My new F-Word (thats fast!) Gordon Ramsay tests Triumph motorbike

The high-octane chef goes from Hell's Kitchen to Hell's Angel on Triumph's Thunderbird cruiser

Gordon Ramsay on Triumph's Thunderbird cruiser
Gordon Ramsay on Triumph's Thunderbird cruiser

I grew up with a love of bikes, scrambling in the back garden and across the fields of Stratford-upon-Avon on an 80cc Suzuki that I shared with a friend. Funnily enough, the one rule my dad gave me before I left home was 'Don't get a motorbike' - so of course that was the first thing I did when I left home. 

When I came back from my training in France I got a Yamaha FZR 1000 Genesis, then a Ducati 748, then a Honda Fireblade - a ridiculous death machine - followed by a Yamaha R1 and a Ducati 1098S. Now I've got a 200hp Ducati Desmosedici RR in the garage, which is definitely for the track only. By contrast, this Triumph Thunderbird is calm and collected. 

Triumph has been the sleeping beauty of the bike industry. For years people were obsessed with speed, but recently they've started looking for a bit more sophistication and class. The Thunderbird 1600 is handmade in Leicestershire, so it appeals to my patriotism and sense of nostalgia. I saw the Thunderbird when it was in development, and even then I thought it was a work of art. 

The stainless steel is brilliantly eye-catching: black and silver go so well together. I love the attention to detail - the guard on the back of the belt drive is extraordinarily well made. It's very curvaceous, very sexy. It's not the least bit flashy; it's classy. There's a big di fference. On the road, the first thing that hits you is how smooth it is - it's got a Rolls-Royce glide. It purrs.

Triumph's Thunderbird cruiser


To test any new bike out, I like to go down the A3, then west along the M27. We've got a house on the River Test in Romsey, Hampshire - a lovely little place right next to a pub. So Tana went down in the car with the kids and I went on the bike. It isn't the kind of bike you want to sit in city tra ffic with - it doesn't lend itself to that; it's too heavy - so from Romsey I took it on a nice A-road jaunt through the countryside, down to Bournemouth, Poole and Swanage.

Then I hooked up with my mum's partner Jimmy and my brother-in-law. We're a biking gang, like a mini Hell's Angels. We rode down to Devon and back up the A303 and we felt like 25-year-olds. 

The bike's suspension is soft, but I was impressed with the cornering. Usually the raked front end on a cruiser is a problem when you're in a slow turn, so you have to wrestle with it - but not on this. Also, unlike most cruisers its two cylinders are parallel, not V-shaped. They give a great thump when you open up the throttle and loads of low-down torque. And yet it doesn't burn too much fuel. It's clearly designed for the roads in America, where Triumph sells a quarter of its bikes. But I have to admit, when I'm in America I ride a Harley. 

The best biking road in the world is either the Pacific Coast Highway or the road from LA to Vegas. I like to ride fast, but you have to be careful. In California, the police will book you as soon as look at you. 

Biking gives me a sense of freedom and escape. Everyone goes on about shooting, but what do I want to shoot a pheasant for? 


I can't think of anything more boring. I want speed. I've done in excess of 195mph on a track. Never on a road. When I'm in my leathers and helmet, I feel completely free and in charge of my world. It's good for your mental state when everything else is pressure and demands. There's no phone, no BlackBerry, no food critic on the back seat. You're away.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1270091/My-new-F-Word-thats-fast--Gordon-Ramsay-tests-Triumph-motorbike.html?ito=feeds-newsxml#ixzz0n2rdvel1

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