I fell in love with bikes a long time ago…
I was 15 when my friend took me on the back of his new toy. It was only a quick ride, but left me completely speechless. Now if you know a little bit about me, you also know just how rare it is for me to be speechless ;) It also left me with a massive grin on my face and butterflies in my tummy. You know the feeling.. ;)
There was however no way I would be allowed to buy a motorbike, whilst living with my parents. My father lost a friend in a horrid accident and felt strongly to say the least, about the dangers of riding on two wheels.
So I settled for the second best option, being a pillion. I used to go on the back of my friend’s brand spanking new R6 and that’s how my soft spot for R6s formed and Yammy love began.
As with everything that I desperately want, but cannot have, I eventually blocked it out and moved on with my life. Until two years ago, when I went shopping with a friend for his new bike. We walked into a Yamaha dealership and I spotted a stunning girl in Race Blue… All the memories, emotions, butterflies, grins, excitement came rushing back. Yes, I nearly bought her that day. And I haven’t even had a licence at the time!
I rushed back home, found a training school, booked lessons, and run back to Yamaha to buy the bike and order some extra bits. The bike was in the workshop, being modded and lowered, whilst I was learning to ride. Two months later, on the 1st of August 2013, I passed my test and the same day one last part, the made to order Yoshimura exhaust was fitted onto my bike.
The rest is history.
I quickly realised that a lot of people have an opinion that they force on you… “This bike is too fast for you”, “You will suffer from wrist ache”, “You shouldn’t have bought a brand new bike as your first”… I also quickly learnt that none of these opinions actually applied in my case. Buying a brand new bike meant I had to run in the engine, which forced me to ride slowly and gently and allowed to ease myself into it. Being short, I barely reach handlebars and don’t put much weight on them, so don’t suffer from wrist ache. Buying a 600cc, powerful bike as my first kept me humble. Very humble. That beast makes you respect it and keeps you in check.
Now I don’t mind people giving me advice, but I don’t like it forced on me, and I was shocked to realise not a bit of advice was actually useful. And yet, with all these comments coming my way, there were many questions I had, that I couldn’t find answers to.
Yes, if you are a pro and want to buy the fastest, the torquiest or the best handling bike, you can open any professional magazine and you’ll find reviews and articles comparing top of the range motorbikes.
However, most of us, bikers, and I’m guessing it’s probably as much as 90% of the whole two-wheel-community, are not pros. Most of us never take it to the track, never push the limits, and never explore the full potential of the bike. Most of us want comfort rather than launch control. We care more about fuel efficiency rather than top end power. And I realised most of us are not catered for, when it comes to bike reviews.
Then there is my height. What a huge factor when it comes to choosing the suitable bike. It’s not something ever discussed to the extent I am interested in. I am only 5’4 and find some of the bikes challengingly tall, whilst others actually impossible to ride.
So as soon as I started finding answers to my questions, I started sharing them on my Instagram blog. The response was mind-blowing. Turned out there were many short, beginner riders like myself, finding the bike world incredibly intimidating, and wanting to ask the same questions I had, but not having the guts to find answers for themselves.
I have the guts.
Nothing ever motivates me more, than people saying “You can’t do this”. It has a lot, if not everything to do with the fact that when my son was diagnosed with Autism, I heard “You can’t heal him”. I have no control over the most important aspect of my life, my child’s health. I still haven’t made my peace with it, but in every other aspect of my life, if I hear the “You cant do this” comment I go “Yes, I can. Just watch me!”.
When my friend asked if I think I can ride his HP4, even though I thought it would be too much of a bike for me, I still jumped on it, and realised it actually is one of the easiest and most flattering bikes to ride.
When I had an opportunity to ride the very tall 1199 Panigale, I still went for it, just to find out that it is in fact too tall for me. I couldn’t reach and put down the side stand, hence I needed help every time I wanted to stop. Thank God I had my cousin as a chaperone!
I thought it was quite fascinating, how different my perception of these bikes was, to that of the tall, experienced riders, and I started posting my feedback in what I jokingly call Housewife or Minion reviews.
At first I was just testing my friend’s bikes, but it quickly turned out there was a rather large demand for reviews from a female, shortie perspective, and at first local dealers, and then big manufactures started getting in touch and asking me to test their bikes and gear.
I always have only one condition. I say honestly what I think and they either publish the entire review or nothing at all.
I know enough people from the industry to know there’s no money in the bike world. Whether you’re a racer or a journalist, you are not going to get rich, doing what you do. Most people do it because it’s their passion, and this is why, if anyone does it for the money, it stinks promotion from miles away.
I don’t want to promote any brands or be an ambassador for one. I value my integrity, I like saying things how they are. I am not in it for the money. I am in it for the thrills. It is my hobby, my passion. I know what it is like to try and decide what to spend your hard earned money on, and struggling to find an honest review. There rarely seems to be any critique and I don’t like that. Of course every bike has it’s good sides and it’s great to hear about them, but I want to know all the flaws of the bike or kit too, before I commit to buying. It doesn’t mean I won’t invest my money, it only means that I will make a well informed decision. And that’s what I am helping you do. I tell you everything I know and give all the facts, good and bad. If I say I liked something, it’s not because I was paid to say it. It’s because I genuinely liked it. But I am never afraid to criticise too.
And it turns out, that you appreciate it, which is why my reviews are surprisingly popular. So thank you, you lovely lot, for getting me where I am. It wouldn’t be possible without you :)