What on earth is going on? After being totally obliterated in the ’70s by a wave of imported Japanese bikes, the British motorbike manufacturing industry seems to be making a bit of a come back. We’ve all seen Triumph return to great success, but now many more British brands are hitting the market with brand new bikes that look pretty damned good. Continue reading “The Big British Motorcycle Renaissance” »
At the weekend the Bike Shed MC were hosting their annual show down in Tobacco Dock, East London, having outgrown their usual Shoreditch haunt. The event was a huge showcase of the best custom bikes, cafe racers, cruisers, bobbers and other random hand built two wheel mayhem. The weather was lovely, but unfortunately this was a family outing, so the bike remained at home. But that didn’t stop hundreds of other bikers descending and enjoying the chilled out atmosphere. But I couldn’t help wondering if I’d fit in better with a well trimmed beard, waxed moustache and a full sleeve tattoo. A peculiar blend of ’50s rockabilly and Chap was very much in vogue.
I couldn’t help wondering if I’d fit in better with a well trimmed beard and waxed moustache…
It was good to check out all the funky bikes, even if I’d be hesitant to take any out on the streets of London myself, style over substance seemed to pervade in many instances. Knobbly tyres and Hessian wrapped pipes are definitely this seasons look. Front mudguards are optional and the more belts on show the better.
Hope you like the snaps of all the best bikes we saw. The kids pinched my camera for most of the show as they were getting a bit bored, so please excuse the odd framing or any not quite in focus. They were pissed they couldn’t sit on all the bikes like at the last show we went to!
And there we have it, the ZZR has now gone. Mary never really got on with this bike, as great as it is, Mary was just too short to really be confident on it. It was too high (even with cut down seat), wide and too much of a stretch across the tank for her. Real shame.
Still, whilst servicing it and getting it running sweet, I’ve learnt a lot of invaluable skills. I’ve enjoyed having a good tinker and it’s been really satisfying to fix the odd niggle. It was also great to borrow when my Fazer was off the road. It’s sad to see it go, but the cash will be go towards a better suited bike for Mary.
Yesterday we had a family outing to the MCN bike Show down at Excel London, as such not on bikes, but in the car. Bad as we had to pay £15 for parking and get stuck in the rush hour jams on the way home, but good in that we stayed dry and had more room for shopping. 🙂
The show took up a sizeable area of Excel, but ironically was located directly opposite the (push) Bike Show, so cue lots of confused people expectantly finding bikes with (or without engines). A lot of the big brans were present at the show, Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki, Ducati, BMW, KTM, Harley, Indian, Royal Enfield, etc. However notable there was no Suzuki… On the Friday, the show was reasonably busy, but not too busy and we had plenty to opportunity to sit on many bikes and get a feel for for them. Something the kids loved doing at every step! With Mary’s short stature, it was a great chance for her to check out what bikes suited her best. The Ducati Monster 696, Honda CB500 and KTM Duke 390 all seemed good candidates.
Whilst wondering around London the other day, I spotted this funky little Yammy. It’s an old SRX-6 (SRX600) from the ’80s, a 608cc single, with kick start. Flopped in the US, but was popular in Japan (along with the 400cc equivalent). Could well become a modern classic and often compared to old Goldstar’s.
To celebrate one full year of riding since passing my DAS test, I’m kicking off a little competition to win some handy goodies useful to all bikers out there:-
First Prize: NikWax Leather Care Kit. Featuring leather cleaner, leather restorer, aqueous wax for footwear, glove waterproofer and visor water repellant. Ideal combination to see you through wet weather. I reviewed this leather care kit earlier in the year.
Second Prize: Can of ACF50 anti-corrosion spray. Halts existing rust and prevents new. Perfect for protecting you bike through the winter.
My wife finally sourced herself another motorbike. After passing her test in ’98, first riding a crappy YB100, then a VT250, but sadly bikeless for the last 12 years. Now she has picked up this classic Kawasaki ZZR400 E off a good friend. It’s getting on a bit, not in perfect nick, but solid and well maintained since a recent full rebuild.
The ZZR400 is a veritable pocket rocket. Jap import, sleeved down version of the ZZR600. Great handling, plenty of beans, loads of fun from 8000 rpm up.
The seat has already been trimmed a bit, to shave a couple of centimetres off to aid Mary’s stability. Some crash bobbins are also on order to protect that precious fairing. Watch this space for more antics on this bike.
A good friend is looking for a bike upgrade and so has this old Kawasaki ZZR400 going cheap. Getting on a bit, but a good little pocket rocket, which we know has been well looked after. It’s petite enough to suit Mary’s stature perfectly. However I found it very cramped for my legs.