Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade voted the UK's favourite bike

The 2008 model Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade has been voted Britain's favourite motorbike in RiDE Magazine's annual RiDER Power survey.

Over 7,000 readers took part in the survey, and the Fireblade came out on top with an impressive 92.19% satisfaction rating, with special praise for its accessible power, sharp handling, outstanding build quality and overall usability.

RiDE themselves fully agreed with the result, stating that the Fireblade "delivers that most elusive of all things: rider satisfaction. But unlike other bikes in RiDER Power that score highly on that front, it isn't let down by the important stuff – like reliability and build quality."

Motorbikes allowed to use London's bus lanes from January

There's been plenty of motorbike activity in the capital recently. Last Friday saw bikers taking a slow ride through the Park Lane and Marble Arch area, protesting against parking charges for two-wheelers in the Westminster area.

This was followed by Boris Johnson's announcement yesterday that motorbikes will be allowed to use London's bus lanes in an eighteen-month trial that begins on January 5.

The London Mayor said: "One of the ways we can ease congestion is by encouraging more people to get on their bike, whether pedal or powered, and I believe they should be able to share our bus lanes successfully and safely. At the end of the trial period I will listen carefully to the views of all our road users and then make a decision about whether this should be a permanent arrangement."

TfL added that the move could cut accident rates as well as traffic, a claim which has been refuted by the London Cycling Campaign (LCC), who presented a 3,500 name petition against the plan to the Mayor back in June.

LCC chief executive Koy Thompson said: "While we would support measures to make motorcycling safer, such as a 20mph speed limit, there is no clear environmental, safety or congestion reason for allowing motorcycles into bus lanes."

Meanwhile, the British Motorcyclists Federation's Jeff Stone responded by stating that the plan would make the roads safer "for all vulnerable road users", and criticised some of London's cyclists for "scaremongering" during a debate which began back in February when Boris Johnson announced his manifesto prior to the London Mayor election.

Bikers have been encouraged to check which bus lanes are included in the trial, information that can be found at this TfL mini-site.

Get your free t-shirt before it's too late

Fancy winning an exclusive t-shirt free of charge? Simply post a bike review to between now and 31 October 2008, and we will pop a t-shirt in the post to you.

Claiming your t-shirt is easy. Post a review to, then send a short e-mail to including:
- the e-mail address that you use to log in
- your full name
- your postal details (including postcode)
- your preferred t-shirt size (L, XL and XXL available)

If you posted a bike review recently and would like to claim your t-shirt, please send these details to

Please note that the free t-shirt offer expires on 31 October. From 1 November we will be offering a prize for the best bike review of the month, stay tuned for more details. T&C's apply, UK residents only.

Honda announce "life saving" GPS technology

At the Car2Car Communication Consortium event in Dudenhofen, Germany, Honda have revealed a biker safety initiative that uses GPS data to warn riders and drivers about potential collisions, allowing time to react.

The design of this safety system was heavily inspired by the EU-backed Motorcycle Accident In-Depth Study (MAIDS), which found that 35% of motorbike accidents were collisions at intersections and right-turn collisions (left-turn in continental Europe and the US).

Eight vehicle manufacturers have participated in the technology, known as Vehicle To Vehicle (V2V). Using on-board V2V technology, bikes and cars can constantly swap GPS information including position, direction and vehicle dynamics. This allows riders to be alerted of potential danger either by an indicator display or an in-helmet audio warning sent via Bluetooth; likewise, car drivers can receive alerts on their navigation system displays.

Honda have a strong reputation for innovation in bike safety, having launched the first motorbike airbag in 2006, as well as announcing electronically-controlled Combined ABS for the SuperSport range earlier this year.

New UKBike Blog news feed widget

Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed a new addition to the various links and buttons that occupy the right hand side of this very blog, as we have added a rather useful little widget which displays the latest posts from UKBike.

We think it's quite discreet and helpful. If you would like to have this little gizmo on your own web page, or perhaps on your Facebook or MySpace profile, then simply click Share on the bottom right of the widget and follow the simple instructions.

"Bikers thought to have biggest manhoods"

Bikers of the male variety, rejoice! From this press release:

Bikers are the best endowed motorists on Britain's roads, says a new survey commissioned to mark the launch of racing game MotoGP 08.

The poll of 3000 people showed that more than half of those surveyed believe bikers to be better endowed than any other motorists, with 51% of those polled picking motorbike owners over car drivers as being likely to impress between the legs.

It's not just in the manhood stakes that bikers win out, though - 57% of those surveyed found members of the opposite sex in biking leathers a turn-on (65% of men and 53% of women), with brunettes considered those most likely to get the pulse racing whilst in the saddle.

And it's great news for bikers in Wales, who are considered hotter there than any other place in Great Britain. 75% of Welsh people surveyed found members of the opposite sex on bikes a turn-on, with 87.5% thinking bikes are a bigger attraction than supercars, and a further 87.5% believing that motorbike riders are the best endowed of all motorists.

Clean emission grand prix to round off Isle Of Man TT 2009

Here at the UKBike blog, we like to keep an eye out for the latest developments in eco-friendly bike technology. So when the rules and regs were announced earlier this month for the world's first clean emission grand prix, we were intrigued.

The TTXGP was announced at the Science Museum, London back in August. The race will take place on the IoM Mountain Course during the 2009 Isle Of Man TT season. The aim is to prove that green doesn't mean slow in the world of high-performance motorbikes.

Today the TTXGP organisers announced that JozzBikes, a motorbike petrol-to-battery converter business based in Peacehaven, East Sussex, are to enter the race with a converted Ducati 600 SuperSport that can handle speeds up to 130mph.

The JozzBikes Ducati conversion follows on from their Aprilia 125 project, where a single electric motor offered four times the torque and twice the horsepower of the original bike, with a range of 40 miles between charges.

JozzBikes founder Steve Ali Labib said:

"With clean emission transportation we are already able to compete with petrol-engined bikes on both performance and economy. The TTXGP will provide a fascinating test bed for these new technologies and will no doubt influence the vehicles individuals choose to drive on the road in the future."

We will be keeping tabs on the TTXGP between now and May as more models are added to the bill.

Brightona 2008 - picture special

Thanks to everyone who came to Maderia Drive for Brightona 2008. The aim this year was to raise £30,000 for the Sussex Heart Charity, a figure that will hopefully become a reality after the record numbers of bikes, riders and spectators that came down to Brighton seafront on Sunday.

UKBike were at Brightona, taking a lot of pictures - here's a small selection...

There are loads more at the UKBike Brightona galleries.

Panamaniac has shared his Brightona experiences, while here is a short write-up from The Argus.

Riding around the world... on £20 a day

We have a few UK-based bike friends here at the blog, one of which is Geoff Thomas (a.k.a. Blue 88) who is continuing on his journey across the world riding a Triumph Tiger.

Geoff's latest port of call (at the time of writing) is Memphis, Tennessee, having already covered over 25,000 miles of riding since starting out in mainland Europe back in May, before heading to the Balkans, Turkey, across the Russian sub-continent, into South Korea and Thailand, before entering north west USA. It's an incredible journey all done on a shoestring budget, like McGregor and Boorman without the support team and film crew.

Geoff's travelogue always makes for great reading and is well worth a look. His target is to raise £5,000 for the St. Theresa's Hospice, Darlington, donations can be made through Geoff's blog.

Visit the Poor Circulation blog:

Brightona 2008 is here this Sunday!


This Sunday, the south coast will be swamped with bikes as the Brightona 2008 show comes to Madeira Drive, along Brighton seafront.

Last year's event was a great success - over £20,000 was raised for the Sussex Heart Charity, and the organisers are hoping to build on that figure with this years donation.

Brightona 2008 promises to be even bigger and better, with a full line-up of live music across two stages and at the nearby Concorde2, plenty of stalls and a bigger range of custom bikes on display.

All bikes, trikes and scooters are welcome. Entry is just £5 per bike including a pin and programme, free entry for the viewing public. are proud to sponsor Brightona - we will be there on Sunday with our van next to Rider's Digest, come and say hello! We would have the UKBike bus with us but sadly it broke down, obviously intimidated by all the two-wheelers on show...

We will hopefully post a report on the blog some time next week. If you are planning to go on Sunday, then please let us know about your day - leave a comment here or e-mail

All the details can be found at

Intermot - Cologne 2008

The sixth annual Intermot bike and scooter exhibition kicked off yesterday over in Cologne. Mike Werner from the Bikes In The Fast Lane blog has already posted some great pictures from the show, well worth a look. review of the week - BMW R65 650cc (1981) user Judith posted this review of an '81 BMW R65 650cc...

"I am very familiar with this bike as I have owned mine for 25 years (since 1983). It is one of very few BMW models which are comfortable for a short person (I am 5'1") without modification, as the seat is relatively narrow as well as being a reasonable height. Sadly, although light for its size, the bike is still a bit too heavy for me to wheel about easily.

The weight is not a problem once it is moving, and I have really enjoyed riding it. The riding position is comfortable but it only scores 4 out of 5 because it has no windscreen or fairing.

I did not like the soft BMW front suspension but am happy with a thicker grade of fork oil.

Braking is OK but there is no ABS (possibly not yet invented in 1980). The original stainless front discs warped and I replaced them with cast iron discs. Unfortunately these rust, so the wheel tends to stick if parked in the wet. Nothing that can't be fixed with a well-aimed kick!

Mpg varies from about 70 on a long trip down to about 50 for local use. My engine has not (yet) been converted to run on unleaded petrol but seems OK with high octane unleaded and a lead substitute additive. Top speed is about 105mph, with good acceleration all the way up. More than adequate for British roads in my opinion.

The bike used to be very reliable but is not quite so good now it is getting older. It has not yet needed any big repairs and routine servicing is an easy DIY task. Some parts of the frame have rusted quite noticeably. Stainless steel exhausts have lasted a very long time, and the original push-rod tubes rusted away and have been replaced with stainless steel ones.

There have been one or two problems with the electrics due to corrosion and/or fatigue. The rear stop light switch tends to corrode very quickly, but lasts about 10 times longer if you dismantle it (carefully drill out the rivets) and pack it with grease. Spare parts are easy to obtain by mail order from specialist dealers, or from your local BMW bike dealer if you have one. The only thing I have been unable to get is an exact match for the paint.

Overall, this bike has served me very well for commuting and the occasional longer trip, but I don't use it regularly any more so have decided to sell. Hopefully it will go to someone who will give it the attention it deserves."

Fancy writing your own bike reviews? Sign up to today! We will pick the best review each week and might even offer a prize in the future...

Superstitions can kill you

The UKBike Blog is always on the prowl for bikers who are willing and able to put their bike experiences into words as regular guest writers. We have a few riders on board already but the more the merrier! If you are interested in submitting articles or would like to know more about the blog, please get in touch - the e-mail address is

Our first guest article comes via Malcolm Palmer, a motorbike instructor based in Newbury, Berkshire. Malcolm runs his own blog that specialises in rider safety and the latest news, which is well worth a read.

Superstitions can kill you

A colleague recently asked me whether I'm superstitious? Simple answer: 'No'.

That's "No, not in the 'Friday the 13th' sense" - and I certainly don't believe that stepping on the cracks in the pavement will allow the monsters to get me (well, not recently...).

But there are superstitions which make sense. Walking under a ladder, for instance, can be unlucky for you if the person 'upstairs' drops their hammer... so some superstitions are a bit like stereotypes and cliches - there may be some 'real' reason or 'truth' behind the belief.

Similarly, superstitions are often supposed to involve 'luck' - but it can be possible to swing that luck in your favour. I don't walk under a ladder unless I've looked 'up' first - and from some way back. Indeed, a friend says there are two types of luck: good and bad.

Many riders believe they're 'unlucky' when they're involved in crashes - but I can't help wondering whether they've relied on 'luck' rather than choosing which luck they'll rely on - like the quick check up before walking under that ladder. Indeed, the way some riders rely on racing leathers and a bright headlamp to keep them 'safe' you'd think they've discovered the biking equivalent of a 'lucky' rabbit foot - and they were never lucky for the rabbit...

Biking has its cliches and stereotypes as well as talismans, as riders tend to have the same basic types of crash again and again:
- Junctions: the well-known 'SMIDSY', or RoWV (Right of Way Violation)
- Corners: usually crashing at speeds where the bike could have got around, but the rider failed to achieve it
- Overtaking: often passing a group of vehicles in one move, without checking 'why' the group is moving slowly

None of these types of crash are big secrets. Indeed, there are even more detailed 'cliche' bike crashes that continue to catch riders out - the 'taxi does a U-turn' is a classic example.

So if riders have the same types of crash, over and over, involving the same basic situations, why is there surprise that the crash has happened, why are they considered 'bad luck'?

More importantly: why don't riders take the effort to reduce their reliance on good luck? By looking at the situations you're riding towards, and then either influencing the situation, or altering the way you react to it, you can change the 'luck' and put it in your favour.

Let's change the wording, rather than 'luck', let's use a more 'modern' set of terms: Why doesn't the rider use 'Risk Assessment' and 'Risk Management'? Look at the road ahead, and start to take control - rather than sitting and waiting to see what happens. Instead of trusting to good or bad luck, use another more modern term: change from 'reactive' to 'pro-active'.

Each of the three main types of bike crash has its own details, its own clues, and likely effects on the rider.
- SMIDSY crashes are more likely to be urban, at slower speeds, and involve injury more than death.
- Cornering crashes are more often 'rural', at higher speeds, and more like to be fatal.
- Overtaking is usually rural, and at very high speed.

Although all three have different build-up - often by a very simple sequence of seemingly minor decisions - there are ways in which a rider can think about the situation ahead.

There are two simple questions to ask which give a good idea of this:
- "How can that affect me?"
- "What if that happens?"

In traditional 'Roadcraft' terms, this is using 'Observation Links': finding a small detail, a clue, and using it to 'link' to a likely outcome. This is hazard perception, but not in the form used within the DSA's Hazard Perception Test where you're marked only on reacting to 'developing hazards' (where you must change speed or direction), instead we're looking at risks, seeing potential danger before you must take urgent action.

Of course, it isn't really as simple as 'pro-active versus reactive', it's more a matter of reacting sooner to a hint of a problem, rather than waiting for it to develop. Often your only 'early reaction' will be to notice a potential problem then keep an eye on it in case it worsens.

Then there's the extra mental step of looking for problems where they don't exist (or, at least, can't be seen). Here you're using guesswork or imagination to create a mental picture of problems likely to occur. In an odd way, you move from superstition to fortune-telling and looking in to the future! Of course, this is not so much 'end of the pier palmistry' as informed decisions.

Essentially, you're looking and planning for possibilities from 'clear, straight, road' to 'narrow, blind bend with oncoming vehicle', depending on what you can see ahead, and what your imagination tells you. In 'old Roadcraft' terms:
- What can be seen
- What can't be seen
- What can reasonably be expected to happen

Having an idea, imagined or otherwise, of what you're about to meet allows you to plan a response - or range of them. This pre-planning reduces your reaction time if something does happen, and can help avoid panic reactions.

This might seem a doom-laden, down-beat, way of thinking about your riding. Well, perhaps it is. I call it 'being a happy pessamist'! If nothing you've planned for happens, then you continue on, if something untoward does happen then it's no big deal - you already have it predicted and planned for.

Having identified actual or potential danger, there's one final action you must take, and that's to believe what you've decided enough to take notice of it! For instance: if a narrow bend has a limited view it's reasonable to expect oncoming traffic. In fact, it's more than 'reasonable' - it's essential to think like that if you wish to avoid becoming a bonnet mascot! If you've decided that, what are you going to do about it? Your planning must allow for stopping within - at most - half the distance you can see is clear, and being prepared to stop if necessary.

I used the term 'essential' to expect oncoming vehicles, and ride with that in mind. Do you agree it's essential, or do you rely on luck? When you arrive at a blind bend, can you roll a 'six' every time?

Malcolm Palmer, September 2008

Putting the cat amongst the pigeons: the new Jaguar bike

Today's frankly awful title pun comes after pictures of the new Jaguar motorbike were revealed on the Internet. The trademark cat peers over the front wheel, giving this model a highly distinctive look that, in this bloggers' opinion, borders very closely between the sublime and the ridiculous.

The bike weighs in 360kg, and is powered by a 1200cc Buell 97 S3 Thunderbolt engine. Fancy one? You'll need to cough up £290,000.

More pictures can be seen at The Design Blog. Any thoughts?

A unicycle motorbike anyone?

Some will call this genius. Others will call this a slow news day.

Ben Gulak, a 19-year-old MIT student, has created The Uno - a 54kg all-electric unicycle motorbike, believed to be the first of its kind in the world.

The design is apparently modelled on the Segway, relying on movement of body weight to control speed and braking.

There's a great write-up over at Motorcycle Mojo magazine.

Honda to release electric and hybrid bikes from 2011

The word from Japan is that Honda are set to launch small electric motorbikes and scooters in 2011, with hybrid bikes to be rolled out a few years later.

Initially, Honda are planning on producing a new line of electric scooters and a small motorbike to replace the Cub series, which will have an as-yet-undetirmined engine size, thought to be between 50cc and 125cc.

Existing four-wheel hybrid technology will then be used to produce a range of bikes with engine sizes between 200cc and 1000cc. According to Honda, these bikes will be up to 50% more fuel-efficient.

Yamaha are also set to launch their own electric and hybrid ranges from 2010 onwards.

Last weekend, Jim Corning from Prometheus Solar showed off his converted Ninja 250R in Santa Monica, which apparently reaches speeds of 70mph and covers 50 miles between charges. The picture below demonstrates Corning's modifications, which improves the bikes' aerodynamics, and gives it a touch of the Sinclair C5 to boot.

Story and picture source: