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  • Writer's pictureIan Speight

April 2023 - Training, 2 taster days, 2 tests rides and preparation for 2 tours.


Husband and wife riders Helen and Paul kicked off the month having separate sessions on their 'his and hers' CB650R. Both Helen and Paul are 'back to biking' and had two sessions each in April as they work towards completing the Enhanced Rider Scheme. More sessions booked.

John was up next on his Triumph Street Triple. It was Johns 3rd session as he works towards passing the IAM advanced test.

Tudor on his 1250GS followed on from John. Tudor trained with me in 2021 and 2022 and successfully passed the RoSPA test. Tudor is now aiming to pass the IAM advanced test. Next session booked for June.

Jon came along for his first session on his 40th Anniversary GSA. John has previous experience of advanced driving but only came back to biking in 2016 after a long lay off. Second session booked.

Steve came along on his 1250GSA. Steve is an experienced rider who trained with me last year and wanted a pre-season refresher after a 6 month lay off due to an injury. After a few pointers, Steve was soon back in the groove. Another session booked for June.

Patrick was up next on another 1250GS. Patrick recently returned to the UK after several years living and working abroad and decided it was time for a skills check. It was a full day with Patrick which resulted in him successfully completing the Enhanced Rider Scheme.

Sean was up next on his Yamaha 600 Thundercat. I met Sean last year when I was his Observer at a BikeSafe event. Sean got in touch recently as he wanted to complete the Enhanced Rider Scheme, which I'm pleased to say, that after a day together, he did successfully. Sean is now considering his options for further riding qualifications.

Peter was up next on his 1200GS. By his own admission, Peter hasn't ridden much over the last couple of years, so he decided to have skills refresher and combine it with the Enhanced Rider Scheme, which he completed successfully.

Luke came for his second session on his 700 Tenere and was another rider to complete the Enhanced Rider Scheme in April.

Ben finished off the month on his S1000XR. Ben trained with me last year and passed the BMF Blue Riband Rider Award test and now wants to take the RoSPA advanced test. Training with Ben usually results in either torrential rain, or a bike issue for one of us, but I'm pleased to say this session was completely uneventful! One more session in the diary before he takes his test.

Taster day 1 - BMF Blue Riband Rider Award.

As a Regional Chief Instructor for the BMF, I got together with other instructors in my region and we organised a BMF Blue Riband Rider Award taster day. The event took place on 15th April, with several riders coming along for a 45 minute assessed ride followed by a debrief afterwards. It was great chance to introduce them to the BMF and the Blue Riband Rider Award with an added bonus that the weather stayed dry and we had a good mix of riders and bikes.

Here's instructors and riders completing pre ride briefings.

I took out 2 riders, first up was new rider Gabor on his CB650.

Followed by more experienced rider Debbie on her very nice, and fairly rare, Honda RVF400.

Final photo shoot with instructors and some (but not all) of the attending riders.

L to R - Mark, me, Kev, Debbie, Martin, Jim, Mark, Alf and Luke.

If you want to know more about the BMF Blue Riband Rider award, head to;

Taster day 2 - RoSPA - Advanced Riders North Yorkshire.

On 22nd April I attended my second taster event, this time held by my local RoSPA group, Advanced Riders North Yorkshire. Another well attended event despite the very wet start which attracted a good mix of bikes and riders. It was a very wet start, with most of the Tutor team seeking refuge under cover! Fortunately, the weather didn't dampen peoples enthusiasm.

With the rain starting to ease, briefings were completed and the riders headed out.

Taster day Tutors. Back row L to R - Steve, Mick, Phil, John, Simon, Dave.

Front row L to R - Alf, Dave and little old me.

All in all, a cracking day and at the last count, all the riders who attended have joined the group. A great result.

Demo ride 1 - BMW R1250R.

When your local BMW dealer asks if you're free to put some running miles on a couple of bikes from their demo fleet, and the bikes in question are the R1250R and the brand new M1000R, the answer is always going to be YES!!

First up was the R1250R. This 'R' series has been in the BMW line up for many years. I think it started as an 850 and has changed with each engine capacity increase, until the latest incarnation the R1250R. For 2023 the bike gets new colours and I think it looks particularly fab in these colours.

I had a couple of hours with the bike and I have to say I was very impressed. The suspension was like riding a magic carpet of comfort and compliance. The engine was super smoooooth and the handling very impressive. As I was adding 'running in' mileage I was governed by a 6000 rpm limit but even staying within that, the power delivery was great in every gear and at all throttle openings.

Despite the lack of any fairing or screen, there was little in the way of buffeting and the tank is nicely shaped to keep the wind off your thighs and lower body. The mirrors were very good and stayed clear at all the speeds I managed, even 70 on the duel carriageway. As with all BMWs, there's an array of accessories, including sat nav mounts, screens, panniers and a top box, so despite it's 'naked' origins, I'm sure it could be turned into a very capable tourer.

Demo ride 2 - BMW M1000R

I have to say, I was very excited to ride the brand new M1000R. I've owned 3 S1000Rs, 2 gen 1 and a gen 2, so I couldn't wait to ride this 207BHP, all singing, all dancing, 199kgs, winged missile.

The bike comes with cruise control, heated grips, rider modes, 3 TFT screen options, lean angle sensors (to tell you how close to Mark Marquez 58% you can get...I managed 29%! Lol). It also has a lap timer function and even a pit lane limiter! It probably has launch control and wheelie control and loads of other tech too.

The bike had 3 miles on it, so having a 'thrash' on it wasn't an option, but even the 6000 rev limit gave a clue as to what you could expect from it. The amount of drive and the lightness was immediately noticeable. It tipped in to bends so fast, and when the revs hit a certain point, the induction roar sounded ace.....and remember....this is all at a maximum of 6000 revs!

At any revs it's sets off like a scolded cat, but is also very tractable with no jerkiness at low speeds. In fact, whilst riding in a 20mph zone and scrolling through the TFT settings, I realised that I was still in 4th gear, so out of interest I left it in 4th to see how it coped. The speed limit went 20 to a 30, then to a 40 and finally a 60 and it did it all in 4th and I have no doubt that once run in, that 4th gear would take you from 20mph to well into 3 figure speeds in the blink of an eye. Fit and finish was superb and the 'wings' add a bit of Motogp to your Sunday afternoon ride.

Obviously it's a 'naked', so you are open to the elements, although it wasn't too bad at 70mph on the A64, but it did feel a little worse than the day before on the R1250R, but then again, I think it was generally a more windy day when I was on the M1000R. Comfort wise, I was fine after 70 miles but would probably have been ready for a break at 100 miles. The M1000R is clearly a naked superbike and has all the tech to justify the price and desirability. Is it too much for the road? Of course it is, but who cares! It might be one of the lightest, most powerful bikes on the road, but all its rider aids probably also makes it one of the safest. 23 years ago I bought my first Honda Blackbird. It was around 170bhp with a top speed of 188 mph and it didn't even have abs!! With the current plan to ban the sale of ICE looming, thank the lord manufacturer's are still building bikes like the M1000R!

Massive thanks to the excellent team at Barrie Robson BMW, York for the invitation to ride 2 fanastatic bikes.

Tour Preparation - Scotland x 2.

Next month sees me lead 2 tours to Scotland on behalf of Motorrad Tours so some days of April were spent preparing. Motorrad Tours book all hotels and sort routes etc, but once I have the details its a case of familiarising myself with hotels, route notes, sat navs, customer lists etc etc. These are my first tours of the year with another in the diary for July when I will be heading to Germany. More details next month on both Scotland tours. For clarity, not all the highlighted lines on the map relate to this years tours, but hopefully I'll remember which ones do!

My R1250 GSA.

My 1250GSA continues to impress and do all I ask of it. It really is the Swiss army knife of bikes and it's no wonder BMW sell them by the bucket load. There may be more powerful bikes, there may be bikes with better weather protection, or bigger/better luggage systems, but I've yet to find a bike that suits me better for what I do, and I've tried a few! I picked the bike up on 10th Feb with 15500 miles on the clock and I'm now on 19842, so that's more or less 4350 miles in 11 weeks.

So far the bike has been faultless. Cost wise, apart from fuel, I've replaced the rear tyre and the front is getting near the wear markers, so a new front tyre and a service will probably be needed in May. I also need to get a proper BMW top box.

Previous bikes - 1999 - Honda ST1100 Pan European, VFR750 and a GSXR750!!

1999 saw me get through another 3 bikes as I tried to find what I liked best, and here I am 24 years later still trying to answer that same question! In May 99 I traded in my Honda Fireblade to buy a Honda ST1100. I bought it from Miles Kingsport in Hull. It was G reg (1989) silver in colour, and cost me £3,895. I thought about buying a new Pan but I wasn't sure if I'd like it, hence why I bought one a few years old to see how I got on with it. Despite being supremely comfortable with great weather protection and great luggage capacity, I didn't really like it. It was heavy with not a lot of ground clearance and I soon started looking for something more sporty. In fact, it only lasted 2 months before it was traded for an L reg (1994) VFR750 in red. I really liked the VFR750. It was much lighter than the Pan, handled better and was faster. However, in October the same year, my head was turned again by the lure of another GSR750. A 1997 model that was a upgraded model from the previous SRAD 750 I'd owned. Unfortunately I don't have any photos of any of those 3 bikes, probably because non were owned for very long! The Suzuki stayed with me until Feb 2000 when I traded it in for a used Honda Blackbird. I didn't know it then, but that would be first but not my last Blackbird, but more about that bike next month.

And that my fiends rounds up April 2023. Thanks for reading.

Ian S

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