Wednesday, 25 December 2019
Sunday, 15 December 2019
I was totally unaware of the film until a lad in the village who I know is into his bikes [modern superbikes] gave it to me, apparently one of his relatives bought it for him for a birthday present and he managed about five minutes of it before giving up on it, ‘here you go, take this, you can have it, it’s got all those weird old bikes in it that you like, not my cup of tea at all!’
It really knocked my socks off, the story isn’t great but the footage of the bikes and the sound of the Guzzi and the Gilera, flat out, side by side is fantastic and in my humble opinion well worth a look if you can find a copy......
Sunday, 24 November 2019
Saturday, 23 November 2019
The Krazy Horse stand never fails to disappoint, everything from hard tail panhead customs to Paton race bikes, I particularly liked the Indian flat track inspired customs, talking of which I reckon the Indian marque is building far more interesting bikes than Harley Davidson, just saying.
And then there’s the Suzuki two-stroke, as I stood looking at it and soaking up the details I notice an old bloke [well older than me anyhoo] doing the same, I nod in acknowledgment and he looks at me straight in the eye ‘Ernst Degner was a traitor’ he says and walks away, whoah deep...........
Friday, 22 November 2019
More goodness from Motorcycle Live, Brandon Paasch’s jewel like moto 3 bike, watch this kid go, been watching him for a couple of years now and he is destined for great things, he’s stepping up to the 600 class next year, I reckon the first yank to challenge the Spanish for a few years.
Norton. I’m rooting for them. I really feel that they are trying to manufacture a true British alternative to rival the Italians, but, sadly having visited the ‘factory’ at Donington Hall I’m not sure that they can compete. Their bikes are stunning, the V4RR is fantastic, I spent an age looking at the details and they are superbly finished but I’m not sure that they can produce a machine to this level and make a profit. The Superlight carbon framed bike is otherworldly, 170 bhp and weighing 160kgs what the actual fuck would that be like to ride? [sorry for lack of photos but it’s really hard to snap under the lights with a phone and I hate to get peoples heads, hands and feet in the pictures, in fact while trying to get a photo of the MV 800 Dragster I waited patiently for a couple of gurning morons to get out of the way so I could snap it but they stood nudging each other like a couple of extras from Deliverance and actually looked hurt when I told them to fuck off]
And so to one of my favourite machines, now I’m not a ‘combo’ fan, my interest peaked with Jock Taylor and Benga Johansson who won GP’s and of course ruled at the TT [ I can remember spectating at the Highlander pub and marvelling at Jock and Benga ‘floating’ above their outfit as they crested the bumps] So, check out this tiny little outfit, beautifully engineered and just perfect in every way........
Thursday, 21 November 2019
As I stumble along with the unwashed masses heading towards the National Exhibition Centre for ‘Motorcycle Live’ I am reminded of a scene from one of the early ‘Walking Dead’ episodes, we shuffle forwards to the halls of desire ready to consume this years morsels and models of motorcycling greatness, I can’t help but tune into the conversation of two blokes behind me who are discussing the benefits of ‘wings’ on road bikes and how much difference this will make to their riding. On the road. Aerodynamic wings on a road going motorcycle. Wow.
I stop off for an Expresso before entering the show and take a little time to people watch.All the tribes are present, from the born-agains to the leather cut-off wearing quasi-outlaws, the Clintons, [or race team merchandise wearing Mr and Mrs clad from head to toe in ‘offishul’ gear]. What really stands out though is the demographic. Old people. Are we the only fuckers who can afford to pursue this ‘lifestyle’ Where are the youngsters?
It’s an expensive habit we have, bikes are toys. The days of cheap transport for the masses are long gone folks. Insurance, tyres, servicing, modifications, helmets, leathers, gloves, boots, a BSB round anyone? Kiss goodbye to a couple of hundred quid, tickets+food+drink+transport+programme. Fancy a trackday? Add it up. Isle of Man? Second mortgage required.
Anyhoo, here’s a few of the bikes that floated my boat, MV, just beautiful Italian goodness, Toby Prices 450 KTM race bike dripping in factory exotica and Roland Sands Scout homage to the classic Indian racer. Punks not Dead...................
Sunday, 17 November 2019
Another early start sees me and Chalky setting off for West Wales with his Triumph TR6 in the back of the Mashing Mosheen as he has decided to get the old girl rebuilt professionally at SRM in Aberystwyth, I’ve been trying to keep it limping along for him for the last few years, this summer I chucked a new clutch in it and fitted a new carb to replace the worn out Amal Spanish copy, but everything is basically fucked, the bike is finished to a high standard but I think the previous owner spent most of their budget on the cosmetics rather than the engine room and time has unfortunately taken its toll and found out the weak-spots, it’s smoking like Bertie the Smoking Beagle, thick clouds of smoke accompany every ropey gear change, it’s a proper bastard to start and there are ominous rumblings from the bottom end, the top end and the everywhere else, it vibrates like Katie Prices Rabbit, leaks oil like the Torrey Canyon and would have Greta Thunberg turning purple with apoplexy. It’s a lovely late autumn morning, cold and frosty and three hours into the journey I pull off onto a forest road, spark up the kettle and get a brew on which we sup as we watch the sun rise over the mountains, half an hour later sees us at SRM. We get to look around the workshop, whoah, we are not worthy, the engine build room is clinically clean, there’s no rush or feeling that they are doing us a favour, they are proud of the work that they do keeping these OBW’s on the road. [Old British Wankers, copyright Superbike Magazine, 1979]
We skin out, calling in for an emergency Costa coffee en route home, back into Derbyshire and drop off Chalky only to discover I can’t get home due to flooding, WTF! Not seen a cloud all day and yet both bridges into the village are shut due to risk of collapse because the river is so high, a six mile detour sees me home...........
Tuesday, 12 November 2019
Thursday, 7 November 2019
Thursday, 31 October 2019
Now this tub of lard, sat there with his ‘gang’ of five, M1A and combat trousered, jesters hat wearing crew looks me straight in the [good] eye, [do keep up, I’ve just told you I’ve had major surgery] says ‘cover price mate’ squeeze me, baking powder? My 60 year old brain takes a few seconds to realise he wants the full, new, cover price for the mags! ‘Mucker’ I reply, ‘really, surely you want to deal, it’s late Sunday afternoon, everyone’s going home, I want to buy the magazines, you want to sell them?’ He stands up, wobbling slightly from the effects of sitting quaffing warm supermarket ale from tins all weekend and obviously buoyed by the support of ‘The Sons of Arthritis’ says ‘put them back and fuck off’
So, I did. I must be getting old. A few years ago I wouldn’t have thought twice about steaming into them and beating a few to a bloody pulp, instead I just walked away without a second word, their raucous laughter echoing in my ears.
Back to Wales, Monmouthshire, a shepherd hut in a wood, wood burning stove, walking in the mountains with Mrs B and Ted and Bob, The Sugarloaf, Tintern Abbey, Raglan Castle, sunrises and sunsets, the beautiful Wye Valley. Leaves falling, cattle calling, amber, red and gold, woodsmoke, punk rock and standing stones........
Sunday, 6 October 2019
Just back from a great week in Wales, me, Mrs B, Ted and our new pup Bob the Dog. Bob has had a hard start in life, his mum is a rescue dog, bought from travellers and pregnant with five puppies, she lost two but the surviving pups are all healthy, mischievous Parson Jack Russell/ Chihuahua crosses, little skinny fuckers but with massive hearts and attitudes to match. Since we lost Gus back in 2017 I swore I wouldn’t have another dog but I really think dogs find you not the other way around, so here’s Bob!
After 15 years of road trips to the ‘States, due to circumstances we have had to stay closer to home this year, we packed the van and headed to mid-Wales, a tiny camping pod on a farm, twenty miles from the ‘local’ shop, Red Kites skimming above our heads, the only sound sheep grazing and the wind, a distant dog barking and the crackle of our fire sending sparks into the dark sky, light pollution zero, the stars standing out against the inky blackness, dolphins playing in the surf at Mwnt, the coast walk from Aberporth to Tresaith, the waterfall cascading down the cliffs into the sea, the forest walks, foraging for wild mushrooms and drinking tea waiting for the sun to rise..............
Sunday, 29 September 2019
Horncastle, home of the second best chippy in the world and I get passed again by ‘lard boy’ who this time decides to give it the ‘English Archers’ as he burns past me at 80+ in a thirty. Out of Horncastle and i catch and pass him again, the twat is actually ‘leg dangling’ in a moto gp stylee for fucks sake! As I park up matey pulls up at the side of me and attempts a clumsy high five which I ignore. He still doesn’t get the message as I take off my helmet and he attempts to engage me in conversation. ‘That was fun’ I stow my gloves in my Arai, drop my day sack on the floor, ‘I said, that was fun’ matey still doesn’t get it, he’s grinning like a Cheshire Cat, his hand extended to receive a high-five even after his last failed attempt. Summoning all my willpower not to spark him out I lock my bike and go in search of a brew instead, there’s some class machinery here and the lads out on track are setting a blistering pace, a very pleasant afternoon wandering around the pits, chatting to like minded people, a great early evening ride home and trying to dismiss the craving for a Suzuki TLR thousand................
Saturday, 28 September 2019
So, apart from a blue screen [bad] and h.e.l stainless brake lines, [ok, there blue so I’m going to swap them for black] it’s a 22 year old bike, three previous owners and a startling 12,000 miles on the clock from new! It needs a gentle massage, I’ve already fitted a new clear screen and new battery, I need a couple of new front indicators as both are slightly marked but you know I’m ocd and can’t live with what a lot of people would just dismiss. The bike is a credit to the former owners, especially Ruben the guy I bought it off, it lived in his flat alongside his R1 and he was genuinely gutted to see it go due to a lack of use.
I had originally been looking for a tatty srad project to hack into an endurance racer replica when this turned up but it really is too nice to introduce mr hacksaw to so I’m into a couple of more potential ‘victims’
As a side-note, this is the first aluminium framed machine I’ve owned, the first jap four cylinder bike since my 750 Honda SOHC fatracker [sic] and I was going to say the first RWU fork machine for years. And then? I looked at the Moto Guzzi.....................................................
Saturday, 14 September 2019
Tuesday night at the Festival of Motorcycling sees the Italian Bike Night in Port Erin, traditionally held on the railway station which was a great venue, it moved down onto the Promenade a few years later, [ I rode the ‘peaky blinder’ TT F2 replica at Jurby and decided to ride it down to the Prom for the meeting under duress from Dangerous and Chalky, no tax, no mot, no insurance, what could possibly go wrong? An un-silenced, illegal race bike on the road, we got loads of interest and admiration, lots of nice comments and chased back to the digs by the local constabulary who, much to my relief, just wanted to have a look at the bike!]So, the last few years the venue has changed to the local golf course, the land of funny handshakes, Farrah beige slacks and Volvo’s. A pleasant stroll from Base Camp on a late summer night, fizzy lager beer served in a flimsier than flimsy plastic glass and a perusal of the lovely Italian exotica in the car park. And then, there it is, sticking out like a pimple on a pigs arse, a bevel drive Ducati. Dufuckincati. Dufuckingenius.............
Tuesday, 10 September 2019
What i do know is that this is a cracking little bike, well proportioned, nicely engineered and some great attention to detail, the orange and matt black paint is simple but really effective and I absolutely love the ‘Fuckstone’ tyres, brilliant...........
Saturday, 7 September 2019
Friday, 6 September 2019
I would really like to get a photo of some of the people I meet on my travels but I do feel a tad self-conscious about asking a stranger if I can take their photograph, any suggestions of how to approach this anyone? Anyhoo, matey informs me that the local MCC [ the rather splendidly named Moddey Doo, in Manx Gaelic black dog, which was reputed to have haunted Peel Castle],have worked with the VMCC to arrange a combined vintage/classic/custom show at Peel instead so I wend my way down there to have a gander. I love Peel, the castle dominates the skyline and the gentle arc of the promenade is great to stroll. Today peel has been transformed into a motorcycle Mecca, all along the quayside and promenade there is motorcycling exotica and around every corner, tucked away in corners and even bushes, [all will be revealed!] there are some real gems. Here’s a few, Triumph moto 2 bike? Yup, AyJay rigid frame, exhaust wrapped OBW? Yep, Sammy Millers aluminium faired NSU Sportmax? present and correct sir! ‘Modern’ racers represented by the amazing line up of lime green classic Kawasaki two-strokes/diesels. More to follow.........
Sunday, 1 September 2019
The A36 is a thrilling, super fast road that offers an unrestricted speed limit across a mountain and down into Foxdale that will challenge any rider. Make no mistake, this road will bite you on the arse if you show it any disrespect, it was controversially re-surfaced at a cost of half a million big ones back in 2016, I can remember me and Croftsy riding it Port Erin to Foxdale, Foxdale to Port Erin, Port Erin to Foxdale time after time until we collapsed, absolutely fucked in the picnic area as the sun set and we lost the light, a total mind-fuck that saw us giggling like teenagers at a Bieber concert.
I’ve seen Classic TT / Manx GP riders testing their bikes up here, as far as I can remember there is only one junction, maybe two on the whole road, visibility is fantastic and the road surface super grippy, for me I always feel I could go faster, I’m in track mode on the 790 and chucking gears at it but I’m craving more horse power.
Keep it quite folks but your welcome for the recommendation, [no one reads the blog anyway so we should be safe!] Anyhoo, I join the TT course at Ballacraine and a fast ride down to Quarry Bends and I get a prime spot against the Recticel barrier before realising I’m missing an essential tea making ingredient, Skin out up to Sulby Crossroads for a pint of milk and back again before the roads close for the Classic TT Superbike Race, my fellow spectators think its highly amusing when I get out my super light stove and mashings from my day sack but after a three hour delay are soon asking me if I can spare them a brew, fucking amateurs!
An early retirement is Gary Johnson on the beautiful York Suzuki prepared oil burner, them, there are factory Yoshimura carbs people! Check out the welding majik on the frame, the qd battery charger connector, [got these on my fork truck at work, not exotic, just superbly practical]
I offer my phone so Gary can inform his nearest and dearest that he’s safe but he’s already phoned them, he tells me most riders have a burner tucked in their leathers to let the family know they are safe and well, as I pour over the details of the machine I notice two of the ht leads are flapping in the wind, the plug caps still attached but the circuit broken.