Tuesday, 29 January 2013

V7 Scrambler from Portugal

Spotted this on the excellent blog: http://www.theselfcenteredman.com - I think it's beautifully executed and maybe the best use of one of the 'new' V7 bikes I think I've seen so far. Thought it was a V50 at first, because of the older looking rocker covers, but guess they just slot right onto the new heads, anyone know for sure?

Anyway, I'd be happy to own this bike, though I'd stick another disc up front.

Monday, 28 January 2013


I'm still feeling pretty moved, as well as still very sad, about what happened to Kevin Ash. I've been reading around on various forums the many tributes rightly paid to him as a person, and to his work. Some commentators, who know nothing, suggest that motorcycle journalists are bound to have accidents as they are reckless, and speed, and show off. There is a minority like that - maybe the some of the younger ones with little real world riding experience, and who are prepared to leave their common sense behind when they sign the manufacturer's disclaimer. I've ridden in groups on launches where some of the riding has been appalling, and simply dangerous. I tend to sit at the back, let the would-be Valentino Rossis go up front, and concentrate on riding, and learning about the machine I'm sat on. Kevin was quick when he wanted to be but very measured. I liked to sit behind him at times because his riding was smooth and predictable, so though I don't know any details of his accident, he more than anyone knew how to ride safely. A quote I read on advrider.com from another British journalist that was on site for the BMW launch said this, and I know how he feels:

"...I’ve been getting more than a little spooked lately at press intros. Or should I say “the journalist GP”. I’ve been at a point of not wanting to click into the mode needed to run with the pack. It’s been invading my confidence and I’ve spent a lot of days thinking “I don’t want to ride this fast on a public road anymore”. I’ve seen them fall before. Kevin was a great guy. Mild mannered, polite, one of the boys. Good at this job, always with a good word. He will be missed...."

Sometimes though, the unpredictable can happen, quickly. On one launch last year, some big silencers were detaching from their mounting points, and dropping off, while we were riding, fast. We pulled over, and Kevin's had already lost its nut. "That's it, we're not going on," he said, very rightly, and with concern for the rest of us in the group, to the guy leading the group. And then we scrabbled around by the side of the road, in the verges, until we found some wire. "That'll do," he said, and he proceeded to expertly bodge the big silencer back on to the bike, safer than it was before. And then he checked everyone else's too. Good bloke.

In contrast,  I read a post the other day on a one-marque owners' forum by someone who seemed proud that he saved himself a measly 4 quid by sneakily photographing complete articles in bike magazines, then putting it back on the shelf. This person wanted so much to read and gain from the opinion and experience that someone like Kevin Ash would risk his life for to impart, but didn't want to pay for it. And that's just sad.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Kevin Ash

I've just heard that Kevin Ash, motorcycle journalist, has tragically died in an accident on a BMW launch in South Africa. I knew him as a fellow journalist, and had enjoyed his company on several new model launches, especially those for the new Moto Guzzi models - and he had a genuine soft spot for Guzzi. He was an honest, precise and technically excellent motorcycle writer, but also had a great sense of humour too. Being a dad to three girls, he often gave me tips over a glass of wine or two on launch dinners on how to wrangle my toddler daughter, and he always made me laugh.

Our thoughts go out to his family, from everyone involved with the magazine.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Sweatin' it with The Velvet Bulldozer

Ahh, I feel warmer already. Fantastic required musicianship from the wonderful Albert King, and including the amazing one-armed horn player Wilbert Thompson.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Monday Min

Min is one of our friends who actually bothers to email us and send in some pictures for the blog. Just stuff he sees or likes. Problem is, because we're crap, or slow, at replying to emails, they sometimes don't get looked at. Today they did, and here's a random few from Min, including probably the best Guzzi racing shot I think I've ever seen (and strangely enough, not seen before). Thanks Min!

Monday, 14 January 2013

Started up for the first time in 37 years

Our friend Mark has been in touch with us the last few months about an unused, original and untouched 1975 Moto Guzzi T3 850 that he discovered languishing in a private collection in Switzerland. He's now brought it over, and had Guzzi experts NBS recommission it to running order. Best thing is, he's left it exactly as is - many people obsessed with shiny polished motorcycles would be tempted to strip it right down and restore it - and he'll enjoy a Guzzi that has barely rolled its wheels since leaving the factory at Mandello in 1975. The T3 is an excellent rider's bike, and there are aren't many standard ones left, let alone in this sort of condition, AND in the rarer 'rosso salmone' paint.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Bellagio to Varenna

Thanks to Dorian and Lois for sending me this photo and cheering me up while struggling with tax returns, and newly-diagnosed arthritis.

Roll on summer. Nothing like touring round Lago di Como on two small MVs.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Wrenchmonkees Falcone Nuovo

New Year, new bikes to look at. This is about the best thing you could do to a Guzzi Falcone Nuovo I reckon, and the Wrenchmonkees have done it with style. Reminds of a an Aermachhi 350 I rode once. Nice pics too.