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Motorcycles

Triumph Street Twin – 6 Weeks / 1.5k Miles Later

I have wanted a Triumph since I was a teenager, which is a long time ago now. I used to knock about with some bikers who had old Bonnies and I have loved the aesthetic, the slim lines, the torquey twin-engine and its ability to negotiate those country twisty roads which we all love. The old Brit engineering with the oil-bearing frame and the total loss oil system? Not so much.

Triumph Street Twin
Currently, only night time riding whilst commuting in the lockdown

The Triumph Street Twin encapsulates the best of both worlds. It is a bike which captures what is so attractive about the older Bonnies, the tidy lines with the attractive tank that flows straight into the comfy seat, the neat twin engine with bags of torque which sits tidily underneath and that lovely thud as it runs. It does so with the reliability of a modern bike which I view as essential – it starts without complaint on cold and damp mornings, it is smooth and intuitive when ridden.

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Motorcycles

A New Bike in the Stable – Triumph Street Twin

Exciting news – I have finally bitten the bullet and upgraded from my old Honda CBF500 to a new Triumph. I’ve always been fond of Bonnevilles and their retro styling from my formative teenage years when hanging around with classic Bonneville owning bikers in Shropshire. Although this Triumph Street Twin deviates more from the Bonnevilles of old, it won my heart.

I have test rode several bikes before settling on the Street Twin.

  1. Ducati Scrambler 800 – Great bike, but more money than I initially wanted to spend. Also, some of the finish was questionable, e.g. exposed wiring going into switchgear.
    • £7700 new (with some tempting 0% deals on) or £5k+ second hand
  2. Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 – Again, a good bike, but I struggled height wise when not wearing built-up boots. I needed something I’d be comfortable in all scenarios. I’d also heard too many conflicting reports on reliability, especially from local trusted garages and motorcycle rental shops Arthur had visited.
    • £5500 new
  3. Triumph Bonneville 900 from 2012 – Chosen due to cast wheels and lower seat height, it was a decent bike, but the particular instance I test rode had an awkward gear change I struggled to get my boot under and some questionable cosmetic additions…
    • £4500 second hand (9k mileage)
  4. Triumph Street Twin 2020 – I took this out for test ride initially on a whim at Arthur’s suggestion whilst the Triumph dealer and I simply fell in love with it. It was slightly lower than the Bonneville and I just felt far more confident on it.
    • £7300 for the 2020 demo bike (+£500 free accessories!)
Test riding the 2020 Triumph Street Twin
Test riding the 2020 Triumph Street Twin
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Motorcycles

How to Sell a Motorcycle in Six Easy Steps

How to Sell a Motorcycle - KTM Duke 125Unfortunately, there’s come a time when we as riders know that our motorcycle’s time is up. Despite all the memories that we’ve made with our motorbikes, all the challenges we’ve faced, all the ups and downs we’ve encountered, there’s a time where we have to sell our motorcycle and say goodbye.

But how do you sell a motorcycle? For one, you don’t want to underprice your bike. That’d be cutting its value short. But at the same time, you don’t want to overprice your bike for fear of no one buying it.

Today, we’ll be teaching you exactly how to sell a motorcycle and what you can do to get the maximum price possible from your bike. We’ll give you our favourite tips on selling so that at the end of the day, when it’s time to say goodbye, you’ll be able to give your motorbike the proper farewell.

If you can’t see yourself selling your motorbike, you can always rent out your motorbike to paying customers!

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Motorcycles

You Meet The Nicest People on a Honda

You meet the nicest people on a HondaMary being one of them! However, after 5 years of ownership, it’s time for her to move on from her Honda CBF500. Initially purchased to regain her riding confidence after many years off bikes, the CBF500 was a great choice for her. After we lowered it that is, she is fairly petite. Nonetheless, it’s done its job and some, from commuting around London, weekend rides, biking rallies and tours around Wales, Scotland and France.

Honda CBF500. hugger, new chain, Michelin Road 5 tyresWe picked the bike up fairly cheap, but we’ve given it plenty of TLC and it’s held up well. All the routine maintenance has been taken care of with no short cuts – “Do it right, do it once” as Guy Martin would say. These Honda’s are well known for doing astronomical miles in the hands of couriers and motorcycle schools, and I’m sure this one will keep going for many more miles yet.

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Motorcycles

Famous Motorcycles in Films

Over the past few months of lockdown, I’ve been watching many motorcycle 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 movie motorcycles I’m sure we’d all to ride.

Easy Rider (1969)

Movie motorcycles - 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 bikes were built to provide backup in case some broke down or got trashed to avoid filming delays.

Find Easy Rider on Amazon

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Motorcycles Videos

Harley Davidson Test Ride, Heritage Soft Tail 114

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.

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Motorcycles

End of an Era – Fazer Sold

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.

 

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Motorcycles

Yamaha Faze-Off – 2003 FZS600 vs 2007 FZ6 S2

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. 

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Motorcycles

New Bike Time – Yamaha 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.

Two Fazers! FZS600 left, FZ6 S2 right.

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.

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Motorcycles

End of the Season – Yeah Whatever!

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?!