Who are you?
What do you do?
I’m the road test editor for Bike, Britain’s best-selling motorcycle magazine.
What does this entail?
Planning, arranging, testing and writing about the motorcycles featured in the magazine. Could be a test of the latest sportsbike, a group test of tourers to the Czech Republic, or an exclusive ride on a one-off prototype or race bike. It’s all about making sure we’ve got the key bikes people are interested in, and doing memorable, inspiring and entertaining things with them. Or, in some cases, to them. And the words are a vital element – Bike prides itself on the quality of its writers.
What is the most demanding part of your job?
It’s all about timing. We need to be first with tests and features on new metal, but with rival publications trying to do the same and the pressures of strict production deadlines it’s far from straightforward. I cover maybe 40,000 miles a year, but there’s far more time spent planning, chasing bikes, devising tests, deciding on photo locations and ensuring we’re doing the right test for a given bike than there is actually riding. And that’s before we even get to the writing...
What do tyres mean to you?
Confidence. It doesn’t matter if you’re threading along a saturated B-road in the dark or trying to set a quick lap time on circuit – your tyres are your only contact with the road and if you’ve no confidence in them, no trust, then your riding and enjoyment suffer.
What is your favourite tyre?
A modern sports-touring tyre, because they’ll make a good fist of pretty much any situation. They’ll grip on track and steer like a sports tyre from a few years ago, warm quickly, cling on tight in cold, wet conditions, and work from almost the first revolution. I don’t want to be worrying if my tyres are up to temperature, or if they’re at the right pressure for what I’m doing. Storm 2 Ultras do all of this, with the added benefit of what appears to be enough tread depth to lap the planet a few times.
What motorbike do you have?
Currently my daily bike is a 2010 Kawasaki 1400GTR. It’s a big, luggage-clad, gizmo-riddled tourer based on the ballistic ZZR1400. My job means I ride perhaps a dozen different machines every month, though.
Best biking moment?
Difficult, but spending an evening on track recently with GP legend Kevin Schwantz must be up there. We booked Snetterton circuit for the track test of three sportsbikes and Kevin came along to be our guest tester. Riding with a hero will stay with me until I’m rocking under a blanket and pouring soup down my cardigan, but finding he was such an easy-going, friendly bloke was just as good. The full test with Kevin’s exclusive opinions is in the current issue of Bike magazine (October 2010 issue).