Road Tests


1929 Neander V-twin
Visually striking and rarer than hen's teeth, the Neander certainly stands out, with its designer clearly a man who knew his own mind...
Triumph Tiger T110
With the Goodwood Revival deciding on introducing a set of rules encouraging the use of early to mid-1950s type ‘club’ racers, Triumph pre-unit specialists Ace Classics and fellow London shop, the Baron Speed Shop, decided to join forces and get involved...
1958 Ariel Huntmaster and Garrard Grand Prix child/adult sidecar
The old adage of what looks right is right applies here. Despite this Ariel Huntmaster being the end of the line for Selly Oak, its handsome lines are complemented by an attractive third wheel. Even a reluctant sidecarist is bowled over by this Birmingham-London plot...
Harris Matchless G80
It’s a conundrum many marque enthusiasts have found themselves in and one, which causes a rumpus around equally as many owners’ club committees – when does your marque cease to become your marque, or is it always your marque irrespective? James Robinson sampled one such conundrum...
Norton Dominator Model 88, classic British motorcycle
In 1953, a Featherbed-framed Norton Dominator would have been an unusual sight on the UK roads, being hampered by a very high price tag. But that aside, the early Norton Dominator gives off an unmistakeable aura of competence and quality...
Norton ES2
From early sporting leanings in the roaring 20s, Norton’s immortal 490cc pushrod engine developed into a delightful lusty slogger, fondly remembered by many. The ‘Easy’ 2 was a mainstay of the Norton range for over three decades, and it’s not difficult to see why it had such a devoted following...
Bimota SB2 Italian performance motorcycle
Bimota’s SB2 was both the Italian factory’s and Massimo Tamburini’s first production road bike design and offered the motorcycle-buying public a glimpse of the innovation they could expect from future projects. John Nutting tested it on the Isle of Man in 1978...
Jawa 90 Roadster
Teenagers understand just one style of motorcycle riding – throttle to the stop. The Jawa 90 was designed with such discerning youthful riders in mind. Luckily a few survived this full-on abuse including this plucky example, now semi-retired in the Isle of Man...
BSA B40, classic British single cylinder motorcycle
As we followed Derek Mann’s neat Beesa B40 down a twisting Yorkshire lane, my wife summed him up: “You can tell he’s spent most of his life on two wheels, he looks part of the bike.” No flash, just smooth progress. A proper motorcyclist...
Triumph Thunderbird 6T
The late Pete Sole, who owned this Triumph Thunderbird for over 20 years, was well-respected as a pragmatic restorer with a taste for vintage machinery. The Thunderbird was his first post-war heavyweight and he used it regularly, as a workhorse and tourer...
Kawasaki Z1300 original Japanese musclebike
Late in 1978, at the Cologne Show in Germany, Kawasaki unveiled its 1300, the most powerful bike yet built and prompted a debate that led to the (short-lived) voluntary manufacturers’ agreement to limit power outputs to 125 bhp. Bob Berry rides one of the last machines off the production line...
1950 Triumph Trophy
A gap in the chilly rains of late January made a test of this lovely 1950 Triumph Trophy trials bike practical. Never mind the cold, the Trophy sat there looking gorgeous, slim and minimalist in the way of machines born of competition use. I don’t mind getting cold to ride such a gem as this...
1938 Rudge Ulster
Retired design and technology teacher John Crispin gives full marks to his 1938 Rudge Ulster as an object lesson in good engineering practice and a design way ahead of its time...
Yamaha XJ900 Japanese motorcycle
Yamaha’s original XJ900 was biggest of a line of slim shaft-drive fours produced in the 80s that acquired a reputation as a wobbler. But John Nutting, who tested the bike at MIRA, thinks it’s undeserved...
Benelli 650 Tornado
Benelli’s 650 twin was a radical take on the British parallel twin design. But the Italian BSA beater arrived as the British industry went into decline, and it soon began to look dated against Japanese exotica. Rod Gibson tells the story...
Iconic Kawasaki GPZ600R
Kawasaki’s GPz600R was the first liquid-cooled 600cc four, a breed that has defined sports machines in the 21st century. But was it launched too early with flawed technology? asks John Nutting...
Bespoke Royal Enfield Bullet
This bespoke Royal Enfield Bullet was built in 1966, when the model was obsolete, to tackle the International Six Days Trial...
Triumph Trident T160
Triumph’s three cylinder Trident provided the signature sound for racers in the early Seventies and led to the best of the bunch, the T160, made for just a year from 1975. John Nutting explains...
Suzuki RG500 (left) and GSX-R 750
The early 80s was a hot-bed of motorcycle development where two-strokes took on four. Suzuki built both. The GSX-R750 and RG500 were about as hot as it got. 25 years on CMM stages a re-match...
1963 Velocette Vogue
Velocette’s strangely futuristic glass-fibre clad Vogue was never the great success its makers hoped for and, in truth, it never stood a chance...