Smashing Speedometer Stories

I recently decided I’d had enough of my Guzzi S3’s Veglia blue-faced speedometer reading at least 25 miles per hour over what it should at standstill, let alone at speed, and sent it to Andy Barraclough at Speedy Cables (www.speedycables.com) to get it overhauled properly – and what a fabulous job they did – see the pics below. 

Speedy Cables sent it back fully stripped, overhauled, recalibrated at 1600 revs/mile, mileage set to what it was when it went in, and has been treated to a new bezel, glass and speed cup. In fact, the beautiful restoration even looks a bit too smart compared to the scruffier rev counter next to it, but doubtless once the bike racks up some more miles it’ll start to weather a bit. I’d never bothered too much about the speed because I’ve always ridden it just getting a feel with the revs from the motor and the gear I was in, but after using a sat nav on the bike a month or so ago (report soon..), I realised it was actually useful to know what speed you’re going at, some of the time.


There’s a story behind the low mileage though….see further down the page



Back in 2004, I was living in Italy, in Tuscany. Bit of a long story, but I ended up lending my S3 to an American to take part in the Moto Giro that was taking place in Sicily that year -on the strict understanding that if he crashed it, he’d have to pay for it. Three days after he left for Sicily, I got a phone call. American drawl on the other end of the line. “I’m in a hospital in Palermo, with a broken collar bone, arm in plaster and severe bruising. Sorry. It was a hairpin, and I took it too quickly. Ended up going straight on and over the bank the other side of the bend. The bike flipped over a couple of times. It’s badly damaged, and the speedometer has just disappeared…”

The important thing is that he was okay, just about, and to be fair, he paid out for me to get the bike to how it was before his mishap. He discovered that Guzzis are not made for taking fast, tight hairpin bends. So, the S3’s original kmh speedometer that was on the bike when I bought it, and was showing approximately 45,000km was last seen just before flying off into a grassy meadow somewhere near Marsala, Sicily, Italy. It’s probably still there.

The end of the story is that I bought a replacement 160mph speedo in excellent condition and with just around 2,000 miles on the clock from Motorworks UK, who in those days sold Guzzi spares. It read fine for a few years, until it decided three years ago that its needle would sit at 25mph at standstill. Now that’s been sorted, finally.



Happy Christmas 2014 from ITALIAN MOTOR H.Q.

From a flu-ridden ITALIAN MOTOR H.Q, we’d like to wish all our subscribers, readers, advertisers, friends and people we’ve met on the road this year of you a very Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year for 2015. Apologies for the lack of posts, we’ve been busy trying to get Issue 7 completed which should be out in the next few weeks – thanks again for your patience as always! Also, hopefully a new, much more modern blog done soon, so watch this space. Have fun!

NEC Bike Show 2014

I went up to the NEC Bike show yesterday with mate Dan to check out the bikes on show this year, and it was worth the trip. It felt slightly smaller than years past as in less exhibitors and floor space used, but it was much more interesting, with smaller manufacturers and companies out in force. Lots of specials too, some nice and some awful, by various builders and the manufacturers too that have tapped into the ‘hipster’ scene. The Piaggio, i.e. Guzzi, Aprilia, Vespa range was very strong – the build quality and innovation is impressive. Ducati too have a comprehensive range, though apart from the stunning Panigale, the Diavel and the Scrambler, I have problems telling some of the Ducati (Ducaudi?) models apart nowadays.

Anyway, here a few pics to give you a flavour, mostly Italian stuff and other bikes too. 

Moto Guzzi Eldorado 1400

Dan likes it. Low and comfy

New colour for the California 1400

Moto Guzzi Griso with new paint scheme

Aprilia Caponord 1200

Great looking bike. Looks capable too

Decent crash protection too

Aprilia Tuono V4 1100

Aprilia RSV4 RF – tiny and sculpted so you can really fold into it well, if you’re still that flexible..

Moto Guzzi V7 Alce – a one-off by Guzzi that harks back to the military Superalce of the 1930s/40s

Nice paint scheme on the new V7 II. Lower too.

Stelvio NTX

Piaggio MP3 – if you’ve never ridden one, try it – they are amazing..

Rear of Guzzi special built I think by Motostrada

I really liked this Vespa – the attention to detail is superb, as is the build quality. A real mix of retro and new. After all, Piaggio invented the Vespa so have the right to re-employ their own heritage

Guzzi special based on a Sport 1100i motor. Not my cup of tea style-wise but very nicely constructed

Love the master cylinder!

Photographed this seat spotted on a Harley chopper. Ouch!

This company Zircotec provide various coating methods for motorcycle silencers. Ideal for all those old black Italian silencers. It felt very durable too, and looked just right

The Tomos stand was fascinating, with mopeds with retro looks, and petrol or electric motors

Metisse café racer. Nice but a bit bulky

This Norton café racer, one of 50 built apparently last year, and all sold, was stunning. Not often you see a factory special that looks just right

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The Ducati Scrambler.  The young Scrambler PR guy working on the stand had a very impressive ‘tache, and it slightly disarmed me. The Scrambler is small, for sure, and interesting, but I’ll be honest, doesn’t do much for me as it is. To be fair, there were signs saying that the bikes on show were pre-production models, but running my hand across them felt that they just seemed a bit cheap and plasticky. We’ll see, no doubt if priced right they will sell well to the youngsters. They’re also all about lifestyle and accessories, and the list of accessories is extensive. Clever marketing, no doubt.

Ducati Panigale – just stunning

Ducati Multistrada – many of the Ducatis seem to have this slightly beaky front end look now

Ducati Testastretta DVT motor

Herald Motorcycles – check them out. Chinese imports restyled over here, and sold at a decent price. Don’t know about reliability, but if I was in my 20s and wanted a 125 or 250, I’d love to jump on one of these

The only shot I took of the new Ariel, not sure why

BMW S 1000 RR Sport – beautiful

BMW by Kevils Speed Shop – nice and understated

Deconstructed Royal Enfiedl on the wall

Gulf Fizzy, cool..

Moto Guzzi Audace – we found the stretch to the bars was a bit too far for us to be comfortable

Bid for Kevin Ash’s BMW – and other stuff! Proceeds to the Kevin Ash Fund.

As you may remember, our journalist colleague, and all-round nice bloke Kevin Ash was tragically killed last year on a BMW launch doing the work he did so well, and left behind his wife Caroline and three daughters.

The Telegraph newspaper, for whom he worked for 15 years and for whom he was reporting when I met him on several new bike launches, set up the Kevin Ash Fund – a fund in memory of their motorcycling correspondent of 15 years. Proceeds will assist with the continuing education of his daughters. Caroline has started to sell various bits of kit that Kevin owned to help wit the fund, including a BMW K1100 that he used and wrote about. You can bid for it on Ebay HERE

So people, bid high and bid often – check the other listings for jackets and spares.

EICMA 2014 – GUZZI DUCATI MV AGUSTA AND MORE

There’s a lot going on at present with the Milan Show about to kick off, and manufacturers pumping out their model year 2015 new bikes, concepts and offerings. 
We simply don’t have time to post everything up here and on our Facebook page (which is much easier to use..), so if you want to see more photos from what’s on offer at EICMA, check out our Facebook page which is at: www.facebook.com/ITALIANMOTORMAG
#EICMA2014

Magni Filo Rosso

The Filo Rosso, or the Red Line, is the symbolic thread that has always run through Magni’s work, starting with his learning from Piero Remor in the early 1950s, to being the all-round inspiration behind MV Agusta’s multiple world championships, and then going on with son Giovanni to create hand-built machines with individuality, handling prowess and charisma.

This one is no different. Ok, so it looks like an MV race bike you may say. Yes, but that’s not a bad thing, is it? And this one is powered by the MV Agusta Brutale’s rev-happy 798cc triple cylinder motor that needs a 13.000rpm red line.

Not often we want to just jump on a bike we’ve been sent pics of and just ride the bollocks off it, but this is one of those occasions. Bravo, Magni!

Taming the Ducati Cucciolo

In Issue 6 of the mag, we published a great article that was contributed by Dave our mate from Australia all about his Ducati Cucciolos. Dave has since sent us a video clip that gives the impression of what it’s like to ride one of these machines at speed – and it’s a bit scary. Ignore the sketchy soundtrack and imagine what it’s like to sit on an old pushbike, with pushbike brakes and tyres, and a small Italian motor lashed onto the frame tube, and go as fast as you can. In fact, we reckon the wind noise is covering up Dave’s screams of terror as he bowls along at an impressive turn of speed considering he’s a big Aussie bloke!

The full article on Dave’s passion for the Ducati Cucciolo and in particular its fascinating place as a sales success in Australia is in Issue Six. Not got a copy? Buy it here: http://italianmotor.bigcartel.com/category/magazines

Bicester Heritage Sunday Scramble

 What an idea! Buy up a historic but mothballed RAF base, then turn it into a motoring heritage destination for cars, bikes and planes – brilliant! We’re lucky that ITALIAN MOTOR H.Q. seems to be close to so many fascinating and excellent places and events of petrolhead pleasure, and today was great – old planes mixing it with Ford Capris, Yank cars, old bikes, historic and important Bentleys, Porsches, and Jags, old blokes dressed as Home Guard, steam engines, old biplanes, engines, bacon rolls, and other very pleasurable stuff. The RAF architecture is fascinating and the before and after restorations of the countless sheds, hangars and engine fitting rooms are incredible and beautiful. Even the toilet blocks are retro! The owners should be congratulated on their vision, and it’s easy to see that it’ll become a premier motoring destination in the UK. 


Today will be just the first of many visits for us, no doubt. In fact, we’d love to set up H.Q. here too.
Enjoy the photos of just a small selection of what was there this morning.

Lovely ’56 Triumph Speed Twin with original paint

Used to use the Routemasters all the time

Huge bomber hangar – now used for classic vehicle storage

This thing landed while I was standing there

Dad’s Army: “Who do you think you are kidding Mr. Hitler?”

Old bomb shelter

Purple Haze… in my mind

Beautiful Mk.1 Zephyr rag top

Lovely old Ford Capri. Two a penny when I was a kid..

After…

Before…

Loved this stripped back Terrot – a real gem

These ‘tools’ are made from chocolate. Amazing!

Patina!

More patina!

Check their website here: Bicester Heritage



Kop Hill Climb 2014

Every year for the last five years I have done my day job and turned up to cover the Kop Hill Climb, which is a fantastic event, and very local to me. Like a small, friendly and less manic Goodwood Revival, it surprises every year with the wonderful mix of bikes, cars and machinery that turns up, either to run up the the hill, or display in the paddock (or both..). Here’s a small selection of some of my shots to give you a flavour. All photography © ITALIAN MOTOR magazine. More on Kop Hill here.