‘I dropped my BMW GS in front of my mother’ ‘Rut­ter is proper old-school and looks like a nor­mal bloke’

Ex-tour de France com­men­ta­tor David Har­mon re­veals his love of proper bikes Which four peo­ple would Q19

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

Q1 What are you rid­ing?

I’ve got a Tri­umph Scram­bler that I’ve cus­tomised a bit. I’ve changed the sus­pen­sion, re-cov­ered the seat, fit­ted new lights and knob­bly tyres. I’ve also made a lit­tle bash guard for it from an old bit of alu­minium plate I found in the road. It’s quite handy of­froad now on the trails around where I live, de­spite the weight, and it’s good for lit­tle B-road blasts. Ul­ti­mately I’d like to kit it out with racks and head off around the world on it. I’ve also got a Yamaha TDM900, which is great for com­mut­ing.

Q2 Which liv­ing mo­tor­cy­clist do you most ad­mire?

Michael Rut­ter. He’s proper old-school as he’ll ride al­most any bike on any cir­cuit and he looks like a nor­mal bloke.

Q3 What’s your worst mo­tor­cy­cling habit?

Tak­ing mir­rors off mo­tor­cy­cles. I like to think it makes me more aware be­cause I have to con­stantly look around, but it is a bad habit.

Q4 If you could have one rid­ing su­per skill, what would it be?

In­stant knowl­edge of the feed­back the bike is giv­ing me. The amount of times I’ve felt or heard some­thing and thought ‘what the hell is that?’

Q5 What’s the fastest you’ve ever gone on a bike?

186mph on a Honda Su­per Black­bird.

Q6 When were you last scared on a bike?

Com­mut­ing on the M6 re­cently two trucks de­cided to cross paths with me in the mid­dle, so I had to ac­cel­er­ate out the front of an ever-di­min­ish­ing gap.

Q7 How many miles have you done in the last year?

15,000 or so – I use the bike all the time, for every­thing.

Q8 What’s the high­est mileage you’ve cov­ered in one day?

When I first com­men­tated, I started with the Le Mans 24-hour race and I used to ride there be­cause it’s im­pos­si­ble to get in and out of the cir­cuit in a car. That must have been 700 miles.

Q9 What ir­ri­tates you most on a bike?

Cold hands just drive me crazy. I’ve tried every­thing and it never works – I have to have heated grips on in sum­mer!

Q10 You’ve got two weeks off: where are you go­ing?

I’d ship my Tri­umph to the US and ride along the Ap­palachi­ans. I’ve al­ways wanted to do it on a moun­tain bike but I’m not fit enough these days.

Q11 Got one pearl of wis­dom for new rid­ers?


Ever fallen off in a car park (or some­where equally em­bar­rass­ing)?

God yes. I fell off in front of my mother when I had a BMW R1100GS. It was fully loaded with all the pan­niers and I even had a big piece of marine ply screwed to the back, so I could fit a big round bar­rel bag on. I dropped it say­ing good­bye and I couldn’t pick it up and she just stood there watch­ing me for 30 min­utes while I strug­gled with it. I re­mem­ber say­ing ‘It’s al­right I know what I’m do­ing: I’ve got a tech­nique’ and I still couldn’t budge the damn thing.

Q13 Do you have one in­dis­pens­able item of kit?

My Sidi Courier boots. I bought them about 15 years ago and they’ve shown no sign of giv­ing up since.

you in­vite on a Sun­day blast?

If I could I’d in­vite my late fa­therin-law as he had a lovely old Dou­glas and we’d have lots of cof­fee stops as it would break down all the time. Then it would have to be Steve Mcqueen, Kevin Sch­wantz (who would leave me be­hind in the first cor­ner) and the great Barry Sheene.

Q15 Do you have a tool you couldn’t live without?

My torque wrench. It took me ages to get one and I can’t live without it now.

Q16 Do you ad­just your sus­pen­sion?

I did for years but more re­cently I re­alised I don’t re­ally have a clue. I work with a guy in Telford at SSR Sus­pen­sion, who is great, so now I just leave it to the ex­perts.

Q17 If you could have one of your bikes back, which would it be?

An old part­ner of mine had a Moto Morini 500 Sport that I used to nick all the time and I re­ally miss that.

Q18 What would you never buy?

An En­field Robin Diesel. It was adapted by a com­pany in Daven­try and they ef­fec­tively cut out the bot­tom of the cra­dle and bolted in a diesel gen­er­a­tor engine. I rode one once and it would do 180mpg but it was so slow it was dan­ger­ous. It took an age to get a gap big enough to join a round­about.

Which road (or track) would you have built on your desert is­land?

The road from Up­ping­ham to Mar­ket Har­bor­ough. It’s so lovely – down the hill and around the gen­tle bends. You can go quite quickly but there’s noth­ing that will take you by sur­prise.

Q20 If you ruled the world, what new law would you pass?

I’d get rid of in­her­i­tance tax, so that if I in­herit some­thing one day I can af­ford more bikes.

With multi world champ Andy Ten­nant

He’s best known in the cy­cling world but is a full-on biker Har­mon says his Tri­umph is quite handy down trails

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