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Six things a rider should always carry

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There’s no doubt that the reliability of modern bikes means seeing one stuck at the side of the road is a rare thing these days, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

Even if you’re not on a brand-spanking new bike, most mechanical breakdowns can be avoided with regular servicing, maintenance and pre-ride checks, but no matter how diligent you’ve been don’t be fooled into thinking that your bike will look after itself; or that something like a puncture or a broken indicator from a static fall, will happen to you.

Knowing how to fix the basics – and having the equipment to be able to do so – can make the difference between a short delay to your journey and it ending altogether, and don’t think just because you have 24hr recovery added to your insurance that you don’t have to worry either; five minutes strapping back on that body panel that’s fallen off, or standing on the hard-shoulder waiting for a man for an hour and a half, which one would you choose?

Here’s six things you should always have under your seat, just in case:

Multi tool/compact tool kit: the obvious one, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t carry one. We’re not talking full kit here, just enough to re-tighten the things that have worked loose and carry out basic repairs.

A puncture repair kit and mini compressor – if you’re running tubes, you’ll need tyre levers too: Practice in the warmth and comfort of your garage/shed, so you know the kit works and you can do it quickly and confidently.

Gaffer tape: holds a multitude of things – cracked bodywork, screens and indicators – together until you get home.

Cable ties: also great for holding things together in an emergency, they can be used in place of broket luggage straps and can even hold where bolts and screws have let go.

WD40: keeps damp out of electricals, and things like levers and cables moving. Also helps free-up stubborn fasteners, making changing tyres etc. a lot easier.

A piece of paper with key contact numbers – recovery, home etc. – on, so you have everything to hand if your mobile has a flat battery, or no signal.

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Phil's probably the shortest motorcycle journalist on the planet, standing just 5ft 4in, but has almost certainly got the longest beard in the industry (we've not measured it yet). Cruiser test then?

GEAR

The Isle of Man TT Videogame is frustrating yet brilliant – just like the real thing!

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The new TT game is one of the most immersive racing games you can buy.

Motorcycle racing games have been around for almost as long as the consoles themselves, and the allure of road racing has never been too far away from the thumbs of those gamers interested in the videogame racing genre.

However, in recent years it’s been the MotoGP games that have been the centre of attention for bikers looking to emulate their GP heroes – until now that is.

Because this month, TT Isle of Man Ride on The Edge arrived in an attempt to turn the Motorcycle racing gaming experience on its head. At least as far ‘on its head’ as a title produced by the same people responsible for the MotoGP game and using essentially the same engine can.

And, whilst many of the mechanics may seem familiar, it’s the Isle of Man TT Course itself that offers the actual challenge.

“This game is fantastic… And it will be 100% helpful for Isle of Man newcomers.” – John McGuinness

The concentration levels needed to lap the Snaefell circuit are huge, and one misjudged corner will easily see a rider end up in someone’s front garden. Just as with the real-life race.

There is literally no room for error and it’s this that makes the game so very, very addictive.

It’s likely that those – like us – that have played many of the two, and four-wheel racing games over the years will find Ride on The Edge by far one of the most difficult racing titles of all time to get to grips with.

Even with all of the ride assists sets to idiot-mode, the rear wheel will slide if too much throttle is applied, or if you brake heavily whilst leaning into a corner. All of which means that silky smooth application of the throttle and brakes are needed to make for a better ride – but if you over step the mark by just a single percent, you will slide off in spectacular fashion.

The game begins with a tutorial mode set on the Snaefell circuit to ease you in, but whilst all the settings are in easy mode, you can still expect to bin it a dozen times almost immediately out of the gate.  You will make use of the racing line indicator; which is a great feature that teaches you when to brake and which line to take through the many, many corners.

With tutorial completed, a time trial lap around the whole TT circuit beckons. Twenty-three minutes later, I had finished one lap and crashed a thousand times.

But this TT game is more than just time-trial laps around the Mountain. An in-depth career mode also features on the game – as well as online play. Plus sidecars are also going to be added to the game via a free DLC in May, just to add to the experience!

The career mode starts off with a rider buying a Supersport bike – from limited funds – but as you progress and earn more cash you are able to unlock all the Supersport and Superbikes. And if you’re not quite ready for the challenge of the IOM TT, then there are also nine smaller circuits to gain experience on before stepping up to racing on the actual TT circuit.

The races on career mode are split into either a time trial TT-style or a Mass start and you will need to be prepared, because the AI on the mass start races are incredibly competitive – and downright deadly – they will ram into the back of you just to add that extra pressure. At times it feels more like you’re playing Road Rash from the early Nineties than an Isle of Man TT ‘simulator’.

Hitting top speed on the Sulby straight and managing to get the bike stopped for the bottom gear corner of Sulby Bridge whilst the back wheel is moving around is great fun however, and leaves a player feeling like a riding God.  You never for a moment forget that this is road racing either; the asphalt is very bumpy, and this adds to the realism and will catch you out constantly.

But everything isn’t perfect by any means.

The handling of the bikes is often times ludicrously unresponsive, then contrarily slow and unrealistic; sometimes it feels as if trying to manoeuvre the bike around a hairpin, or styling out a flip-flop corner is just impossible. It’s true that you will probably get used to this inconsistency over time, but we’d hope it will be something fixed with a downloadable patch. Something that will also help fix the fact the John McGuinness is still sat on a Honda and not a shiny Norton too we hope.

Despite this however – and coupled with the sheer paucity of motorcycle racing offerings available – we were left willing the game to be nothing short of superb; even with the difficulty of the racing.

When you do get everything right on track, it is hugely satisfying.

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Icon claim back the streets in their latest, epic video

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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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