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HOOK NORTON BREWERY – Located in Hook Norton, which is just off the B4035 to the west of Banbury. Tours cost £12.50, last two hours and include a beer tasting, so get your riding done first. A fishy destination One day 55 miles Great day in the Cotswold
There are two great reasons to ride this route – superb bends and the prospect of a trip to a brewery! What more could you want?
Our route is intended as a rough guide because it’s only when you veer off the beaten track and start to explore the charms of the little villages that you really get a feeling for this idyllic location. That said, you need to include Fish Hill for a set of bends so brilliant you’ll want to do them twice.
Fish Hill leads into Broadway and is a firm favourite with the area’s bikers. On the way out of Broadway it is a dual carriageway climb around a set of banked hairpin bends. Fast, flowing and with a good surface, you can throw a bike into them and lean it over as far as you dare. And once at the top you can turn around and do it all over again!
Downhill generally requires more caution than uphill as it is only a single lane and the nature of the incline puts a lot of pressure on a front tyre. Don’t get carried away as the bends can bite, but Fish Hill is there to be enjoyed and once you have had your fill, head to the Hook Norton Brewery via either Shipston-on-stour or Chipping Norton. Just watch out for cars with blackedout windows if you go via Chippy – both David Cameron and Jeremy Clarkson live there and neither is particularly partial to two-wheelers!
when you hit danger territory. Naturally, the idea is to keep the red light glowing all the time. Full-power ones are really rare, sadly, so the best you can hope for is probably a tuned-up 12bhp model. Be aware that this was one of the most stolen 125s of all time, so beware of ringers.
£700-£1400. If you want a road bike you might be better off with a KMX.
Aprilia RS125 (1992-2005)
Where the Mito is a 916 replica the Aprilia is a real 125 race replica. You have to go all the way back to Honda's CB92 to find a 125 that is so equally at home on road and track. It also remained a two-stroke all the way to 2012, which is some going. Forget the 12bhp learner version we’re talking the full-power
Yamaha RD125LC (1981-86)
Cagiva Mito (1991-2004)
It went through a number of changes and is remembered for three things. Number one, it was one of the first 100mph 125s. OK, so that was the full-power model, but everyone converted theirs to full power. Two, it was originally styled exactly like the Ducati 916. I mean, down to the final detail, except for the exhaust note. You pressed the button and instead of a basso profundo and a dose of clutch rattle came a ring-ring-ding and a plume of blue smoke. Three, it had a seven-speed gearbox. Nobody else has ever done that on a road bike. It needs meticulous servicing, top-quality synthetic oil, and regular piston and ring changes. It doesn’t usually get them.
What you’ll pay now
But should you?
Toughie. I’d say yes were it not for the Aprilia RS125.
28bhp model here. Stunning styling, fabulous components, and the certainty that it is something special. Like the Mito, the Aprilia needs superlative maintenance: never buy without advice.
£700-£2250, but never buy at the cheap end.
Unequivocally yes. The last of an era.
Honda CB125T (1978-82)
Honda decided they needed a sporty 125 twin again, and had to compete with two-strokes like the GT125. They came up with this sleek-looking rocket. Believe it or not, the engine is basically a CD125/200 Benly, tuned to the max. It produced 17bhp and was capable of 85mph on a good day. It handled well too. But the 12bhp learner-legal CB125T Super Dream is a slug and best avoided. What you’ll pay no £550-£1500. But should you? Yes. It’s a jewel.
doing something wrong.
Last year our 16 riders covered a total of 120,489 miles in pursuit of that knowledge – and this year we have 17 bikes on the fleet, so expect an even bigger number.
Our 2016 riders introduce themselves here and talk about their plans, then the first reports on our new fleet appear over the page. Each bike will appear in the paper every four weeks, with frequent updates on our website and extra snippets through MCN’S social media channels. There will also be video updates on every bike.
MICHAEL NEEVES Kawasaki have created a blisteringly quick superbike but I plan to make my ZX-10R better still over the summer by chopping off some excess weight and releasing even more power.
TONY HOARE I was on the SV’S press launch and I reckon it is the basis for a cracking little bike. My mission is to find out if there’s anything the middleweight V-twin can’t do – by asking it to do everything.
TRIUMPH STREET TWIN
PED BAKER The appeal of the Street is the 160 Triumph parts you can get for it. Deciding on which direction to take the bike is exciting and agonising in equal measures but I’ve settled on the Scrambler kit.
ANDY DOWNES The prospect of an S1000RR engine in a roadadventure bike chassis seems almost too good to be true. Time to see if reality matches the promise with continental trips and maybe even a hillclimb.
DUCATI MULTISTRADA ENDURO
ANDY DAVIDSON I love Ducati’s promo video which features a supercool rider doing a jump which sucks you in and makes you think it could be you. Well, I’m going to have a go at learning to be that guy. email@example.com