Category Archives: Uncategorized

Less Is More

Are small capacity bikes more fun on today’s overcrowded roads?

Have you noticed that, while Wagon Wheels are getting smaller, bikes seem to be getting bigger?

Take the BMW GS adventure sport bike for example. It started out in 1980 with an 800cc motor, pumping out 50 hp and tipping the scales at 186 kg. By 2013, engine capacity had increased by 50%, to 1200cc, horsepower had more than doubled (to 123 hp) and weight had ballooned to 238 kg.

Something else has changed; between 1971-2007, car ownership in the UK rose from 19 million to 31 million. As motorcycles grew bigger and more powerful, our roads became significantly more crowded.

Some riders have decided that it’s time to downsize and it’s easy to see why smaller capacity bikes are attractive;

  1. They ain’t heavy. Light and compact, they are less hassle to hustle through traffic or squeeze into tight parking spaces and are easier to throw a leg over too.
  2. More bang for your buck. They’re less expensive to buy and generally cost less to run, so it’s much easier to justify your hobby, especially if you only get out for a ride occasionally.
  3. Take it to the max. Apart from the track, there aren’t many places you can ride a powerful modern motorcycle at anything close to its limit, and certainly not legally. You’ll have plenty more opportunity to explore the limits of smaller bikes.

Whatever style of motorcycle appeals to you, the major manufacturers all offer their popular big cc models in a ‘fun size’. From Suzuki’s V-Strom 250 adventure sport bike to the Yamaha YZF R3 supersports machine and KTM’s 390 Duke street bike, you’ll find something small, but perfectly formed, to suit your tastes.

And for the minimalists among you, Honda recently reintroduced the Monkey Bike, inspired by the huge success of their MSX125 (AKA ‘Grom’). Originally conceived as a paddock bike, many fans will think nothing of riding serious distances on the modern versions, which are incredibly capable machines.

Could ‘pocket rockets’ be the future of motorcycling? Maybe it’s time to book a test ride and decide for yourself.

 

Christmas Gifts

Christmas is just around the corner, so beat the shopping centre queues and pick up the perfect gift for the motorcycle lover in your life from Fowlers Online Shop. #Christmascracked

Great stocking fillers from the KTM range:

Keep track of your keys with this 1290 Super Adventure Rubber Keyring: £4.98

http://www.fowlers.co.uk/shop/1290-super-adventure-rubber-keyholder-30395

Enjoy a brew in the Ready To Race Mug: £6.72

http://www.fowlers.co.uk/shop/mug-orange-22074

Crack open a cold one with the cool twist-grip Bottle Opener: £12.54

http://www.fowlers.co.uk/shop/bottle-opener-30590

Triumphant gifts:

Keep time with the Triumph Sports Chrono Watch: £299.00

http://www.fowlers.co.uk/shop/triumph-sports-chrono-watch-16980

Fly the flag with these Triumph Mono Flag Gloves: £80.00

http://www.fowlers.co.uk/shop/triumph-mono-flag-gloves-32620

For the tech fans:

Record your rides with the GoPro Hero7 Black: £379.99

http://www.fowlers.co.uk/shop/gopro-hero-7-black-33922

Expand your horizons in the new year with the TomTom Rider 550: £399.98

http://www.fowlers.co.uk/shop/tom-tom-rider-550-premium-32686

Stay connected while you ride with the Cardo Freecom 2: £159.95

http://www.fowlers.co.uk/shop/freecom-2-solo-intercom-28775

Whatever happened to WSBK?

Hands up who remembers Carl Fogarty BEFORE he was King of the Jungle? Famous for his high corner speeds and aggressive attitude on the track, he won four World Superbike Championships between 1994 – 1999. And he attracted huge crowds wherever he went – 120,000 flocked to Brands Hatch in 1999. I was one of them. It was crazy. There was a bike-jam on the M25. It felt as if every biker in Britain had descended on the Kent circuit.

Fast forward 20 years. Would you recognise Jonathan Rea? You know, the triple World Superbike champion (2015-’17). Not only is he British, he was awarded an MBE for his sporting efforts and was even nominated for BBC Sports Personality of the Year.. Yet only 37,000 came to see him race at Donington last year.

So why aren’t we more excited about a British rider dominating an international series?

A quick glance at the entry list for the late Nineties WSBK series gives you a clue; names like Colin Edwards (AKA ‘The Texas Tornado’), Italy’s Frankie Chili, ‘Nitro’ Nori Haga from Japan, Aussie Troy Corser and Kiwi Aaron Slight jump out at you. These guys were big stars with big personalities from around the world, which made for an exciting and colourful series.

Last year, the top three in the WSBK championship were all British, so you might as well be watching the domestic series.

Is there a quick fix? The obvious answer is to attract some big names from around the world, but where would you find them? MotoGP is dominated by Spanish and Italian riders and it’s hard to imagine VR46 switching to a ‘junior’ series, no matter how much cash he was offered.

Maybe Jonathan Rea should audition for a reality TV series to boost his profile next year.

 

HIP HIP HOORAY

Hipsters. They’re not proper bikers are they? They don’t ride normal motorcycles and they don’t wear practical riding kit either.

What exactly is a “brat style bobber” or “street tracker” and why did they build it out of a 1980s bike that was rubbish when it was new? They’re just posers and the whole scene is a fad, made to look more popular than it really is by advertising agencies trying to make boring brands look more fashionable!

Or that’s what I thought, until I went to The Bike Shed event at London’s Tobacco Dock in May. You’ll struggle to find a trendier venue ( it’s an early 19th century warehouse) and the crowd queuing outside ticked all the boxes for hipster hairstyles, clothing and accessories (why are you wearing a bobble hat on a sunny day and aren’t you a bit old for a skateboard?).

When I got inside, it became clear that I might need to rethink my position. Firstly, most of the crowd were much younger than the average age you’ll see at traditional bike shows. Secondly, they actually looked pretty cool and, thirdly, so did the bikes.

Most of them would be ghastly to ride – what have these people got against front mudguards, have they never ridden in the rain? – but they’d look fantastic parked outside the artisan coffee shack. And maybe that’s the point.

These guys are making motorcycling look like a cool thing to do and they’ve inspired some of the biggest names in the industry to create some really desirable bikes, like  the BMW R nineT, Ducati Scrambler, Triumph Bobber and Yamaha XSR – all of them strong sellers.

I might not be ready to grow a moustache and wax it or to fit some ape-hanger bars to my adventure sport bike, but I don’t mind saying “hooray for the hipsters” after all.

 

Honda Brings The Honda Six To Castle Combe Circuit With Guy Martin

The West Country’s biggest motorcycle race meeting, the Castle Combe Grand National which takes place at the Wiltshire track on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th July 2017, will see the famous ‘Honda Guy MartinSix’ machine on track with Guy Martin.

Recently signing for Honda Racing, the TT ace will ride the 297cc RC167 as part of the popular Classic parade to commemorate 60 years since the legendary Mike Hailwood® made his debut at the circuit back in 1957. Mike’s first Honda-mounted victory came at Castle Combe in 1961, setting a lap record in the process.

Adding to the unstinting support of the Hailwood family for the event, Honda UK’s Neil Tuxworth has added their corporate weight to the family-run track, whereby the Japanese factory has always enjoyed a special relationship with Castle Combe, and has been for a number of years their unique test venue prior to the Isle of Man TT Races.guymartin

Joining the ‘Honda Six’ on track will be a host of famous names on legendary machinery whereby the organisers have been granted special permission by Mike’s widow, Pauline, to run some of Hailwood’s iconic machinery at the track where the nine-times World Champion and 14-times TT winner rode in only his second ever meeting. On display and in action will be many actual race bikes ridden by ‘Mike the Bike’™ including the Ducati on which he made his sensational TT-winning comeback in 1978.

Neil Tuxworth, Honda UK Racing Manager: “We wanted to show our appreciation of Mike by supporting the Hailwood family at this unique event. Honda’s history with Mike goes back well over 50 years and for the last decade we have used the venue for our TT preparations. It’s great that we can support the circuit for this special commemoration of one of Honda’s most famous and respected riders by allowing Guy to ride the bike that took Mike to so much success over the years.”

Graham Marshallsay Managing Director of Castle Combe Circuit: “Preparations for our NG Road Racing Club-organised meeting in July have been going on for some months and the Mike Hailwood® tribute parade is something that we are very proud to bring to our visitors. To celebrate Mike is special but to now be able to welcome Guy riding one of the most iconic race bikes ever built will be a very special day in our history. We are very grateful to Honda for their support in making this possible.

In addition to these not-to-be-missed parades, there is a packed programme of racing organised by NG Mike HailwoodRoad Racing Club, and featuring a number of major championships, over the weekend.

Further news will be announced in due course and for further information, please contact Rodney Gooch at the Circuit on 01249 782417 or email at rodney@castlecombecircuit.co.uk.

 

Fowlers launch all-new online shop!

We’re pleased to announce the launch of our brand-new online shop! It is now even easier to shop for all your biking needs, be it for gear, cleaning supplies or a brand-new helmet for summer!

new-shop-image

Check out our expansive range on any device – at home or on the go. Our Gear Gremlin promotion finishes soon, so stock up on accessories before the end of January – 20% off while stocks last.