Michael Neeves reveals secrets of a road tester - episode 3

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In the third episode of ‘Secrets of a Road Tester’, MCN’s Michael Neeves looks at speed and braking.

Front brake or back brake? Which fingers to use and how to ease off. These are all essential techniques for controlling your bike and keeping the ride smooth.

Braking on a motorbike

"When testing, we don’t tend to ride in a big hail of acceleration, gears and braking. It’s much better to ride smooth," he says. "By riding smooth, you get a much better feel for the bike and its character."

He also explains how controlling your speed is not just about using your brakes: "If you’ve observed the road ahead and you’ve sensed what’s going on – you don’t really need to brake that hard anyway."

Which fingers to brake with

The six-video series with the MCN chief road tester has been produced in association with BikerTek.

"Our range of performance parts for bikers goes hand in hand with a belief in promoting advanced rider technique," says BikerTek manager Mik Barton.

"It’s been great to work with Michael Neeves and he’s put together a great series to cover both the thrill and the skill of riding."


Michael Neeves reveals secrets of a road tester - episode 2

First published July 23 2020

Not everything about testing the latest road bikes is exciting – but MCN chief tester Michael Neeves isn’t thinking of giving up the job anytime soon.

In the second episode of his video series "Secrets of a Road Tester" he talks about a few things that are necessary, not always the most exciting but, ultimately, enhance the enjoyment of riding.

"Drinking water is boring," he says. "But really effective."

Drinking water is essential

This summer there are likely to be fewer places to stop for refreshments on long leisure rides – at least as biker cafes start to adjust to the new normal and with sensible social distancing everywhere. Using his experience of long test days, Neeves gives his tips for the best types of break to get the best out of a ride.

For regular riders, he also touches on fitness.

"Because motorcycles are serious things: they need a lot of concentration and they need a lot of strength to ride," he says.

Fatigue can be a serious problem when riding a motorbike

Fatigue is dangerous and if you’re riding so many days, the only real way to stop yourself getting tired is to prevent it happening in the first place. The best way to do that is with a little bit of exercise off the bike, he explains.

"Generally, the fitter, more flexible you are, the easier it is to concentrate, the less tiring it is and the more enjoyable the ride."

Episode 3 from the 6 part series "Secrets of a Road Tester" is released next Thursday, July 30


Michael Neeves reveals secrets of a road tester - episode 1

First published 16 July 2020

"It’s a state of mind." That’s how Michael Neeves sums up his secret for riding many thousands of miles on top bikes without a serious spill.

He’s been an MCN road tester for almost 20 years and his video series "Secrets of a Road Tester" is now available on the MCN YouTube channel.

"Even before I was a part of it, the world of the professional motorcycle rider has always fascinated me," he says.

"How do they do all these miles a year and never really get into any trouble?"

Michael Neeves cleaning a motorbike

In the first episode Neeves talks first of the preparations before any road test, trip or holiday. It can even start with nothing more than a cloth in your hand.

He says that with even something as simple as lovingly cleaning the bike before a ride, you start to get a bit of an attachment to it.

He explains: "The preparation gives you time to connect with the bike. To reflect on what you’re going to do and look forward to the ride ahead."

Viewers can then see how that state of mind extends into what you do on the road and prepare for any hazards you might face.

Michael Neeves cleaning a motorbike

The video series has been produced in association with BikerTek.

"Our range of performance parts for bikers goes hand in hand with a belief in promoting advanced rider technique," says BikerTek manager Mik Barton.

"It’s been great to work with Michael Neeves and he’s put together a great series to cover both the thrill and the skill of riding."

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The voice of motorcycling since 1955