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News

Have A Christmas

Better times – Ace Cafe Toy Run December 2019

This year it certainly won’t be happy and definitely not merry, so just have A Christmas.

Stay safe, follow the best scientific advice, scrutinise the politics and look after those you can. It’s cold, dark and bleak out there and the weather isn’t much better either. Optimism is in short supply, each day seems worse than the last. But hang in there, keep in touch with friends, family and loved ones, we’re all in this together. Hopefully, 2021 will bring some better times.

Wishing you all the best health!

Categories
Gear Reviews

Exotogg Review – Essential Cold Weather Motorcycle Gear or Hot Air?

The problem with reviewing cold weather motorcycle gear is you actually need some cold weather. This Autumn it’s been strangely mild in the South East of England. I’m starting this review in mid-November, it’s blue skies, sunny and I have the conservatory doors wide open. I don’t know if this is climate change, but as beautiful a day as it is, it doesn’t make this Exotogg review very easy…

Exotogg body warmer reviewThe Exotogg body warmer is not your usual cold-weather layer, it’s essentially an inflatable gilet/vest that you don under your bike jacket, which you then inflate with three or four puffs of breath, whereupon it’ll form a nice layer of air that will keep you warm. If you get too hot, you simply open the valve and squeeze the air out. The idea being you inflate or deflate it as and when needed, easy-peasy.

Using a layer of air to insulate against the cold is however a tried and tested method to maintaining warmth. Materials like fleece, down and wool all trap a layer of air to keep your body warm. So, the science behind the Exotogg vest is sound, but what advantages down it have over traditional layers?

Categories
News

Best Black Friday Discount Motorcycle Gear

It’s that time of year again, marketing departments have gone mental, your mailbox has been spammed with tonnes of offers and you’re getting overwhelmed with so many offers. So who is offering the best deals and biggest discounts on motorcycle gear?

Sports Bike Shop

Between 20% and 50% discounts on loads of gear. Biggest discounts on summer gear, so plan ahead for next year!

Our bargain pick:

AGV Corsa-R V46
AGV Corsa-R V46 for £350!

FC-Moto

15% off with discount code BLACKWEEK15 (expires 30th Nov). FC-Moto operates from Germany in the EU, so no VAT/Duty upon import until we Brexit in the new year… You’ll need to pay postage on returns, but the offer discounted return postage labels to help here.

Demon-Tweeks

Up to 75% off end-of-season gear, some great one-piece suits, track gear, leathers and quality helmets. Demon Tweeks also have 20% off Scorpion exhausts.

Top find:

Gerbing XR12 heated gloves for £122
Gerbing XR12 heated gloves for £122

Ghost Bikes

Lots of discounts on motorcycle and motocross gear (kids motocross clothing included), especially on lesser-known brands like Shox, Black and Agrius. Ghost Bikes also run daily specials discounts and will match and beat competitor prices by 25%!

Also, get 15% off everything with code 2020BFCM

Top pick:

TCX Comp Evo Michelin Motocross Boots
TCX Comp Evo Michelin Motocross Boots for £219!

Get Geared

Up to 30% off loads of kit and 15% off non-sale goods with discount code BLACK15.

MotoIn

20% off everything with discount code BLACK20 (expires 29th Nov)

Categories
Maintenance

No Riding Blues? Winter & Lockdown Biker Entertainment

Going Snow Where - Winter Motorcycle EntertainmentFor many, wintertime is when bikes are garaged away and in storage until the warmer spring weather. Even many who would normally ride year-round are facing the no riding blues from various lockdowns in place to tackle the covid pandemic. I’m personally in this category as I’m now working from home permanently. So, what can a die-hard biker do to while away the dark and miserable winter months? Read on for some suggestions on winter motorcycle entertainment.

→ Additionally, there’s a lot of stuff mentioned here that would make great biker gifts and motorcycle Christmas presents or stocking fillers. So, take note if you know a biker and are stuck for gift ideas.

Categories
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.

Categories
Riding

MOT Time, A Year of Few Miles

Motorcycle MOT checkIt was that time of year again, another 12 months passed and my Yamaha FZ6 was due a motorcycle MOT check. The past MOT extension for the Covid lockdown now passed and not reinstated for this second UK lockdown, it was necessary to pop the bike to the local test station to get the bike checked over. All very mundane and trivial, bike passed swimmingly with no advisories. But, your motorcycle MOT check time is like an anniversary or a birthday for a bike and a time to look back at the miles ridden.

Don’t forget to read our easy Motorcycle MOT Checklist guide on how to avoid failing your MOT.

In the last 12 months, I’ve only managed to do 5k miles on the FZ6, not much at all really and indicative of this year. With no regularly commuting since the first March lockdown, there’s only been a handful of leisure rides and a brief tour around Wales. It’s all been too much work and not much play, quite depressing really.

Categories
Courses/Tuition

Benefits of Taking a DMV Practice Test

online DMV theoretical testBefore you can get a driver’s permit, you need to pass a US DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) written test. The best way to prepare for this written test is to take an online DMV theoretical test. However, a practice test is not for the sole purpose of preparing for the test. It comes with other benefits as well.

One important benefit of taking practice tests is that you get to know the rules and laws related to driving and road safety. You acquire theoretical knowledge regarding driving safely and abiding by road signs and other rules. All these lessons will help you become a safe rider.

Categories
Featured Videos

Motovlog: Best Roads Wales Tour 2020

Back in August, since other touring plans were scuppered due to the pandemic, we undertook a Wales motorcycle tour. A staycation, crashing with family in Welshpool for a couple of weeks with a plan to explore the best roads Wales outlined in Simon Wier’s Bikers Britain book. Check out this video of the key highlights from the trip – enjoy!

If you want to get more details of the routes, you can grab yourself a copy of the Biker’s Britain book from Amazon here.

 

Categories
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
Categories
Gear Reviews

Tutoro Trek Auto Motorcycle Chain Oiler Review

If you have a motorcycle with a chain you will be more than familiar with the regular maintenance it requires. Spraying on chain lube every few hundred miles, the inevitable fling of oil all over the rear of your bike, and the periodic clean of thick gunk from excess lube and dirt. Depending on how much your commute and ride, it’s a chore you need to do every couple of days to a couple of weeks. On a long tour, chain lube is just one more thing you need to pack. If you don’t have a centre stand or a handy paddock stand, the job is even more hassle to ensure the entire length of your chain is sufficiently lubed. There are no two ways about it, chain maintenance is a hassle, almost enough to make you buy a shaft drive BMW or a belt drive Harley… almost. 🙂

This is where an automated motorcycle chain oiler comes to the rescue. Essentially a small reservoir of chain oil you mount to your bike, with a long hose to dispense the oil directly onto your chain and sprocket as you ride.

Motorcycle Chain Oiler Comparison

How the automated oiler is activated can vary:

  1. Electronic motion detection (e.g Scottoiler xSystem)
  2. Vacuum activated (e.g. Scottoiler vSystem)
  3. Harnessing inertia of vertical suspension movements (e.g Tutoro chain oiler)

Electronic systems are expensive (~£200+) and need wiring to your battery. Vacuum systems are cheaper (~£100) but require additional hoses connected to an engine vacuum or induction outlet. This leaves the Tutoro Auto Trek, which is activated by suspension movements as an option that is both easier to install and cost-effective (£105). It is an intriguing option that I was keen to investigate more when Tutoro offered a kit for review.