20 things that drive you mad about biking

You love motorcycling, but there are aspects to riding bikes that never fail to drive you round the bend. We’ve identified the very things you hate the most, from unscuffed kneesliders to the British weather...


Always read the dates on a speeding fine. If the Notice of Intended Prosecution is served over two weeks after the offence is committed it is invalid. This applies to all speeding offences, including hand held lasers, GATSO etc.


If you’re pulled over get off the bike, turn its ignition off and remove your lid. Don’t turn into a wailing, babbling fool - remain calm, listen to the officer’s questions and answer them honestly. Gauge what kind of policeman you’re dealing with and inject a little humour into the conversation if you think it’ll help. Nothing you say can be taken in evidence until you are cautioned, so if he asks how fast you were going, say ‘a bit over the speed limit.’ If you say ‘I have no idea’ it singles you out to be a fool, and cops hate fools. If you’ve cocked up, admit it. The cop will judge what kind of character you are and whether he’s going to give you a ticket or not.


Look for extra aerials and a camera mounted below the rear-view mirror. When overtaking have a look inside the car for a TV screen in the middle of the console (bigger and lower than a GPS) and if the driver and passenger are wearing a uniform or are suspiciously smartly dressed. Also look on the rear parcel shelf for a lump between the headrests, this is the pop-up matrix warning display.


Don’t speed within 50 miles of Calais, especially when there is a large event such as Assen WSB or Le Mans on. The police in Calais are bastards and set up traps to catch Brits.


If you receive a penalty notice try to cause as much aggravation as possible. Wait until the last minute then write asking for an extension and the photographic evidence, then ask for the camera’s calibration details. If more than one person is insured on the bike say you need more time to identify the rider. Do everything you can to help, and never lie, but just make it as painful and drawn out a process as possible. Some forces give up and lose interest.

Scooter riders

Thanks to an unhealthy hormone balance and new-found levels of testosterone the hoody-wearing chav on his 50cc Speedfight will kick your arse in a race across town. He doesn’t have a clue about riding skill and every time he yanks the throttle open or throws the bars around you wince as you know how close to eating the kerb he is. At a standstill he will do everything in his power to beat you off the lights, at which point you’re so incensed (that he beat you) that you are now reduced to his pathetic, spotty level and have to do everything in your power to overtake him and save face. Maintenance is something that adults do so he doesn’t bother, but he will have some how sellotaped the loudest exhaust this side of a cross channel Hovercraft onto his stolen moped, doubling his horsepower to a mighty 9bhp...

Knee sliders

Why do people display knee sliders like some scuffed medal of honour? Blokes who walk around the car park of a biker meet with incredibly scuffed sliders, pretending they did it all on their weekly wobble around the same car-infested roads. Who cares about getting your knee down? Er, lots of people it seems. That’s the trouble. You’ve got a £10,000 motorcycle and a £1,000 set of leathers and your sliders are untouched. To some that means you're clearly unable to ride and therefore you should sell the bike and take up golf instead. Those who brag about getting their knee down clearly aren't getting enough of something else.

If you really want to get your knee down, then this guide is for you.

Buying a dud

The ad said “one careful owner.” It’s around the corner so you pop round after work. It’s dark when you get there but you’ve bought bikes before. Everything seems in order but you got over-excited again, didn’t you? You always tell your mates to “walk away if you’re not sure”, but you need to practice what you preach. Go out early the next day, only the panels don’t quite line up like you remembered last night and there are some funny welds. Oh well, at least it rides good. Well it does for the first 10 miles, then the engine gets up to temperature. The same temperature as the sun, that is. And it goes round lefts far better than rights. Back to the bloke’s house incensed, only to find that he didn’t live there in the first place.

Here are some tips to follow when buying a used bike.

British weather

Snow in April and sunburn in November? Oh yes. If the forecast says rain, you don’t bother making any plans and book the bike in for a service instead. The rest of the nation goes lobster in a freak heat wave and you're bikeless. If the forecast says sun you get just far away enough from your house to guarantee that you will be utterly soaked when the inevitable cyclone comes through. That’s a full seven hours’ of cleaning buggered up in two minutes. Obviously you didn’t bring any waterproofs this morning and now you can’t feel your fingers because it’s 6 degrees and dropping.

However, should you find yourself caught out in the rain here are some quick tips to get you home safely.

Biker meets

The whole point of having a bike is to get out there and ride the bloody thing, be individual, improve your skills and feel like you can do whatever you want, whenever you feel like it. You know this, so why are you drawn like a moth to a flame to your local bike meet?  As you arrive there’ll be 20 riders with the same bike as you, except theirs are all better finished and you’ll never be able to afford the Akrapovic system he’s got. Then some random bastard starts jawing off at you about you’re riding all wrong and all you did was pull into the carpark. And you get done for doing 44mph in a 40 zone on the way home. Bike meets? You can keep 'em.

Old people

Don’t you just hate old people? You’ve been out for a ride, you park up and some old duffer hobbles over to shout at you about some old British motorbike he once owned. You don’t care what he used to ride, it haemorrhaged oil like the Exxon Valdez, had brakes made out of horsehair and handled like a drunken monkey on a trampoline. Being polite you nod and smile at his story until he gets into his 1.1 Polo which you end up getting stuck behind on your way home..


Watching a decent rider stick his bike on the back wheel and bugger off through the gearbox is still the coolest thing it’s possible to do on a bike. You can do the same. On a quiet road you dial in some revs and do the spazziest-looking fork extension ever. Once perfected, you take to the highways to show off your new skill. You must be good because people stop, point and cheer while you hammer it up the road with your engine screaming, clutch smoking and your front wheel half an inch from the tarmac. The next step is to display your talents outside your local pub. Hand your friend a camcorder and head off to warm up. Two days later the video of you flipping your Bandit in front of a crowd of cheering piss-heads has had 2,000 hits. Where did it all go so wrong?

Biker nods

Who nods first, you or him? And who cares anyway? If everyone nodded at everyone then we would all get along a whole lot better. You have to decide whether to nod or not nod depending on what he’s riding and how you’re feeling. He’s riding a bike clearly inferior to yours but you’re feeling kind so give him the sideways head-tilt that’s currently favoured. And he doesn’t nod back – the bastard! Two miles later and you’re still swearing inside your helmet. You will never nod to anyone again.


The days of registering a C90 on a multibike policy and then riding “your mum’s” Fireblade on it are long gone. Today some places quote two or three times as much as the others to insure your bike. But of course, you never find that out until after you’ve paid up. Suck it up and and pay out for a policy, and then you bundle your bike up the road and have to claim. And now suffer the indignity of explaining to a lady in Bengal why you couldn’t stop in time for the car that pulled out in front of you. Five months later a cheque for twelve pence wafts onto your doormat. After careful consideration you decide to downsize to a scooter, which is pinched from outside your house within a week.

But we're also here to help, here are some tips on how to save on your insurance.

The armchair biking bore

Nobody claims to be one, but everyone has experienced the morale-sapping power that a biker know-it-all has. “Nah mate you want three clicks off the rear (sniff), two up the front and a full Akro system, that’s what I had on my Gixxer, made 187bhp at the backwheel and used to come up in top. ”I’m sorry, what does that mean?“ Hang on, if you listen you can actually hear the ‘ram air’ working. It’s worth at least another 10 brake at peak.” As you walk away you can hear him debriefing someone else about how he managed to out-brake them into the roundabout because he has a sweat band around his brake reservoir, which apparently warms the fluid and allows him to use maximum braking force as soon as he pulls away from his house.

Disc locks

Helmet on, gloves on, key in, pull away... and fall off. In front of five people. You must either now pretend it didn’t happen or take a bow for being a complete and utter penis. Now you’ve got a broken clutch lever, a smashed mirror and a scratched fairing panel. Oh, and the disc lock’s smashed your front mudguard. Total bill: £486. How could you forget? You could use one of those coiled-string things that attaches to your handlebars to remind you of its presence, but decided to be manly, so you didn't.

Your riding kit

Like choosing a fine wine or having a fancy watch, your kit says a lot about you. And you’re a slave to your riding gear. Because your mate has top-spec A-Stars you must have the same, the only problem is he won’t be living on beans on toast for the next month because he’s not skint. Unlike you. Now. And the green/black one-piecer you had with your Kawasaki ZX-6R now clashes horribly with your new GSX-R1000. So you try on some new suits and discover you’ve gone up a size. You disgusting fat bastard. And once you’ve changed your leathers, you have to change your boots, and gloves, and helmet, and...

Riding home after a great day’s ride

You have had the perfect day out. The weather was scorchio the whole time and all was good in the world. But just as you are donning your clobber to make your way home, the heavens decide to open up. In an instant you’re tired, you realise your fancy waterproofs are actually just fancy and the journey home may as well be a trek across Nepal. Now your visor won’t demist and you just want to be in front of the telly. To make yourself feel better you think about your favourite food, which makes you hungry. Clicking your heels together three times doesn’t work in real life. You have to get on with it. And when you do get home looking and feeling like a drowned rat you get zero sympathy from the wife, because she wanted you to stay at home and do your chores in the first place. Attempting to get some heat back into frozen limbs you have a hot bath, only to suffer the most unimaginable pain as warmth returns. And then the boiler breaks down.

The police

What is it with the condescending manner that all policemen adopt when they talk to you? We’re all adults here, can’t you just write me the ticket and we’ll be on our way. “Having trouble taking off, Wing Commander?” You know you were speeding, they know you were speeding. Why do we have to play this game like a pair of near-divorcees? The trouble is that you just caught me and now I have to pretend to be shocked at my own behaviour.


We’re not talking about big ones, nobody likes them. It’s the pissy little U-turn mishaps and cold tyre early morning stupidness that really hurts. It doesn’t matter how many years of experience you have, you’ll still have them. At least when you walk away from a biggie you have the opportunity to show off some scars, or even better, plan which bike you might buy next with the insurance money. With a little crash all you get is a bill, always enormous, and then have to be the butt of all your mates’ jokes until one of them jumps off negotiating a particularly gnarly drain down the High Street.

Being beaten by a car

You might have 160bhp at the wheel, super sticky tyres and fast group stickers plastered across your headlight. But he has four wheel drive, huge brakes, a meeting to get to and 340bhp. All of which add up to a package that will make mincemeat out of you if you sissy around. While you’re hard on the brakes on the way into a roundabout he will be turning up Girls Aloud with one hand and sending rudey texts to his secretary with the other, all the while filling your mirrors and making you look like a numpty. Best let him pass and look down at the other side of the bike for that ‘problem’...

Looking for some advice to destroy supercars? Then read this.

Track day ‘fast’ groups

You’ve worked your way up from the back of the slow group to holding your own in the intermediates. You know your way around Donington, and there’s no actual way you could brake any later or get the power on any earlier without crashing. You know this. So you take the plunge, do a session in the Fast Group and discover you’re well out of your depth and by far the slowest rider out there. As you get lapped by dangerous-looking people on battered ZXR400s, all your confidence melts away and you trailer the bike home, a broken man...

Other bikers

So you have the Repsol Blade, the replica leathers, boots gloves and helmet but do you look like Nicky Hayden? No, because Nicky Hayden doesn’t weigh 16 stone and he doesn’t commute across Clapham Common everyday. Why do other bikers do that? Other bikers ignore you when you flick your visor up at the lights, other bikers ride really badly, other bikers swear loudly with their mates at petrol stations and embarrass you. Other bikers rev the bollocks off their bikes in the carpark, other bikers have really expensive clobber that makes you jealous, other bikers have sportsbikes and chicken strips, and that annoys you. Other bikers try and race you when all you want to do is get home, other bikers think way too highly of themselves. But not you. Oh no.

Brand new bikes

One minute you’re riding the absolute epitome of two-wheeled technology, millions of pounds of R&D money has been poured into pushing your machine to the very cutting edge of race bred loveliness. Then the new model comes out. Yours goes from a wild superbike to something that would make a good sports-tourer in just one step. Just how much difference can 5bhp and 24 months make? Quite a lot, it seems..


The problem with scum is that they will exist as long as bikes do. First of all is that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you realise it’s not there, then you start checking the other bike rank in case your brain has imploded. Not content with stealing your bike they then have the audacity to burn it 3 miles down the road. And you just spent £500 on security. If you actually manage to get your hands on one of the scrotes you’d better make sure you bury him deep, because if you get caught laying a finger on his greasy head you’ll end up doing time for aggravated assault while he walks free. You called the police who eventually gave you a crime number and four weeks later a Communityt Support Officer comes round to take some details and eat all your biscuits.