Bike news

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...

This thing has grown bigger than all of us

This thing has grown bigger than all of us

IT’S official. Ducati is not just a motorcycle maker, it’s a cult brand, like Harley-Davidson or Caterpillar. They’ve reached a stage in their relatively short career where the name Ducati has become...

Big on the Island

Big on the Island

GETTING noticed at the TT gets harder every year. There are about 15,000 bikes parked along Douglas promenade on any given day and so many specials and rare exotica on display that your average...

Change your scenery

Change your scenery

SOME bikes create dilemmas. And this is one of them. You know you’re just nipping across town, so you put on your best trainers, polish your black visor and leave on your best going-out jeans. After...

It’s been a hard day’s fortnight

It’s been a hard day’s fortnight

ROLL off the ferry for the start of your Isle of Man experience and it comes as no great surprise that everything is laid on for you. The racing goes off when it’s meant to (weather permitting) the...

And on the seventh day… we all go on a large one

And on the seventh day… we all go on a large one

IT is quite conceivable that you will have seen a piano used as a sidecar before – in your wildest dreams. If you pinch yourself and the tinkling of the ivories continues to get louder, you’re almost...

Dunlop and Michelin are castaways on the Island

Dunlop and Michelin are castaways on the Island

WHEN you’re talking about GPs and WSB, Michelin and Dunlop are the only names that matter in tyres. The two firms enjoy a monopoly in world championship racing, and no-one uses anything else. But...

Made you look, made you stare

Made you look, made you stare

THE family of Mexicans sitting to my left in their old Ford pick-up are just plain staring. In fact, from the look on their faces you would think I had just pulled a gun on them. The bloke to my right...

John Wayne would be turning in his grave

John Wayne would be turning in his grave

I’M at the top of a 10,000ft mountain, the equivalent of a third of the way up Everest. It’s May, but there are deep snow drifts all around and miles of narrow, rocky trails bordered by sheer drops.

Seven days, seven events, one emotion

Seven days, seven events, one emotion

THEY say you can have too much of a good thing. I disagree. Maybe I’ve just got an addictive personality, but when I find something I love doing, I just want to keep doing it. Riding bikes is one...

Why half an inch matters

Why half an inch matters

TYRE size is one of the burning issues in 500 GPs this year. If you’ve watched any of the recent rounds on TV you’ll have heard commentators going on about 16.5 and 17-inch rear wheels. So what’s the...

New name, old style

New name, old style

AS the bike in my mirrors drew nearer I got my head down, cracked open the throttle and went for it, but in no time it was on my tail. The narrow, twisty road allowed me to hold it off, but as soon as...

Beat them off with a filthy stick

Beat them off with a filthy stick

IT’S important to look good in the city. For those who frequent the best bars and restaurants, a battered old CX500 is a bit of a no-no. The Ducati badge says all the right things to the...

Silver dream racer

Silver dream racer

IT’S back in May 1979 and I’m rushing to my local newsagents to pick up the latest copy of American bike magazine Cycle World. As I walk into the shop I glimpse the front cover and there, in glorious...

So how do you like yours?

So how do you like yours?

HOW do you want your bike to feel? Racy and quick into turns or steady and stable? It’s all down to suspension. Top racers spend more time working on suspension settings than anything else. The ad...

American psycho

American psycho

BRUTAL, that’s the only word for it. The X1 Lightning has always been a bit of an animal, but this carbon-clad version has taken things to a new extreme. I can’t remember the last time I had a bike...

How a slipper stops a slide...

How a slipper stops a slide...

WE’VE been hearing a lot about slipper clutches recently – they’re fitted to exotica like Aprilia’s RSV and anyone watching the TV coverage of the Phillip Island WSB will have seen what can happen if...

Rocket Ron shows you how it’s done

Rocket Ron shows you how it’s done

HANDS up if you don’t know how half the functions on your video recorder work and therefore never use them. If it records at the appropriate time and on the right channel, you’re more than...

Ready for a riot

Ready for a riot

MOTORCYCLING is speckled with legendary machines. Ducati’s 900SS and 916, Honda’s RC30 and the original CB750, Norton’s Manx single and, more recently, Yamaha’s R1 all have their places in history.

It’s a car killer

It’s a car killer

Piaggio, like BMW with its C1 scoot-with-a-roof, has realised the future lies in targeting people who wouldn’t normally consider buying a scooter rather than just poaching customers from rival firms.

It’s not how much weight you lose, it’s where you lose it

It’s not how much weight you lose, it’s where you lose it

AT the launch of the TT600, one of the features Triumph’s engineers were keen to highlight was the bike’s exceptionally light wheels. They are the lightest in the 600 supersport class. Triumph even...