Thursday, 18 April 2013

The Real Thing - Ducati TT2 for sale


Genuine TT2, a privately campaigned bike in the same ownership last 18 years. All the right bits like forks, rear calliper carrier and lovely NCR stampings. No frame number – seems it has never left Italy until now. Engine numbers known, but was upgraded to TT1 spec many years ago with 650 crankcases, and the Rino Leoni developed trick of stroking to 748cc. 41.5mm carbs. Was last paraded in 2012. Perfect for parading at the TT1/2 symposium 9-11 August at this year's 

Good value at £30,000 when Santamonicas are making over £20k and especially considering what the TT2 from the Ducati museum made last year. Tempted? Me too. If you have the money and the taste get in touch with Made in Italy Motorcycles

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Classic Race Bikes at Castle Coombe

Yes please - maybe we'll organise a ride back to Teas and Cakes

Saturday 8th June at Castle Combe will be a unique opportunity for classic riders to give their machines a run out, when NG Road Racing will be hosting a Classic Parade at the only bike race meeting this year.

Riders aged between 18 and 70 riding Classic race or sports machines will be on circuit for two 15-minute sessions. This will be a chance to relive those historic racing moments from the last century. When not on track there will be a display of all the classic machines with details of their racing history.
If you would like to join the action full details will be found at

If you are a spectator advanced tickets will be available at


Friday, 12 April 2013

Ben Hur reloaded - Charlton Heston on a Vespa

Spotted in the Sunday Times magazine; a Warner bros behind the scenes snap of Charlton Heston and Stephen Boyd on a Vespa. I vaguely remember that the chariots were pulled behind motorcycles, but I don't think I've actually seen the film (a grandmother used to make us watch classics whenever they were on TV); funny how everyone knows the chariot race anyway.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Back in the room with Borrani

Well, it looks like Benzina will return, but perhaps it'll bee September before we've a hard copy on sale. A subscriber who became a friend (as many do, and it is much appreciated) is a pro-designer and the ideas are very exciting,. But more anon...

In the meantime a long-time friend (as in over thirty years) has taken over as editor of Classic Bike Guide and, given that he didn't sit in the big chair 'till February 6th, boy are there some changes - all for the good. As well as CBG now looking far more stylish and grown up than anything else on the market, the content is (I think) several rungs up from the "Here's another restored Commando", roadtest driven stuff on offer elsewhere. It's even got Gary Inman of Sideburn fame commenting on the link between loving vinyl and old motorbikes, plus a column by - scoop this - Paul D'Orlean aka The Vintagent.
I was also flattered that Gary asked me to contribute, which meant disappearing from here. Inevitably I got roped into a Honda 400/4 buyers' guide since I had three as a teenager. But did you know that the boxy tank and 4-1 exhaust were simply cost cutting measures? Me neither. Plus I did a piece on the new Borrani rims (see the pix), which caused a bit of a ruckus behind the scenes. Which, all you lawyers, I might have dreamt. A very big wheel builder and seller questioned whether these are actually made in Italy. In fact, he went further and claimed that he had seen the rims being made, dimpled and drilled in China before being sent to be stamped "Borrani - Made in Italy" near Milan before being dumped on a duped public. He also claimed the quality of the drilling was so poor that premature wear at the very least was inevitable.

Putting aside what Mr Concerned of Big Business Wheels was doing in a Shanghi factory that makes substandard spokes and rims, I chased up UK importers Disco-volante and we got onto the Italians themselves. Oh, what a tale emerged...
It seems Mr Concerned had a couple of goes at securing the UK distribution of these "poor quality Borranis" himself, and only turned whistleblower when he was politely but firmly told a deal was done with Disco-volante. Following his accusations, the Italian distributors (who make their money on the car side and are adding bike rims to the range as an act of historic enthusiasm) have said anyone can go to Italy and see the rims being prepped, "Except Mr(redacted) who we would only like to see in court."

The reality is that Italy has no natural resources, so even the original Borranis would have been made from imported alloy: in truth to keep costs down the new Borrani motorcycle (but not car) rims are made in China, but are polished, dimpled and drilled in Italy to the original patterns. Wheelbuilders who have used them like the new Borranis, and certainly feel they're better than running a 40 year old original. The point about having Borrani stamped on rims is important to lots of folk - so many bevel Ducatis were raced that inevitably their original wheels went in crashes or in favour of cast alloy items. Take it from someone who got bored to death of folk crouching down to see Akront stamped on the rim of my 450 Desmo and then saying (adopt adenoidal train-spotter's voice), "It's a fake then?" If only the new-old-Borranis had been available when I had it built in 2008...