Pro­ject bikes are bet­ter than drugs

They're just as ad­dic­tive but loads bet­ter for you MCN STAR LET­TER

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Comment -

Phil Rout­ledge, email Ed: We all love projects. Neil’s point was more that you should be very wary of snap­ping up some­one else’s un­fin­ished box of (mostly miss­ing) bits. If you’re look­ing to in­sure a bike, visit Mc­n­com­ and you can quickly com­pare prices from 43 top mo­tor­cy­cle in­sur­ance brands. The writer of the best let­ter each week pub­lished in the Let­ters pages will re­ceive a free retrode­sign MCN T-shirt cour­tesy of the Mc­n­com­ web­site.

Good old Frank (and Thomas)

Your ar­ti­cle on Frank Thomas was a good read (MCN, March 2). When I first started bik­ing, bud­gets were tight and Frank Thomas gear was per­fect for what I needed at the time. I had a set of two-piece leathers from FT. Black, white and red – and not too gar­ish. Af­ter Mri­didn’tseeyou pulled out on me I was very grate­ful to the leathers, they did a great job, and the pro­tec­tion pads helped cush­ion the blow of metal and tar­mac. Well worth the lit­tle money I had to pay. For guys just start­ing out Frank Thomas was a way of look­ing like a biker with­out suf­fer­ing an empty wal­let.

It's an Easter cop out

Once again the Easter Mon­day Southend Shake­down has been can­celled be­cause the po­lice are de­mand­ing four grand to do their job. Haven’t they thought about the hun­dreds raised for char­i­ties and the lo­cal com­pa­nies who will miss out on a busy bank hol­i­day trade?

So much for road safety

I’m writ­ing in case any read­ers are in and around Lon­don and aren’t aware of the new speed cam­eras around the A40, A316 and soon to be pretty much ev­ery­where across the cap­i­tal. Th­ese av­er­age speed sys­tems also act as ANPR and track your progress / speed be­tween mul­ti­ple cam- eras and can cover both di­rec­tions si­mul­ta­ne­ously. Driv­ers seem obliv­i­ous to the new sys­tem and keep tail­gat­ing me while I stick to the limit.

I’m all for man­ual labour

Here’s a sug­ges­tion. Why don’t deal­ers give you your hand­book when you pay the de­posit rather than when you col­lect the bike? A) It would be nice to come out the shop with some­thing when you have just laid down the de­posit. And B) We would all have a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of our ma­chines if we had time to study the man­ual be­fore col­lect­ing the bike. Then again, which bloke do you know reads the de­struc­tions be­fore as­sem­bling flat-pack fur­ni­ture? Oh well, read­ing the man­ual gave me some­thing to do when the weather was bad. Gary Cox, email Ed: Some firms let you down­load a man­ual, so you can do your home­work in ad­vance

My dad saved Sur­tees

Great to read the ar­ti­cle on “Big” John in last week’s MCN. He is, as you rightly point out, a leg­end in mo­tor­sport. The only nig­gle - one of the pic­tures claim­ing to be Sur­tees on a Nor­ton was in fact my father, John Har­tle; a close friend of JS and his team­mate over sev­eral years. In fact, I re­mem­ber JS telling me how my father jumped into a fresh wa­ter lake and saved him - JS couldn’t swim! Sixty years has gone in a flash. I’ve got some Duke video footage of me aged six months in the win­ners cir­cle with them at the Se­nior TT in 1956. Here’s to both Johns - great men in a golden era.

Bit of bob­ber bother

Just been look­ing at the Tri­umph ‘Bob­ber’ spy pic­tures (MCN, March 2). What an ap­palling rid­ing po­si­tion! Would the ‘Bon­nie grunt’ now re­fer to the au­di­ble sign of se­vere back­ache? That seat! Off a trac­tor? I can just imag­ine that on the un­du­lat­ing French ‘B’ roads, you’d for­ever be do­ing hand­stands as yer arse gets cat­a­pulted sky­wards. Who was ‘Bob’ any­way? The pil­lock!

Baf­fled by the wrong trousers

I have rid­den mo­tor­cy­cles since 1976, but have seen mas­sive leaps in tech­nol­ogy in the last decade with ABS, ESA, gear shift as­sist, on board com­put­ers etc. The only thing that has, in my opin­ion, gone back­wards is seat com­fort. My last three mo­tor­cy­cles (Yamaha, Tri­umph and Suzuki) all had the most un­com­fort­able seats. Re­cently I pur­chased a BMW R1200R, hop­ing that a more up­mar­ket bike wouldn’t have the same prob­lem. If any­thing the seat was worse, un­com­fort­able and so slip­pery when two-up we were strug­gling to stop slid­ing into each other. When speak­ing to the sales­man on his cour­tesy call I men­tioned the prob­lem with the seat, his com­ments left me speech­less. The prob­lem ac­cord­ing to him was that we were wear­ing the wrong trousers, ie tex­tiles. Con­sid­er­ing most peo­ple I ride with wear tex­tile gear and that BMW’S cloth­ing is mainly tex­tile, I’m baf­fled.

Used bike ex­pert Neil Mur­ray's ad­vice – Don't Buy Pro­ject Bikes – is plain wrong. There's three pro­ject bikes in our road and the av­er­age age of the three ’pro­jecteers’ is some­where around 74. Bikes are not just for rid­ing or buy­ing and sell­ing; they are mem­o­ries, smells, sounds, loyal friends, the hope of eter­nal youth and the means to es­cape to ad­ven­ture. Your reader Mike showed us his X7 last week be­cause he un­der­stands this and rightly feels proud of his work in the face of ad­ver­sity. Doc­tors would do well to pre­scribe pro­ject bikes in place of Val­ium. Just as ad­dic­tive but much bet­ter for the soul.

Chal­lenge X7 pro­ject has been a glo­ri­ous MCN reader Mike told us his That box of bits could be pure gold… or just a box of bits Sur­tees’ good friend John Har­tle

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