Bike news

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...

An opportunity to get your brain into gears

An opportunity to get your brain into gears

HOWLING along your favourite stretch of road, you snick down two gears as you brake into a corner, turn on a well-planned line, open the throttle, change up and surge away. Your memories of the road...

When is a CBR not a CBR...?

When is a CBR not a CBR...?

” DON’T harm my baby. ” If I wasn’t already nervous about riding Russell Savory’s Evo CBR600, I was now. This was the culmination of months of painstaking work by RS Performance to build the...

Doohan: Four-strokes are the future of 500 GPs

Doohan: Four-strokes are the future of 500 GPs

IMAGINE the sound this engine would make. Not the muted waspy buzz of a modern 500cc grand prix race engine, but the incredible shriek of a V10 Formula One engine. It’s one of car racing’s biggest...

Fighting crime with grime

Fighting crime with grime

THERE’S a different kind of detective work going on in York… ” We’ll follow these tracks into the field and see if we can spot anyone, ” says Pc John Wedgewood. He points at the fresh tyre marks in...

They say that getting there is half the fun

They say that getting there is half the fun

THE idea sounded so simple when it cropped up in the pub one night. To ride as far as we could around Europe taking in as many countries as possible. And to do it all in 48 hours. The first question...

Fancy a change from the Cat & Fiddle?

Fancy a change from the Cat & Fiddle?

LOOK at this picture. Now imagine it’s you on the bike riding mile after mile through scenery you’ve only known before in road movies. Having trouble? Well, read on and hopefully you’ll get a clearer...

162bhp ZRX? That’s a real man’s bike

162bhp ZRX? That’s a real man’s bike

CAST your mind back to 1981. Ronnie Reagan was running the world and Eddie Lawson was on his way to sealing the U.S. superbike title on a Kawasaki Z1000… but there’s one more name to remember and...

Oil formulas unleash hidden powers

IT might look like the same old brown, slippery liquid motorcyclists have poured into their engines for decades, but there’s as much high-tech computer-aided design going into some modern oils as there is into the bikes themselves. A visit to Castrol’s Technology Centre at Pangbourne, Berks – one of the most advanced of its kind in the world – reveals testing is an amazingly precise art and that...

Meet the power behind Triumph’s engines

Meet the power behind Triumph’s engines

HE’S modest, unassuming and on the face of things a thoroughly unremarkable person. He and his wife run a small Midlands business employing up to four other people. Yet John Wilcox is one of the most...

The land where dreams come true

The land where dreams come true

SUNSHINE all year round. Smooth, grippy and challenging back roads through beautiful scenery. A virtually zero police presence. And a biker-friendly public which treats motorcyclists like every other...

Speed limiters: Not if or when... just how

Speed limiters: Not if or when... just how

LIKE it or not, top speed restrictions are on their way. For the first time ever, next year’s fastest bikes will be slower than this year’s. As you’ll be aware if you’ve been following the saga in...

Not missing anything

Not missing anything

THERE are some things in life which just don’t make sense. A bee shouldn’t be able to fly because its wings are too small. Peter Stringfellow should not be able to pull nubile young women. And a...

Come on Chris, it’s only a laugh

Come on Chris, it’s only a laugh

IF we’re all absolutely honest with ourselves, we’ve all watched a British superbike race and thought: ” I could do that with the right bike and a bit of practice. ” Chances are you’ve probably...

Fuel injection: Why a little squirt is now a big deal

Fuel injection: Why a little squirt is now a big deal

NOT so long ago, fuel injection was the sole preserve of tiny firms which couldn’t get the big carburettor manufacturers to make parts tailored to their small production runs. Companies such as Moto...

Just make the whole thing out of carbon...

Just make the whole thing out of carbon...

IF there’s one material everyone wants it’s carbon-fibre. Thousands of us deck out our machines with carbon fairings, huggers and even stick-on bits to stop the key scratching the dash. Some people go...

Why everyone is mad for Screamers

Why everyone is mad for Screamers

HONDA’S new GP 500 rider Loris Capirossi said in last week’s MCN he opted for a Screamer engine because it was easier on tyres. Traditionally, it’s the Big Bang engine Mick Doohan started using in...

Just like you, it has grown up

Just like you, it has grown up

THE brutal lines of the GS12000SS hark back to the days when bikes were all about wobbling around corners and laying down horsepower on the straights. We’ve already had 1970s retros such as the Zephyr...

Just another R1? Er, no actually

Just another R1? Er, no actually

WHAT’S in a name? Plenty, actually. And in certain cases lots of cred, respect and prestige. Do a bit of serious name-dropping and your rank can be instantly elevated. Certain names are real status...