I’m awake. Like someone flicking a switch. I swing my legs out of bed and stand, dawn breaking, the house quiet, my favourite time of day. I’m old. As I shuffle downstairs it takes an effort to make my legs work properly and I clutch the banister and moan lightly as I descend. Kettle on. Door open and breathe in the fresh, cool air of a summer morning. As the water boils I unlock the shed door, 6Music greets me. I never turn off my radio. Ever. Strong tea in hand and I look at the new bike noticing the stick-on-amber-reflectors on the lower fork-legs, I reach for my heat gun and gently warm them, teasing and prising until they come away, I peel off the remnants of the sticky adhesive and with a quick spray of WD-40 there’s nothing to bare witness to them ever being there.
   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?


  1. Is it physically a big bike, it looks quite small in your photos Tim?

  2. Hi Jan, yeah it’s a big old thing, it’s heavy to push around that’s for sure! Riding it is a different story, it certainly doesn’t feel heavy once you’re moving.


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