The star of Channel 4’s hit comedy The Mimic reveals his love for the Honda MBX50 and biking holidays with no plan
What are you riding today?
A chopped 2008 Yamaha FZ-1, which I’ve had since November. It’s done 20,000 miles, with 5000 of them mine. I rode it through winter and it still looks so damn sexy.
What’s your budget?
I seem to move a pot of £4000 from bike to bike. I bought a Suzuki SV650 which was followed by a Suzuki GSF750N with a massive screen and zero thrills followed by a 2004 BMW R1200GS, the Range Rover of the motorcycle world, followed by my current bike, the FZ-1 – and they all cost about four grand.
Describe your early bikes?
The first was a Suzuki TS185, sold to me for 25 quid because it only did 40mph. Once my dad had bolted the exhaust on properly it did 70. It was huge for an 11-year-old: two of my mates had to hold it while I got on. Next came a Yamaha TY175 trials bike, which could ride up a wall as easily as it could trap your leg in the back wheel, followed by a Honda MBX50. It looked amazing but, my god, it was slow.
What’s been your favourite?
I loved that MBX. There was a hill near home that used to kill it. I fitted a Micron pipe, a bigger sprocket plus a sail to help it get up but it just went buuurrrrr. Then came the real love of my love, a 1986 (I think) RD125LC in Toronto Red. When my brother went to pick it up for me he loved it so much he wouldn’t hand it over. First thing I did was ride it up that hill. When it hit its powerband, I adored it even more.
Not me, my brother. I was working away on the sewers for £2.50 an hour when the RD blew its electrics. Dad got them all sorted, so I came home expecting to ride it again. I didn’t know that the oil pump feed pipe had come off when my brother was riding it, seizing the engine solid and throwing him off. When I got home and found out I had to go straight upstairs because the tears were coming. I’ve had loads of zero mph crashes but this was the worst.
Dad used one of those small pineapple tins to replace the smashed clocks. Once sprayed you couldn’t tell it wasn’t a Yamaha part.
Got any selling techniques to pass on?
That GSF750N was a tough one to sell, so I put a picture of it on my eBay ad with Maggie Thatcher riding it on the Berlin Wall, at Mardi Gras and on the moon – first bike on the moon! When the bloke who bought it came to pick it up he didn’t even mention Maggie!
What’s your perfect biking trip?
To get off the ferry at Calais with no plan except turn left or right. That’s the greatest thing in the universe: open sky, no plan and country roads. I‘ve ridden Enfield 500s in Nepal – they’re an absolute crisis, you need new kidneys after a day on one – but I don’t like organised rides and group riding. And I’ll do it on a Ducati Multistrada.
Japanese or European?
I ride a Yamaha but Japanese bikes have lost their way. The styling’s gone off, and bikes like Honda’s NC700 might do a15 million mpg but they’re not exciting. Meanwhile the Italians are as exciting as they’ve always been but have closed the reliability gap as well. If I had the money I’d go for a Multistrada or perhaps that stupidly massive Diavel. Or a KTM Super Duke R.