen to get everything banned. My local church rings its solitary bell at 8.10am every Sunday. Which is about as antisocial and uncaring as you can get on a Sunday morning. I’m pretty sure if I played my drum kit outdoors at 8am on a Sunday morning, there’d be complaints. So I rang the council this morning to complain about this ecclesiastical antisocial behaviour and asked that, in the spirit of the Brent ruling, that all religious activity from all faiths be banned in the area. ey’re going to call me back – I’m very confident. Buoyed by my almost-inevitable success, I rang them again. I’d seen some children dropping litter in the park and swearing. is was unacceptable antisocial behaviour and I’d like to have all children banned from that space please. You don’t need to thank me for this – I’m just doing my public duty. It’s piffle of course, but the Brent thing is serious. I feel no solidarity for anyone who rides like a nob. But I 114

So if a British local council decides to ban motorcycles from a certain road then what could that mean for the rest of us? Especially if we want to ride to the local hospital...

Who is Rose? Steve Rose is a high mileage road rider. A former editor of Bike and RiDE magazine and one time back street bike dealer. He’s also one of the UK’s most experienced and trusted road testers

don’t expect to share their punishment either. What confuses me here is I understand that if I break the speed limit, or ride the wrong way down a one way street or cross solid white lines etc., I am potentially causing danger to other road users. But if all I do is ride carefully down a road that someone has arbitrarily decreed cannot be used by motorcyclists, but is okay to be used by trucks, vans, trikes (sidecars?) and cars, what is the offence? In my simple world the law exists to protect the good guys from the people who do bad things. Brent Council’s justification is that the road runs past a hospital and a proposed housing estate. ey say they are also seriously concerned that the illegal street racing (which has already seen 177 crashes this year) will end in death if they do nothing. So, er, how will the residents of the new housing estate get home on their motorcycles? How do the bike-riding employees of the hospital get to work? And if the ban is to prevent a fatality then surely the answer is to ban every vehicle from every road, which would reduce traffic fatalities to zero. I’m not being flippant or unsympathetic for the locals here. But the point is that the riders who are already busting the law will not be deterred by this. Maybe they think that banning bikes might prevent the spectators gathering and without anyone to watch, then the racing will disappear. So I called Brent Council’s press office. ey replied: “From March to April 2013, 177 complaints were made to the police and there is CCTV video evidence of racing and stunt riding, with up to 50 motorcycles at one time doing laps of a section of Rainsford Road. “It’s a shame that there will be an impact on law abiding motorcyclists but we have to consider the safety of other road users and the people who live and work in the area.” I agree. And I sympathise with the council but its response is wrong. If a bunch of kids were terrorising a town, would the correct response be a curfew for everyone of any age? No, of course not... and this is no different. What do you think?

Motorcycle sport & leisure november 2013