Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Talent spotting

We spotted Radical Ducati's slinky little Ducati 50 a good couple of years ago, and featured it proudly in Issuer One of the mag in May 2010 - now it's up on Bike Exif, the holy grail of nice bike shots.

Original blog post here

Full feature on the bike build in Issue One here, or click on the Issue One cover on the right, to buy it...

Sunday, 27 November 2011

'31 Gran Sport

One of the best bikes Gilera ever made - and fantastic to ride. Article sometime in the future...

Friday, 25 November 2011


I went to friend's funeral yesterday. He died young and was one of those people who I admire because he was just a nice bloke to everyone, and did a lot for other people. It was a strikingly English funeral at a beautiful medieval church - so packed (unsurprisingly) that speakers relayed the service to the people standing outside. The graveyard is up on a ridge and overlooks beautiful unspoilt English countryside, so Chris was buried in this magnificent setting in the old fashion, under a sunny winter sky and a cold wind.

Then we all retired to our local village pub afterwards. It has recently been bought by the locals to be run as a free house, and Chris was instrumental in this. And there on the bar when we all piled in was a beer pump handle bearing the words 'Triffic', which was Chris's favourite expression. And it's been decided that this new and lovely, nutty ale, brewed just up the road and named in honour of Chris, will be kept on pump as tribute.

And I for one shall be downing pints of it regularly, starting this evening, in tribute to Chris.

Cheers Chris! Triffic!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Roaring Rumi

There are many incredible Italian motorcycles and manufacturers, but one of the most fascinating and fabulous has to be Rumi. Donnino Rumi was an artistic, extravagant yet painfully shy Salvador Dali-type character who joined his father's metal foundry Fonderie Officine Rumi.

By 1949, the Rumi Turismo 125 was the result of high art meeting molten metal and this is it - incredible, especially considering these were gloomy post-war years in a country heavily bombed and torn apart by political differences.

Add a fruity two-stroke parallel twin motor, and you have a motorcycle that looked, performed and sounded like no other in 1950. They also won races so weren't just for show. Like a bright star, Rumi appeared, burned brightly, and by 1962 disappeared. No wonder they're rare now.

We'll be featuring a Rumi or two in a future issue of the magazine.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

You'll always find me in the kitchen at parties

This is another bike I own and used to live in our kitchen as I had nowhere else to put it. My wife was very understanding, bless her.

It's a '72 Moto Guzzi Stornello Scrambler 125, in completely original and untouched condition. I got it for nothing really as part of a block purchase of a few bikes while living in Italy. It's a single cylinder four stroke, really simple and robust. I cleaned it, oily ragged it, changed the oil, put on a new battery and off it went. Brought it back to the UK and used it to ride round London for a year. Lovely!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Finger Lickin' Good

Spent a very pleasant sunny Sunday shooting Cutter's Ducati Monster special, which has finally emerged from the Chicken Shack shed. Based round a well past it '96 Ducati Monster 900, the bike is a cracker; stripped down, fast, essential and full of well thought-out details and lovingly fabricated handmade parts that give it an individuality that you can't buy in a bike shop.

Cutter's been riding for 30 years but this is also his first bike build, and as always we at the mag love and encourage the fact it was done in a shed at the bottom of the garden - in Cutter's case, the Chicken Shack. What a result! Read his blog here and learn more. Thanks too to Graham and Barry.

Full feature in the next issue of ITALIAN MOTOR magazine.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Bye Bye Berlusconi

My father-in-law in Italy sent me this cartoon. It shows the relief over there that Berlusconi is finally letting hold of power after so many years. The phrase reads "it doesn't matter how he falls....as long as he falls.", followed by the different ways it's possible to go. It's the end of an era and incredible that it's the economy rather than his dodgy dealings with the Mafia or Moroccan prostitutes that has precipitated his final downfall. I'll miss those great shots of him leering at various female world leaders

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Motore V7 nuovo

Don't think it can be said it's a thing of beauty but it's good to see that Guzzi is 'developing' its motors. A change from twin to a single injector could be a good thing...we'd have to ride it and compare it to the V7 Classic and Cafe'/Racer models. Technical blurb below. What happened to the Scrambler though??

- For the first time in years, the “small-block” Moto Guzzi V-Twin has been extensively refurbished to produce more-adequate power and torque. The internal changes are immediately apparent via the engine’s largely revised exterior. New valve covers and, most important, vastly extended finning on heads and cylinders improve cooling in response to an increase in compression from 9.2:1 to 10.2:1.

Since the V7 engine uses a Heron- type combustion chamber, new pistons were adopted featuring a revised design on their dished-out crowns. The pistons also are lighter and stronger. In addition, the V7 now breathes through larger valves and a revised induction system that uses a single Y-shaped 38mm throttle body that splits into two 36mm runners where the individual injectors are located.

As a result of these changes, claimed output has increased to 51 horsepower at 6200 rpm and 42.8 foot-pounds of torque at 5000 rpm. Throttle response from low revs is vastly improved, thanks to the ram effect of the aforementioned longer manifold and cooler air inhaled by the relocated airbox.

The upgraded 750cc Twin powers three models: V7, V7 Special and V7 Racer. All three machines are based on the previous version but feature new graphics. The rolling gear remains unchanged, but the overall quality of the bikes shows some meaningful improvements.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

My One Desire...

Would be to go back in time to see the Cats live again (and be able to play as good as this..)

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Italian bikes at San Francisco Airport: No check-in or boarding card required

Tim O'Brien at the San Francisco International Airport Museum (SFO) emailed me about a fantastic exhibition that will be held for the next six months in the main departures lobby. What great idea - wish we had something like that at Luton Airport. Wish I was flying into SF fro a few days to have a look.

Moto Bellissima: Italian Motorcycles from the 1950s and 1960s: Moto Bellissima: Italian Motorcycles from the 1950s and 1960s is located pre-security in the International Terminal Main Hall Departures Lobby, San Francisco International Airport. The exhibition is on view to all Airport visitors from November 5, 2011 to April 28, 2012. There is no charge to view the exhibition.

More info and some great photographs here

Friday, 4 November 2011

This is more like it

This is the new MV Agusta Brutale 675 that will be unveiled at EICMA in a few days. Though still not something I'd buy, it is infinitely more pleasing to my eye than the messy Brutale R 1090 I commented on, and many of you discussed, in post a few weeks ago.

It just looks cleaner and more thought out. What do do you think?

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Simple pleasures

John W (he builder of Guzzi cafe' racer, Issue Two) sent me an email the other day.

I'm sure he won't mind me reproducing it as it shows that our passion is important. It also shows you don't need CNC machines and TIG welders to make good-looking stuff for your bike, just curiosity and desire (ok, so a jigsaw helps too..). I wish I could find the time too to make stuff like this.

"Hello Adam,

I cannot believe how pleased I am with myself after the few hours I have actually spent doing something useful for a change...........see attachment. I even felt the need to make a point of showing it to the missus knowing full well it really would be of no interest.

The headlamp bracket has been broken for at least a couple of years on my black Guzzi Roadster, but hidden behind a Mk 1 Le Mans fairing it has been held together with cable ties. Now that the cafe' racer is off the road the Roadster has been put back in use. I will be fitting a new headlamp glass/reflector and have already removed the fairing to allow access. My thoughts are to leave the fairing off (when originally built this was how it was) so something had to be done with the bracket. Yes, I have had all summer to do it, but sometimes I need a kick up the backside.....

I know it's not perfect,but I don't think it's bad and I am really chuffed to bits that I have actually just got round to doing something that I have put off for so long. SIMPLE PLEASURES !!!

I hope all is good at your end?