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Guy Martin on the Britten V1000



Feckin’ hell it goes dunnit?!

Truck mechanic, road racer, TV presenter and all-round engineering obsessive Guy Martin recently got a chance to fulfill one of his ultimate dreams, riding the legendary Britten V1000 at the Manfeild race track in New Zealand.

The likeable Lincolnshire rider, who has scored podiums at the Isle of Man TT, seemed pretty impressed with the bike:

It’s more settled than a modern bike. Driving out of a corner it just goes, you’ve got less transition from braking to driving. You’re getting bits but it’s not massive. Such an alien feeling, such a strange feeling. Mate that is mega.

Great, but why is this bike so special?

Kiwi mechanical engineer John Britten designed and built the Britten V1000 in the early nineties, utilising lightweight materials (carbon fibre bodywork,  wheels, swing arm and suspension forks) and a V-twin engine which he designed and built himself.

Unlike most motorcycles, the V1000 doesn’t have a frame, instead the engine is used a stressed member. Sound familiar? That’s because Ducati use the same principle for the Panigale range of sportsbikes.

The bikes went on to set numeroues records, including the fastest top speed at the Isle of Man TT in 1993 and various standing start speed records.

Only ten of the bikes were ever built, and most now sit in museums or private collections around the globe.

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John started MotoFire with James and Dan as a way of satisfying his own curiosity. There was nowhere on the Internet for people like him to sit, read and enjoy stories about motorcycles without feeling like he was left out of some elitist, number-driven, hi-viz wearing club. Hopefully there are some people out there who feel the same!


Custom of the Week: Yamaha SR500 ‘Scrambler’ by Daniel Peter




SCRAMBLERS ARE A HOT TOPIC. Build one, and you’re sure to be judged solely by how well equipped it is for hardcore off-piste use.

But that’s not all that scramblers are about. Daniel Peter compares his latest build to his childhood BMX—and it’s pretty much how we feel about modern-day scramblers too.

“When I was four years old, my BMX bike became my life,” he explains. “It was so simple, yet so fun. Just wheels, pedals and brakes. I’d ride it to the beach, jump a few curbs along the way, race my friends. Those were the good days.”

“30 years later, I set out to build a motorcycle based on the same principles. There’s nothing on this bike that doesn’t need to be there. It has wheels, a punchy engine and great brakes. I didn’t even put a speedo on it, because I never looked at the one on my last bike.”

Daniel works as a photographer in Chicago, but wrenches during the winter to keep his passion for riding alive. He keeps a workshop in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, outfitted with a tool cabinet, a welder, and a 1940s South Bend lathe.

This 1978-model Yamaha SR500 is the fourth Yamaha 500 he’s built to date. “It’s the most simple, yet the most thorough, of the bunch,” he says.

The motor’s been bumped to 540 cc, with a grocery list of go-fast bits that includes a lighter XT500 crank, a new piston from JE and a Megacycle cam for better torque down low.

R&D valve springs with titanium caps, a Powerdynamo ignition and a high-flow oil pump from Kedo round out the package.

Hoos Racing refreshed the crank and cut new valve seats for Daniel, but he tackled the rest of the rebuild himself. Every single bearing and seal was replaced along the way too. As for the carb, it’s been swapped out for a 39 mm Keihin FCR flatslide number, fed by a fat K&N filter.

The exhaust system is a combination of a custom made stainless steel header, and a Cone Engineering muffler.

The SR rolls on 17” supermoto wheels, borrowed from a KTM (front) and a Honda CRF450 (rear). They’re wrapped in Pirelli MT60 Corsa tread; a 120 up front, and a chunky 160 on the 5” rear rim. (“It juuust fits,” says Daniel.)

The brakes have been upgraded with a mix of Brembo and Beringer parts, with an RCS 14 radial master cylinder up front.

On top is an aluminum Yamaha XT500 fuel tank, wrapped in a paint scheme “inspired by an unforgettable riding trip through Baja.” Just behind it is a new saddle from MotoLanna, with a new kicked-up subframe loop.

It’s just about spring in Chicago, so Daniel must be itching to rack up the miles on his SR500. And we’re betting it’s going to be impossible to get him off it.

A version of this article first appeared on Bike Exif. It’s republished here with permission.

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Icon claim back the streets in their latest, epic video



Street’s Not Dead.

Regular readers will know that we eagerly await anything released from the US streetwear firm Icon Motorsports. So the moment that a video drops from the Portland firm we’re bound to pay attention.

That’s an interest piqued double when they post it alongside what is essentially a call to arms…

“Street’s not dead. If you think it went away, you’d be wrong. Street’s still here undermining pompous authority, rejecting standards, and bucking the status quo..”

And they’re not kidding either. With the Icon clad rider thrashing their Kawasaki ZX-10R through city streets, car parks and even a public fountain at one point, there’s a lot to take in.

Couple that with their usual loud, Icon style and you’ve certainly got a statement of intent.

(Don’t try this at home kids).



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