With a new year dawning, let us take a quick pitstop to look back at the years past adventures and look forward at future adventures planned. 2018 was a busy year for me with my main day job, involving many trips abroad to San Francisco, San Diego and Berlin and almost trips to Belgium and Switzerland, but these I managed to delegate to others in my team.
The longer trips to California were great as they afforded me time off to hire some bikes to explore the San Fran Bay area more. First a big Harley Road King from Eagle Rider and later a Triumph Bonneville T100 from Dubbelju. Very different bikes, but both a lot of fun in their own ways. I was pleasantly surprised how well the Bonney could be hustled around the winding forest roads, whilst presenting an air of relaxed sophistication. California has some epic scenery and roads to explore, from the sweeping Pacific coast line, huge Redwood forests to nearby mountain ranges. If you’re in the area, definitely get yourself a bike to explore, you won’t regret it. Continue reading “Year End Pitstop” »
I’ve had the 2003 FZS600 for many years, but I recently picked up a 2007 FZ6 S2 a couple of months ago. Both formidable and affordable commuter tools that promise plenty of fun on the twisty roads too. But how do they really compare? On paper, they appear similar, both inline 4 cylinder 600cc sports tourers, but the devil is in the detail and only when used daily do the differences become pronounced. Continue reading “Yamaha Faze-Off – 2003 FZS600 vs 2007 FZ6 S2” »
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” »
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.
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” »
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.
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.
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’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” »
It’s been a stonker of a summer, Britain was taken over by a huge heat wave followed by almost monsoon rains. Now Autumn is well and truly upon us, the leaves are falling and everyone is all talk of end of season for biking… What’s that all about then?! Continue reading “End of the Season – Yeah Whatever!” »
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” »
Trials and tribulations of a motorcycle newbie in London