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London-based startup RideTo aim to break down the learning-to-ride barriers




Starting out on two wheels can be a daunting process if you have little or no experience of riding a motorcycle, but a new UK-based startup is looking to shake things up a little.

The thought of attempting a CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) for a new rider can be nerve wracking and worrying. We have all been there, wobbling around the cones and stalling while trying to balance the biting point on the clutch. And these days, with the hoops and hurdles to undertake before even getting to swing your leg over a motorcycle, it can be even harder…

In the UK, the CBT is the entry level course which enables a rider to ride up to a 125cc powered machine if they are over the age of seventeen; a 50cc machine awaits if you are a nipper aged sixteen. The CBT certificate is valid for two years and will need to be renewed if the rider doesn’t complete a full licence category.

I’ve passed a CBT course twice, once when I was sixteen and second time when I was twenty-two. On both occasions I was a bag of nerves but they say it’s impossible to actually fail your CBT, and since passing I’ve never looked back. I actually passed my full test in 2015 and ripped up my L-plates forever! Which was an absolute relief, because I’ll never want to go through all of that rigmarole again. It’s daunting process for anybody, especially if you don’t have any mates to help you navigate the many pitfalls.

But that’s where RideTo come in; they say that the entire process of obtaining a CBT has now been simplified thanks to their handy new website.

RideTo will assist riders every step of the way from thinking about beginning to ride, to getting you into and through your actual test. They also have a live chat feature on their website to answer any queries a new rider may have. Everything has been well thought out by RideTo and they have plenty of advice to give; even insurance and riding gear can be found via their website – because being safe and road legal is paramount, obviously.

The site was created by James Beddows, who got fed up with the daily commute on a packed underground train and one day made the decision to commute on a scooter instead. James found the process of obtaining a motorcycle license frustrating and time consuming, but rather than complaining on social media or being so put off by the ridiculous process and getting back onto the train, he found himself inspired enough to make a change. And so he created RideTo to get rid of the pain that he experienced… And to make motorcycling more accessible for everyone.

Aiming to break down barriers and revolutionise the learner rider market is no small feat – especially for a new company like RideTo –  but the premise of the site is simple enough that it just might work…

Through their website a learner rider will be able to: book CBT’s, obtain a provisional licence and all the way through receive general tips and tricks to stay relaxed during the course. Simply input a postcode and their website will generate a list of riding schools in close proximity. From there, the rider can compare prices of different riding schools and even check out the reviews from other like minded learners. The CBT can then be booked via and they will even contact the riding school on your behalf!

So where’s the scale in that? Good question and we’re glad you asked. The answer might be more obvious than you might expect. Delivery riders.

RideTo has already helped thousands of new riders get on two wheels and is also actively working with some pretty well known service/technology companies like Deliveroo and Pizza Hut – and others – within the courier delivery sector to help all of their new riders get into employment with courier positions.

Currently twenty riding schools are working alongside RideTo in London alone but the plan is to increase these numbers. The goal for RideTo is to get one hundred thousand riders onto two wheels within the next couple of years. As well as expanding nationwide and eventually involve all licensing categories.

The motorcycle industry has received a lot of bad press recently so it’s great to see a positive input from a new rider platform. Check out and get involved with the motorcycling community.

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James has been riding motorcycles for 4 years, commutes to his day job on his trusted Yamaha Fazer and loves anything Modern-Retro and customised.


One Year On: Remembering Nicky Hayden




The news that Nicky Hayden passed away was devastating to the whole of the motorsport family.

This article first appeared on Motofire on May 22nd 2017. We’ve republished it here today to commemorate the anniversary of Nicky Hayden’s passing.

Nicky was a champion to his core; from the way he raced to his fierce devotion to his family and the way he made time for everyone. He fought for every single position on every lap of every race and never once gave up. He was firm, leaving no room for doubt on track, but he was always fair and he was one of the hardest workers you’ll ever know, even in a world that includes nothing but riders who push themselves to the limit constantly.

In every way, Nicky was a shining star; images of his tear-stained face when he won his championship in 2006 will forever be ingrained in the collective MotoGP memory, his joy was so tangible that you could have wrapped yourself up in it. And that was Nicky, always inclusive. Whether it was a quick-witted remark in that wonderful Kentucky drawl that we’ll miss so much, his easy manner that made him a friend of everyone who knew him or the way he never turned someone away when they wanted a photo or an autograph. Nicky came from a racing family and he became an integral part of an even larger one.

Losing anyone is always heartbreaking but the loss of a rider when they were out training, doing something as everyday as cycling, makes Nicky’s death at just 35 years old even harder to comprehend.

Nicky holds a place in the MotoGP Hall of Fame, his status as a Legend firmly cemented long before he left for World Superbikes. But he holds something even more valuable; a spot in the collective heart of the entire motorcycle racing family.

His accent will forever raise a smile, at least for me, and his own superstar grin will now bring with it an indescribable sadness. But remember Nicky as he would’ve wanted; that fierce big-hearted champion who pushed himself and everyone around him to be their very best and as that young man who brought so much joy and who left us far too soon.

My thoughts are, of course, with all of the Hayden family, Nicky’s fiancee Jackie, his friends and his teams both past and present.

Now, I’m going to wipe away the tears and watch Valencia 2006 again. I hope you join me to remember Nicky Hayden; a champion, a gentleman and a star that can never truly be extinguished.

This article first appeared on Motofire on May 22nd 2017. We’ve republished it here today to commemorate the anniversary of Nicky Hayden’s passing.

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Custom of the week: ‘V09’ BMW R80 by Vagabund Moto




BMW AIRHEAD CUSTOMS are like AC/DC songs: after a while, it’s hard to tell them all apart. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because the style is usually pleasing to the eye.

But no one could ever accuse Vagabund Moto of following a conventional formula. Their approach is unique and their bikes buck the mainstream trend. So it’s ironic to learn that the owner of this razor-sharp R80 asked Vagabund to replicate the style of a custom R80 they finished two years ago.

Not surprisingly, builders Paul Brauchart and Philipp Rabl weren’t keen on the idea. “We don’t like to remake bikes we’ve done before,” Paul tells us. “So we suggested sketching out a concept that related to the V05—while adding some special parts.”

Paul and Philipp do their wrenching in a workshop in Graz, Austria, and do as much work as possible themselves. “We’re trying to stay a two-man operation for as long as possible,” says Paul. “We’re good friends and perfectionists. It’s hard to think about trusting someone else, or giving up our awesome workshop relationship.”

The pair started out with a relatively fresh classic tourer: a 1992 R80 RT with only 25,000 km on the dial. And thanks to BMW’s historically good build quality, there wasn’t much engine work needed.

“We took apart the engine and carbs, checked everything, and replaced the not so good parts. And then blasted and painted it.”

Getting the striking Vagabund ‘look’ meant ditching the bodywork though, apart from the fuel tank—but even that’s not quite original. The back end of the tunnel has been closed off, where the gap would normally be blocked by the bulky OEM seat.

Just behind it is a svelte new perch. Vagabund designed the tail hump digitally, then got it 3D printed. It means they could pack a ton of detail into a small space—from the multi-faceted upholstery by Christian Wahl, to the sculpted recess under the tail that hides an LED back light.

Everything sits on top of a custom-made subframe, and the main frame’s been liberated of any unneeded mounts. The rear’s now propped up by a new YSS shock. The wheels are stock, but the rear’s clad in a pair of glass fiber-reinforced plastic covers.

Up front, Vagabund shortened the forks by 60 mm, milled and powder coated the lower legs, and added a pair of fork boots. There’s a custom-made top triple clamp too, playing host to an integrated Motogadget speedo.

The handlebars are from LSL, and have been trimmed down. They wear a Grimeca master brake cylinder, a Domino clutch lever, and custom switches in a 3D-printed housing. There’s a small headlight out front, and a pair of Motogadget bar-end turn signals.

The rest of the bike’s been treated with equal consideration. It’s sporting a set of Continental ContiRoadAttack tires, K&N filters, and a Supertrapp muffler attached to the modified stock headers. And then there’s that striking livery, quite unlike any other we’ve seen, and expertly applied by Graz neighbors i-flow.

But it’s what’s missing that’s just as important: there’s no mess of wires vying for your eye’s attention. The bike’s been totally rewired, with a new diode board and two tiny Ultrabatt lithium-ion batteries, hiding under the tank.

“It’s very important to take care of every cable and braking line, and so on,” says Paul. “Even the handlebars are as clean as possible. It’s one of our biggest jobs to do a totally minimalist wiring setup, and we put a lot of work into parts that nobody ever sees.”

Despite the sano approach, this BMW is completely street legal in Austria. On top of the usual lighting, there’s a license plate bracket at the back that holds a pair of tiny Motogadget turn signals—with just the right amount of visibility to check legal boxes.

“It’s really difficult,” says Paul. “Every light has to be ECE-approved, and has to be mounted at the right angle and position. We have to examine all our builds and every point of customization with a civil engineer before we‘re able to (hopefully) pass the vehicle license authority.”

Titled ‘V09,’ this BMW leaves us thunderstuck. It hits the mark with its stance, proportions and finishes—so we’re counting it as another win for the Austrian duo.

This article first appeared on Bike Exif; It’s republished here with permission.

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