Monday, 29 July 2013

Scrambling for the best seats

I remember when I lived in Pisa in 1992, there was an old Ducati Scrambler that had been abandoned in an alley near a café I used to frequent (I have a photo of it somewhere), and I always admired its purposeful looks. Nowadays, like anything older with Ducati written on the tank, they are expensive and sought after.

But it looks like the Ducati Scrambler is coming back in name at least, though sadly not as a single cylinder - now that WOULD be fantastic. MCN this week published a photo that purports to be a likeness of a new Ducati Scrambler model based around a Monster-type frame and motor - and despite us asking Ducati if they had any other pictures and us being told that 'are we joking, it's just a Photoshop job?!' - you can expect to see the new Ducati Scrambler at this year's Milan EICMA show. Of course Guzzi already stole a march on Ducati with their Scrambler prototype a couple of years back, and Triumph have been producing them for a while now.

Mr Borile of Borile Motorcycles has been producing a modern Scrambler tribute for a while now (see pic above), and we feature our friend Alan Cathacart's test of it in the next Issue 6, coming soon...

Friday, 26 July 2013

MOTONERO Moto Guzzi 950 special - for sale!!

It's lucky that we went and shot and road tested John W's latest Moto Guzzi special down in Bristol a few weeks ago for the mag, as he's put it up for sale, and it won't hang around long. Based around a 950 Spada motor, with ported heads and 36mm Dell'Orto pumpers, John has added his hand crafted touch to the bike, so it's a one off. It looks brutal, and rides beautifully - it's very fast - and handles smoothly. We'll have a full article in the mag soon, possibly in Issue 6 which will be finished soon.

We still think that John is building the best Moto Guzzi cafè racers in the UK, and he's not part of the current scene that has decided that Moto Guzzis are now 'fashionable' - he's been quietly building them for years. Wish we had the cash. For the full spec, check the link below..

MOTONERO Moto Guzzi Cafè Racer 950 for sale: HERE

Monday, 22 July 2013

Italians on Tour

My mate Paul recently took his very nice low mileage Mk 1 Guzzi Le Mans on the regular jaunt over to France organised by a bunch of Italian-bike riding friends, amongst whom John and Neil of Made in Italy motorcycles. 

Paul says "I was a little worried about the performance of the Guzzi compared with the Ducati's but it was just as quick on the twisties and in a straight line. The funny thing was, whilst all the Ducati's were being fixed and tinkered with each morning prior to our ride out the Guzzi needed absolutely nothing - I was real smug!!! "

It used to be a bit of a bevel Ducati-fest, though apparently this year there was also a Harley, BMW and KTM amongst them, so perhaps not so exclusive nowadays. Looks good fun though, especially in decent weather. Maybe they'll invite me over on my S3 then one day..

Thanks Paul for the photos.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Love old tools

On Sunday I went, as I often do, to our local car boot sale. As the name suggests, it's people selling their junk out of the boot/trunk or back of their car or van. Most of what's on offer is old clothes, kids' toys, and stuff that technology has left behind like VHS videos, old modems, big TVs, ancient games consoles, cheap furniture and tasteless nick-nacks you might get for Christmas - but there are also plenty of boxes of stuff taken out of sheds and garages to rummage through. When the sun is out, which luckily it has been here recently, it's a pleasurable way of spending an hour or two on the weekend.

I stopped at one stall, manned by an old boy on his own who must have been in his late 80s. He was holding up an umbrella to try and prevent himself cooking under the sun. Amongst his bits and pieces was a box with bits that "I won't be using any more." he told me. And I found this gem of a valve spring compressor - small, and with the perfect range for working on small motorcycle heads, which I seem to be doing often nowadays. I already have another, larger adjustable type, but it's a handful for smaller valves. "I made that when I was a teenager," he told me, "couldn't afford to buy tools after the war, so we had to make do. 50p to you, young man," he said (I love it when people say 'young man'..). "There's a pair of axle stands too you can have if you like. Strong and well-made. One pound the lot."

I happily paid him, and told him I'd need the compressor often. "Nice to see it'll be used." he said.

Once back in my workshop, I cleaned it up, and admired the precision and robustness with which it was made. The metallic green paint reminds me of industrial sized cast iron radiators we had in primary school painted in the same shade of hard-wearing council green.

I'll be using the compressor later this week. Old tools live again.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Sharnbrook Italian Car and Bike Day 2013

Tim (Le Mans 2) sent us some photos taken on his phone of some of the Italian stuff that turned up yesterday at this event run by an Italian who runs the Sharnbrook Hotel in Bedfordshire. 

Apparently it's on every year, but to be honest I didn't really know about it. Curious to note that we have road tested both the Guzzi T3 California and the patina-laden MV Agusta 125 that were there - we featured the MV along with its 150cc stablemate back in Issue 2, available here:

Thanks Tim!

Friday, 5 July 2013


Can't remember the last time the weather forecast looked like this. Maybe it was 1976? Shame none of my bikes are working to take full adavantage. It'll have to be sunroof in the car open, and some beer later. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Chips in a mug - Bristol fashion

Now I've had the pleasure of eating chips all over the world, and it's been hard to beat the 'moules frites' I ate with beer on Marseille quayside many years ago, but I've never had them served in a mug before. Not just a mug, but a nice cone too - class! Cups and cones. Isn't that something to do with Ducatis?

Anyway, I was in Bristol to shoot two of John W's wonderful Guzzi specials, more on that soon. Bristol is a fascinating place and felt like things were happening down there.