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” »

Llangollen Motorcycle Festival 2018 Report

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.

LLanBikeFest 2018 - Triumph Speed Triple R low
Triumph Speed Triple R low

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” »

Prudential Ride London Sweep Team Volunteering

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.

The weather was terrible and after several hours stuck in the rain my Alpinestars Goretex Jet Road gloves and SMX-6 WP boots both gave in and were sodden. My old Rukka gear held up better, but was still damp on the inside. I can’t wait to get my new Hideout Hi-Pro laminate gear… Still, I was far more comfortable than those doing 100 miles in saturated Lycra!

Well done everyone who took part, it was a tough event and a lot of cash was raised for charity. Sadly, two did not complete the day, my best wishes to their family and friends. RIP.

 

California Revisited – Exploring San Francisco on a Bonneville

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:

Big thanks goes to Dubbelju for their excellent bike rental service. Read my full review of Dubbelju here.

San Francisco Motorcycle Rental at Dubbelju

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.

Continue reading “San Francisco Motorcycle Rental at Dubbelju” »

Replacing Clutch Cable on Yamaha Fazer FZS600

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