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The Rider\'s Digest

The Rider\'s Digest Motorcycle Magazine

The Rider's Digest: for the best Motorcycle writing anywhere on the Internet.

The Rider’s Digest Issue 189 – Summer 2015

on Tue, Jun 23, 2015 | By Stuart Jewkes

Summer is here and everybody is out riding, so here are 188 pages of top-quality inspirational motolit via Issue 189 of The Rider’s Digest, available via [free] Adobe PDF download from the online shop right here, and guaranteed to keep you thinking about bikes while you’re not on one. Alternatively, click on the online shop button above where you can browse all...

Souvenirs From India

on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 | By Stuart Jewkes

Of course I would have loved to have had my Enfield with me but it wasn’t that sort of trip to India this time. It was a ‘proper’ holiday with my daughter who had said she wanted to go to Jodhpur in Rajasthan. So Jodhpur it was, and motorcycling would not be a feature of it although we both agreed that if there was a possibility of hiring one, we would. Abby, who has...

Land’s End or Bust!

on Wed, Apr 29, 2015 | By Stuart Jewkes

Blez recounts a memorable ride to the end of English earth on an Indian-built bike with a proud British history, inspired by an intrepid journey half a century earlier. When I was a nipper, Royal Enfields were still made here in Blighty and their Constellation 700 was one of the mightiest steeds on the road. British learner riders were first restricted to 250cc machines in...

Motorbike Fast

on Tue, Apr 28, 2015 | By Editor

Motorbike Fast by Suzi-Mae (who is 11 years and 5 months old). I hold on tight, I look straight ahead, Leaving behind my warm, cosy bed. Now I’m ready and steady, Raring to go, Ignoring the things that are quite, very slow. Motorbike fast, Rock to and fro, And motorbike vroom go! go! go! Your thunderous beast, Tamed by my granddad tall, You whoosh, whizz, zooooooom me right...

Riders’ Lives: ‘Hairy Biker’ Dave Myers

on Sun, Apr 26, 2015 | By Stuart Jewkes

Since they burst onto our TV screens almost 10 years ago, The Hairy Bikers have ridden a variety of machines into our living rooms, prepared some very tasty looking meals in beautiful locations and then ridden off into the sunset. But the one thing they never seem to feature or talk about is the bikes, so when I got the chance to have a chat on the phone with Dave Myers, I...

The Northward Route

on Sat, Apr 25, 2015 | By Stuart Jewkes

The pages of just about every motorcycle magazine are covered in articles about the newest, the best or the most-hyped ‘adventure bike’. I’m not going into this topic because I’ve only tried three or four of the alternatives and I don’t really like most of them! However I have two conflicting passions, I love to travel by bike and hate purely practical, bland and...

Riders’ Lives: The John Surtees Interview

on Tue, Apr 14, 2015 | By Stuart Jewkes

When you get a group of motorcyclists together discussing racing heroes, the same names tend to crop up, all richly deserving of the accolades that follow: Geoff Duke, Mike Hailwood, Giacomo Agostini, Valentino Rossi – all with a considerable sporting heritage on two wheels and rightly lauded for their achievements. But when the name John Surtees is mentioned, the fact...

Brenda’s Bike

on Sun, Apr 5, 2015 | By Stuart Jewkes

I am not a biker. I am a retired GP from Bristol who is part of a small development project in rural Ethiopia, helping out with worthy aims such as wells, schools and health posts. So what am I doing writing an article for The Riders Digest? I will tell you. Two years ago, I was discussing the problems of moving pregnant women who were having problems with their deliveries,...

The Rider’s Digest Issue 188 – Spring 2015

on Tue, Mar 24, 2015 | By Stuart Jewkes

Here we go folks, here’s the brand new Issue 188 of The Rider’s Digest – just in time for that post-winter shakedown and cobweb removal (of the bike, that is). You can download the full 140-page issue – along with all the others in our back catalogue – free by clicking here, or by hitting the online shop button above where it is available via a...

The Grand European Tour Revisited

sidecar 1 copy
on Tue, Mar 24, 2015 | By Editor

I’ve noticed that irrespective of whether or not they subsequently make it into print, travel stories often seem to start over a few large whiskies, half a dozen pints, or another suitable quantity of alcoholic lubricant (and in my experience, whenever it is mentioned as a factor in the story, the amount is more likely to involve adjectives like ‘considerable’, ‘vast’...

Held Gloves review ~ A Man For All Seasons

on Mon, Mar 23, 2015 | By Editor

As last year’s ‘riding season’ was drawing to a close (i.e. when sensible leisure riders SORN their bikes and the rest of us start digging out our cold weather kit), I noticed that my Held ‘Luke’ gloves had started to come apart at the seam on the inside of both thumbs. My first response was ‘typical modern rubbish’, which clearly confirmed me as part of the...

Bargain Basement Biking from Aldi

on Sun, Mar 8, 2015 | By Editor

I have been waiting for the Digest to provide me with some gear for testing for some years and I must admit I wasn’t jumping for joy when it was explained to me my chance had come, and the gear was from Aldi. I’m not prejudice, I love Aldi’s food and something in the selection of tools and equipment they have down the middle of their stores usually tempts me, and generally...

Megamoto Mega Trip

on Thu, Jan 22, 2015 | By Editor

The universally accepted truth about supermotards is that you can’t ride one for more than a few hours at a time and you certainly can’t tour on one – that would just be impossible. This is because they are incredibly uncomfortable and have fuel tanks smaller than a size zero model’s arse. No good at all. And now there is a new breed of bike out there, the giant motard....

Riders’ Lives ~ James Clark

Photograph © Matt Bone
on Thu, Jan 15, 2015 | By Stuart Jewkes

1. What was your first motorcycling experience? Trepidation, followed by utter joy; same as everyone else. More specifically it was a Honda C50 that was so old it had a black & white registration plate running along the front mudguard. It was given to me for nothing by a fella I worked with as a labourer at, and I’m not making this up, Sandy Balls holiday park and farm...

Less Than Hog Wild

on Sun, Jan 11, 2015 | By Stuart Jewkes

It would have been nice had The Art of the Harley-Davidson Motorcycles (2014) arrived in time to be included in the winter round-up featured in Issue 187. It would have been a good fit, what with most of the book devoted to vintage, if not antique, motorcycles on the one hand and a photo-spread dedicated to the XLCR on the other. Both were motifs or themes of “Motolit and...

Red Horse, Ready Rider

Frank Powell WW1 uniform with MC
on Sat, Jan 10, 2015 | By Editor

If the brutal truth be known, I wouldn’t even last ten seconds as a despatch rider. Quite odd, really, since The Rider’s Digest was started some seventeen years ago by a despatch rider for despatch riders. To be fair to myself – and if I won’t be fair to myself, who will be? – that is about five seconds longer than I would last as a café racer, another group with...

The Rider’s Digest Issue 187 – Winter 2014

on Sun, Dec 7, 2014 | By Stuart Jewkes

This is it! After nearly a year away, the brand new Issue 187 of The Rider’s Digest is now available to download for FREE via the online shop either here or from the menu bar up there (Issue 187 PDF); featuring all the usual top quality motorcycle literature, commentary and cutting-edge photography you’ve come to expect from us, and more. This one has definitely...

Elefant Escapades

on Sat, Nov 22, 2014 | By Editor

On a whim I call my fellow conspirator Andy and ask him if he fancies doing the Elefant Rally. Typically, he replies that he can’t see any reason not to and our fate is sealed. With no real idea of what we are getting into, since information regarding the rally is pretty hard to come by and more often than not, highly inaccurate, we coerce another friend into joining us....

Globe Girdlers Six

on Sat, Nov 8, 2014 | By Editor

Hard to believe, but circling the world on a motorcycle goes back more than a hundred years. It did not start with Ted Simon, despite what many still believe (Simon, incidentally, has never made such a claim). The first was actually Carl Stearns Clancy, an American, who – in a wonderfully horrific Edwardian phrase – “girdled the globe” just before World War One. More...

Me & Harley McDee

Welsh pano2
on Tue, Oct 28, 2014 | By Editor

The title of this piece is an affectionate nod to the ‘road’ classic most famously — not to mention most emotively and passionately — delivered by Janis Joplin. Although “Me & Bobby McGee” is actually a tale of hitchhiking and lost love, the chorus explores the very nature of ‘freedom’, while the verses conjure up such a vibrant image of a journey “from...

From the Old Editor

on Thu, Oct 16, 2014 | By Editor

The heading of this editorial, as with so many things I write, can be taken more than one way (well the way I see it, there’s no point in having tens of thousands of words at your disposal, if you can’t be bothered to play with them); it could so easily be a reference to the fact that I have just entered my seventh decade but it could equally be a subtle way of informing...

From the (New) Editor

on Thu, Oct 16, 2014 | By Stuart Jewkes

There’s a big difference between contributing to a publication and editing it; between adding a voice to the choir, and conducting it. Maybe I hadn’t thought it through during the millisecond between DG phoning me up a couple of weeks ago and going “wanna edit the Digest?”, and me saying “yeah, sure!” Then, after a top-secret summit last week in Digest Towers HQ...

DCT – The ideal automatic transmission?

New Ariel Ace Cruiser with DCT version of Honda's VFR 1200

© Blez
on Fri, Jun 20, 2014 | By Editor

In the beginning, there was only a single speed and a crude ‘chain’ of linked pieces of leather to transmit power from a motorised bicycle’s engine to the back wheel. Then someone had the bright idea of using a metal chain, or even a shaft, combined with a clutch and gearbox with two, three or even four gears. By the time five gears were available on a road...

Road – The DVD: An Update

Joey Dunlop
on Wed, Jun 18, 2014 | By Editor

‘Road’ is an in-depth study of the legendary Dunlop dynasty. A documentary about two sets of Northern Irish brothers whose name has become synonymous with motorcycle road racing; Joey and his younger brother Robert, and Robert’s sons William and Michael. Written, produced and directed by Diarmuid Lavery and Michael Hewitt, the movie starts with slow motion footage of...

BSMC 111 – Cafe Society

on Wed, Jun 18, 2014 | By Editor

Anyone who read ‘The Posh Boys Bike Club’ and ‘Underneath the Arches’ (issues 179 and 184 respectively) will be familiar with the ‘Bike Shed Motorcycle Club’ (BSMC), a virtual meeting place where like-minded souls can gather to compare notes and pictures of their ‘shed builds’ and discuss what’s hot and what’s not. For the uninitiated, a ‘shed build’...