Motorcycle Blog UK

This motorcycle blog tells my story as a biker in London, from learning to ride to now a seasoned city commuter and lover of motorcycle adventures further afield.

Read on and watch my videos about the lessons I’ve learnt, tips I’ve picked up, reviews of my kit and stories of amazing rides around the globe.

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Categories
Clothing/Protection Gear Reviews

HeatPerformance Maximum Heated Motorcycle Gloves Review

No one likes cold hands and fingers when riding a motorbike. Sure, some will pack their bikes away for the winter, but they can miss out on some beautiful sunny winter days. Some make do with heated grips, which do help but can still leave your fingers and back of your hands cold.  Some fit muffs on their handlebars, which although effective rarely fit on a faired bike. One of the best solutions is heated motorcycle gloves – decent protective gloves with an integrated electric heating mesh sewed inside.

Heated Motorcycle Gloves Tested

Loch Tay, Scotland, Winter Ride
Bit nippy in Scotland, definitely heated gloves weather

Dutch firm HeatPerformance produces many such heated gloves for a variety of sporting activities, skiing, hiking, outdoor work and of course heated gloves for motorcycles. HeatPerformance put forward their gloves for review, which now we are in Scotland we can most definitely test out.

HeatPerformance glovesThe HeatPerformance Maximum heated motorcycle gloves are powered from two 7.2V 2600mAh Li-Po batteries, which slot into the cuff of each glove. The gloves have 3 heat settings, which are quoted to give you between 2.5 and 8 hours of heat depending on setting and charge within 4 hours. The gloves retail for £150 which includes one pair of batteries and a charger. A spare/replacement set of batteries costs £40.

Categories
Videos

New Video – Why Scotland?

A new YouTube video has just gone live for your viewing pleasure. Since making the decision to relocate to Scotland, everyone has wanted to know why. In this video, I run through some of our reasons and show some of the amazing scenery I’ve ridden through up here.

YouTube player

Apologies if this comes across a little too much like a tourist promotional video for Scotland! Nonetheless, we’re all loving it up here.

Categories
Hardware Maintenance

Yamaha FZ6 Suspension Upgrade: Nitron Shock/Race Tech Gold Valve Emulators

As with many budget bikes, the stock suspension on my Yamaha FZ6 S2 was pretty basic. Sure, it did the job on an average ride, but it didn’t inspire confidence when pushing on or when you hit a particular bumpy bit of road. With over 20k miles on the bike, it was also beginning to show its age too.

Nitron motorcycle shock in trademark Nitron blue
Nitron motorcycle shock in trademark Nitron blue

When evaluating FZ6 suspension upgrade options, it quickly becomes apparent one can easily spend a lot of money. When you have an old bike that’s only worth a couple of grand, it’s difficult to justify a big outlay upgrading it. After discussing suggestions from friends and other Fazer riders on various owner’s forums, two suggestions kept coming up:

So who was I to argue such tried and tested wisdom?

Race Tech Emulators and fork springs
Race Tech Emulators and fork springs

Nitron is a British firm, who has been designing and manufacturing quality suspension for various motorsports for the last 20 years. They have a solid reputation for producing great shocks for many budgets. Similarly, Race Tech is a Californian firm that has specialised in quality suspension upgrades and parts for all kinds of vehicles for the last 36 years.

Categories
Uncategorized

Lost in Scotland

Don’t worry, we’re still here! I’m afraid we haven’t had the chance to produce much new content for this blog or my YouTube channel lately. Mainly due to our recent house move, getting settled in, my day job and other stuff.

The house move in early October was a bit stressful (aren’t all house moves?) Things weren’t finalised to the very last second and due to awkward demands of our buyers, we had to stay with family for a week between houses. Nonetheless, we’re now mostly settled in, we’ve unpacked most of our boxes, kids are settled into their new school and we’ve even managed to get out on the bikes a little! The new house is amazing, in a lovely area, the neighbours are great, there’s so much more space and we have a huge double garage which feels like absolute luxury after our old middle-of-terrace tiny house in London.

Categories
Riding

Numb and Cold Hands and Feet when Riding a Motorbike

Just after the summer break, the weather in the UK begins to deteriorate quickly. The leaves fall on the roads and the temperature begins to drop rapidly. This is always a rather dangerous situation for motorcyclists.

Cold Weather Motorcycle GearMany motorcyclists have these problems. Fortunately, you are not the only one. There are two types of motorcyclists, those who only ride in the summer and those who always ride. The tips in this article will help you to continue to ride safely through the winter weather.

One key problem is cold hands and cold feet. But not only these two, also the rest of the body is difficult to keep warm in the freezing air. It is therefore important that you clothe yourself properly on the motorbike.

It is also important that your motorbike clothing not only protects you from the cold, but also from possible falls. So, make sure you wear protective motorcycle gloves that are warm, warm underwear, and of course, some good quality kit to protect against the slippery roads in autumn- or winter weather.

Categories
Riding Videos

Big Changes Ahead – Highlights from a Summer of Riding

There’s some big change ahead here at Beginner Biker Adventures as our plan to relocate to Scotland is rolling full speed ahead. All the moving stress and preparations may have reduced the amount of content we’ve been able to deliver, but we’ve still been out riding as much as we can. Here’s my latest YouTube video with highlights of our best riding moments from the summer – enjoy!

YouTube player

What were your summer biking highlights? Have you undertaken a big relocation recently (or planning one)? I’d love to hear from you!

Categories
Riding

Should you take your child pillion on a motorbike?

Child Pillion Motorbike ClothingMany people have speculated that children shouldn’t be allowed on the motorbike because it’s unsafe but this is untrue, I’m here to explain the possible issues and solutions for children as a pillion on a motorbike. In this article, we will cover the legalities, safety concerns, where to buy motorbike gear and some handy tips!

The Legalities

According to UK law, a child of any age can ride as a pillion as long as a few basic requirements have been met:

  • The motorbike has a pillion seat
  • The child can reach the footrests
  • The child has a well-fitted helmet

It is also highly recommended that the child has protected clothing, (such as; jacket, trousers, gloves, boots etc.) and some form of hi-vis, though these aren’t required by law.

Safety concerns

Letting your child pillion on your motorbike can be safe and enjoyable if you are responsible and understand the risks involved. You must be confident that your child is mature enough to know how to react to the motorbike’s movement, whether this is braking, cornering but especially acceleration. They will need to stay still and not jerk around.

You must also be aware that childrens’ attention spans are short and it’s safest they are only taken on short journeys. Also, there is a danger the child may fall asleep so regular toilet and snack breaks are needed.

Categories
Riding

No Laughing Matter

Not funny at all. Riding through Shoreditch en route to the Bike Shed to catch up with buddies, when – puffff! my rear tyre suddenly just deflates. I only just creep the bike the last 50 meters into Bike Shed so I can inspect the damage.

At first, it looked like a big chunk of metal in the tyre, but when I pry it out with pliers, it’s a fucking NOS canister dumped by some kids after a cheap high! Grrrr… I managed to plug the hole with a whole bunch of sticky strands and some help from Bike Shed staff to get it reinflated. As a seasoned London commuter, I’m regrettable quite experienced in plugging punctures.

Categories
Uncategorized

Big Changes Ahead – Relocation Plans

As you may know, if you’ve been following this blog closely, we have been planning to relocate out of London, but last week things just got real. Our house went on the market and we accepted an offer a few days later! After months of planning and preparation, the madness is in full swing.

A frantic dash up to Scotland followed to view as many houses as we could, whereupon we found a decent place in Stirling that ticked most of our boxes. There’s always some compromises to be made, but our top priority requirements were met; location, good nearby school, size, home office, big garage etc. Our offer was accepted (phew!) and now we have the nail-biting wait to get all the finances and solicitors gubbins lined up for the next couple of months. Fingers crossed everything goes smoothly with no hiccups, these things can (and do) go tits up, so I’m not counting my chickens just yet. But it’s a good start to a huge and exciting change of lifestyle.

So, apologies for the slight lack of content recently, preparing our house for sale has taken up a lot of time and things will likely be in a state of turmoil for a little while yet. But watch this space, for news on our big Scottish adventure!

 

Categories
Riding

London Motorcycle Parking Apps: Byke Parking vs London Bike Bays

Riding in and around London can be a bit hairy at the best of times and downright stressful at the worst. The traffic, the endless traffic cameras, inconsistent bus lanes rules, varying speed limits, which lanes should you be in, one way systems, navigation nightmares and then finally you need to find somewhere to park. There are many London motorcycle parking, most of which are free too! But knowing where they all are is another matter. Especially with so many being lost to cycle highways, wide ‘Covid safe’ pavements and the constant tweaking and shrinking of road space.

London motorcycle parking

In the past, we used to rely on the old ParkingForBikes.com website, but sadly this is now defunct. Two newcomers to the scene are mobiles apps Byke Parking and London Bike Bays. I gave both a test run and below is my verdict.