July 2019

Does your bike bring you joy? I’m not talking about speed or ability necessarily, but that feeling of contented bliss when a bike so suits you, you can’t imagine being on anything else at that particular moment.

I had it this month on my first ride on my 996: some of them were pretty dull trips in their own right – a cross-town commute, a motorway journey, and the occasional blat in the country winding it up properly. I cherished them all though. I understand it, forgive it its limitations and foibles (just as Mwell, when it wouldn’t fire up on the A46…) and get the kind of satisfaction from simply being behind a pair of handlebars I first experienced on my DT50MX when I was 13.

Some of you might scoff at Alan Phillips for spending £35,000 on his RD400 special. He will most likely never see that investment back and attract derision for spending that sum on an air-cooled twin-shock tiddler. But you know what? He’s lucky enough to be in

that position to build it, and the cost is irrelevant: Alan gets much joy from riding it, but he also lets his mates, and our Jim, experience his air-cooled RD perfected in every area: it’s more than money to him.

Ducati’s exclusive new Panigale V4 R is sadly not a privilege most of us will experience, but Johnny racked up a heap of miles on one so he could relay the joy (as well as the absurd performance) one of the most advanced bikes in the world could give you. Damo had a go too: unsurprisingly, he loved it. The surprise was that he still found some amusement and reward in his tatty old 66,000 mile Thundercat afterwards. Joy is a personal thing: but whatever’s in your shed, make sure it’s bringing you some: you’re missing out on the true motorcycling experience otherwise.

Chris Newbigging, Editor

p.s get your free stickers with this issue!

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