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Ride On Newsletter - May 2021

Snow. That’s a word we haven’t heard on the weather forecast for a while but it’s been cropping up regularly this month. So now really is the time to think about riding in a different season with different challenges, and we have a new article about that discussed below. We’ve also got a fascinating interview from Forbes with Norton’s new head of design–yes, the beleaguered British marque is staging a comeback. Plus news about LiveWire’s split from Harley, an examination of Matt Mladin’s success by Kevin Cameron, a fun quiz and more. Hope you find something you enjoy.

Riding in the wet

Riding in the rain

Image courtesy Open Road Motorcycle Tours

Superficially, riding in the wet might seem a bit miserable. Or even risky. But as our new article on the Ride Forever website makes clear, it can be the greatest teacher in terms of how to ride really well. Since Autumn is now well and truly with us, with winter just around the corner, it could be a very valuable read. 

Seasonal Change Part 1: Wet Roads

Norton is back, and backed

Simon Skinner, Norton Design Director

TVS Motors, India’s third-biggest motorcycle manufacturer, bought what remains of Norton Motorcycle Company in April. Fittingly, the company headquarters has been moved, at least temporarily, to Birmingham where Norton fist started in 1898. Bryan Campbell, contributor to Forbes magazine, caught up with Design Director Simon Skinner to probe future plans. Meanwhile, Norton has announced a major management reshuffle with the appointment of Dr Robert Hentschel as its new CEO and Vittorio Urciuoli joining as Chief Technical Officer. Notwithstanding the shenanigans that went on around Norton's last incarnation, it makes for an interesting read.

Simon Skinner outlines Norton’s plans 

LiveWire not a Harley

Harley Davidson LiveWire

We speculated in our January edition that something was up when Harley removed a load of electric bikes from the ‘Future Plans’ section of its website. And now the Milwaukee maker has confirmed that LiveWire and the whole electric bike division is being spun off as a separate entity. According to Harley’s CEO Jochen Zeitz, the aim is “to be the most desirable electric motorcycle brand in the world… LiveWire will pioneer the future of motorcycling, for the pursuit of urban adventure and beyond.” Conveniently, it also doesn’t interfere with the bad-boy image many Harley customers desire…

Read about the LiveWire split on The Verge

Mladin sane?

Matt Mladin racing

Image courtesy AGV Sport via Creative Commons

That oracle of motorcycling, Kevin Cameron, has another intelligently-crafted piece in Cycle World this month reflecting on rider aids. One of his interesting arguments is that any complaint about rider aids that are switchable anyway is absurd when people buy a 180PS sports bike that they don’t intend to rag at 10/10ths all the time. Another is an examination of Matt Mladin’s progress as a racer. Early on, Mladin’s idea of rider training consisted of press-ups. Later, especially via a partnership with his crew chief, he learned to apply intelligence to his set-up, riding and coaching. The result was seven American Superbike Championships.

Read Kevin Cameron on rider aids

Guy Martin's at it again...

Guy Martin's new machine

The world’s best-known lorry mechanic and speed freak, Guy Martin, has apparently signed up for a crack at the ultimate land speed record for motorcycles. He’ll be aboard a machine designed by engineer Alex Macfadzean and endurance racer Bernie Toleman, built around a 1,200 hp Rolls Royce Gem 42 turbine engine from a Westland Lynx helicopter. Let’s hope it goes more smoothly than Guy’s adventures at Bonneville a few years ago.

Dustin Whelan reports on the attempt for Ride Apart

Shiny Side Up Online - Available Again

With the Shiny Side Up calendar going on-again, off-again thanks to lockdowns earlier this year, the team took the decision to move online towards the end. Featuring live feeds from Dave Moss and Brittany Morrow in the USA, Kevin Williams in the UK and many more, it was a terrific event. Too good, in fact, to leave to posterity.

So we’re making it available online, on the Shiny Side Up Facebook page. If you missed it, or you want to revisit a favourite part you saw on the day, now you can enjoy it whenever you like.

Shiny Side Up Facebook Page

Quiz time!

There’s been some good feedback on the quizzes we’ve run lately: identifying the marque from a disguised logo, and a crossword using model names. So we thought we’d find you another. This one is mixed general knowledge about bikes and although defined as ‘easy’ there are a couple of tricky ones in there. Can you beat our 9/9?

Pit your knowledge against the quizmaster

Brass Monkey Swansong

Bikes at the Brass Monkey

Sad news. The Otago Motorcycle Club has announced that this year’s Brass Monkey Rally–the 40th–will be the last. Held over Queen’s Birthday weekend in reportedly the coldest spot in New Zealand, Oterehua in Central Otago, the Brass Monkey has become an icon of our motorcycling scene. Think huge bonfire, curling on the local lake, hot soup, mulled wine and partying to live music (this year’s headliners are the Jordan Luck Band). If, like many of us, it’s been on your bucket list this is your last chance. As a true Kiwi motorcycling event it surely deserves a rousing send-off.

Details and entry form for the OMCC Brass Monkey Rally

Until next month

Have you visited the Ride Forever  Facebook page lately? Facebook is a great way to stay up to date between editions of Ride On, and sometimes you’ll find special offers, competitions and other fun stuff. Check ‘em out, ride safe and we’ll catch up next time.