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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 188 – Spring 2015

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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

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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

Classic
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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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’...

The Tale of Harry the Bastard

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on Tue, Jun 17, 2014 | By Editor

I’ve become known as a patient person, with a lot of spare time on my hands, so people often come to me with their problem cases in the hope that I can work my magic where others have failed. In my articles I don’t normally publish names, but in this case I think it’s appropriate so that readers can fully understand the situation, and of course permission was granted...

Horsepower at High Beech

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on Tue, Jun 17, 2014 | By Editor

Being a cultured sorta chap, I instantly recognised the ad for Miller’s Tea Hut as the first line from The Teddy Bears’ Picnic, so naturally I assumed I was in for a big surprise but when I got there, it was exactly what I expected from a tea hut. You can pick up a cuppa or a can, sandwiches, biscuits and choccy bars — all at reasonable prices; and that in my humble...

Chasing Sunsets – A Faerie Tale Tour

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on Tue, May 13, 2014 | By Editor

My Ireland trip proper was due to begin in Anglesey at 09:20 the following morning but before I could roll onto Irish Ferries Swift Service to Dublin, I needed to squeeze in a bit of rock. The open mic night I mentioned in issue 67 was celebrating its 2nd birthday at Dingwalls in Camden Lock, so there was no way I was going to head to North Wales until after the party had...

Twist & Go, Go, Go

77 Gilera GP800
on Wed, Mar 26, 2014 | By Editor

Many commentators have questioned who the current crop of larger capacity super scooters are aimed at? Well, rather than providing a definitive answer, the GP800 – replete with an 839cc V-twin Aprilia engine – throws the whole question wide open. Who isn’t it aimed at? Actually the answer to that one is dead simple: the close-minded. Anyone else who enjoys the sensation...

A Fine Romance

Virago
on Wed, Mar 26, 2014 | By Editor

I worked for a campaigning charity in whose office Sheila stood out like a swan amongst mostly ducks. Most staff at best, shopped at M&S, but frequently wore T-shirts and jeans. Sheila was different, always beautifully turned out in a black frock with a pearl necklace. You just knew she came from a ‘good family’ in the Home Counties. In everything she did and said was...

Bikes for softies

Toonland
on Wed, Mar 26, 2014 | By Editor

We started printing pictures of indoor motorcycles in the letter pages of the last issue and it’s clear from the response we received that there are quite a few of you out there (or should we say, in there).   The proud Guzzi owner featured in this month’s ‘In the Saddle’ suggested that his friend would have her Le Mans in the bedroom if she could, which is easy...

Beginnings: Fits and Starts

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on Wed, Mar 12, 2014 | By Editor

Where, oh where, to begin discussing Ashes to Boonville by Geoff G. Thomas? I could begin with why it wasn’t reviewed in November as originally planned. Or I could begin with the series of absurd events including (but not limited to): my mother’s two visits to the hospital; jury duty; a germ that decided I was its new home for a fortnight, only to return a week later for...

A Flock of Goldwings

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on Fri, Mar 7, 2014 | By Editor

When I hear the word Goldwing, I immediately think of two things: one being that it sounds like the name of some exotic bird (of the feathered variety!) that only rarely appears on our shores on its annual migration south; the other is an enormous two wheeled cars with a plethora of gadgets, lights, and quite possibly a trailer, which are definitely not rare and are often seen...