Saturday, 14 May 2016

Milan to Bristol on a Sterling Autocycle

Tomorrow our intrepid Editor will be flying out to Milan, from where he will be setting out on Tuesday on the first leg of a six-day Milan-to-Bristol ride aboard a Black Douglas Sterling Autocycle (a modern replica of the "flat-tanker" motorcycles of the 1910s). His five fellow riders will include Fabio Cardoni, the Founder and CEO of the Black Douglas Motorcycle Co.

Fabio Cardoni cutting a dash on the Sterling Autocycle

Naturally we will be publishing a full report about the trip when he returns to our secret base in the broom cupboard, but he will be Tweeting and Instagramming (is that even a verb? - Ed.) along the way. We have also established a Periscope account (@TheThruxtonian) from which he will be broadcasting live videos whenever possible - as long as he manages to come to grips with all this new-fangled technology, of course!

The ride will also be raising money for Save the Children, so you can still make donations on their donations page.

Photograph: © The Black Douglas Motorcycle Co.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

LS2 Metro: Modular helmets can look good, too.

For many motorcyclists, modular helmets conjure up images of motorcycle coppers or of serious, mature motorcyclists in no-nonsense Cordura gear with splashes of hi-vis and riding touring bikes of mostly Bavarian origin and who favour function over form.

That’s a pity, really, because “flip-front” lids are actually quite a clever idea: you effectively have two helmets in one and they’re very useful when you’re at tollbooths on Continental motorways, or when you’re asking a local for direction, or even when you’re stopping at a petrol station. They do unfortunately have a fair few drawbacks - they’re heavy, massive, fairly noisy and, of course, they’re not overly stylish, which is probably why only motorcycle cops and the Bavarian touring bike appreciation society wear them: style tends not to rate very highly on their agendas. I myself bought one a few years back, but I never really managed to get on with it.

Enter the LS2 FF324 “Metro” helmet, which is a new-for-2016 model. The first time I saw the Metro, it was with the chin bar closed; at first glance I took it to be a straight full-face lid. It was only on closer inspection that I understood that it was a modular helmet. The first thing I noticed was the look of the helmet: instead of your usual bulbous shape, the Chinese firm have given the helmet a taut, aggressive and, dare I say it, sporty look. The chin bar is slightly pointed and the central air vent is flanked by four mesh-covered side vents (these can be blanked off by four smoked plastic covers that simply clip into place), clearly inspired by ADV helmets.

Monday, 11 April 2016

First Glance: Bolid'ster Jeans

Bolid’ster is the latest name in the ever-growing world of motorcycle-oriented jeans. The company is the brainchild of Frenchman Pierre-Henri Servajean, who is no newcomer to the industry, since he is the man behind the E-Squad brand name and the creator of Armalith, the high-tech fabric used by E-Squad and also by this new brand.

First off, what exactly is Armalith? It is a very strong and highly abrasion-resistant aramid-type fibre that is reputedly the strongest such fibre currently in production. Bolid’ster, like E-Squad before it, weaves this fibre directly into the denim-type fabric of their garments. This means that the jeans don’t have a thick aramid cloth lining, presumably making them feel more like normal jeans. Stitching is done with the same thread used to stitch together airbags, so it should be pretty tough too.