In this week's MCN paper: Celebrating the best of British talent

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Dear MCN reader,

Welcome to this week’s edition of MCN – no less bursting with biking happiness, despite the awful situation the country finds itself in. Firstly, I hope that you are staying safe and keeping well – and secondly, I hope we can distract you from some of the boredom of being stuck at home and unable to ride for leisure. And don’t forget – you don’t have to leave your house to buy MCN: you can add it to your basket from most supermarkets if you’re online grocery shopping, subscribe above and get it delivered, or buy it digitally through iOS or Android stores or the Bikes Unlimited App. 

This week we’re headlining a fascinating interview with John McGuinness MBE. In the wake of last week’s news of his Royal recognition, we caught up with the man himself to talk through his career from apprentice bricklayer earning £35 per week, to the greatest living TT rider and getting that extraordinary contact from the Palace to say he’d been made an MBE. It’s one hell of a story.

Of course, British riders have a lot of battles to fight to get the recognition they deserve – especially on the world stage where series are dominated by riders from other countries who have been nurtured by domestic feeder championships and serious financial investment. The place that this battle is felt most keenly is in MotoGP, where we face the prospect of having no Brits in the premier class this year.

But it’s not all bad. Just look at our domestic talent in World Superbikes, with Jonathan Rea pushing ever harder for yet another championship, his heels being constantly nipped at by Redding, Lowes, Davies and Haslam. Or look at Sam Lowes in Moto2 – a serious threat as a championship title contender again for 2021. And don’t overlook what Sam Sunderland is doing at the Dakar. As we went to press he had one foot on the podium and there’s every chance that he could even stand on the top step for an historic second time. These riders really do make us proud to be British.

Elsewhere we reveal the brand-new Aprilia Tuono 660, which could well be the bike to finally challenge Triumph’s Street Triple for middleweight naked supremacy, pitch KTM’s 390 Adventure against the new Sinnis Terrain 380 around the MCN250 – proving that you really can buy a new bike for under £5500 that’ll do it all; we pull together a showcase of this week’s hottest boots bargains (now is the perfect time to source new kit); reader Steve Carter reviews his Zero DS after racking up over 10,000 miles in his first year since making the switch to electric; our crime expert reveals why Brexit changes could make it much harder for thieves to move bikes out of the country; TV’s Henry Cole tells us about his crazy life from bike-addicted drug-dabbling Etonian to warzone filmmaker to shed guru; we pay tribute to Dakar legend Hubert Auriol, who sadly passed away last week; bag an exclusive first test of Husqvarna’s new Svartpilen 125 and ride a Norden 901 prototype; and look at five brilliant dirty weekend playmates that will cope with everything from muddy byways to the daily commute from £700. All this, and much, much more.

Whatever you’re doing this week, I hope you manage to stay safe and well.

Ride safe,


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Richard Newland

By Richard Newland