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.