Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Davy caught the Last Train to Clarkesville

We loved The Monkees when we were kids, and I still like their songs now - all happy memories and great guitar tunes - RIP Davy Jones

MV motor mashed

Not having much luck with mechanical stuff recently. You might remember the last time the MV 175 made an appearance on the blog was way back in September, when this happened:

Well, Dorian obviously got bored of hearing me moan about how I couldn't get the wrecked gearbox sprocket off (I did try a bit, honest..) so when he was over the other week he stole the motor and took it into his workshop. One proper pull on a proper puller later, and the sprocket is off. At last! And though Dorian is not rebuilding the motor for me, he reports that "The engine itself is in a very poor state. I don't think I have seen one with this much wear for a long time. The oil pump fibre gear is totally knackered and you might have problems getting one. All the shafts have huge amounts of play and I imagine it can't be just bearing wear. A bit of engineering might be needed to sort this one out...."
Sounds ominous, and expensive too. Watch this this space, or buy the previous issues of the mag to see how the bike arrived to this point

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Mutate or die

Peter Koren's Ducati GTS to XR transformation is still a wonder to us at the magazine, and I think that it has to be possibly the favourite bike we've featured so far. In an era when anything old with Ducati written on the tank is being snapped up as pension investments (even the ugly ones), it's brilliant to see that someone went his own way and built something himself, for himself, and came out with something better than the factory ever could.

Full feature in Issue Four

Tuesday, 21 February 2012


Apologies for lack of posting, just been busy trying to relocate from one unit to another. Our new HQ has needed a fair amount of work doing on it, including building shelving for all my crap. Good friend and saviour Dorian came over to help on Friday (thanks pal!), and we moved all the stuff that was sitting on the mezzanine in my old shed. This needed to be moved so first, so that I could then reuse the timber and ply in the new place. Over the weekend I've been building the new shelving, but it's bloody hard work on your own, holding stuff into place and so on - it must be nice to be rich so you can pay someone to do this all for you. I'm resting today as my left arm is in pain, so will continue tomorrow. The 1952 Vespa 'faro basso' 125 monocoque shell has come in handy during shelf-making and as somewhere handy to rest one's weary arse - who would have thought?

Though it's hard work now, I can see it'll be great to have a nice place to fiddle with old bikes and listen to some decent tunes.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Issue Five

Started work on Issue Five. When it's well progressed, I'll be emailing everyone to send money for subscriptions. No money, no mag - it's a tough world out there...

Friday, 10 February 2012

It's snow joke if you wanna ride your bike in Rome

According to the blog, the snow in Rome has prompted the authorities to launch the 'Piano Neve', or, er, the 'Snow Plan' (sounds better in Italian doesn't it). They guarantee the running of main bus and train routes, with buses equipped with chains and special tyres.

But - if you fancied it a bit of a blat round Rome in the snow on your trail bike/scooter/moped/Goldwing what have you, 'cos all two wheeled machine are BANNED from 6am this Friday morning until further notice.

 Now I don't know how our Roman friends cope on two wheels in snow (most likely fine), but when I used to commute through London to the West End day in day out on my trusty Honda Benly CD 200, I used to love a bit of snow to ride in, though I'd usually have one or two laying-downs of the bike in the thicker stuff where no cars had passed. And when I lived in Italy, I'd relish taking the wife's Gilera Trail 50 into the mountains when it snowed.

Anyway, if the authorities here told me that I couldn't ride on two wheels in the snow, I'd ignore them on principle and tell them to stick it up their government CULO. I hope the Roman 'centauri' or bikers, do the same.

Photo from with more pics of Rome in the snow if you like

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

New Guzzi V7 press launch, end of March - ITALIAN MOTOR will be there

We've been told by our man in Mandello that the world press launch for the new, uprated Moto Guzzi V7 will be towards the end of March, so ITALIAN MOTOR will be there to give the bike a good thrashing. It'll be interesting to see how the new V7, with single injector body, higher compression, more torque and supposedly more power will compare with the current V7, which we also tested. Anyway, a trip to Mandello is always enjoyable too.

We'll be writing up ort findings here on the blog as soon as we return, along with our own exclusive photos from the launch, and will follow up with a full feature in the mag. Can't wait!!

Talking about launches (after all the season starts in March), the press launch for the new Ducati Panigale is in a couple of weeks. Sadly, being a garage band outfit, rather than a Premiership rag, monthly, weekly or trendy lifestyle magazine, we'll not be rubbing shoulders, or fairings, with the influential inner sanctum of motorcycling journos, but hope to bring you a report one way or the other. Can't win 'em all...

Friday, 3 February 2012

Shifting sheds

ITALIAN MOTOR is shifting HQ. I've had enough of trying to work on bikes in a place with an uneven floor and clouds of dust from a nearby granite works, so I've found a new unit. Bigger and square floor and walls, and a separate partiiton at he back where I can store bikes away from the work area.

But it doesn't look much yet, does it...?

Wednesday, 1 February 2012


I can't tell you much about this photo apart from it's a photo of the 'muletto' or test car that Alfa Romeo used to develop their beautiful eight cylinder 8C with. Wonderful style, clothes and elegance on display, but note how the mechanics with oily overalls are standing well in the background. Neil Twyman used this image, and some others that belong in a collection of an Italian friend, to build his own 'muletto'. Neil used an original 8C chassis that he bought in a scrapyard in Italy while supposedly on a skiing holiday, and brought it back strapped to the top of his Volvo estate. Our feature in Issue Four shows the stunning result.