Sunday, 31 July 2011

Bikes for life for the wife

My wife has been hanging round bikes a lot longer than I have. This is her aged about 2 I'd say (judging by her resemblance to our almost 2 year-old daughter) on her dad's Morini 175 in about 1972/3. She still keeps an unrestored '74 Gilera Trial 5V in her parents house in Italy for good measure, I'll try and dig out a photo.

Monday, 25 July 2011

'Til death do us part

There's an inextricable link between death and motorcycles, so it was fitting to shoot Terry's fantastically customised Cagiva Mito in his workplace where he keeps and maintains it. Terry's an undertaker as well a passionate biker, and he built this pimped-up Mito up with no mechanical experience but loads of drive and passion at work with the blessing of his boss, inbetween driving a 20-foot long Jaguar limousine, or putting the last nail in coffins. Undertakers also have a dead funny sense of humour as I found out, as Terry insisted on putting his 'RIP" show plate on the Mito for the shoot. He also sorted out something very comfy for me to lie on the floor while taking shots too as you can see, otherwise I was in grave danger of doing my knees in. And no, those coffins weren't occupied..

Terry's Cagiva Mito is not just show but has plenty of go too, and the boost bottle and race air box fitted give an already-mad stroker much more guts. Big bike performance for small bike money. There's a great story here too of young people getting into bikes and building their own thing - all coming up in a future issue of the mag!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011


Alistair Wager is part genius, part mad professor and one more part motorcycle design and techno-visionary but he knows his Ducatis inside out - it was Alistair whom Paul Smart trusted to get his legendary Imola-winning 750 up and running after gathering dust in the Ducati museum for many years (read the 750 Imola track test in Issue Two of the magazine).

Alistair is building new Ducati Supermonos to order, and the magazine has been following one customer's build over the last few months. Designed by Bordi, Domenicali and Terblanche, Ducati built just 67 Supermonos between 1993 and 1995, and though they were on sale for just £16,000 at the time, by now they're desired and collected by people with deep pockets.

Last week I was utterly utterly excited and privileged to ride Alistair's road-going Supermono - single-cylinder Ducati motor giving out 75bhp at the rear wheel and an overall 295lbs/134kg weight of the bike makes for probably the best-handling, most exciting single cylinder motorcycle available new today. It's a race bike for the road, simple as that. I sadly can't afford one but if you want one, ask Alistair here:

See dear reader how just for you (and us) ITALIAN MAGAZINE rides the bikes that others simply dream about? Full article in a future edition of the mag. 'Supermonocalifragilisticexpialidocious' ©IM

Monday, 18 July 2011

Better than the real thing

Forget the Ducati retro bikes - this is the one to have - ask Federico Minoli what he thinks.

Best looking, best handling, best accelerating Baines Imola. Coming up very soon in Issue Four...

Friday, 15 July 2011

De-seized de-constructed de-lightful

Finally got the front engine bolt out of the project Le Mans 2 - a mate had suggested an acetone and ATF mix after having read about it on a forum somewhere. Well, cheap nail polish remover was the nearest I could find to pure acetone, so mixed it up with just as cheap red ATF to make a foul-smelling but fascinating potion. Slapped it on all over the bolt, left it to soak, slapped more on, etc. etc. for a week or two, also painted some on the stator housing that had rusted solid to the timing cover.

After about 10 days, went back, lots of heat, big lump hammer, scaffold bar on my breaker bar, and the bolt came out easily, having had to grind off the shite end nut that had begun to spin on the thread (probably after me whacking it in frustration so many times...)

The stator also dropped off just by me giving it a dirty look. Motor finally out of frame, progress made. I'll be using acetone/ATF from now on

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Some mornings

Some mornings I just need to listen to certain music. This is one of them, and the Circle Jerks will do just fine. I was in their support band at the Irving Plaza, Lower East Side, NYC almost 25 years ago and it was one of the maddest and exciting evenings of my life.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Small Italians Up North

Our correspondent 'up north' Pete S sent us these pics of some cute Italian tiddlers for sale at Rufforth autojumble today. Look like a nice Cimatti Sport 50 and a Moto Guzzi Dingo of some sort, and a Gilera 150 too. Good stuff - thanks Pete!! Check out more good stuff at Pete's blog here

Friday, 1 July 2011


Weird how life goes. My destiny (if you believe in such a thing) before I even knew what a motorcycle was, was that I would end up with a father-in-law as cool as this. On his Morini 175, around 1964.