Friday, 9 September 2016

MHD Watches - Retro style made in the UK

What do you do in your spare time when your day job is designing sports cars? You design your own brand of wristwatches, of course.

Ideal for nipping off to buy a couple of bottles of champagne

That’s exactly what Matthew Humphries does. Humphries, the former design chief at Morgan, where he was responsible for the shape of the Aeromax and the breathtakingly desirable 3-Wheeler (our Editor can spend hours sighing in front of one until some good Samaritan reminds him he’s skint - and that he’s also in the way). After stepping down from that post, he opened his own automotive design consultancy firm and, as he obviously had a bit of spare time on his hands, decided to design wristwatches under the MHD Watches name.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

A New Helmet Filters Through From Biltwell

Many of you who follow Biltwell’s social media presence may be forgiven for thinking that the lives of the lads from Temecula is simply about “having fun and riding bikes”, to paraphrase their motto and hashtag. And while it is true that they manage to find an awful lot of time to spend on the road, truth is that they’re a hard-working bunch.

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.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Premier Trophy MX

The Italian helmet manufacturer Premier has just added a new retro-themed helmet to their range. Called the Trophy MX, it is based on the early full-face motocross helmets of the late Seventies and Eighties and, in particular, on the mythical Bell Moto 3.

Wait a minute, that sounds familiar…

Yes it does: at last year’s EICMA motorcycle show in Milan (Italy), DMD, another Italian brand, presented their version of the Moto 3, and this one is so similar that we did initially think it was a DMD. There are, however, subtle differences between both recreations of Bell’s seminal lid, most notably the base of the helmet, which is flat on Premier’s product. 

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Never has so much been owed to so few…

As I thundered along a quiet road in the hilly countryside between Barcelona and Tarragona, those first few words of one of Winston Churchill’s most famous quotes ran through my mind and appeared to apply perfectly to Triumph’s new Street Twin, the first bike available in Hinckley’s redesigned-from-the-ground-up Bonneville range.

The Editor keeping good company - the bike's a corker, too

I mean let’s face it, 54 bhp from a 900cc motor sounds pretty puny on paper, doesn’t it? Such a paltry power output suggests sluggish acceleration, a laughable top speed and a life of extreme boredom for the bike’s hapless owner, particularly when the previous Hinckley twin offered at least a half-dozen more horses, right? Wrong. The power figure is backed up by a whopping maximum torque figure of 80 Nm at a ridiculously low 3,230 rpm; Triumph further claim that there is 22% more power all through the midrange. And while I can’t verify the exactitude of that figure, my advanced seat-of-the-pants telemetry system confirms the presence of a stonking midrange that’s meaty and juicy, like a good steak. The torque and muscular midrange combine to provide a surprisingly zippy and satisfying riding experience, whether you’re bounding from one set of traffic lights to the next in town or bombarding through narrow country roads. But more of that, anon; first let’s take a quick walk around the bike.
"When the big hand points to..."
The first thing that strikes the eye in the Speed Twin is how small and compact it is. Its equivalent in Triumph’s previous Bonneville range, the SE, looks positively gargantuan in comparison. The new machine is lower, with a seat height of 750mm, which makes it ideal for novice and short-statured riders: being able to put both feet flat on the ground when sitting on the bike is reassuring, even more so as the bike instantly feels much lighter than previous Bonnies, with a claimed dry weight of 198kg. However, tall riders might be at a disadvantage; I’m no giant, not by a long chalk, but for the first few miles I had the impression that I was riding one of these pit-bike contraptions. [Read on]