Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year - and may it be sunny

Have a great 2013 - hope to be doing a bit more of this in the year coming up and seeing a lot more sunshine.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Christmas Haircut

Ideal for that 'Crimbo Limbo' stage of the end of the year. Thanks to Pete at Eat The Rich for reminding me about this.

Classic, weird British comedy, maybe tough to appreciate if you're not from these shores.

Mmm, Rhapsody in Velcro or the Burnt Pop Tart?

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Issue Five out in January - and Happy Christmas!

Finally, Issue Five of the magazine is done, and will be on sale, hopefully, on the 10th of January. 
Yes, it has taken ages, but hey, steady as she goes as we've been navigating the choppy waters of recession, and at least we're still here with more hardcore Italian motors.

More details soon, but it's the usual mix of home-built, brand new, and very old Italian motorcycles, and the car in this issue is a stunna.....keep an eye out here on the blog/Facebook page/website - but in the meantime, Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year and happy and healthy 2013 to all our readers, subscribers, supporters, the brilliant advertisers who have stuck by us (you know who you are), friends, and enemies.

We'll be emailing everyone in the New Year about new subscriptions - use it or lose it!!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

So who wants a mini Gilera Saturno then?

Can't remember if I've posted this already, but anyway, I'll need to be be selling my 1952 Gilera Turismo 150cc in the new year. Restored by me 10 years ago, and featured in a couple of magazines too.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Motor Bikin'

Chris Spedding - early punk, Womble, Pistols producer and Robert Gordon collaborator.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

1985 - have Ford Escort van, will travel

This is me, aged 18, all quiffed up, in flying jacket and boots, and seated in my beloved '77 Ford Escort van, all 1300cc of it, and with dark blue 'Starsky and Hutch' go faster stripe along the flanks. I loved it - it was practical for putting guitars and amps in the back, and could also accomodate a few friends, or ladies (yes, sometimes..) in the boarded-out back. I've always liked the practicality of vans (still have one now, a VW LT), though they attracted the attention of the police, and I'd be regularly pulled over in the mean streets of North London by the fuzz for a search in the back. I was working in Holloway, North London, had a few quid in my pocket, had just met the girl of my dreams, and life was good and carefree. I was about to join a band and make a record a few months down the line too, so realised a few passions and ambitions.

The van was pretty reliable, and I drove it to Holland and back without problems, though some junkie tried to nick the cassette player out of it while it was parked up in Amsterdam (I was more worried about the AC/DC album inside it though). I remember replacing the McPherson front suspension strut in the street on it the day before the MOT with the help of my mate Allen (whose dad was a semi-pro banger racer) having found one in a scrapyard in the day when you could wander freely amongst the cars piled six or seven high, and use your own tools to get what parts you needed. It wouldn't start easily in the damp, though luckily I lived on a hill. I eventually sold the van for 200 quid, which is what I paid for it, and went on to a much more exotic '67 Triumph Vitesse Mk2 convertible, which was also a bit of a rustbucket.

A DVLA vehicle enquiry tells me that the van came to the end of its registered life in the summer of 1988. Probably just rusted away. Good times.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

More from Cannes

Ahh, sunshine. Had forgotten what it looked like

Out on the tiles with Daniele and Alberto from Anima Guzzista. I was already knackered by midnight, and felt a bit underdressed in plaid shirt and boots for the ritzy nightspot they started to queue up for, so I slinked off to bed

Big, big 100mm-plus piston from the California

We ate lunch in a quayside restaurant in St Tropez, having ridden the bikes there. Only on picking up my helmet from the floor where I'd put it did I realise the floor was covered in sand. Wacky!

I've never been to a place so dripping in money but with so little subtlety. I had a walk around as the sun was out on Friday evening, and looked in a shop window at a pair of trousers - only 3,500 euros to you sir! The hotel had a permanent line of Ferraris, Porsches and Hummers parked outside. 

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Guzzi Cali 1400 launch 'official' pics

Some 'official' photos from the launch. The Clifornia 1400 is big, very big, but it still handles sweetly round the bends. Dollops of torque, plentiful power, high quality build.

Full review, opinion and more photos in Issue Five of the magazine, on sale 10th January 2013

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Boffin Dodgers Motorcycle Club

I've nicked this post wholesale from my brother's blog at Greasy Kulture as it made me laugh to read it again, and see the photo again, and certainly not much has changed since - still dodging boffins, stil got the same bike. I used to work at Victory Motorcycles in Camden Town, and on one trip on my Guz to buy Triumph spares from Ted at MCS, got wiped out, knocked unconscious and ended up on a trolley in Whipps Cross Hospital, London E11

"In the early nineties, a group of us used to ride around together and meet up for events like the Pioneer Run. The group was loosely centred on Victory Motorcycles (which was located in one of the arches in The Stables market in Camden Town back then) and Raoul, the Kiwi mechanic there.

We were a motley bunch, riding everything from souped-up MZs to Triumphs, Guzzis to BSAs. (I was definitely the odd one out on a Shovel.) But everywhere we stopped, we'd be plagued by rivet counters –"Oh yes, I had one of these, but not with the later aluminium spigot, which I think you'll find is incorrect..." – who would descend upon us like Harpies. After a while, we started creating avoidance tactics, like suddenly and quickly all walking off simultaneously in different directions without a word the moment a Frank Thomas-booted boffin approached one of our bikes.

The Boffin Dodgers were born.

My brother Adam created this montage after the Pioneer Run in '94."

Good memories.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

ITALIAN MOTOR off to cane the California 1400 in Cannes

We're off later this week to test the new Moto Guzzi 1400 in Cannes, South of France, and we'll have a full review, opinion and exclusive photos in Issue Five of the magazine. It's a model of bike that I would never buy myself, principally because I simply don't buy new bikes, but its looks have grown on me gradually.

Last time we tested two-wheelers in 'sunny' Cannes, it poured with French rain non-stop and temperatures were on the bitter side, but the big posh bath made up for it.

I'm fascinated to see how this 1400cc Guzzi motor really performs, and how far the 'California' model has progressed since when my 1976 T3 California was released.

Just hope the weather will be a bit more like in the photo above this time round.

If you have any specific questions about the new Cali that you want me to ask the Piaggio men in suits, or details you want photographing, or fat tyres you want kicking, now's your chance...

Monday, 19 November 2012

Borranis are back!

Now, I don't know if Borrani alloy rims for classic Italian bikes even ever went away , but I remember enquiring about them over 20 years ago while I lived in Italy, and was told they only made car wheels.
Judging by the eye-watering prices of decent used Borranis on Ebay, it seems they did disappear for some time.

Anyway, now it seems they're back with Borranis for bikes. We were sent these very nice photos from their press office, so here they are. There don't seem to be any details yet on their very nice website at: but we'll keep an eye on what will be offered, and more importantly, how much. Mmm, maybe a nice new set on the Le Mans 2 special?

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

New California 1400 - also in white!!

This bike is growing on us - also in white - bit of a tart's handbag, but strangely alluring too - the El Dorado version!

Remember, you saw it first at ITALIAN MOTOR magazine!!