Saturday, 15 August 2020
Thursday, 13 August 2020
The two main protagonists in the American Flat Track series are Indian and Harley Davidson, same as it ever was, [but fair play to Yamaha giving the big two a run for their money with JD Beach taking time out from the Moto America super sport series to race the very special, very rapid, MT07]
So, where’s this going then? Well, the nights are drawing in and I’m hankering after the possibility of a new project to keep me busy over the long winter nights. Enter the Harley Davidson 750 Streetrod. Yup, you heard me right, the unfashionable, water cooled, ‘entry-level’ budget, not-made-in-the-USA target of mucho hilarity amongst the chap-wearing, lardy arsed H.O.G. wankers who think camping is mincing around the local bike night wearing mirror shades and looking tough and have no knowledge of the racing heritage between these two famous manufacturers. I must admit to not actually realising the history until I saw the memorial at Daytona Beach. A feeling of real humility, same as I get when I go over to the Isle of Man.
You can pick up a late model of the 750 for around four grand. A little bit of whoo, a little bit of wah a sprinkling of fairy dust and a healthy dose of hacksaw should sort it out...../
Sunday, 9 August 2020
Saturday, 8 August 2020
Wednesday, 5 August 2020
Saturday, 1 August 2020
Sunday, 26 July 2020
Saturday, 25 July 2020
By 1700 miles they had developed a squared-off profile and offered no confidence in the wet or dry, time for a change so on returning home after my last ride I proceeded to do an epic burn out against the shed door to give them a good send off, unfortunately I forgot Mrs B was on a conference call, Bob the Dog decided to join in by howling wildly, next door giving me daggers, my ma came around and told me to grow up and the bloody smoke alarm went off, deep joy. It’s never like this on YouTube!
Wednesday, 22 July 2020
I can remember seeing one at the Motorcycle Live show back in 2017, it was from a distance though as you couldn’t get near it for the throngs of people trying to get a glimpse of it. I got up close and personal with this beauty and I cannot stress the amount of exotic parts and materials that goes into making this rare and expensive machine.
As you already knew the frame, air box, swing arm wheels, bodywork, sub-frame and a thousand other parts are made of the finest finished carbon fibre I have ever seen, Ohlins suspension, Brembo brakes and a full moto-gp electronics package, every fastener is titanium, [as is the rear shock spring]. The bodywork is really cheeky with the ‘Dynamo-Rod’ fluorescent red carefully left short of the various edges to allow the carbon to show underneath.
Engine you say? Well it’s the Superquaddro [four valve] twin that pumps out a staggering 215bhp. But there’s more. Every owner also receives an aluminium flight case containing goodies which includes a full titanium race system which yield another 5 bhp. So let’s look at the figures, that’s 220bhp powering a bike that weighs 167kg!
So what price for this exclusivity? Well, there were only 500 made and they sold out before they hit the showrooms and the retail price was £72,000 pounds! Don’t worry though, I’ve done some digging and there’s a few for sale starting at £43,999 for a ‘high mileage’ 3,900 mile machine.
‘Mrs B, I’ve had an idea for an investment, it’ll be better than money in the bank......’
Friday, 17 July 2020
The standard mirrors are despatched in an instance. I dig out the Oberon bar end mirrors that were fitted to the Guzzi, [and the KTM 690 Duke and the Triumph Bonneville project and the Ducati Hypermotard and the Peaky Blinder, bloody hell! They’ve been on a few bikes these buggers!]
OEM Bar ends removed and I try and fit the Oberon’s, not so easy, the Pro-Taper bars on the FTR are a strange size, [remember they are tapered aluminium, thick wall] i sort through my stash and find a couple of thin aluminium spacers, I pre-tighten them and with a soft mallet tap them in so I can get a good fixing. Jobs a good ‘un. I really like how it’s dropped the front end down, that’s so much better.
My thoughts turn to the swing arm mounted number plate / rear indicator / mudguard assembly. It’s not pleasant, but I suppose manufacturers have to reach so many standards that it’s seen as necessary to cover the back wheel in case a stray donkey, Leeds United fan or Dominic Cummings happens to be passing and decides it may be a good idea to stick a hoof, webbed finger or piss poor excuse into the flailing spokes or chain of a powerful motorcycle.
Second brew and I’m scanning the ‘tinterweb for an alternative. There really isn’t anything out there that floats my boat or gets my groove on daddyo so I might have to make something. Or. Perhaps not. I’m liking the stealth approach. I got lost in Wales yesterday and happened to stop outside a gorsaf heddlu [Police station] to check my bearings, well, knock me down with a feather, Clever Trevor. After fourteen minutes of squinting at my phone an officer exits said fortress and asked me what I was up too, I explained I was lost and English and was pointed in the right direction with a smile and compliments about the bike.
So, do I go noisy pipe, little number plate and risk a tug or go underground? My heart says the former, two-rigid-digits, fuck you, I’d love to hear this thing on a race pipe, cat-delete and re-map, but. But. BUT. [it’s a big but] my head says that this thing is a licence loser so am I better going full on ‘who me?’ Stealth approach?
Sunday, 12 July 2020
I traded the Moto Guzzi and Srad 600 and with a little cash injection courtesy of Mrs B, sorted by some ‘creative’ financial juggling which, with hindsight, would leave Robert Maxwell gasping for breath at its sheer inventiveness I am now the proud owner of a 2019 Indian FTR 1200.
But there’s more to the story. The bike was originally purchased by a newbie, direct access geezer. After riding a small capacity Honda commuter he decided to buy an FTR. The dealer tried to persuade him that it was the wrong choice and point him in the right direction. He wasn’t having any of it, macho pride getting the better of his decision, 300 miles later he was back begging to trade it for something a little more civilised. There are NO rider aids on this machine, no six-axis traction control, no anti-wheelie or any of the other safety net features that are standard on bikes today. It’s just you and you as the rider, there’s no ‘rain mode’ to soften the power delivery, nothing to rescue you and make life easy and to be fair to the P.O. This can be an intimidating thing, 123bhp and 80+ foot of torque are serious figures and definitely not a newbie bike.
This was my first ride out on the bike, it’s totally standard and I will give my considered thoughts when I’ve ridden it for longer than the quick 150 miles that I put in on Saturday afternoon, what I will say is that on my initial ride I was braying like Donkey in the Shrek movie. stay tuned fight fans.....,,,,,.,
Saturday, 11 July 2020
Sunday, 5 July 2020
Friday, 26 June 2020
Don’t get me wrong even for the modest 50ish bhp available you can have some serious fun with this bike, I love the ‘ssscccrrrish’ as the pegs touch down and you can have a good time at sensible speeds, I love it, great bike.
And then there’s the KTM 790 Duke, the absolute opposite of the Guzzi, like a lairy, pissed uncle at a wedding you know this fucker is going to upset someone straight away, seriously I have tried to be responsible but as soon as you assume the position you know that shit is going down. The view from the saddle is the tapered aluminium bars, very similar to my old supermoto, there’s the TFT screen and that’s it, no headlight or front wheel visible, your elbows spread naturally, the pegs are high and rearward orientated which throws your body over the front wheel in a proper ‘take no prisoners’ stance.
I seriously doubt that there are many bikes that could live with one of these on a twisty, potholed, cow-shit strewn excuse of a ‘b’ road in the UK, granted a thousand cc sport bike will gobble it up on a trackday but oh my this thing just turns me into an instant arsehole, espresso, triple shot.
So where am I going with this? Well, I’m still lusting after the Indian FTR 1200, I could sell all four bikes and buy one with the proceeds but I’m questioning if it’s going to be enough? Sometimes I want to chill, ride the little Italian bike and the destination fades into insignificance but on the other hand if I want that fix of adrenaline I can ride a hundred miles on the 790 and come home giggling, sweating and offer praise to whoever that I’ve not been arrested or smashed my old, flaccid body into a stone wall or a tractor turning into a field, I’ve got the little 390 for trackday fun and the Srad for my analogue connection, am I being too greedy? Do I need a new bike or should I just appreciate what I’ve got instead of keep searching for that elusive perfect ride..........
Wednesday, 24 June 2020
No, this is the other Gary Johnson, ex-miner, Ram’s fan, Jack Russell owner, Northern Soul aficionado and the owner of the cleanest T5 VW I’ve ever seen. Oh yeah, he’s also got a beautiful Lambretta Li 150 that he’s just finished rebuilding. The eagle eyed will recognise this bike as the rare 1964 Winter model, [check out the headlight, it has the ‘squared-off-pie-crust’ shape rather than the normal round one] the grey paint on the side panels and horn casting were apparently a nightmare to get right, [and Gary being Gary, now he has the correct paint colour code is going to get the bottom half of his T5 sprayed to match his bike]
But, that’s really only half the story, this isn’t just a really nice resto job because underneath those panels lurks a 225 MB Developments tuned engine coupled with a big carb and an MB Clubman exhaust, Michelin S1’s keep it shiny side up and Gary has spent an age dialling in the gear selectors [hand-change, left hand bar for none scooter riders] and getting the cable operated brakes up to scratch to deal with the increase in performance.
Two-Stroke’s. There really is nothing to compare with them, you don’t need big CC’s to compete, I love ‘em me.......
Sunday, 21 June 2020
Friday, 19 June 2020
I did though get to have a sit on the machine and have a really good look around it, first impressions? Total Quality. Everything fits properly, no unsightly panel fits, no tie-wraps holding hoses/cables/wires, instead q/r button through rubbers, nice fasteners, Brembo brakes, decent suspension, [Paioli I think?] Pro-Taper bars, lovely Dunlop tyres, deep, deep paintwork on the frame and cycle parts, very, very impressive to these jaundiced old eyes.
And then? Well let’s talk performance figures, 123bhp with 85 foot torque! Mental. [to add a perspective my nutter KTM 790 Duke is 105bhp with 64 foot torque] OK probably not a fair comparison due to the difference in cubic capacity but seriously? Twice the bhp of a Harley Davidson Sportster for almost the same green folding!
So, that’s why I end up sitting in a lay-by in rural Leicestershire, swigging a bottle of Pellegrino, doing some sums and desperately thinking how I can try to persuade Mrs B that I really need another motorcycle in the shed...........
Wednesday, 27 May 2020
Monday, 25 May 2020
And whilst we are at it and I’m feeling particularly self-righteous and I’m half way down a bottle of fine red, what’s with all the ‘waving’ bollocks? We aren’t ‘brothers in the wind’ never have been, never will be, stop living out your Sonny Barger fan boy alternative lifestyle, I love motorcycles, I just don’t like the majority of motorcyclists. I must admit to laughing my swede off today when a fellow ‘brother’ on a Bandit actually slapped his chest above his heart as he approached me today, hey bro, I know I’m looking cool, i get that I might be your man crush, I’m a good looking bloke, fast approaching 61 but fit as a butchers dog, I may be folically challenged but that’s the testosterone coarseing through my system, I’m riding a Moto Guzzi, [yeah, making ‘good progress’ and chamfering the souls on my Doc’s] but for fucks sake keep your eye on the road instead of trying to catch mine..........
Friday, 15 May 2020
They are mostly replicas of the toys that were originally manufactured in Germany after the Second World War but I think that most of these, with the exception of the 93 racer bike which was made in India, are of Far East origin.
The models are a combination of ‘friction’ and wind-up items, the friction models you just rub on the ground to make them move and the wind-up models are clockwork with a small detachable key, the 93 racer is quite interesting as the rider bobs up and down under the fairing screen as the model goes forward!
Saturday, 2 May 2020
So, here’s the shed, four bikes, three road bikes one track/race
bike, just waiting.........