Categories
Riding

Advantages of an E-Bike vs a Motorcycle

Recently my news feed threw up some articles extolling the advantages of an e-bike and what struck me was how they were exactly the reasons we all love and ride motorcycles. Hardly newsworthy and of no surprise to bikers. The articles described how the electric motor assistance on an e-bike provides the following so-called advantages:Top 10 advantages of an e-bike

  1. Ability to cover longer ranges than a normal bicycle without getting worn out
  2. Avoid breaking a sweat and arriving at work in damp Lyrca
  3. Carry some luggage without the strain on pedalling
  4. Save money compared to public transport or car
  5. Stay fit by still pedalling some
  6. Get fresh air, enjoy the outdoors and stay healthy and stress-free
  7. Cut through traffic with ease with a small e-bike
  8. Discover and explore more out of town on days off

Yeah, everything us motorbikers have been taking advantage of for decades, except a motorcycle takes things much further. You can cover much longer distances, carry more luggage, carry a pillion, cut through city traffic with greater speed and explore way more on days off. So, what are the true benefits of electric bikes compared to a motorcycle? Why not just get a motorcycle instead? Read on to find out.

Categories
Gear Reviews

Litelok Gold Moto 108 Lightweight Motorcycle Security Chain Review

Being London based bikers, we are through necessity always interested in the latest motorcycle security developments. Keen to stay one step ahead of bike thieves and keep our bikes secure. So, when Litelok approached us with their new Litelok Moto lightweight motorcycle security chain, we were of course, excited to check out this innovative British designed and built security chain.

Likelok Gold Moto 108 lightweight motorcycle security chain
Likelok Gold Moto 108 lightweight motorcycle security chain unwrapped

Litelok was founded by ex-Rolls Royce aero engineer Professor Neil Barron and his company has built up a reputation of producing strong, but lightweight bicycle locks. The Litelok Gold Moto 108 is their first heavy-duty product aimed at motorcycles, essentially taking their tried and tested design and beefing it up. We’ve been using the Litelok Moto over the last couple of months, read on to find out our verdict and if this really is the best lightweight motorcycle security chain currently on the market.

Categories
Maintenance

Two Tyres – the New Garage for Motorcycle Tyres London

Motorcycle Tyres London
Two Tyres, Motorcycle Tyres London

Looking for Motorcycle tyres in London? A new garage has just opened up which should definitely be on your list of places to check out. Two Tyres recently opened in August 2020 selling motorcycle tyres online or fitted at their bricks’n’mortar shop near Oval in South London. Formed by Ben Cope (original founder of the VisorDown website) along with Chris (one of the founders of FWR – another reputable shop for motorcycle tyres London) and Deano (another ex FWR mechanic). Between them, they have plenty of experience of the real world mechanical, customer service and shop running side, in conjunction with the online and marketing side.

I visited Two Tyres a couple of weeks after it opened to fit a fresh pair of Metzeler RoadTec 01 SE tyres on my Yamaha FZ6, check out their new facilities and grab a quick interview with Ben Cope.

Read on to find out more and blag yourself a discount code for Two Tyres.

Categories
Maintenance

Easy Motorcycle MOT Checklist to Avoid Failing

If you have a motorcycle or scooter over three years old, you will need to submit it for an annual motorbike MOT test to ensure it is still safe and road legal. No one wants an MOT failure and the prospect of a large repair bill. However, a large majority of test failures are simple things that can easily be identified and fixed yourself before you take your bike to the garage.

Motorcycle MOT Check
Pass your Motorcycle MOT first time!
Historic Motorcycle MOT Exemption

As of May 2018 historic motorcycles over 40 years old are exempt from MOT tests and vehicle tax. You will however need to apply for the ‘historic tax class’ – more details on the Gov.uk site. But note you can still be fined and get 3 points if your motorbike is not in a road worthy condition.

Covid19 Lockdown MOT Extension

Note there were MOT test date extensions brought in due to the Covid19 lockdown, don’t get caught out now this extension period is over:

  • MOT’s expiring on or after 30th March and before 1st August, get a six-month extension
  • MOT’s expiring on or after 1st August are due as normal
MOT Failure Statistics

Recently the Dept. for Transport (DfT) released MOT data for 2019, which provides for some interesting stats:

  1. 83% of motorcycles & scooters pass first time, compared to 67% of cars and light vehicles (up to 3,000 Kg)
  2. Across all vehicles types, 7% ‘Pass with Rectification’ – that is, after minor fixes at the test station within 1 hour
  3. 10% of motorcycles fail their MOT test, verses 25% of cars & light vehicles

Clearly, motorcycles are less likely to encounter an MOT test failure compared to other vehicles. In this article we will look at what the most common failure reasons are and if they could have been spotted before hand, thus compiling a motorcycle MOT checklist you can follow.

Categories
Riding

Best Motorcycle Roads Essex has for a Ride Out

Being based in East London, Essex is right on my doorstep and where I head for the majority of my ride outs. Essex may not have epic hills and deep valleys, but it offers many great twisty roads, rolling farmland, postcard villages of thatched cottages and some great coastlines to explore. Here I have rounded up some of the best motorcycle roads Essex has to offer, from the infamous Burnham Bends, the Clacton coast and of course the biker Mecca that is Finchingfield. You will not be disappointed by these routes:

Categories
Riding

Weekend Fair Weather Rider

Like many of you, recent the Covid19 lockdown has completely changed my usual way of life and biking. Thankfully, I’ve still maintained my main job as a software engineer, albeit now all working remote from home. I haven’t commuted into central London since the middle of March and only recently had chance to enjoy time on my bike on a few recent weekends when the weather has been reasonable.

Yep, I seemed to have become a weekend fair weather rider…

London Commuting Tower Bridge
London commuting all weathers

I used to be one to ride all the time, an all weather biker, commuting to into London rain or shine, but now I’m desk bound at home Monday-Friday. If anything, I’m putting in more hours now than I used to as I work the time I would have previously spent commuting. Weekends are now my only chance to get out on the bike, where I’m choosing to ride for enjoyment and thus I want to ride out into the sunny countryside. A weekend blast in the rain just ain’t quite as much fun.

It’s anybody’s guess when we’ll all return to normality and start commuting back into the office. Somehow, I don’t think normality will be quite what it used to be though. Like many forward thinking tech companies, my employer always had options for flexible and remote working. However, like many companies they are now planning for many of its staff to work remote far more, using shared ‘hot’ desks and reducing office space in central London. After the success of remote working these last few months, there’s no argument for not continuing to offer such an option.

Yamaha FZ6 S2
Yamaha FZ6 S2 commuter hack

So what does this mean for biking? With less emphasis on commuting, I’m seriously questioning my current choice of Yamaha FZ6 as a pure commuter hack. Why am I putting my priorities into a basic commuter bike? Why don’t I get a fun weekend bike than can commute upon occasion? Longer term, I also can’t help but question even living in the London suburbs. If I can work remote, why not live remote?! Once the advantage of a short commute is eroded, what else does the East London suburbia have to offer? Why not live rural, escape the crowds, find nicer roads, beautiful scenery and cheaper motorcycle insurance?

These last few months have definitely been a time of questioning, challenging prior assumptions, re-evaluating life choices and priorities. We maybe getting closer to normality, but it’s clear it won’t be the normal we’ve been used to in years past.

How has the Covid19 crisis affected your biking?

Categories
Clothing/Protection Gear Reviews

Bull-it SR6 Motorcycle Jeans Review

Bull-It SR6 motorcycle jeansAs great as leathers are, once the hot summer arrives they get awfully toasty and sweaty. In days gone by a good pair of Levis was considered perfectly adequate for a casual summer ride, but you really don’t want to come off your bike just wearing a pair of fashion jeans. I also doubt today’s Levis are as robust as pairs made in days gone by. Today we have on the market many motorbike jeans with Kevlar or other branded variants of this super strong abrasion resistant aramid fabric, like the Covec used on these Bull-It SR6 jeans I picked up a last summer.

The Bull-It SR6 set me back £60 in a sale, which included both knee and hip armour inserts (they’re sometimes optional extras) – bargain. But are they actually any good? Read on to find out more.

Categories
Motorcycles

Famous Motorcycles on Film

Over the past few months of lockdown I’ve been watching many films to while away the time until I could get back out on my bike. Of course, we all love movies with bikes, and so here I have rounded up a number of iconic motorbikes on film. Some from films portraying motorcycle (counter) culture, some just excellent stylistic choices supporting other narratives. All highly memorable and iconic motorcycles I’m sure we’d all to ride.

Easy Rider (1969)

Easy Rider 1969No list of bike films would be complete without Easy Rider and the story of Wyatt (Peter Fonda) and Billy (Dennis Hopper) checking out of mainstream society and undertaking a journey from LA to New Orleans Mardi Gras to discovery America and themselves. They pick up Jack Nicholson on route for a drug addled and tragic ride across middle America.

The custom choppers were built by Cliff Vaughs and Ben Hardy, from 1949, 1950 and 1952 Harley-Davidson Hydra-Glide ex-police bikes. Four bike were built to provide backup in case some broke down or got trashed to avoid filming delays.

Find Easy Rider on Amazon

Categories
Videos

May 2020 Update and Post Lockdown Finchingfield Ride

Been a bit quiet on the biking front lately due to all the Covid shenanigans. So here’s a quick video update on what we’ve been up to and a cheeky post lockdown ride out to Finchingfield.

Regarding the route I took, it’s the first chunk of this Essex Loop I have blogged about previously.

Categories
Hardware

My Video Blogging Computer Setup

With not a lot of riding occurring at the moment, I thought I’d give you a glimpse behind the scenes here, to peek at the kind of computer kit I use to run this blog and produce my videos. It may not be the best video editing rig you can buy, but it will hopefully give you an insight on something that can produce good results without breaking the bank. Be warned, this gets a bit geeky!

MacBook Pro

I have a preference for Mac’s, simply because they’re generally well designed, last well and have good migration and recovery features. I’m currently running a Mid 2014 15″ MacBook Pro Retina, with 16GB RAM, 250GB SSD drive and 2.2Ghz Intel Quad Core i7 processor. Now before you cry ‘but boy they’re super expensive!’, I picked MacBook up refurbished from Music Magpie in November 2019 for £650 (but did have to buy a power supply at £80 on top). At time of writing a similar spec brand new Windows laptop will set you back over a grand.

I’d recommend the Retina display, as it’s high resolution is perfect for inspecting video in a small preview pane. But note, RAM is not upgradeable on recent Retina Mac’s, so do get one with 16GB already in it. I also went for the fast Intel Core i7 chip, to help blitz through video rendering and processing. Overall, it’s plenty fast enough to work on long 1080p video, and possibly 4k video at a push.