Biker Down

A couple of weeks ago I was out leading a ride with my local IAM group, snaking up through the Essex countryside to the Krazy Horse custom bike shop and cafe in Bury St Edmunds. The morning had started wet, but gradually the sun come out and dried up the roads well. It was a cracking ride, we all had a spot of lunch at Krazy Horse and a lovely ride back to Ongar, before all going our separate ways home. It was as I was riding a few miles from home that I came across a scene that all bikers dread. Continue reading “Biker Down” »

Howto Temporary Repair a Puncture

Totally gutted. Less than a month old pair of Michelin Pilot Road 5’s with a bloody screw stuck in the rear tyre. Very annoying, but it need not screw up your whole day, if you know how to temporary plug a tyre, you can be one the move again with minimal delay. This howto will step by step show you how to repair a tyre with a temporary plug that will get you home or to a garage for a permanent repair.

Continue reading “Howto Temporary Repair a Puncture” »

Ring Analogue Air Compressor Pump Long Term Review

Keeping your motorcycle tyre pressures correct is crucial to keeping your bike handling well. When down on pressure and you can really notice the handling go down hill, with cornering suddenly feeling unnatural and tyres squaring off faster. As such every biker needs a good pump they can rely on to keep tyre pressures on spec at all times. About a year ago I picked up this Ring analogue air pump from Screwfix for just under £20 quid and has since been put to good use in that time. Read more to find out my final verdict after a year of use. Continue reading “Ring Analogue Air Compressor Pump Long Term Review” »

New Bike Time – Yamaha FZ6 S2

Finally got myself a new bike to replace my old Fazer with… another slightly newer Fazer. The looming ULEZ about to come into force in central London I’m forced to switch to something else to avoid the £12 a day charge on my daily commute. However, London’s recent motorcycle crime wave makes things very awkward getting anything very posh of fancy when it comes to insurance (or just keeping hold of it full stop). So, I’ve been trying to find a good balance between cheap commuter hack and newer enough to confirm to the Euro 3 standard. This Yamaha FZ6 S2 ticked all the boxes.

Two Fazers! FZS600 left, FZ6 S2 right.

This FZ6 S2 is just on the cusp of Euro 3 on a 2007 plate, but was very low mileage, in tip top nick and a good price – should do the job well.

Quite a different feel to my older FZS600, the FZ6 has more low down torque and usable power, which should make for more fun. Riding position is more forward, placing you over the bars more. Bikes does need some new rubber though, it’s currently wearing some vintage and rather squared off Pilot Road 1’s with a 2010 stamp on them, so that’ll be first job this week.

Oxford Heated Hot Grips For Commuters Review

No one likes cold fingers on a bike. It’s uncomfortable, distracting, hinders fine control and can get painful. It’s also all too easy to underestimate the wind chill factor when travelling fast on a bike. It may be a bearable 5°C outside, but on a 60 mph blast, the wind will chill you down to cool -3°C, which will inevitably give numb fingers after a short while, even with thick gloves.

I’ve written about a number of approaches to tackle the cold hands on a motorbike issue in the past, but here today I have a pair of Oxford Commuter Hot Grips up for review. Intended to replace an old set of failed heated grips on Mary’s Honda, we picked these up as a freebie gift with a Ride magazine subscription last year. Annoyingly they took ages to turn up leaving Mary with cold hands for the first half of the winter, but finally I fitted these last January and they’ve been tested thoroughly since.  Continue reading “Oxford Heated Hot Grips For Commuters Review” »

Lomo Waterproof Tank Bag Review

Lomo’s waterproof tank bag is an impressive bit of kit for a company relatively new to this market. It has been designed as a fully waterproof bag utilising a with a very different approach to construction. Lomo recently entered the motorcycle luggage market, their main business lies in producing wetsuits, drysuits and dry bags for kayaks and canoes. It is this expertise in waterproofing and hardy construction which sees them making big impact within the motorcycle luggage market. Continue reading “Lomo Waterproof Tank Bag Review” »

Viking Bags Sports Bike Tail Pack Review

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” »

Alpinestars SMX S vs S-MX 6 Waterproof Boots Compared

Alpinestars SMX-S

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” »

DirtQuake 2018 at Essex Arena

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:

  • Ladies
  • Street Tracker
  • Chopper
  • Scooter
  • Inappropriate Road Bike
  • DTRA Super Hooligans
Vincent Rapide
Vincent Rapide!

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” »

Trials and tribulations of a motorcycle newbie in London