Scotland the Brave: Mackenzie V Four bikes V Scottish roads

Niall Mackenzie re-lives his youth and heads for Bonnie Scotland, with four very different bikes

It's been a few years now since I moved from Scotland to south of the border but, as any ex-pat Scot will tell ye, the draw back home can be strong. The wind (and, yes, rain) in your face, coupled with the smell of the heather brings it all back.

Well, almost. For me the smell of freshly fried chips and spilt Irn Bru beats it as it reminds me of my background back home in Scotland. If you were a teenage bike nut in the '70s, the chances are a chunk of your life revolved around a chippie and its car park.

Mine was called the 'Ochil View' and was a freshly built, white pebble dashed building on the edge of a new council estate - and we loved it. Sadly, it's now a grubby shadow of its former self, but happy memories still linger; memories of sausage suppers smothered in brown sauce, eaten while watching and listening to a huge variety of bikes.

On a typical evening you would savour SS50s, Fizzies, AP50s, all the air-cooled RD Yamaha range and all the GT Suzukis plus the odd Laverda, Tiger Cub and Bonneville.

A favourite run on a Sunday for the 'big yins' was the 100-mile trip from nearby Stirling to Fort William, a twisty run through the forests and alongside the lochs of Stirling on some of the best Tarmac in Scotland. So 30 years on, I thought it was time to revisit my youth (and my chip shop) on four quite different bikes to see which would work best on a variety of roads and in the fickle Scottish summer weather.