Michael Neeves reveals secrets of a road tester - see all six episodes here

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In the final episode of his series ‘Secrets of a Road Tester’, Michael Neeves summarises his approach to riding.

He says that after two decades as a road tester, covering tens of thousands of miles, people like him have learned how to "have our cake and eat it" when it comes to riding motorcycles for a living.

"We really enjoy our riding. We get the best out of our riding. But most of all, we manage to be safe at the same time," he says.

Michael Neeves riding his Ducati Streetfighter V4 long-term test bike

In the video, he describes his approach as: "Everything from making sure your bike is tip top before you go out and test, to how you think about riding."

The 6-part series, which can be seen in full on the MCN YouTube channel, is sponsored by BikerTek, performance parts for bikers.

Michael Neeves riding his bike on the road like a true professional road tester

Topics in the series such as combatting fatigue, improving cornering, managing speed and better overtaking are all covered by the range of parts at bikertekshop.co.uk

"The story behind our range is all about getting the most out of riding and being able to enjoy the thrill of a day out on your bike. It’s been great working with Michael, with his ability to talk through the skills needed to stay safe," says BikerTek manager Mik Barton.


Michael Neeves reveals secrets of a road tester - episode 5

First published 12 August 2020

In the latest of his series ‘Secrets of a Road Tester’, MCN’s Michael Neeves takes on what he describes as "perhaps the most hazardous parts of riding." Overtaking.

"It’s really tempting just to zip past stuff, which is really easy to do on a bike," he says. "So, I’m always asking myself is it safe to overtake now, what’s coming the other way, is there a bend?"

Overtaking on a Ducati Streetfighter V4 S

As well as talking us through what he calls his internal monologue, Michael has one key piece of advice for predicting the actions of car drivers: mind the gap. Watch the video now for a full explanation.

The six-part series is sponsored by BikerTek, precision parts for bikers. You can view one of their specialist parts to help with overtaking at bikertekshop.co.uk.

Neevesy on overtaking on a motorcycle

Previous episodes covering braking technique, getting your bike and your mind ready for the road and preventing tiredness on a long day’s ride, can all be seen on the MCN YouTube channel.


Michael Neeves reveals secrets of a road tester - episode 4

First published 06 August 2020

In the fourth episode of ‘Secrets of a Road Tester’, MCN’s Michael Neeves moves on to skilful cornering, explaining how vision is always the top priority.

"Position yourself on the road, so you can see all the way through the corner as far as you can," he says.

As well as what to look out for on the road, such as conditions and hazards, he is full of advice on the best body position – using his experience of road and track riding. He explains how body position is as important on a ride out as it is on the track.

Michael Neeves riding his Ducati Streetfighter V4 long-term test bike

"The same principles apply for riding on the road, but obviously the position is not as extreme," he says. "It’s all about getting your feet in the right place, the weighting, and using your arms, shoulder and head to get you through the corner smoothly.

"Get your position right and the bike will respond – making it much easier to turn."

Michael goes on to talk about braking and gear selection, with the video showing examples.

Michael Neeves talking on camera

Previous episodes covering braking technique, getting your bike and your mind ready for the road and preventing tiredness on a long day’s ride, can all be seen on the MCN YouTube channel.


Michael Neeves reveals secrets of a road tester - episode 3

First published 30 July 2020 

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."


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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By MCN

The voice of motorcycling since 1955