Friday 24 June 2011

Thursday Pitch

We've posted lately about the high-quality "test" features in a lot of magazines, particularly Bike magazine in the UK. Here's an idea.

Rick Parkington, motorcycle restorer and writer for Classic Bike, has been my hero for years. He's an advocate for all I love about old cars and bikes. I'm not interested in some gleaming, over-restored, never-used piece of garage jewellery. I want to see old junk used daily, used hard and looking old. And so does Rick

His bike collection is epic - A 1919 Blackburne, a Rex-Acme, a legendary Norton-framed, Vincent engined hybrid cafe racer that he's trying to make look more like a standard bike, a built-from-bits 500cc Gold Star. Cool collection, but they don't just sit there - he takes the Rex to track days and dices with machines 50 years younger.

He can be relied on for an opinion on what's a reasonable amount of oil to leak in a cafe carpark or what metric thread bolt can best be mashed in to a Whitworth nut to get your Velocette KTT back on the grid. A handy man to know if you needed to grind in a new valve on the side of the road in the rain.

He says things like "My indicators are on the ends of my arms, so I wasn't concerned about the complex switch gear", when talking about a Japanese bike from before I was born.

I wonder, then, what he'd think of this:

The BMW S1000RR. It's all about the numbers - 1000cc, 193 brake horsepower, 200kg, 305km/h. It has ABS, traction control, 4 piston brakes and a  3 year warranty.

Daniel and I saw one in the flesh for the first time a few weeks ago as it lane split past my truck and stopped at a set of lights. We just stared until the light went green and it disappeared in a moment. We were spellbound, but I wonder what someone who rides a hot-rod Vincent on the street and races a 6hp veteran would think of it.

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