Not my usual bike, but I took out this Harley Davidson Heritage Soft Tail 114 for a test ride at the weekend, from the super helpful guys at the Maidstone Harley Davidson dealership. We’re checking out options for a long distance tourer, and today this possibly left field choice.
With so much power, this bike definitely brings on the big grins. Each twist of the right hand unleashed tonnes of torque, and a roar from the exhausts. It was very comfortable for both myself and pillion, and with the hard lockable luggage could definitely be a winner on some longer tours. Evie appreciated the sissy bar backrest, especially when I opened the thing up and the torque shoved us right back. I did however find the high ape hanger bars a bit fatiguing when man handling it through the bend, so I would probably opt for a lower more practical option.
Other niggles was the kick stand was bit awkward to kick out from under foot board. Neutral was impossible to find without killing the engine – though this bike had a lot of play at clutch lever, so maybe just needed adjustment. As with many big Hogs, you’ve got to be mindful of lean angle, it was very easy to scrape the boards on a bend.
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.
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” »
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.
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!” »
If you’ve never heard of DirtQuake before – Oh boy, you have been missing out! DirtQuake is essentially flat track oval dirt racing, but with a big slab of tongue in cheek fun and open entry to any crazy enough. This year’s event was hosted at the Essex Arena, a stone throw from Lakeside retail hell and M25 traffic hell, but dead handy for us all London folk. The Essex Arena normally hosts all kinds of Speedway and banger racing, so was perfect for DirtQuake.
Racing was split into a number of classes:
Inappropriate Road Bike
DTRA Super Hooligans
The last DTRA class were all experienced pros, with serious skills, serious bikes (mainly Indian FTR’s and Ducati Scrambler 1100’s) and were extremely rapid. In contrast, the first five classes had a random mixed bag of contenders from novices to celebs like Guy Martin and Jenny Tinmouth, and many in fancy dress to boot! They featured an even more eclectic collection of bikes, from brand new Husqvarna Vitpilen and Ducati Scramblers, stripped down sports bikes (an R1), random street bikes, the odd adventure bike (a Super Ténéré), right through to classics like a RD350 and a Vincent Rapide! Continue reading “DirtQuake 2018 at Essex Arena” »
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.
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” »
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.
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.
This month I was posted to San Jose for work, but unlike most work trips this one included a stay over the weekend. So, stuck on my tod in California I decided to hire a Harley to explore the area as it’s not often you get chance to cruise down the West Coast freeways on a big hog, definitely on many bikers bucket lists and too good a chance to miss. I hired my bike from EagleRider in San Francisco, who had a wide selection of Harley’s to choose from (but also have others). I initially booked a Sportster 1200, but due to unavailability was given a Dyna Low Rider 103 as an upgrade – nice one!