NEXT WEEK PLANET MECHANIC
Vital checks for your new used bike before its first ride ‘We’ll see bikes with less teeth on the sprocket than Albert Steptoe’
‘What’s it like running a workshop in London?’
Matt Baldwin, 46, manages the workshop at the family-familyrun Burwin Motorcycles in Islington, London
“Although we’re in central London we are an old-school business with a lot of banter in the shop, where customers can make themselves (and us) a cup of tea. My dad founded the business in 1976 and I started out sweeping the floor as a kid in the 1980s.
“Most of our customers are long-standing, maybe 20 years or more, and they are still commuters so they aren’t inclined to do maintenance. In fact we’ll do the tyre pressures and lube the chain for some as a free pit-stop on the way into work.
“All that stop-start commuting takes its toll on brakes, chains and tyres and we’ll regularly have bikes come in with less teeth on the front sprocket than Albert Steptoe or discs that are so thin the mountings are starting to crack. We tend to fit Ferodo Platinum pads. They are not as sharp as some, but they don’t shred the discs like some materials.
“Right now we are building up the tyre side of the business, with Michelin Pilot Road 3 and 4s proving popular. The best thing man ever invented for changing tyres is a caravan chock. They are just the right size to wedge under the tyre and keep it stable. You can then push the chock forwards so the spindle lines up. I reckon it saves us 10 minutes per wheel and only one person is needed to line it up.”