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” »
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” »
Trials and tribulations of a motorcycle newbie in London