I’m always interested in new biking adventures and off road riding is something I’ve been meaning to try for a long time. To resolve this, I recently booked myself in at the Off The Kerb Trail Riding school down in Dorking, Surrey. Off The Kerb offer a newbie friendly introduction to off road trail riding, exploring local green lanes in the beautiful Surrey Hills on Fantic Moto 250E Case enduro bikes.
Toppling over in an embarrassing fashion is de rigueur when off road
The day comes in at just over £200 quid, including hire of all the kit you need: bike, boots, full armour, top, trousers, waterproof jacket, gloves, lid and not forgetting lunch. Certainly very handy for an off road newbie with none of the gear, and at a price on par with many other off road days elsewhere. Toppling over in an embarrassing fashion is de rigueur when off road, so doing that in the supplied full armour and less precious kit is definitely preferred.
“Think my tyres have gone off” – said Keith Code’s protagonist in Twist of the Wrist II, and every other biker with lost riding confidence trying to pin the blame on something tangible that’s easy to replace. Confidence is easily dented, whether from a tumble down the road, an arse clenching close call, to a change of bike, setup or yes tyres. Continue reading ““Think my tyres have gone off” and Dented Riding Confidence” »
It’s been a while since I’ve posted much helmet cam footage, but this dozy idiot I encountered the other morning on my commute into work was crying out for some public shaming.
Here I am passing Billingsgate Fish Market and the Canary Wharf financial district on the left on my way into the city. See if you can predict what shenanigans is about to unfold (I’m sure you can). How would you have reacted if in this situation?
This weekends chore was brake maintenance on the FZ6. Having only acquired the bike in the Autumn, it was unclear when the brake fluid was last changed, and being 13 years old, the original rubber brake hose, although visually OK, were likely past their best. The rubber hoses can degrade over many years exposure to the elements, which can lead to slight bulging when pumping the brake lever and thus reducing the final pressure applied to the brake pistons and pads onto the discs. Whereas braided hoses being built around a stainless steel mesh braid are more study, will not bulge or degrade in the same way and have a longer lifespan. Continue reading “FZ6 Brake Maintenance and Braided Hose” »
How much for a pair of sock?! Socks are socks, aren’t they? As a self confessed cheap skate frugal shopper, I purchase almost all of my socks and underwear from budget supermarkets opting for whatever socks seems study enough to last a while. So when Soxsmith asked me to review some technical motorcycle socks, I was very interested to see how they stacked up and if they’re really worth the extra outlay. Yep, I must be getting old to appreciate being given socks… Continue reading “Soxsmith Comodo Motorcycle Sock Review” »
A case of cold tyres, rushing around, late for work and too eager on the throttle. Literally the second left turn after leaving the house, trying to gas it to make a gap in the traffic and back wheel just span up, low sided and off the bike went sliding down the road. Gutted. Continue reading “Cold Tyres, Low-Side, First Scrape on the FZ6” »
The lowly motorbike jacket is an underrated garment we all take for granted, yet it has a tough role to perform. A good jacket must first and foremost keep you well protected from impacts, slides down the road and whatever the weather throws at you. On rough days, it should keep you warm and dry, and on hot days keep you cool. Finally it needs to be comfortable to wear and crucially, look good. No one is going to enjoy a jacket that’s badly fitting or looks a bit naff. Some of you may splash out on a jacket for each season, but others starting out on two wheels will likely be on a tighter budget and will be after a single all weather jacket. Similarly, if you’re planning a long tour or just commuting at the mercy of the British weather, then you really need one jacket that can cover you from all eventualities.
The Rev’It! Sand 3 jacket aims to tick all the boxes and provide an all seasons jacket in the mid-price bracket for around £360. Provided for review by Fortamoto.com (the well regards Amsterdam based motorcycle store), I’ve put it through it’s paces over the last few wintery weeks in London. Read on to see if it lives up to promises. Continue reading “Rev’it! Sand 3 Textile Jacket Review” »
And so it goes, all good things come to a close. Last week was the end of an era as I sold my Yamaha Fazer FZS600. My first bike since passing my full bike license back in 2012 (crumbs how time flies!), and a bike I’ve ridden almost every day since then.
The bike has done me proud, one I’ve always been able to rely upon, easy enough to ride as a new biker, yet fun and powerful enough to keep up with my growing confidence and skills. I had some up’s and down’s, a couple of off’s as my skills developed, but the bullet proof Fazer just kept going with modest repairs. The Fazer was also a breeze to work on, giving me chance to learn a lot of basic maintenance skills too.
It’s a bit daft how one can get all emotional about a bike (or any vehicle for that matter), but when so many fond memories are wrapped up in a bike, you do build up an attachment that can make it difficult to sell. But alas, needs must, times change and my old Fazer FZS600 had to be moved on. I got a respectable price as it was sold to another young biker looking for a their first big bike, I’m sure he’ll get much enjoyment from the Fazer.
Here’s some photos of a few of those key memories from my time with the Fazer.
When it comes to staying warm on a motorbike, the traditional option is to layer up, loads of jumpers and thermals, but end up feeling like a Michelin man with restricted movement. These days however, there’s loads of great electrically heated gear on the market, from gloves and socks to vests and pants. All nice thin layers that keep you toasty without bulkiness. The only problem is, much of this serious gear comes at a serious price.
It’s at this point you may have noticed a lot of very cheap heated clothing on eBay from China. It can’t all be that bad, can it? So in the name of research, we picked up a heated vest for the princely sum of £20 (delivered). A far cry from big name brands costing £100-150 or more. Read on to see if we wasted our money or found a little far Eastern gem.
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” »
Trials and tribulations of a motorcycle newbie in London