Bike news

Spot the family resemblance

Spot the family resemblance

PRETEND for a moment you’re a race bike – no, don’t run away, I haven’t gone mad. I just want to try and explain to you how tough a season’s racing is. The chances are you own or have ridden a bike in...

Semi-automatic for the people

Semi-automatic for the people

THEY’RE used in World Superbikes and Formula One racing cars, and your road bike could have one in a few years. What are they? Semi-automatic gearboxes, that’s what. We know that Ducati will be using...

Tuck in, hold on and go flat-out

Tuck in, hold on and go flat-out

YOU’RE stood at the side of the track. It’s quiet other than the rustle of the wind in the grass. The people around you have all fallen silent in anticipation. Away to your right you hear the...

A bike is only as fast as its rider

A bike is only as fast as its rider

THERE’S an orange bike, a red bike, a purple bike, a green bike and, of course, a blue and white bike. They’re all parked up on paddock stands with mechanics milling around them, fitting tyre warmers...

Time for a change of scenery

Time for a change of scenery

MOST of us go touring in summer. But if there’s one time when you should really try something different on your bike, it’s autumn. This is the time of year when heavy-duty gloves come out of the...

Give us a go, Mr Walker

Give us a go, Mr Walker

I’VE ridden plenty of Suzuki GSX-R750s in my time. But the number two on the front of this one marks it out as being Very Special Indeed. And I’ve never been so scared in my entire life. You see, the...

All that glitters... is almost gold

All that glitters... is almost gold

FEW people in the world will ever get to look at, let alone hear, ride or even own an MV Agusta Series Oro. Only 50 of the magnesium-laced ” gold ” series bikes have ever been built. All of them are...

Britain’s answer to the R1

Britain’s answer to the R1

THERE have been some great British motorcycles over the years. Triumph’s Bonneville, Norton’s Commando, BSA’s Dandy (well, maybe not). But, even in light of the very latest machines like Triumph’s...

Beyond reason

Beyond reason

I’M sitting in a jammed-up one-way system, snicking the gearbox into neutral. The idling engine’s heat is starting to make its way through my jeans. Traffic jams are an annoyance on most bikes,...

A little bit of what you fancy

A little bit of what you fancy

IT was all a bit ironic. Here I was in the middle of Germany, howling along on an exotic FireBlade-engined bike I had travelled halfway across Europe to ride. But along with its Japanese-made engine,...

Tale of the unexpected

Tale of the unexpected

TRACKDAY bikes – R1s, Blades, GSX-Rs, 916s, BMWs. Er, excuse me? Let’s try that one again. Track day bikes – R1s, Blades, GSX-Rs, 916s… BMWs? Surely Munich’s big Boxers are designed to clock up the...

The sum is greater than its parts

The sum is greater than its parts

IT was just like gazing at the stars. The more I looked, the more I saw. Except this wasn’t the sky. This was a very special Honda SP-1. And instead of seeing planets, I was gawping at a machine which...

Casting light on the secrets of the black box

YOU know what the problem with that is… that’s your cerebral oscillator confounding your collectivisor, that is… Modern bikes can be such conundrums of electronic complexity that you won’t be alone if your eyes start glazing over when your mechanic begins explaining why yours won’t start. It’s easy to give up, hand over the key and wander off in the hope that there’s a taxi rank nearby, without...

You can’t have too much of a good thing

You can’t have too much of a good thing

FOR some people, enough is never enough. Mountaineers always want to climb higher mountains, athletes always want a quicker time and those strange people who try to set world records by eating...

Why exhausts are left to the experts

Why exhausts are left to the experts

FITTING an aftermarket silencer or complete exhaust system is the most common modification we make to our bikes. We do it to add a bit more power and personality, and to shed a bit of weight. But, as...

What have you done wrong today?

What have you done wrong today?

MISTAKE: ASSUMING DRIVERS CAN’T/WON’T ATTEMPT THE SAME OVERTAKE AS YOU HOW many times have you gone to overtake a slow-moving vehicle only to have a car pull out from the queue behind it to attempt...

The real deal on wheels

The real deal on wheels

LIGHTWEIGHT wheels are standard equipment on race bikes. But how much difference could they make to our own machines? They are certainly more than an expensive pose. They can reduce the unsprung...

When you’ve got a Busa under the bonnet…

When you’ve got a Busa under the bonnet…

CARS? Heavy, slow, boring shopping trollies with way too many wheels, in my experience. Ideal for supermarket runs, bad weather and luggage carrying. But for having fun? Forget it unless you’re...

Who do you think you are son, the invisible man?

Who do you think you are son, the invisible man?

I’M currently riding at 62mph. Nothing exceptional about that, except I’m in a 50mph zone. Some would argue there’s nothing exceptional about that, either, apart from the copper up ahead pointing a...

Why no YZR500i?

Why no YZR500i?

WE’VE become used to seeing fuel injection replace carburettors on bike after bike, and the electronic system is now nearly as common a sight on road bikes as disc brakes. But if fuel injection is the...

250 v 600 = no contest

250 v 600 = no contest

THE CBR600 rider in the distance is scything through the pine-lined canyon switchbacks. His mind is set on one thing – trying to put as much distance between himself and the bike screaming up behind...

The people’s champions

The people’s champions

WHERE were you on Sunday afternoon? If you were sat beside a certain track in Kent, or glued to the BBC’s Grandstand, you don’t need telling how big the World Superbike series has become. The...

Only if you’re Carl Fogarty

Only if you’re Carl Fogarty

IT’S the number plate that gives it away. The legend ” T4 FOG ” just above the chunky rear tyre reveals that this is no ordinary Ducati Monster. Yes, the owner of the machine glinting seductively in...

Just nipping out to buy another RC30, dear

Just nipping out to buy another RC30, dear

SOME people collect stamps, others collect beer bottles. Some are even lucky enough to own a few bikes. But there’s one man for whom only the very best will do – that’s why he’s got a collection of...

Be prepared to change your mind

Be prepared to change your mind

IT’S good to challenge yourself, to take yourself aside and question your beliefs from time to time. It’s even better if you can do it in glorious sunshine. As I sit reflecting on my newly-shifted...

S’pose I’d best go in the fast group, then

S’pose I’d best go in the fast group, then

THE GSX-R rider nods in the direction of the gleaming red Virgin Mobile R7 as it’s wheeled out of the back of a van in the middle of a bustling paddock. Surprised that such a humble rent-a-van could...

Cars use front-wheel drive – so why don’t bikes?

Cars use front-wheel drive – so why don’t bikes?

Some ways of doing things are so universal that people don’t even think to ask if there’s any other option. Until, on occasion, some lateral-thinking genius comes along, turns convention and accepted...

Somebody pinch me

Somebody pinch me

I’M sitting on a bike I once only dreamed of touching. This seat is usually reserved for genuine racing heroes. Kenny Roberts and his son are among the very few who have graced it. The mid-day...

The queue-jumper

The queue-jumper

THE sweet smell of two-stroke wafted around me as I waited for the lights to turn green on a gridful of impatient, wide-eyed loons. My senses were wound to maximum. The instant I saw green I was ready...

Fancy going for a blat, Bazza?

Fancy going for a blat, Bazza?

AS a kid growing up in the ’70s, like many of my peers, I had an Evel Knievel wind-up toy Skycycle, complete with stars and stripes-clad Knievel doll. After about a year of playing at Knievel, I...

Prepare for an Indian summer

Prepare for an Indian summer

THE scenario had been acted out many times before. A V-twin Harley-Davidson was locked in combat with a four-cylinder Indian, their riders crouched over the tanks with the throttles at the stop...

Blades: The Gathering

Blades: The Gathering

CULT status is usually accorded to things which aren’t actually that popular. Red Dwarf, for example isn’t anywhere near as big as Neighbours. Honda’s FireBlade is a glaring exception to this...

Cool calipers take the heat out of the hardest braking

Cool calipers take the heat out of the hardest braking

YOU can expect to see them on the front forks of a bike in a pub car park near you very soon: Radially-mounted brake calipers. If you have eagle eyes and an anorak attention to detail, you’ll have...

It’s gonna get you

It’s gonna get you

UNRELENTING rain smacks off my visor. Somewhere in the pitch-blackness, in the turbulent air behind me, something evil has picked up my scent. I hear the unmistakable sound of a V-twin engine...

Welcome back to the playground

Welcome back to the playground

LIFE is hard. There are those who can amble through it not worrying about the next big bill, but they are a privileged few. The rest of us have long forgotten that happy, simple land where children...

It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it

It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it

IT’S Sunday morning. You were due to go for a ride, but the weather’s naff and you’ve got a hangover. So what are you going to do to spend some quality time with your baby? Clean the thing. Most of...