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Passionate about Motorcycles

  • Yamaha R1 Turns 20

    Is it really twenty years since Yamaha launched the original R1? Where does the time go?

    It feels like only yesterday that we saw our first R1 sat pride of place in the window of our local Yamaha dealer.

    It was only available in two colour options, that gorgeous deep blue and the iconic red and white paint scheme. It was always the red and white version that edged it for us.

    The R1 was the last great litre sports bike of the last century, it’s place in our hearts and memories mean prices for any 4XV models that remain are only going one way.

    It wasn’t without its faults, early bikes suffered with some gearbox issues, otherwise it was all good. The R1 lives on in the Yamaha range, the current R1M is the pinnacle of two decades tinkering by Yamaha, it’s still giving the other 1000cc sporty offerings a hard time.

    We’d love to stick a Yamaha R1 in our Mad4Bikes shed, we’re forever dreaming on eBay, maybe the 20th anniversary is the incentive we need to dig deep and buy one?

  • Kawasaki ZX6R G Tales form the Shed

    The saga of the Mad4Bikes Kawasaki ZX6G took another twist since our last blog post.

    Having sourced, haggled and taken delivery of a secondhand engine it turns out that we might have jumped the gun. The last owner sold us the bike because the gearbox was knackered, being the trusting souls we are we took his word for it.

    Imagine our delight when a friend popped by the Mad4Bikes Shed and noticed that all that’s wrong with our Ninja is the gear lever is seized to its shaft!

    Hopefully some tender love and care will solve our issue? We’ll be grabbing some tools and lubricant very soon! In the meantime if you need a ZX6G engine we’ve got one for sale!

  • BIKE IT Boxer Motorcycle Handlebar Muffs

    The countdown to Christmas is well underway, what better time to think about things to improve your biking experiences in 2018.

    There’s nothing better than buying parts for your motorcycle, so we’ve been thinking about what items add to your biking pleasure.

    With the worst of the winter weather yet to come staying warm and dry is top of list for those of you who ride in all weathers.

    They might not shout glamour but who cares!

    Wet gloves are miserable, add in cold windchills and it can actually become dangerous if you loose the feelings in your fingers because they’ve become frozen.

    For just over £20 we can help you keep your mitts dry and warm with a new pair of BikeIt winter handlebar muffs. With three layers of neoprene construction they provide ultimate protection for a modest outlay. They are also thermal and come with reflective print for added safety!

    They are a universal fit and suitable for all styles of motorcycles, scooters and quads.

    Once the weather changes you can simply remove them and pop them away until next winter.

  • Kawasaki ZX6G for the Mad4Bikes Shed

    One lump, or two?

    Having purchased a cheap Kawasaki ZX6G for the Mad4Bikes Shed, we now need a plan for it.

    The bike came our way with a suspected knackered gearbox, the last owner was finding it tougher to get the bike in and out of gear, so sold it to us.

    Other than giving the Ninja a good clean we’ve not done much else with it. The thought of ripping the engine to bits to look for the problem doesn’t really appeal, from past experiences they either never go back together, or when they do they’re never right anyway!

    Imagine our delight to see an engine advertised on the internet, even better it wasn’t too far away.

    After a few messages a deal was sealed, this even included the seller offering to deliver it.

    A few weeks passed by before the ‘new’ engine landed with us.

    Seventy quid is all it set us back. The engine is complete and came from a running bike, the starter motor was held back by the seller, not a problem we’ll use the one from our bike.


    The only downer is the exhaust studs are going to need replacing, a few are missing and those that are left have all been cut down, probably thanks to rusted on nuts holding the exhaust on.

    For £70 we can’t grumble with our purchase.

    We gave it a quick clean with some XCP Professional parts cleaner and an old t shirt.


    The engine is now sat awaiting our attention, next step will be to get the engine out of the bike, then the fun can begin.

  • New Motorcycles for 2018

    New bikes for 2018.

    We’ve all seen and read the bumph for the new bikes for 2018, there’s no shortage of tasty models on the horizon for next year.

    Ducati gave us the V4 Panigale, it’s a good looking way to sell you 215bhp over the counter. Honda had something for everyone, new models cam via the CB1000R and smaller siblings, they’ve also given us a taste of what’s in the pipeline with their Super Cub and Monkey bike concepts

    Kawasaki went back to the future with their Z900RS, a good looking bike that is going to do good business for them. The café racer version is slightly more focused, perfect for grabbing a flat white from your favourite hipster coffee store. The H2 SX is very much aimed at riders who want to do lots of miles, the supercharged motor will make it effortless to do so, maybe next year they’ll be one based on the 1990 GTR1000 to attract the retro touring rider from yesteryear!

    Suzuki didn’t have much to shout about this year, other than a reworked SV650 and a few colour changes that was it!

    Yamaha wheeled out their Niken, a three wheeler that’ll either sink or swim….

    These are the bikes that caught our eye, what caught yours?

  • From the Mad4Bikes Shed.

    The Kawasaki ZX6G that came our way last month hasn’t had too much attention, it’s been a busy few weeks at the coalface and a trip to Milan for the bike show took up further valuable time.

    With winter now well and truly taking hold it’s the perfect time to retreat to the Mad4Bikes Shed for some tinkering.

    Right, back to the Kawasaki.

    The last owner sold the bike because the gearbox was giving him issues, rather than investigate and repair it he simply went and bought another bike. I haven’t had a proper look at what’s actually wrong, but when Facebook shoved a complete used engine under my nose I couldn’t stop myself from buying it!

    A few messages resulted in an agreed price of £75, even better the seller said he’d drop it over on his travels, a week or so later he did exactly that!

    The engine came from a bike he was breaking for parts, the only downside of the motor is that every exhaust stud will need replacing, that’s the easy bit, getting the stumps of the old studs out first will be more of a challenge.

    After a bath in XCP universal parts spray I removed the grime, the good news is the oil filter is pretty new, so hopefully this points to a healthy engine that’s had regular servicing.

    Other than no starter motor it’s complete.

    It’s always a gamble buying a secondhand engine, so only time will tell if we’ve got a good one.

  • Sena 20s Dual Bluetooth Motorcycle Intercom

    We have a handful of the Sena 20s Dual Bluetooth motorcycle helmet intercom headsets at a bargain price of £329.99. That is a saving of £150 off the RRP.

    These are brand new, sealed UK stock and carry a full manufacturer’s warranty.

    The Sena 20S state of the art Motorcycle Bluetooth intercom system helps you to enjoy your ride by keeping you in touch with up to eight of your buddies in crystal-clear HD audio, up to 2.0 km (1.2 miles) away, through the Group Intercom™ feature. You can also listen to your music and your sat nav directions.

    Sena’s 20S is the ideal universal Bluetooth headset for your motorcycle helmet, which uses the Universal Intercom™ protocol so it can be used with all Sena and non-Sena Bluetooth headsets on the market.

    Each headset comes with a full set of accessories to suit every helmet application along with a charging lead.

    We used the Sena 20s on two trips this year; one from Milton Keynes to Caernarfon in North Wales and another where we travelled to Bilbao in Spain via ferry and then rode across the Pyrenees down into the south of France. The Sena 20s transformed the ride for me, not only being able to listen to my music and directions from the sat nav but also because I could talk freely with my travel companions. Not only could we comment on the beautiful scenery but we could also relay the road conditions and whether it was safe to overtake the odd slow vehicle in front.

    UK delivery is free at Mad4bikes on all orders over £25.

    If you prefer to speak with someone about your purchase please call our sales team on 01792 653664.

  • Sick ZX6-R Ninja In Da Shed

    It was one of the best sports 600s in its day, now it’s largely overlooked by those wanting a sporty middleweight, but we’ve still got a huge soft spot for the Kawasaki ZX6-R G model.

    The original F model came and went pretty quickly, but when Kawasaki took their second bite of the ZX6-R cherry they created a right blinder. It looked sharp, and even had ram air fitted, it sounds posher than it actually was. Basically it was a couple of tubes of plastic that stuck air inside the air box, it did have another thrill, that was the induction roar it created. It’s pretty big for just a 600, many of the body work panels were identical to its big brother, the ZX9-R C.

    Twenty odd years later and there’s still plenty of these ‘Ninja’ models doing the rounds, this one just rolled up at the Mad4Bikes shed. We keep toying with the idea of a winter project, this might be it? It’s well tidy and there’s no signs of any crash damage, other than a scratch on the tank it’s pretty mint in the bodywork stakes.

    There is a large blue bottle in the ointment though, it’s got a poorly engine, well to me more precise it’s got a sick gearbox. All of the gears are there, it just takes a lot of effort to find them.

    Being a popular model there’s no shortage of used parts out there propping up shelves at either bike breakers or in people’s sheds, with the help of the internet it’s easy enough to find a replacement engine, which would be much less aggro than stripping and repairing this troublesome motor.

    The bike warrants repairing, it’s in good order and there’s even a few nice touches like a carbon rear hugger and a tinted screen. We’ll do our sums, add it all up and see if it’s a cost effective path to tread.

  • There Are Old Riders and There Are Bold Riders, but There Are No Old, Bold Riders……




    The avid reader of my inaugural blog entry may remember that I had booked on a Bikesafe Course to get me restarted on the Tiger in a roadcraft-worthy manner. The idea being that I could pick up some useful information and stay alive in the process. Nothing at all to do with the fact that the course is fully subsidized by local authorities and lunch is included!

    The course is held at a Fire Station just on the northern edge of Swansea. Mid & West Wales Fire Service have been extremely active in the last few years in the Road Safety arena, and quite a few of the Bikesafe courses in South Wales are held at Fire Stations. There were 12 riders there for the course, across all age groups. The course was led by a serving Police Motorcyclist who was joined (just in time for lunch!) by 3 more Police Bikers, who would be doing the afternoon assessments. There were also some RoSPA Gold Riders helping out with the assessing.

    The morning session comprised various videos of different scenarios such as cornering, overtaking, road positioning etc and plenty of discussion on each video. It was quickly apparent just how many of us had read the Highway Code since passing their test! (A clue to how long ago I did my test – the examiner was on foot walking around the block and jumping out every so often to tell me what to do).


    The afternoon session was practical with observed rides with regular stops for feedback. The Bikesafe course is not formally assessed, but they do provide feedback during the rides, and then a written assessment after. Its then up to the rider if they want to go on higher-level courses and obviously further improvement. I was lucky enough to be 1 to 1 with my observer, but some were 3 riders to 1 observer.   We headed North and ultimately covered about 90KM on the ride, with a (free) lunch stop at the Owl’s Nest Tea Stop in Llandovery (a VERY biker friendly café), and then back towards Swansea over the Black Mountains. (See route on map). Lots of different types of roads covered, and lots of thinking was carried out!


    The whole idea of the training is to be in the right place, in the right gear at the right time. It’s all about making smooth, safe progress and avoiding the hazards of modern driving (e.g. other drivers). It certainly makes you think. There is quite a bit to take in, and it definitely has helped me feel more confident. I also recognize that you never stop learning so once I have got a few more miles in I will be looking to try the next level of training which includes a formal assessment and grading that is recognized by DVSA. It can lead to cheaper insurance, but even if it doesn’t I like the fact that I’m reducing my risk of being in an accident in the first place.


  • This weekend we're heading off for a jolly to the Stafford Classic Bike Show

    This weekend we’re heading off for a jolly to the Stafford classic bike show.

    As shows go its one of the better ones on the yearly list of biking events.

    The thing that we enjoy is the auto jumble, who doesn’t love rummaging through old bike parts that are rusty, greasy or sometimes both! Then only to discover that seller wants an eye watering amount for them.

    The art of having a haggle lives on at the auto jumble, though these days the fun is often short lived when traders say that’s their best price. I’d get more on Ebay.


    Away from the pleasure of the jumble fields there’s all of yesterdays sat inside, think of any bike from the 70s, 80s and 90s and the chances are you’ll find one inside, each one polished and sat there like an animal at the zoo. From FS1-Es to Z1300s they’ll all be inside in the warm.


    The people who own these bikes are dead friendly, they are keen to discuss the pleasure and pain of their classic bike ownership.



    Here’s a few essentials to take with you if you fancy a Stafford mooch.

    Let’s start with the important stuff, food!

    Take a packed lunch and some drinks. The pros will have a flask and fancy sandwiches within their multitude of Tupperware tubs, the rookies will have a carrier bag that contains some energy drinks and a tube of Pringles. Try and aim to be somewhere in the middle, avoid heavy items, it’s a long day, and you’ll be carrying it around! 

    Money - Sounds an obvious one doesn’t it? With most traders wanting cash for their wares make sure you grab some bucks before going. Besides, have you ever tried to haggle with a Switch card? It’s awkward. Cash is king. 

    Pace yourself - There’s so much to see so don’t spend too long jibber jabbering with people on stands, etc. Just when you think you’ve seen it all you’ll find another hall to explore.  

    Get there early - Another obvious statement, but take notice. Car parking can create tail backs on the main road to the show ground, it’s not unheard of to be squared wheeled for an hour or so, or you could just go on your bike.

    We will be taking our camera, so look out for updates on our Facebook page!

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