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” »

Hideout Leathers

Trying to find motorcycle clothing that fits well can be a real struggle. Nobody wants ill fitting gear, making you worry if armour will remain in position in an off or just looking naff. I’m fairly tall and slim, so finding trousers long enough in leg and with slim enough waist is not easy. My wife is somewhat the opposite and similarly finds it tough to hunt down gear short enough – it’s not so easy to turn up leathers. This is where Hideout Leathers really corners the market.

Tucked away in the Essex countryside a short distance from Saffron Walden, Hideout Leathers have a small store and workshop, where they sell many decent brands off the peg from the likes of Rukka, Dane, Halvarssons and Lindstands.  But uniquely they offer their own tailor made motorcycle gear and alteration service. Continue reading “Hideout Leathers” »

Cheap(ish) Euro 3 Commuter Hacks to Beat the London ULEZ

You’ve all heard the news of the London ULEZ coming into effect from April 2019 that will penalise all pre-Euro 3 bikes within central London. That’s generally anything older than 2007 will be hit with a £12.50 a day charge, with London only being the start – many other UK cities have already starting similar proposals, so if you’re running a cheap old commuter hack, time is ticking.

the recent motorcycle crime epidemic is making insurance premiums prohibitively high on anything of value or large capacity

We’d all like splash out on a new bike, but not all of us have financial luxury and PCP deals are rarely economical for a daily commuter doing big yearly miles. Even worse for those who live in inner London, the recent motorcycle crime epidemic is making insurance premiums prohibitively high on anything of reasonable value, large engine capacity or desirability.

So where does that leave a seasoned commuter on a budget needing a something to replace their trusty and reliable commuter hack. Here are some suggestions of practical Euro 3 compliant bikes for city commuting that won’t break the bank both to buy or to insure. Continue reading “Cheap(ish) Euro 3 Commuter Hacks to Beat the London ULEZ” »

MCN Festival Peterborough Low Down

A sunny weekend, lumbered with the bored kids and wishing I was out on the bike. Hmm, what to do instead? Well, the MCN Festival up near Peterborough was on and looked like a good day out. At £16 quid for an advance day ticket, kids going free, only an hour and bit drive away and plenty on schedule – it seemed a good option.

Yamaha boy checking out the new MT-09

Located at the easily accessible East of England show ground it was a surprisingly big event. My first time in attendance and I’d certainly not been to the old BMF rally it descended from either. A large number of manufacturers and key dealers were present displaying the latest bikes to see up close, sit on and take for a quick test ride out on nearby roads. Continue reading “MCN Festival Peterborough Low Down” »

Trials and tribulations of a motorcycle newbie in London