Project bikes are better than drugs
They're just as addictive but loads better for you MCN STAR LETTER
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 Mcncompare.com 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 Mcncompare.com 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.