Suzuki Media Day 2018

On the 21st June 2018, I somehow managed to wrangle a spot at Suzuki’s Media Day, an event held at Bruntingthrope Aerodrome and Proving Ground.

For those who have never been, Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome and Proving Ground is a privately owned airport near the village of Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire.

I arrived to see a line up of 10 models from Suzuki’s 2018 range standing there before me. A stunning line up of bikes combined with an open pit lane on an airfield on a beautifully sunny day could only mean one thing… a day filled with spring boarding onto different bikes and riding flat out!

Excuse the hair… It was windy!

When we rocked up, we had some breakfast (fruit and pastries) and a brew, because can you really start the day right without a brew? No, absolutely not!

As more bloggers, social media hustlers, photographers and journalists arrived, you could feel the excitement building, especially when we were all told to gather round for the morning brief.

We were informed that the bikes we would be riding were:

Hayabusa

GSX-R1000R

GSX-S1000

GSX-S1000F

GSX-S750

SV650X

V-Strom 1000XT

GSX-S125

GSX-R125

Burgman 650

 

The line up in all its glory!

And that our day was to consist of the following:

Morning Mugshots (so the photographer could identify who was who)

Sighting lap in the race van (Race van that was actually just a normal van with a nutter driving it!)

Morning Riding (open pit lane style, jumping on and off the bikes and swapping and changing with the other riders)

Lunch break

Afternoon riding (same format as the morning)

 

The day was designed to be laid back, no pressure, no super strict regime – just jump on the machines and enjoy!

From 125cc all the way up to 1300cc!

The first bike that I rode was the GSX-S 125, whilst my partner in crime Jen took out the GSX-R 125.

The GSX-S is the naked version with flat bars and a striped down look, where as the GSX-R is the sporty version with clips ons and fairing.

The 125’s got their very own playground, a go cart track offset from the main air strip, so that’s where we took em!

I had some fun chasing Jen on there, who was dragging her knee everywhere.

Follow her on Instagram @biker_jen

When we rocked back up to the main area, some bikes were already out on track being ridden, so I jumped on what was available and gave it a whirl!

There was a nice GSX-S1000 free so I decided to ride it!

My first impression of the GSX-S1000, was that it felt extremely flick-able and agile. The riding position was extremely comfortable.

The only thing I slightly struggled with was not having a screen when doing speeds in excess of 120 mph, as I’m only a small creature – so clinging on for dear life was a bit of a challenge!

On a normal days riding where the max speed limit on a motorway is 70 mph (Mr officer)… the lack of screen wouldn’t have been an issue for me I’m sure!

Stealth mode activated!

I then took out the GSX-S750…

Naturally, it isn’t as powerful as its big brother that i’d just jumped off but DAMN, I will say the throttle is responsive (maybe a little too responsive for my taste!)

The front brake is extremely keen, which caught me off guard as I wasn’t expecting it to be keener than the GSX-S1000’s front brake.

Overall, I was really impressed with the GSX-S range and I’d love to try them out on the roads as well as a track environment.

GSX-S750

 

GSX-S750 holding its own through the chicanes

I was starting to get a feel for this jumping on new bikes malarkey so I thought next, I’d give the Hayabusa a try!

When I saw the Busa at the start of the day, I had big dreams to gain entry into the elite 200 mph club, however that dream was short lived; as the stretch of straight track wasn’t long enough to achieve this mission!

Not to mention modern bikes are usually limited to 189 mph by manufacturers. Still, I managed to hit 160 mph a few times on the Busa but couldn’t go any quicker as you lose your bottle when you approach the next corner at eye watering speed!

Hayabusa in action

Visually, everything about this bike is old school. If you were to put a 1999 Hayabusa next to this one, you’ll see only slight changes, but that all contributes to its charm.

Feature wise, there have been advancements with Brembo calipers for ultimate stopping power, lightweight ABS and more horses, what’s not to love?

As you can see from the above chest cam image, the dash is still extremely retro, the Hayabusa’s dash remains analog whilst the GSX-R1000R got a fancy, new, multi functional LCD dash for 2018.

I’m not mad about this, as it’s all in-keeping with the heritage of Suzuki’s Hayabusa.

Despite its stocky build, it isn’t afraid to be banked over

Obviously I didn’t ride these bikes enough to give you a full review, these are just my initial thoughts, what I will say about the Busa though, is that it feels like a rocket propelled couch. Its super comfy which i’d imagine would be pleasant for touring but with heaps of power and the brakes necessary to stop it, it’s also an absolute weapon.

I must say, I thought it stopped exceptionally well for the speeds it was doing! Which is always reassuring.

It was the bike that surprised me the most with how planted and stable yet agile it felt, and it ended up being one of my favourite bikes of the day!

The next bike I decided to play on was the GSX-R1000R.

I had been excited for this since the early morning but it was an extremely popular choice for riders on the day and there was 2 of them to share between 15 of us.

The GSX-R1000R is a beautiful machine, packed with electronics such as motion track brake system, motion track traction control, Suzuki drive mode selector, Launch control and a Bi-directional quick shift system (that’s a quickshifter and autoblipper to me and you!)

The quick shifter up and down is as smooth as slug snot. I was impressed.

The only thing I found a little odd at first was there was no definite clunk when your foot alters the gear shifter. Most people wouldn’t have an issue you with this and find it completely normal, which it is! I am just used to a agricultural ‘clunk’ from the shifter so I know it has changed gear.

Don’t get me wrong, I like to feel a seamless response from the engine but I like tangible feedback from the shifter, which I found soft and unsure if i’d shifted.

From the look of the standard exhaust, you would not expect it to sound aggressive like it did! It sounded dirty shifting through the box!

Yea, yea, yea we’ve seen the reviews on this bike, we’ve read the mainly negative opinions about the looks of the exhaust, but if you have a bike and dont upgrade your exhaust instantly, are you even a biker? HA.

It’s the same with a standard reg plate hanger as well, everyone has their grumbles about them but as soon as they get home, they stick a tail tidy straight in their online basket!

As you can see by the chest cam shot above, the LCD dash is quite nice!

It’s not as fancy as some TFT dashes I’ve seen, HOWEVER everything is clear to view including your speed, gear, revs, traction control setting and it’s pleasant to look at.

After I’d got my sports bike thrills, I thought to myself, “Right, time to try something you’re not used to”

This is when I stepped onto the mighty Burgman 650. A gaint, comfy rev and rip automatic scoot (that does have a manual mode whereby you can change gears via a switch on the bars).

Out of all the bikes available, I was most nervous to try this machine! Why? The last time I rode a scooter was 11 years ago.

After giving myself an extra moment to remember DO NOT GRAB A HAND FULL OF CLUTCH, as its a brake, I was good to go!

The Burgman 650 has a power mode believe it or not so you can release its inner beast. It also has a hand brake, heaps of under seat storage, an adjustable screen, heated seats and electric mirrors, to me it felt like the ultimate commute scoot.

Taking it on the track was quite funny as you can hit lean angles that you wouldn’t normally attempt on the roads.

I will tell you, you can lean it quite a bit before the centre stand scrapes!

It felt a little strange riding a Burgman in one piece leathers and a Shoei race lid!

Moving on to the second bike that I was a little anxious to try… The V-Strom 1000XT.

Why? I’ve never ridden an adventure bike before. They’re so tall so it always put me off – being 5’4 and 9 stone wet through.

As soon as I set off, all my worries were left behind.

Its comfy, quick and very smooth. I really enjoyed it. I even managed to do a GSX-R1000R on the outside, which left me smiling inside my lid and impressed with the power of the motorised armchair I was sat upon!

After riding every bike I could (except the GSX-S1000F as it was the end of the day and there was no fuel left for it), the day was finished off in the most spectacular way!

I got to have a pilly ride with Suzuki Team Rider Richard Cooper (who had been playing around and showing off on the track with us all day!)

He was on the GSX-R1000R with nothing but a ratchet strap tied around his waist.

So I clung on and tried not to fall off!

3.59pm on a Sunday when you’ve ran out of milk

 

All in all, I had a fantastic day!

I got to broaden my horizons and ride different bikes other than what I am used to and I met a whole bunch of amazing people in the process.

 

Thank you Suzuki UK for letting me attend!

 

https://bikes.suzuki.co.uk/bikes/

https://www.instagram.com/suzukibikesuk/

https://www.instagram.com/coopes47

 

AN INTERVIEW WITH RED SPADE ♤

For me, Instagram provides a huge source of inspiration and motivation.

As a female, I love seeing other women riders pushing the boundaries, smashing their goals and accomplishing everything they set out to achieve, whether it’s on the track, in the dirt, on the road, on the drag strip or on the local car park stuntin’.

I wanted to create this mini series as a way of taking a moment to speak with and interview female instagrammers who I deem inspirational and who help reinforce the notion that, this isn’t just a man’s sport.

I have hand picked a select few women on Instagram who inspire me daily. How do they inspire me? They are strong, driven, intelligent women who uphold values and morals which I can personally relate to. I am inspired by women who are interested in improving their riding, pushing their personal limits and being positive role models to the up coming, future generations of girls who choose to pursue riding in some form or another.

My first interview, to introduce the new mini series, is with the wonderful Anna Rigby, although you may identify with her as RedSpade, a hardcore track addict from the US of A, with a fire in her stomach and a entrepreneurial spirit.

 

 

Where did it all start for you? How and when did you get into riding?

So, I believe my journey started around late 2010 when my husband [Steve] purchased his first street bike—a 1998 Honda BlackbirdXX. I rode with him as a passenger for a little over a year before I started to seriously consider learning to ride myself. I still remember a day trip to Deal’s Gap (a popular motorcycle road) and how much fun we had riding together. I wanted to go faster and lean harder with Steve but we maxed out what the bike was capable of doing and actually scraped the side faring by accident lol! It was on that trip that I met and chatted with my first female rider—she was the one that convinced me to go take the MFS course and see if riding was even for me. A month later I was registered and taking the 3 day class. I passed and obtained my license the following day; a week later I went and bought my first motorcycle—a used 2011 Honda CBR250R.

It all happened very quick and to be honest, I was terrified. I’d never done anything risky in my life and I felt that if I didn’t do this as soon as possible, I would chicken out. Aside from that I had another issue weighing on me—2 years prior to riding, I started to suffer from unexplained, severe nerve pain in my feet and legs. It had taken me down physically and mentally, my life as I knew it had changed for the worse. I could no longer do what healthy normal people do daily and I lived in horrible, constant pain. I was at a point where walking was extremely painful and I feared that my condition was worsening so I didn’t want to waste time in case I wouldn’t be able to walk anymore. How I learned to ride was nothing short of a miracle considering the medication I was on and the fact that I couldn’t shift normally. I actually had to use my heal to kick up the shift lever for the first 6 month until my condition got better.

Before that, we started attending local club racing that our friends were racing in. I instantly fell in love with track life—I was completely enamoured with the sights and sounds of the track and the way the guys were riding their machines. I’ve never seen anything like it and it was very enticing. That’s when I started shooting motorcycle photography.

 

Did you ride on the streets before you rode on the track?

So yes, while my spark for riding came completely from observing racing and track riding, I was too afraid to try a trackway right away. I rode street for a year before I did a trackway. In retrospect I wish I went sooner—I learned more in my weekend at track than I had learned all year riding street (and I rode almost daily!)

 

What are your favourite roads to ride? Your local blasts?

I stick completely to the mountains and countryside when I ride. Fortunately, I live at the foothills of some of the most gorgeous mountain roads. The collection of twisty and scenic roads that span between Georgia, the Carolinas and Tennessee are some of the best in the US and I feel truly blessed to have them at my disposal.

My personal local fave that is always a fallback is called Blood Mountain. It’s a relatively short stretch of just a few miles with an awesome collection of fast technical turns. I admit I use it as a personal track sometimes which is not the best of ideas—every weekend fellow riders crash there. I’m sure one day the road will bite me when I get too cocky or comfortable.

 

Where is your favourite place to travel on your bike if you want to go further afield?

I usually travel north toward Tennessee and the Carolinas. As mentioned above the views are stunning. I’ve done single day trips of upwards of 500 miles before on nothing but twisty scenic roads. It’s incredibly taxing but so rewarding. Now I prefer to split it up into 2 days and just disappear for the weekend 🙂

 

 

How many tracks have you ridden and what is your favourite?

I’ve ridden 12 different track so far. My absolute favourite is 3 hours away called Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. I love it so much that I frequented it every month last season. The track itself has everything, technical, blind hills, and is absolutely beautiful. My second favourite track has to be Chuckwalla in California. I only got to ride this track 2 full days but it was enough to make me fall in love with it. The track is strictly for motorcycles so it was designed to flow. It’s got great pavement and is very long.

 

I understand you have your trusty CBR600RR for track and road use.Do you ever get bored of your bike? Get that itch to change it? And do you think you will ever replace it?

I actually would love to change to a Kawasaki 636—I’ve had the privilege of tracking one at 5 trackways now and I fell in love with it first session out. I don’t know how else to explain to other than the bike and I just clicked. My Hondas’ are great but I had to do a LOT to my track Honda to make it perform better on track. The Kawasaki was incredible straight out of the box, off the showroom floor. Of course, I can’t be hard on the Hondas, they are after all 10 years old now and have zero electronics. I do take pride in the fact that I’ve learned to feel my machine and push it without any electronic assistance.

 

As well as your CBR, you have your little Zed? How did you end up with one of those as it seems miles apart from your track bike? 

It is funny that in a world where bigger seems to be better, minibikes have been taking to nation by storm. To be honest, my husband is the one that wanted it—he bought it for our wedding anniversaries lol. It was actually one of the first Z125S to hit our state and we fell in love with it right away.

 

Do you like the Zed? What do you think about it?

Minibikes are just soooo much fun to ride! They make you feel like a kid again and bring out the inner hooligan in everyone! We have a growing group here in Georgia and I think just about all of my friends either own a Grom or Z125. So as you can imagine it’s a ton of fun to goon around in a big group. It’s actually the only group riding that I’ll do 😛

 

Do you have any Motorcycle Heros or Heroines?

Oh totally! I’m absolutely enamoured by all of the female racers that I’ve had the privilege of meeting. I admire what they do so much—racing is such a male dominated sport that it’s very hard for women to find their place within it. I still remember attending a friend’s trackday and a female club racer [Lisa] came up to me and chatted to me. She was friendly and inviting and made me feel part of the track family. It’s thanks to people like her that I was more inclined to get into track riding since it can be quite intimidating for a first timer.

Aside from her, I’ve had the pleasure of riding with pros like Caroline Olsen, Shelina Moreda and Patricia Fernandez. Shelina even reached out to me when she read one of my blogs about struggling with my riding. She invited me out to one of her dirt camps because she thought it would help me get over my mental block—and she was so right! I can’t begin to even describe how moved I was when she reached out to me, I was literally in tears that a stranger would extend her hand out to help like she did.  Caroline has also helped and trained me on track. Aside from that, she’s an incredible woman, kind, real and genuine—I hold her in very high regard. I had the pleasure of riding some mountain twisties with Patricia, to be honest I was super intimidated. But she proved to be such an incredibly down to earth, funny and kick ass chick. Even though she’s raced MotoAmerica and now is competing in Irish Road Racing on a ZX10R, she was super humble and riding with her was a blast!

There are many more wonderful men and women that I look up to, but if I named them all we’d be here all day…literally!! They range from my fellow trackday junkie club racer husband, right up to the guys of MotoGP. Each of them has touched me somehow and helped inspire me on my moto journey.

 

In a typical season, how may times will you normally ride on track per month?

This is really all depending on circumstance. My second season I dedicated everything in my life to track, meaning everything was measure in the cost of tyres and track time. My goal was to live at track and I did that by completing something like 33 trackways. Then last season fate kind of shaped those events—Steve had a terrible accident round 2 of the season that totalled his bike and his body. He was out for the entire year so I was left to my own devices lol. I ended up going to track 2-4 days a month. However this season that will change now that Steve is back at racing.

 

 

So glad to hear Steve is recovering well. Is he your favourite person to hit the track with?

Steve is doing well, trying to get back in the swing of racing again. His injuries were a fractured rib, 2 fractured vertebrae and a broken hip. It was truly a treat and a relief to see him riding track at Laguna Seca just 4 months after his accident. But the road to getting him back to racing has been long, and he’s been working super hard putting in 60-80 hour work weeks to buy his new race bike. Our sponsors have come through as well in helping us for which I’ll be forever grateful. In November, we were able to host a trackway and finally ride again together. I’m not so certain I totally like riding with him though, he mops the track with my slow ass and it’s frustrating lol. The guy has mad talent and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little jealous. While I do love going to track with him, we rarely see each other because we usually ride in separate groups—Steve is Advanced and I’m Intermediate.

 

What in your opinion is the best bike you have ever ridden? And is there a bike that you’d love to ride but haven’t yet?

Oh, this is such a tough question haha!!! I’m going to revert to the bike I’ve had the most time on that I gelled the most with and that’s the Kawasaki 636. However, I have to admit that last summer the 2017 ZX10R completely stole my heart—you couldn’t peel the bars out of my grip lol! Another amazing machine I’ve ridden was the Aprilia RSV4, my goodness what a nimble, powerful and stunning machine. I want to add that I’ve ridden all these bikes on track which I feel is truly the only place to get the feel for a bike.

I’ve always wanted to give the RC8 a go, sadly it just never happened, maybe one day. Something tells me I won’t like it very much but I still gotta give it a go if the opportunity will present itself.

 

Your moto photography is incredible. How did you get into it?

Why thank you! I started shooting at trackways and club racing events actually. That was just before both my husband and I got into riding. I’ve always loved the way motorcycles looked and when we purchased our first DSLR, I quickly realised I loved shooting all the little intricate details. This very quickly escalated into one of my favourite hobbies.

 

Tell me about RedSpade Racing. How did it come about and were you happy with how it was received?

Honestly RedSpade originated as a catchy online handle for my instagram account which I’ve had since 2010, maybe even earlier, I honestly can’t remember. As the account started to gain popularity and Steve started getting interested in racing we decided to establish RedSpade Racing, LLC. At first it was to encompass our photography business and give us credibility as a legit company. Somehow we amassed many fans that wanted t-shirts and stickers, so we did just that. Later when Steve started racing it became a fully fledged race team. Of course anyone can do this, it’s honestly not a big deal.

To this day I’m absolutely floored at how RedSpade Racing took off. I’ve always felt RedSpade was an icon for all riders to relate to. The goal is to encompass the passion of riding, to spread safety and motorcycle skill awareness and to encourage people to ride smart all the while surpassing their boundaries and finding out what they are made of. There’s a place and time for everything and I’ve personally always taken riding very seriously. It’s changed my life profoundly and made me a better person. My journey on 2s has been relatively short—only 5 years. But since Iv’e started riding 5 years ago, everything we do in the RedSpade household revolves around motorcycles. Will I always be this focused on motorcycles? I’m not sure, as with everything time and experiences change you and your focus. But for now, I’m grabbing at life by the fistful and sharing it with everyone that is curious.

I think the most rewarding thing coming out of RedSpade are the people that reach out and have been positively influenced by what we do and represent. If I was able to direct even one person in a positive direction and help them get on their bike safely then it was all worth it.

 

You’re a bit of a business woman as well getting lots of sponsors under your belt. Did you go out and seek them or did they go out and seek you?

So I get asked this one a lot.

All of my current sponsors have actually sought me out. I started really small supporting companies I liked, like RideRich and sporting their apparel. I started off with testing helmets and small moto related products. If I liked them then I would write about them and promote them. Then a couple years down the line, Dainese & AGV reached out to me and offered me their brand ambassadorship spot. They had told me that they were watching me for a very long time to see if I was aligned with what they do and believe in. So in the end, I was very honoured to be able to work with a company that I personally love and believe in. As I made more connections in the industry, things got easier and more and more doors opened up. I get a decent amount of offers but I only promote what I believe in and enjoy using/wearing myself. A successful brand ambassador needs to be relatable and real to the public’s eye. You can’t force this type of thing, people aren’t stupid and social media is a fickle beast. I try to keep everything as organic and transparent as possible, it’s served me well over the last 4 years. 

Tell me about your RedSpade Rider Program that you’re looking to kick off in the future?

The RedSpade Rider program is really just an acknowledgement for the people that have been by our side and believe in what we do, more so in the movement and spirit that RedSpade Racing embodies. We actually have a number of these people as part of our RSR family already and so this year I would like to put up their stories on our website. RSR started out by sharing the moto journey, but not only mine. I still want to share the experiences of fellow riders and racers alike, so this will be our outlet for doing so. Anyone is welcome to become part of the RSR family as long as they embody the spirit and uphold the morals we represent. Ride smart, be respectful of yourself, the machine and the law, and stay humble.

 

I believe you recently did a blog post on your website about the importance of safety gear after our mutual friend was involved in a life changing crash. Was that the tipping point that made you want to raise awareness? 

Actually I’ve always been a big advocate of All the Gear All the Time. In my 1st 3 years of riding I was a bit of a gear Nazi—but only because I’ve seen first hand what happens when you make stupid choices. I was very overzealous in getting my message across but only because I care. These days I try not to come across as condescending or judgemental about people’s gear choices because that does absolutely nothing for the cause. Over the years I’ve decided to just post about the options of safety and try to educate people to make the smart choice rather than berate them. Natalia’s accident was unfortunately the perfect reminder why quality and properly fitting gear is so important. I was moved by what happened to her because I truly like Natalia and was absolutely gutted for her. So many people don’t even know the reason for a fitted helmet that it’s scary so I felt I just had to talk about it in a blog.

Click here to read Red’s blog post on the matter:

 https://redspaderacing.com/harsh_realities/

 

 

You have clearly done something right to carry so much influence on your social media platforms. What do you like most about social media platforms, specifically relating to our passion – bikes.

I have no idea what I’ve done honestly lol!! In the end I’ve just kept it real and genuine. I try to be as transparent as possible so what you see is what you get. Apparently, thanks to this I’ve made a ton of friends and connections on social media—that’s truly the one and only thing I’m after here now. I’ve also learned so much from others and have been inspired to progress my skills. I still remember seeing photos and gopro captures of these guys dragging a knee or something else I thought was cool. I never thought I’d be able to do the same thing, and now years later I’m able to post images that inspire other people just like I was inspired.

 

What is your biggest bug bears about social media in relation to bikes? Does it have its downfalls in your eyes?

Hmmm, I definitely have quite a few pet peeves with social media but to be honest I don’t really want to focus on them. I suppose the biggest potential issue I see is with the monkey see monkey do scenario. There’s a lot of young, inexperienced and impressionable people out there that get the wrong idea about riding a motorcycle. It often seems to me that people lack respect for their machines and set a wrong message about the sport in general. Maybe I’m just getting old lol!

 

Finally, we’re just into the second month of 2018. What are your plans and what goals do you wish to achieve this year?

Well, I’m a bit of a nut with goals because I always want to raise the bar higher before I even get to my first goal. This year I just want to support Steve in his racing endeavours. Last year was my year to have fun and achieve my goals—which I accomplished. This year while I would love to drop my lap times another 5-6 seconds, as of this moment I don’t know how much track time I’ll be able to get. However, I want to get back to more touring on my bike and experiencing some more road trips with friends.

Photography is definitely on top of my list still, I want to get better at it and capture some great stuff to share on social media. Right now I want to do a couple photoshoots of Steve an his bike which is always a challenge because he hates getting his picture taken.

I’ve got a few ideas for some long distance trips that I really want to do, but I’ll have to wait and see how things pan out for now 🙂

As always-  the goal is to progress my skills, get faster, and keep the shiny side up!

 

 

I would just like to say a huge thank you to Anna for taking the time to answer my questions, it’s been fun!

 

If you want to be inspired like me, check out Red on the following websites:

 

https://redspaderacing.com/

https://www.instagram.com/redspade/

https://twitter.com/redspaderacing?lang=en

https://www.facebook.com/redspaderacing/

https://www.youtube.com/user/redspaderacing

 

 

EURO TRIP 2017 VIDEO

Following on from my Blog post ‘ Epic adventures have to start somewhere right?’, Here is a bit of footage I threw together to make a short video of the trip.

 

Enjoy!

A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING MOTORCYCLE FINANCE – HP VS PCP

Motorcycle finance… not the most glamorous of topics !

However as a Sales Person in the Motorcycle industry, I want to use this platform as a way to inform fellow riders on this subject and help them to understand the main differences between the two types of motorcycle finance – HP finance and PCP finance.

Selling bikes to customers on the daily, I hear many things from customers about finance that are just plain nonsense, when I ask them where they heard that information… I usually hear ‘a friend told me’.

I just want to set the record straight and answer any questions you guys may have.

Before I delve into this subject matter, much of this information is provided by Black Horse as well as my own knowledge and experience and I aim to debunk some myths and common misconceptions associated with motorcycle finance.

________________________________________________________

Okay, lets get into it.

We can understand what Motorcycle Finance is with Black Horse’s official definition:

Motorcycle finance helps to spread the cost of a new or used motorcycle. Instead of paying the full amount upfront,
you can pay monthly with interest.

Fairly simple right? Well, there are a few options that people buying motorcycles on finance are presented with, which gives the customer a few different avenues as to how they can manage their spending efficiently and in the best way for their circumstances.

The two types of finance that will be discussed are HP finance and PCP finance.

________________________________________________________

What is HP finance?

HP finance is referred to many people as ‘standard finance’ and stands for ‘Hire Purchase’.

Simply put, with this method you will put down a deposit, the higher the deposit you can put down, the lower the monthly payments will be. Once you pay your final monthly instalment, you then own your bike instead of the finance company.

You can agree to make repayments from 12 months to 60 months.

Paying off the bike in 12 months will come with higher monthly payments but you will own the bike much quicker than if you pay the lowest monthly payment possible over 5 years.

With a 5 year agreement, payments will be exceptionally low however you will end up paying much more interest on the bike over the span of the agreement.

The maximum age of the bike at the end of the agreement is 14 years old. So if the bike is 12 years old, you could take finance out on it with a two year agreement, but no longer.

________________________________________________________

What is PCP finance?

PCP finance stands for Personal Contact Purchase. With PCP, you put down a deposit, keep your monthly repayments lower than you would on HP finance by deferring a significant proportion of the amount of credit at the final payment at the end of the agreement. In easy terms you pay a deposit, pay lower monthly payments but have a large final payment at the end.

You need to agree an initial deposit, how many miles you are likely to ride each year and how long you want the agreement to run for and the dealer will then calculate the Guaranteed Future Value (GFV) of your motorcycle and confirm your monthly repayment.

What is the Guaranteed Future Value you ask? According to creditplus.co.uk, a GFV is a figure on which a balloon payment is based. GFV is calculated based on predicted residual value of a vehicle, which in turn is calculated according to information from trade guides and takes factors such as depreciation, mileage and condition into account.

At the end of a PCP agreement, you have a few options. You can either:

1. Pay off the final payment in a lump sum.

2. Further finance the final payment if you wish to keep the bike but cant afford a big ole payment

3. Use the positive equity in the current bike as a deposit for a brand new model of bike

4. Hand the bike back to the finance company and have nothing further to pay (but with this option, you must adhere to your mileage allowance and keep it in         decent nick – else you’ll get hit with mileage and/or condition charges)

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During HP & PCP Finance:

1) You can change your repayment date during the first 30 days of your agreement free of charge. A loss of interest charge is payable after the first 30 days.
2) You will have fixed monthly repayments with a fixed interest rate for the term of your agreement.
3) You can make additional lump sum repayments to reduce your balance or settle your agreement at any time. We will provide you with a settlement quotation
on request.
4)  You can part exchange your motorcycle at any time subject to settling the outstanding finance. New finance agreements are subject to status.
5) If the goods are not of satisfactory quality, you will have rights against the finance company you went with.

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DEBUNKED MYTHS:

1) YOU NEVER OWN IT ON PCP – Wrong! It’s a purchase plan , you own it when you make the final payment just like HP.

2) YOU HAVE TO PAY IF YOU GO OVER THE MILEAGE ON PCP – Correct but ONLY if you return the bike to the finance company, it doesn’t apply if you trade it in to a dealer. 99% of customers don’t return it to the finance company… The mileage charge is only 6p a mile for the first 5000 miles over, so 5000 miles over your contract would be £300 – the bike would devalue more than that in CAP with a 5000 mile adjustment. Basically, if you dont intend to hand it back to a dealer, you could in theory, pay a lesser monthly payment (through doing less miles a year) and you wont incur a penalty at the end of the agreement if you trade it in with a dealer. However if the worse case scenario happens and you have to give it back to the finance company, if you selected low miles and massively exceed them, it could be quite costly.

3) YOU CAN’T PUT EXTRAS ON IF YOUR BIKE IS ON A PCP – You can put all the customisation parts on it you like and either leave them on at trade in or take them off and re-sell separately. Just if you do wish to remove them, if you cant do it yourself or it requires  engine mapping (or example if you were putting on a standard exhaust) consider potential labour costs.

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If you require anymore information, I recommend you check out this really useful PDF:  file:///C:/Users/keffi/Downloads/blackhorseebook%20(3).pdf

I would like to thank David Rothwell at Black Horse for providing me with the above information and assisting in making this post happen.

Hope this was of some use to you guys and will benefit you when you next decide to buy a bike on finance.

If you have any questions – please ask in the comments box!

 

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A year of modifying my Duke 690 Before/ During/ After

There is a saying, it’s better to be someones shot of whisky, than everyone’s cup of tea.

I first bought my KTM 690 Duke in September 2016 after putting 500 miles on a work’s demo bike and completely falling in love with it.

Why? It was light in weight, had a beautiful TFT dash and at its heart was a wonderfully, stroppy single cylinder engine.

I’d been eyeing up this bike in the showroom for a while. I liked it, in fact I loved it. When I took out the demo bike, I loved how it rode and how it made me feel like a faster, better, more competent rider. The one thing I couldn’t stop thinking about was how I was going to buy it and change it visually to make it different to any other KTM 690 Duke on the market.

Working at a KTM dealer at the time, and having KTM’s bike configurator open on the computer in front of me most days – curiosity got the better of me and I started scrolling through the masses of accessories at my disposal.

Here the first picture I had taken of me with my new machine.

At this stage, I had got an Akrapovic End Can put on and that was the only thing that had been changed. So it was still pretty standard at this stage.

I still had massive plans for the bike. I was happy with the end can. It looked much meaner than the boring silver stock can and is supposed to add 3 bhp which wasn’t really noticeable to me from riding the standard version days before, however I had a much bigger smile on my face when riding through tunnels. The engine note was a lot deeper, had a more refined rumble to it, and of course there wasn’t a baffle in sight.

Next on my list was a:

Tail tidy

Full Akrapovic Exhaust System/ complete with Akra cat, Akra map and air box

After ordering the parts, it was time to fit them! The process of fitting the exhaust was making me nervous. As someone who’d just bought a brand new bike, seeing it pretty much dismantled made my stomach churn. Thankfully I knew the mechanic so I trusted him to put it back together correctly!

Whilst it was getting taken apart, it turns out my boyfriend http://www.instagram.com/hypermotardmike bought me a graphics kit and some crash bars! So at this stage, we threw everything on.

Tail tidy ✓ graphics ✓ new exhaust ✓ crash bars in black ✓ – it was starting to look far better!

I took the bike to the Isle of Man to watch the 2017 TT with my dad. When taking photos of my bike and looking at it, there was one thing that was really bugging me – the orange stripe on the front!

I wanted to take my KTM away from the usual orange branding and sterotypical look of a KTM. I had removed any 690 graphics and wanted people to wonder what make/ model the bike actually was! I had a head start in completely ridding it of orange with the help of the black frame and white panels – which was a new colour option for 2016! (the previous year’s colour options were black panels/ orange frame or white panels/ orange frame) so I was trying my hardest to steer away from any orange on the bike at all. When I got back to Manchester, I was thinking about ways to cover it, but in the end, I decided just to peel away the graphic panel with it on, I didn’t mind it looking a little unsymmetrical, I wanted it to be quirky after all.

The next part of the make over is where I decided to take a bit of a risk.

I racked my brain for ages about the different colour options I could take my bike down as I liked black and white, but I wanted to inject some colour into it, some fun! After all it is a KTM.

So after pondering back and forth between blue, red and mint green rim tape, I decided at the last minute to pick none of those colours and go for red and yellow!

I was worried it was going to look a little Rupert the bear-ish, but had faith that it would tie in with the existing Akrapovic exhaust stickers!

I wont lie, at first I was a little worried that it looked a bit… dare I say, garish?!

But it kept growing on me and I’m glad I chose something a bit outlandish.

It was starting to get there… but I still wasn’t done!

The graphic kit came with airbox stickers, but I didn’t like them. They looked too retro and it didn’t look right with the bike in my opinion.

I just felt like it was a little bare looking as you can see from this image below:

It is here where I decided to get some custom stickers made for my air box covers.

I used a company called Crispy Designs who have a large presence on instagram.

http://www.crispydesigns.co.uk

https://www.instagram.com/crispydesigns/

Whilst I had ordered my air box cover stickers, I had ordered black bars and smaller indicators. It frustrated me that when the new 2017 duke 125 and 390 dukes were rolling into our showrooms with their updated designs, these bikes came with small indictators and black bars as standard! I just thought it finished off the aesthetics beautifully.

So we began to change them.

Below silver bars and big, standard indicators

Here, small indicators and silver bars

Here big, standard rear indicators and silver bars

 

Below, small rear indicators and silver bars

Below, silver bars replaced by black bars – much more stealthy and expensive looking.

 

 

The final touch was a seat cowl complete with matching graphics, black levers and the custom air box cover stickers.

Here is the finished result! I honestly think I am done with it now. I’m not quite sure there is much else I can add to it!

If you have any questions about my bike or the things that have been done to it, please feel free to drop me a comment!

Thanks for reading!