Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Sideburn in the Himalayas 2016 Edition!

Sideburn's inaugural 2015 Himalayan adventure with Helmet Stories was so fantastic we've decided to do it again in SEPTEMBER 2016

Ride the unforgettable roads of the Pangi Valley and the Himalayas in the far north of India with Sideburn's rep 'Co-Built' Anthony Brown and respected tour leaders, Helmet Stories.
Seven days of riding, camping and feasting with India’s most fun motorcycle tour company and your favourite motorcycle magazine. Read all about it in Sideburn 23

PRICE: 110,000 rupees (approx. £1100, US$1600, €1400, AU$ 2300 at current exchange rates).

INCLUDES: Royal Enfield 500 Bullet bike rental; meals and drinks on the road; all accommodation (twin sharing in hotels, individual tents when camping); sleeping bag; guides; back-up truck; mechanic and kitchen staff.
WHEN: 11-19 September 2016.

WHERE: Chandigarh and Pangi Valley in Himachal.

You must be in New Delhi on Sunday 10 September 2016 , to be able to catch a train at 7.40am on Monday 11th*. Fly home  on 19 September 2016**. Helmet Stories can suggest hotels if you want to arrive before or leave later to have more time to acclimatise and relax.

* It is possible to get cheap internal flights, to avoid the train journey from Delhi to Chandigarh (though the train is a good experience) and the very long taxi journey back to Delhi (which is not a good experience).
** Your flight home is dependent on choosing the road transfer (included in price) or booking your own internal flight back to Delhi.

12 places only.


The trip is run by the highly experienced Helmet Stories company.
All payments to Helmet Stories.

50% deposit on booking.
25% two weeks before trip
25% on arrival in Delhi

NOT INCLUDED: Flights to and from New Delhi; any accommodation before the 11th or after the 19th; transfer to Delhi railway station on day 1; internal flights if you choose those over the organised transfer; specialist personal insurance (highly recommended); riding kit (bring your own); damage to the motorcycles.

11 September, day 1: Transfer from Delhi to Chandigarh by train, 250km. Train leaves at 7.40am so you will need to be in Delhi the day before. 
Nice hotel in Chandigarh and time to explore by taxi.
Alternatively, book a cheap internal flight (at your own cost. About £50). Helmet Stories will supply details.

Day 2: Chandigarh – Manali transfer by 4x4 - 185 miles
Early start to reach Manali by late afternoon.  Last hot running water for four days in a luxury hotel. Meet the bikes.
Day 3: Manali ­– Urgos - 110 miles.
Very easy if the sun is out, very tough if the rain gods come out to play. There's perfect tarmac with hairpin after hairpin, mud to play in, wooded tracks running along feisty rivers and a campsite shaded by willows at the end of the day. A perfect start to come to terms with your motorcycle, a 500cc Royal Enfield.
Camp overnight.
Day 4: Urgos – Phindri - 55 miles.
Challenging riding on this ball-breaking road. Couple of chai stops along the way. Stunning camp on a lush mountain side. Time to hike to the gushing river of snow melt for a refreshing wash.

Day 5: Phindri – Sural Bhatori via Killar 
70 miles of the same terrain as Day 4. Cliffside dirt roads. Rewarding riding.
Camp overnight with an unforgettable view (see below).
Day 6: Sural-Sach Pass– Satrundi - 75 miles.
Even more ball-breaking roads and crossing a 14,500ft (4500m) mountain pass. This is not a gentle blast down the Pacific Coast Highway.
Camp overnight in a forest clearing.
Day 7: Satrundi – Khajjiar - 75 miles.
Tarmac begins. Sort of… Riding through the mini-Switzerland of India. Overnight in hotel (with a huge monkey god statue in the grounds). Hot running water.

Day 8: Khajjiar – McLeodganj - 80 miles.
The last day of riding marked with scenic back roads and ending in the official home town of the Dalai Lama. Overnight in hotel. Say goodbye to the bikes and the loyal mechanics.
19 September
Day 9: McLeodganj – New Delhi airport by van/bus (or optional internal flight) - 370 miles.

* Organisers reserve the right to change the itinerary without prior warning.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Burn out, don't fade away

Sideburn reader Adam Woods sent a link to this gif. I didn't recognise the rider, but, using my Columbo-like detective skills, worked out who was the last Pro singles rider to ride the class running the champion's number 1 plate. I knew it was Pro singles, because it's a red number on a white background. It was Stephen Vanderkuur in 2013. He was the last to run a red number 1 because most champions move up a class to Expert/GNC2 as soon as they can.
A quick google of those two clues threw up the video below, clearly the source of the gif. The engine's gone, locking the back wheel. Scary.
You're welcome. G

Monday, 8 February 2016


I really like this photo of UK DTRA racer, Brad Hardman, preparing to race his Rotax framer. I think it's one of Ian Roxburgh's. The new season is coming up fast and there are 23 (twenty-three!) new members for the DTRA already, and that's on top of last year being the biggest ever.
Go to to get involved as a racer, marshal, lap scorer or other Volunteer. G

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Illustration by Mani

My name is Filippo Fiumani, I am a designer from Italy living and working as a freelance in Portugal. I am a follower and reader of your magazine, I dig so much the visual approach and the contents of your mag. I did this illustration of the Michelin puppet that I put in attachment, feel free to share it if you like it, I would be happy with that. thanks for your time
 Bowie memorial tribute for Vice magazine
 Lemmy tribute for Vice magazine
Custom design for DMD Helmets. 

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Asterisk Honda FTR223

This tidy tiddler from Asterisk in Japan, is proudly sporting some Sideburn stickers.
We featured their KX500 in Sideburn 13 and their Harley XG750 coming up in the next issue. G

Friday, 5 February 2016

Uncle Bunt

John Reed, formerly of Uncle Bunt's Chop Shop, remains British custom-building royalty, despite having left the country decades ago to become a Custom Chrome in-house designer in California. This shot is probably from 1982, when he completed the TR1-based Gold Yamaha. Still looks good, 34 years later, and Mr Reed is apparently still as lean, steely and irascible as he was back then - or indeed when I interviewed him 20 years ago. MP

Thursday, 4 February 2016

In Bruges: Hermanus

I'd like to welcome Hermanus as our latest Sideburn stockist. A new shop in Bruges, Belgium, it opens this weekend. I interviewed one of the owners about living the dream and opening his own shop. GI

Who is behind Hermanus?
I'm Andy Geeroms, 34, born and raised in a little town called Meerbeke, 30km from Brussels. Two years ago I met Evy, also a petrolhead and I fell instantly in love. You only live once, so I decided to leave it all behind, followed my heart and moved to Bruges, where she lived. We both have the same to dream to do 'something' with bikes, especially cafe racers, so after 16 years working as a truck driver I decided to take the shot and just follow my dream. I'm also organizing 'Fly Low', a yearly cafe racer event in Bruges.

Why did you choose the name Hermanus? 
Some years ago, Chris Hunter from Bike Exif asked if I was interested to be in 'The Ride' with my bike. Off course I was! The guys from Gestalten asked what the name of the bike was. We weren't used to do that here in Belgium, it was rather new to name a bike, so I didn't have a clue. Five years ago I was co-founder of a cafe racer club in Ninove, where I used to live before moving to Bruges, called 'the Flying Hermans', so we thought it was cool to name the bike 'Hermanus'. From that moment, people related me with that bike and it became kind of my nickname. Three years later, a lot of people think that my name is Herman or Manus, or sometimes they just say Her.. I don't care, it's funny.. So we decided to name the shop 'Hermanus'
Why go to all the hard work of opening a brick and mortar shop? 
Like I said above, I was fed up with my day job, I worked many years and many hours as a truck driver. My father died 17 years ago, on the age of 48. He worked 30 years day and night for his boss, and when he died, I said to myself: 'Not me'. I've also said, when it's possible and realistic, I will follow my dream. I don't want to die one day saying '..If I..' or 'What if I should...' I don't mind the hard work or financial risk, as long as I can do what interests me. And that are bikes and everything around it.
What at the main brands you will stock? 
Riding gear: Bell, Biltwell, DMD, RSD, Icon1000, Segura, Rev'It, Sunday Speedshop, Holy Freedom
Casual: Iron and Resin, Vans, Dickies, RSD, Bell
Magazines: Sideburn, Motorcycle Cities, Caferacer Cult 6.
What will be your opening times? 
We are opening in the weekend of 6 and 7 February, both days from 10am 'till 6pm. After that, we are open Wednesday and Thursday from 10-13 and 14-18.30; Friday from 10-13 and 14-20; Saturday from 10-18, Sunday from 14-18.

Thanks for the support!
Andy and Evy
Hermanus, Langestraat 53 8000 Brugge +32(0)50 73.83.73
Photos courtesy of Monkeefist Photography

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Extra-terrestrial Surf Punk Party

The Blind Shake, from Minneapolis, in London tonight, Leeds tomorrow, Nottingham UK this Friday, the Glasgow and Newcastle.
The only band where all three members look like Sideburn's deputy editor, Mick Phillips.
Thanks to Dave B for the tip-off. G

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Snow Quake - Deus Report, Video and Photos

Snow Quake
Words: Gary Inman
Photos: Marco Renieri / Deus Ex Machina

It’s a mild May Sunday, in the middle of Milan. The Deus Portal of Possibilities is packed with the owners, builders and fans for the 2015 Deus Bike Build-Off. As the editor of Sideburn magazine, I’ve been asked to be one of the 2015 judges.

In a brief lull in the proceedings, Deus’s Alessandro Rossi, leans over to me, and asks ‘Could we make a Dirt Quake in Italy?’ I pull a face. Then reply, Why don’t we organise something different? Why not… I think for a minute, Snow Quake?

Over the next few months Alessandro shakes trees. The godfather of European flat track and founder of the Di Traverso flat track school, Marco Belli works with Luca and Giulio of Deus Milano and the Deus Café to find a suitable track and Pirelli come on board as a sponsor.

Eight months later, I’m struggling to pull an old lady’s fake fur coat over my armoured leather jacket, my hands still cut and nicked from replacing dirt track tyres with sharply studded rubber. It is -8 Celsius in the makeshift paddock of the Ice Rosa Ring race track, situated in a deep Italian valley, surrounded by jagged peaks, including the famous Monte Rosa, the second highest mountain in the Alps.

Thirty racers from all over Europe are trying to convince their motorcycles to start. A few of the infernal internal combustion engines comply, most find a reason they’d rather not, at least not right now. Two hours later a rare Borile, brought from England, is still being kicked. There is a 65-year-old Harley WL raced by fashion designer Nick Ashley, a fuel-injected MV Agusta 800 and just about every two-wheeler on the spectrum from Piaggio Ciao to Honda chopper. All that links the machinery is the studs and screws in their tyres and the adventurous stripe running through their owners.

It’s clear that few people know what they’re doing, including the race organisers – me in their number. Motorcycle ice racing experience is thin on the ground in Europe. Snow Quake is an experiment with invited riders, we’ll make it up as we go along.

There were loose plans for classes, which bikes and specifications should be grouped together, then even those were junked – just race who you want. No one really cares who wins or loses. We only demand that no one dies. Please.

Like every race, each rider is having their own private battle, some with their choice of tyres and the curving Ice Rosa Track, others with a competitor in front, or just behind.

Incredibly, two riders Mauro from Classic Co in Madrid, Spain and Marco Belli chose to race Yamaha XJR1300s. Mauro is on El Solitario’s BBW that he tuned, Marco is riding a Deus four-cylinder with clip-ons on vicious Pirelli spikes. Julian from Deus Venice flew in from California, via Berlin, desperate not to miss the event. He rode a rare Kenny Roberts Rotax, prepared, and delivered, for the ice track by Geoff of Co-Built in England. With other racers coming from France, Switzerland, Corsica, the UK and Germany it was an international event.

Practice stretches for longer than normal to allow people to acclimatise, before three rounds of heats and a final. The slapdash attitude towards the organisation stretches to lap scoring. It is decided that the first three riders in each heat will score points and they can mark their position on a white board. It’s the honesty principle. No one’s going to say they won if they didn’t. It works, here at least, with this group.

After six hours on the ice, it’s time for the 12-rider final. Young English flat tracker George Pickering is on pole, with Marco Belli, Filolocio on Triumph Bonneville and former WSB, World Supermoto and current World Endurance rider, Giovanni Bussei also on the front row. El Solitario’s David Borras also makes the final on his Triumph ‘Sal del Diablo’.

The four-lapper ends with Pickering ahead of Bussei and a heroic Belli. The podium is carved out of snow, the trophies look like ice. Then the real race starts – to pack up vans and head the two hours back to Milan for the party at the aptly named Deus Portal of Possibilities, where we daydream about following this unforgettable day.
DTRA racer Tom Clemens on the self-built Yamaha that featured in Sideburn. He made his own ice tyres.
Giovanni Bussei brought some WSB/World Supermoto/World Endurance bling to proceedings. 
Deus's Filippo Bassoli has the best guards.
Julian from Deus in Venice, CA came all the way from the US via Germany, and borrowed Wilky's Rotax to race.
Marco Belli was something else on this beast, Deus Milan's own XJR1300 custom. He had the most aggressive tyres, made by event sponsor Pirelli, but he also had clip-ons! He wasn't even the only XJR1300 there. El Solitario brought their awesome BBW.
Tom Clemens leading Geoff Co-Built.
 Jason on the Sideburn 23 Borile cover bike. 
 Tom C again. 
 Roman from Belmondo Garage, Switzerland
 Top Italian journalist and Sideburn contributor, Paolo Sormani and Italian flat track hero Jacopo Monti. His Ciao was something else.
 Nick Ashley on the Private White VC Harley WL. 70-plus years old and still going strong. The bike's good too.
Dirt Quake legend Serge Nuques arrived on this Honda (?). And, as usual, rode it like he stole it. Perhaps he did. Watch the video below for parking tips. 
David Death Spray pulled Adam Brink for a few laps of stylish skijoring
Watering the track, Snow Quake-style.
The podium: 1. George 'Greenfield' Pickering. 2. Giovanni Bussei. 3. Marco Belli
British winner on a borrowed bike, with borrowed tyres. Does that constitute team work?

Thanks to all the racers, Deus Ex Machina, Marco Belli's Di Traverso School and Pirelli Moto Tyres.

See more photos at the Deus Ex Machina blog

Monday, 1 February 2016

Lead suited and booted

'Put on the suit and get on the bike.'
'But pa..'
'Get. On. The. BIKE!'
From Mechanix Illustrated, March 1952 and culled from the entertaining Modern Mechanix blog. Don't miss the Transparent Face Mask. MP