Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from June, 2014

2017 Triumph Bonneville T100 – Ride Review

Photos by Megan Harris

"I've had a look at this motorcycle of yours whilst you were having your supper," my wife's grandmother says upon my return from the pub.
Grandma, as she allows me to call her, is upper-middle class and English to the core. She is naturally wary of Americans and has been known to suddenly burst out laughing at the idea of my being able to make a living writing about motorcycles. Add to this the fact she is somewhat deaf, a condition not helped by my natural Texas mumble, and it's easy to see why she and I don't chat a lot. When my wife is around, Grandma prefers to deal with me in third-person terms: "Now then, Jenny, does Chris want tea?"


My wife isn't around this time, though. I've ridden the 2017 Triumph Bonneville T100 down to Devon on my own, staying the night, so I can get meet photographer Megan at the beach the next morning before tourists arrive. Without my wife as interpreter, Grandma and Grandad (who is also…

Service temporarily disrupted

Hello. Just a quick note to apologise for the sudden quietness on the blog. The lovely Mrs. Cope and I are in the United States for a few weeks and I'm finding myself too occupied with the consumption of ice cream and barbecue to sit down and blog.

Which is kind of a shame because there are some exciting things happening. I am really really interested in the Harley-Davidson Livewire project, for example.

Anyway, if I don't get a chance to do so sooner, I'll be back on 9 July. Thanks for your patience.

Bring on the Buell 1190AX

I'll admit I've never really been a Buell guy. That is to say, I've never really been that hot on the look of the bikes he's produced. The guy himself I don't know that much about, though. And his vision of producing American-made motorcycles that aren't cruisers is something I applaud. So, for that latter aspect alone I'd be willing to try to force myself to like his bikes.
If you've been in a closet for the last few decades, Erik Buell is a guy who fell in love with motorcycles thanks to a P.O.S. 1957 Harley-Davidson panhead he rode around in his home state of Pennsylvania. After college, he got a job working for Harley-Davidson and in 1983 branched out to start his own small venture, Buell Motor Company. The company, based in Wisconsin and always maintaining close ties with Harley-Davidson, produced the first American-made sport bike since the Nova Project had been axed.
The close relationship was a blessing and a curse, of course. And it wasn't…

Ride review: Yamaha XV950 / Star Bolt

Imitation, Charles Caleb Colton famously noted, is the sincerest form of flattery. If that's true, the flattery the Harley-Davidson Iron 883 receives from Yamaha's XV950 is enough to make one blush. Put the two bikes side by side, and the inspiration for the latter is undeniable. Yamaha claims its bike has a "new neo retro Japanese look," but that's clearly just nonsense –– lorem ipsom that was used instead of "totally looks like a Harley-Davidson Iron 883."
Certainly the XV950 –– known as the Star Bolt in the United States –– isn't the first example of a Japanese OEM adhering faithfully to the styling cues of America's best-known motorcycle manufacturer. The orthodox members of the Church of Jesus Harley Latter-day Davidson write these bikes off as "wannabes," and tend to be pretty dismissive of anyone who would dare consider purchasing one. But I'm going to commit blasphemy here and tell you that the XV950 is unquestionably the …

Thoughts upon travelling at 110 mph

If you are a member of the South Wales Police Department I want to stress to you that the following story is totally made up. Actually, let me extend that to all police forces in Her Majesty's United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland. And maybe the UK Home Office. And the DVLA. And any other body or individual that has the power to issue fines, take away my license, deport me or in some other way sanction me for riding a motorcycle at 110 mph. That did not happen. Or, if it did happen, it was on a closed track and I was supervised by professionals. Because on British public roads I always ride at or below the speed limit, and according to the relevant conditions. Always. I am respectful, courteous and law-abiding. Always.
For everyone else, though: Dude, I did the ton for the first time the other day.
Before I moved to this country I had never heard the phrase "do the ton" –– an old-school British term for riding a bike at or above 100 mph –– and I still c…

Part IV: The final day

It took me nearly an hour and a half to pack everything up and get it on my bike. And as had been the case in previous parts of my journey, I felt annoyed at the process taking longer than I had anticipated. 
Calming down, though, was easier than it had been the day before. I reminded myself that with Jenn staying that night at a friend's house in West Sussex there was no one for me to rush home to. Additionally, I was in Lancaster, which meant riding through the urban tangle between Liverpool and Manchester was inevitable; better to avoid tackling that during rush hour.
Because I had nowhere to be and motorways are boring and I felt good, I decided to increase my mileage for the day and meander home via the winding A roads of Wales rather than speed down the relative straight of English motorway. For those of you playing along in the United States, a motorway is the British equivalent of a freeway/interstate; an A road is an undivided highway where speed limits can range from 30…

Popular posts from this blog

Ride review: Harley-Davidson XL 883 L (aka Sportster SuperLow)

Yes, as a matter of fact, it is like riding a tractor.
That's the criticism so consistently levied against Harley-Davidson motorcycles: that there is something agrarian to the experience. And I can now say from personal experience that all those critics are right. But I can also say those critics are leaving out a key piece of information, which is this:
TRACTORS ARE FUCKING AWESOME!!!
It's a tractor that hurtles forward with roller-coaster intensity, a tractor that goes really fast, a tractor that makes you feel like Brock Lesnar in a children's ball pit. A tractor from the Land of Bad-Ass, with which you can sow the seeds of awesomeness.
But let me back up a bit...
A few days ago, I decided to take the day off, solely for the purpose of getting a chance to ride around and finally make use of the free breakfast coupon sent to me by Thunder Road. As I was gearing up, I suddenly decided that since I was already heading west, I might as well push a few miles further and che…

Ride review: Yamaha XV950 / Star Bolt

Imitation, Charles Caleb Colton famously noted, is the sincerest form of flattery. If that's true, the flattery the Harley-Davidson Iron 883 receives from Yamaha's XV950 is enough to make one blush. Put the two bikes side by side, and the inspiration for the latter is undeniable. Yamaha claims its bike has a "new neo retro Japanese look," but that's clearly just nonsense –– lorem ipsom that was used instead of "totally looks like a Harley-Davidson Iron 883."
Certainly the XV950 –– known as the Star Bolt in the United States –– isn't the first example of a Japanese OEM adhering faithfully to the styling cues of America's best-known motorcycle manufacturer. The orthodox members of the Church of Jesus Harley Latter-day Davidson write these bikes off as "wannabes," and tend to be pretty dismissive of anyone who would dare consider purchasing one. But I'm going to commit blasphemy here and tell you that the XV950 is unquestionably the …

Ride review: Triumph Bonneville

"OK," I said. "I want one." "Well, you know, maybe you should ask your wife first." "She loves Triumphs," I said. "Still, Chris. You should give it a think. Go home, discuss it with your wife, give yourself a chance to think clearly. After all, this is one of Triumph's most popular models; there's plenty of stock available."
The voice of reason in that conversation was Drew, the salesman at Bevan Motorcycles. He was doing his best to talk some sense into me after my test ride of the 2014 Triumph Bonneville. I was wild-eyed and yammering like a teenage boy who has touched boobies for the first time. This, my friends, is what the Bonneville does to you. It is an instantly rideable, instantly enjoyable, instantly lovable motorcycle that surprises you in just how good a simple motorcycle can be.

The Bonneville, of course, is a storied machine that's been around in one form or another for 55 years. It is a classic. Partially b…