Back in the good old days of biking we used to have plenty of space under seats to store bits and bobs. Back then, we also never used to care about riding around with pockets stuffed with keys, tools or other sharp things and we never had mobile phones permanently attached to us and neither did we need to lug around enough security to lock down Fort Knox. These days bikes barely have room for a packet of chewing gum under the seat, yet we find ourselves wanting to take more and more stuff with us, phone, keys, wallet, drink, waterproofs, visors, locks, chains, work cloths, sarnies etc, etc.
top boxes on a sports bike just look a bit naff
You can shove all your gubbins in a rucksack, but that can be uncomfortably bulky and will become even more uncomfortable if you come off. You can fit some expensive hard luggage, however big panniers make filtering tricky, and top boxes on a sports bike just look a bit naff and can cause some front end instability. This is where a tail pack comes in, a little bag that clips onto your pillion seat behind you. Exactly what Californian firm Viking Bags have provided for review here, their sport bike tail bag in contrast to their usual luggage aimed at cruiser bikes. Continue reading “Viking Bags Sports Bike Tail Pack Review” »
For a number of years I have stuck with the Alpinestars SMX range of boots, starting with the 4’s, then 5’s, then 6’s, the race Plus version and now I’m onto the SMX S waterproof boots. With so many slight variations, it’s tough to work out how they differ and when shopping around who indeed is selling which cheapest. Here I’m going to go through the key differences between the current S-MX 6 and SMX S boots. Continue reading “Alpinestars SMX S vs S-MX 6 Waterproof Boots Compared” »
If you’ve never heard of DirtQuake before – Oh boy, you have been missing out! DirtQuake is essentially flat track oval dirt racing, but with a big slab of tongue in cheek fun and open entry to any crazy enough. This year’s event was hosted at the Essex Arena, a stone throw from Lakeside retail hell and M25 traffic hell, but dead handy for us all London folk. The Essex Arena normally hosts all kinds of Speedway and banger racing, so was perfect for DirtQuake.
Racing was split into a number of classes:
Inappropriate Road Bike
DTRA Super Hooligans
The last DTRA class were all experienced pros, with serious skills, serious bikes (mainly Indian FTR’s and Ducati Scrambler 1100’s) and were extremely rapid. In contrast, the first five classes had a random mixed bag of contenders from novices to celebs like Guy Martin and Jenny Tinmouth, and many in fancy dress to boot! They featured an even more eclectic collection of bikes, from brand new Husqvarna Vitpilen and Ducati Scramblers, stripped down sports bikes (an R1), random street bikes, the odd adventure bike (a Super Ténéré), right through to classics like a RD350 and a Vincent Rapide! Continue reading “DirtQuake 2018 at Essex Arena” »
Last weekend I popped by Llangollen Motorcycle Festival up in North Wales. Having not attended before and staying with family nearby, it seemed like a good day out plan. Situated on the Royal International Pavilion ground in Llangollen (pronounced Lan-gof-len), a short walk from the town centre, the event saw thousands of bikers descend to check out bikes and attractions on show.
In the pavilion there were hundreds of classic and famous bikes on show, from famous race bikes to old Brit bikes from times past. Celebs John McGuinness, John Reynolds and Steve Platter gave talks and Q&A sessions, with some interesting opinions from McGuinness with regards to Honda! Outside, there were many stalls to pick Motorcycle gear, new bikes to check out from Triumph, Indian and Suzuki – who were offering test rides for visitors. It was interesting to see the new Triumph Street Triple R low in the flesh – very few seem to be available at dealers for test rides. Something Mary and other shorter female friends are tempted by; my daughter at 5′ tall could pretty much flat foot on it. Continue reading “Llangollen Motorcycle Festival 2018 Report” »
Well you’ve got to love the Great British Summer… Insane, heatwave for weeks, then the weekend you’re scheduled to spend on the bike, it pours down something chronic!
Last weekend I volunteered to help our with the Prudential Ride London cycle endurance race, scheduled to have around 40k Lycra warriors tackling a 100, 46 or 19 mile route. My job was to carrier a cycle mechanic pillion with a tonne of tools and supplies and sweep up those stopped with bike or medical trouble. I feared I’d be dealing with loads of heat exhaustion and dehydration cases, but no, we were dealing with countless punctures and freezing wet cyclists instead. I lost count of how many inner tubes we got through, with many cyclists hit by repeated punctures. Continue reading “Prudential Ride London Sweep Team Volunteering” »
Having rented big Hog’s on two prior work trips to San Jose, I opted for something a little different on my last visit. The Triumph Bonneville T100 is perhaps an unlikely choice, but was surprisingly capable and comfortable to explore the Bay area from Santa Cruz up to to Petaluma in the North, whilst still being a lot of fun to fling round the bends. Check out the highlights from my weekend adventure. Continue reading “California Revisited – Exploring San Francisco on a Bonneville” »
I wanted to try something a bit different which I could fling around the bends without grinding foot boards
June saw me back in California for another two week work trip in Silicon Valley, and again stuck out there over the weekend with nowt to do – what a drag. The last couple of trips I had rented a Harley Davidson’s, Dyna 103 Low Rider and a Road King, so this time I wanted to try something a bit different which I could fling around the bends without grinding foot boards. This is when I found Dubbelju (pronounced double-you), who are also based in the Mission district of San Francisco, but offer a much wider selection of bikes, from adventure and touring to custom, cafe racers and street bikes. Read on for the full low down on my bike rental in San Francisco.
A common job on any bike with a cable clutch that’s done a few thousand miles, or worse has had a snapped cable. As time progresses cutch cables will stretch, requiring adjustment to bring in the slack, but eventually they will need replacing. Similarly, if they have frayed or kinked preventing easy movement a replacement is the best course of action. Here I’ll walk you through step by step how to replace a clutch cable on a Yamaha Fazer FZS 600 (1999-2003), but other bikes will be fairly similar, tending to vary only on how the bottom end of the cable connects to the clutch. Continue reading “Replacing Clutch Cable on Yamaha Fazer FZS600” »
Trials and tribulations of a motorcycle newbie in London