Latest from Survival Skills

*** TRAINING *** Evening training, wet weather & last minute bookings
EVENING COURSES – I’m very pleased to say that I’ve just taken a booking for an evening training course. As I’ve offered these almost as long as I’ve been delivering advanced training, I’ve always wondered why so few riders book one. It means you can do a day’s work and still get a ride in at the end of the day.

At this time of the year, it’s possible to start as late as 7:30pm and that means the roads are quieter too. There’s plenty of light for the two-plus hours we’ll be on the road as the sun doesn’t set till well after 9pm right now.

The only problem is that the later it gets, the lower the sun sinks towards the horizon and that can be blinding on a clear evening – so I do some careful route planning to ensure that if we have to run west, we do it early in the session whenever possible, and if it can be arranged, we ride with the sun at our backs for the second half of the course.

Of course, low sun behind us brings its own issues – we can see beautifully ahead, but if we’re running over our own shadow, we’re going to be hard to see by anyone looking in our direction…

…so that particular issue is covered on the online briefing we have a day or two before the session out on the roads.

WET WEATHER GUARANTEE – whilst the weather has finally settled down after our terrible May, it doesn’t mean we can entirely rely on it not to rain – after all, this is England! And June in particular can set off some hefty downpours!

So I offer a guarantee. No, no voodoo incantations, just a simple offer to postpone a course if I think it’s likely the weather might disrupt it.

Why bother? Isn’t it “character-building” to ride in bad weather?

The answer to that is “no”. You’re on a training course because you want to learn how to enhance your riding skills. If you’re slithering around, struggling to see where you’re going and dodging puddles in case they are potholes as deep as tank traps, you haven’t got much spare attention for trying out the exercises…

…unless of course, you’ve booked up a course specifically to look at how to deal with poor riding conditions. I do offer this option.

I’ll keep an eye on the forecast. It’s usually obvious 48-72 hours before the session that we’re liable to have a problem, and I usually make the final decision 24 hours ahead of the course. Sometimes we decide to go ahead, sometimes we can change the start time to avoid a band of rain, and occasionally we reschedule…

…all at no cost to yourself.

LAST MINUTE BOOKINGS – one advantage of having rider training as my day job rather than a hobby is that I offer courses seven days a week, not just weekends. And that suits a lot of trainees who are beginning to have more flexible working practices themselves.

As the COVID-adapted on-road sessions are now two to two and a half hours long, there’s plenty of flexibility on our start time within the day too – morning or afternoon and – as we’ve just seen – evenings during the summer months.

Working full time in training also means I’m rarely booked up every single day, so it’s always worth dropping me a line if you find you have some unexpected free time. There’s a good chance I’ll have a slot free that suits you. And right now, I have some FREE BOOKS from the Survival Skills library to give away too.

And with all that you get the usual carefully thought-out and fully client-centred training that’s personalised to suit YOU – there’s no standardised syllabus and no standardised test. Your goal is simply to be the best rider you can be.

Last Minute Availability:

Mon 14 AM EVE
Tue 15 AM PM EVE
Wed 16 PM EVE
Thu 17 AM PM EVE

And the forecast? Hot and sunny on Monday, fresher and sunny on Tuesday, humid and sunny on Wednesday, but potentially thundery on Thursday!

So what are you waiting for?


What every motorcycle rider should know about CE clothing… and doesn’t!

To find out how the most recent A, AA and AAA standard for motorcycle clothing compares against the old Level 1 / Level 2 standards, watch my video interview with personal protective clothing expert Paul Varnsverry.

– advanced better biking skills for all motorcyclists – whatever your level!

To find out how the most recent A, AA and AAA standard for motorcycle clothing compares against the old Level 1 / Level 2 standards, watch my video interview with personal protective clothing expert Paul Varnsverry, who has sat on the standards committees since the beginning.

Find out how the manufacturers have pushed for the test requirements to be lowered, thus allow existing garments with barely any abrasion resistance to pass the A standard – a standard that can be achieved by ordinary Denim – and thus qualify as ‘protective’.

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Watch, learn and then SHARE this video around your circle of biking buddies. How much protective kit we choose to wear is an individual choice…

…but it’s only right we make an INFORMED choice.



Survival Skills – ON-ROAD & ONLINE COACHING!

Traditional on-road training…
…or online coaching
(updated april 2021)

The coronavirus outbreak in March 2020 required a completely new approach to delivering my Survival Skills advanced rider training. With on-road training curtailed due to the epidemic and lockdown, I transferred what I was doing online.

Even now, in April 2021 when the latest lockdown is easing and there are hopes that the vaccines will help bring the world back to something approaching normality, there’s no need to go back to the old ways of doing things.

And that means Survival Skills will continue online as well as re-introducing on-road training courses!

WEBCAST – ‘Elevenses’
Join me, Kevin Williams, every Wednesday and Sunday at 11am for topical news, controversial views and better biking tips on my ‘Elevenses’ LIVE show – pop along to my free-to-view Facebook page and set a reminder! And if you miss it, you can always watch it on catch-up on Facebook, YouTube or Ko-Fi.
60 SECOND SAFETY – YouTube channel
I’ve had a YouTube channel for years but have always been too busy to fully exploit it. But with some time on my hands last year I started work on a totally new series of videos called ’60 Second Safety’. Each video takes just ONE aspect of riding, and covers it in just ONE MINUTE. As of April 2021, there are now over THIRTY of these quick-fire videos covering everything from cornering to city centre traffic. And look out for other videos covering other aspects of motorcycling. Make sure you pop over, take a look then bookmark it and come back to it at intervals to see what’s new:
I’ve been writing about how to improve skills since the mid-90s. Some of the posts I’ve written are on here, but since 2014, most of my writing has been on the page. Whilst Facebook is great for new content, searching for an old post is hopeless. So over the last year, I’ve been re-writing old posts from the long-running ‘TIPS on TUESDAY’ and ‘SKILLS on SATURDAY’ series and moving them to the all-new Facebook Archive. Right now, there are over FOUR HUNDRED ‘Better Biking’ posts up and ready to read, originally published on the Survival Skills Facebook page and dating back to 2014. As of April 2021, over FOUR HUNDRED articles are already in place, and some are FREE TO READ. Become a supporter and get a MONTH OF ACCESS to ALL the articles and more, for the price of a coffee:
VIDEO SURGERY – the doctor is IN
I’m also offering 1:1 online video sessions from my virtual office. Got a riding issue or a question about biking skills? Drop me a line here and I’ll organise a live webinar with you. No charge, just an invitation to contribute a donation to support the work I do:
Want to get your skills in tip-top shape ready for when we can all get back out on the road? Then take a look at the brand-new Survival Skills
e-course that delivers the content of the Performance: BENDS one-day course in an online environment. There are various pages that you can view FREE, and as for the rest? Well, subscriber access is FROM AS LITTLE AS £3 PER MONTH! Plus you get access to the Facebook Archive. You can check out the content page here:
Subscriber Content Index

For any questions on any of the Survival Skills online activities, drop me a line.

Looking forward to seeing you on-road… or online! Take your pick.

Survival Skills Rider Training
for the best in advanced rider coaching
(however it’s delivered!) 

Kevin Williams
Survival Skills Rider Training
…because it’s a jungle out there

Advanced Riding in 500 words!

Advanced Riding in 500 words!


Hazards and Risk Assessment:

A hazard is anything that may or will cause us to alter speed or course, or come into conflict with other road users, and so put us at RISK. Risk is “the chance of something going wrong multiplied by the impact on us if it happens”. So it’s a good idea to identify high risk manoeuvres and to try to eliminate them from our riding.


Is asking “What if…?” to avoid surprises. Avoiding surprises also avoids panic reactions.

Systematic Riding:

Is about building a flexible riding plan that encompasses the WORST CASE SCENARIO.

Plan for the worst case scenario:

Don’t expect things to go right, expect them to go wrong, and we’ll be prepared if it happens!

If we plan for things going right, we’ll be surprised when they go wrong!

Things that can go wrong can be simple (if you ride close to car doors, what if one opens?) or complex (what if the bend ahead tightens, or the driver ahead and signalling right stops to let a car out of the side road?)

So if things go wrong, you can decide how you can get out of trouble. It could be as simple as going a bit slower!

The Killing Zone:

Is the ‘at risk’ distance where the rider, once committed to negotiating a hazard, can no longer avoid an accident. Think about speed, view and safety bubble to reduce the ‘killing zone’


Can you stop in the distance that’s clear in front of you? At very least, can you swerve? If you can’t, you’re riding too fast.

The MAG Columns: this popular column has been running for nearly a decade in the Motorcycle Action Groups magazines, and are now available for the first time as a collection, updated and expanded, in one collection in either paperback or ebook format.
Over 40 articles deal with topics as diverse as recovering from a cornering mistake to safer overtaking, from overcoming tenseness to riding abroad, from riding in bad weather to coping with poor road surfaces. 
Fascinating topics include the development and improvement of the mental skills we learn as we ride a bike. 
Order ‘The MAG Columns’ direct from our publishers!


When working out where to position yourself, ask three questions:

1. where are the areas you can see into?
2. where are the areas you can’t see into?
3. is there a position which gives you a view into those blind areas?

And a fourth, supplementary, question:

4. if you move there, would you be safe?

This works just as well for the corners you’re approaching as it does for blind junctions, parked cars and pedestrians.

Safety Bubble:

The ‘Safety Bubble’ is a zone of safe space that surrounds us in traffic, in bends and junctions. Keeping the safety bubble as big as possible by keeping following distances sensible and not putting ourselves into dangerous positions helps gives both us and other drivers time to think and react.

Prioritise the bigger hazard:

Which will hurt most? What you CAN’T see is usually more dangerous than what you CAN!

Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should:

Overtaking goes wrong fairly regularly and often hurts when it does, so it’s high risk – don’t overtake just because you can, overtake because it’s useful progress and you can do it with minimal risk.

Finally… continually ask yourself some questions as you ride:

1. is what I am doing SAFE? You shouldn’t put yourself or others at risk
2. do I know WHY I’m doing it? Lots of techniques are applied without thinking, both at basic training level and advanced, everything you do should have a reason
3. does it LOOK safe to other road users? If it doesn’t, they may not behave as expected!

Survival Skills Rider Training has been offering advanced riding skills and better biking tips to motorcyclists of all ages and abilities since 1997. For more information on a Survival Skills advanced motorcycle riding course, check out our website  at For more FREE and INEXPENSIVE tips and tricks, head over to the Survival Skills Ko-Fi page and find HUNDREDS of better biking articles from the Survival Skills Facebook Archive! And don’t forget the Survival Skills YouTube channel with free-to-view videos!


Buy Me a Coffee at

Elevenses – topical news, controversial views and biking tips – LIVE!


Then head on over to and catch up with my new ‘ELEVENSES’ LIVE webcast!

Make a brew, grab a biscuit and pull up a chair and enjoy 30 minutes of topical news, controversial views and better biking tips ready to get back out there!

Join me, Kevin Williams, LIVE every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 11am BST.


You can catch up on Facebook or via my YouTube channel at

(And if you enjoy the webcasts, consider a small contribution to support my work during this difficult time at

*** Coronavirus (COVID-19) *** UPDATE from Survival Skills

On Saturday 14, I put in place a policy with regard to the CV-19 outbreak. Having a duty of care to my customers, I said I believed – as things stood on Saturday – there was relatively little risk in going ahead with practical training, as it is an open air activity, which allows us to maintain ‘social distancing’.

On Tuesday 17, official advice ramped up another notch to avoid ‘non-essential contact’, ‘unnecessary travel’ and to ‘work from home if possible’. The driving test system was still functioning, though I did hear of tests being suspended at some centres. At that point, I decided to suspend ALL face-to-face training on Wednesday 25 March, pending new government advice.

However, as of this morning (Thu 19 March), there have been major new developments. Yesterday, the driving test system was suspended – all tests in all categories were cancelled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and a further announcement was due to be made. I anticipate that all tests will be suspended until further notice. Meanwhile, here in London, tube stations are being closed and services reduced on buses and tubes. Schools will be closed tomorrow.

Although not yet told to shut down, it’s hard to see motorcycle training as essential, so I am bringing forward my own shut-down with immediate effect.

Unfortunately, my training is by far and away my main source of revenue, and like a lot of other self-employed people in all kinds of service industries, if this outbreak of CV-19 is as prolonged as the worst case scenario predicts, I will be under significant financial pressure.

If you are in the same position as I am, I sympathise. Should you be in a more fortunate position financially, there are a few things you can do to help out me in this difficult time.

ONE – you can book a course for the rest of this week, over the weekend and up to Wednesday 25 March.

TWO – if you can’t join me for a course in the next few days, you can support me by purchasing a voucher to be used against a course at some future date – something to look forward to in these difficult times. You can do this directly via my Ko-Fi page – anyone contributing there will automatically receive a voucher for the same amount towards training.

THREE – of course, I’ll be continuing to post free-to-read better riding articles and news, so even if you are not in a location that makes it likely you can take a course at a future date, you can always make a donation directly via my Ko-Fi page

FOUR – as many of us, particularly those of us who are of… ahem, more advanced years… are likely to have a lot of time on our hands, I’m going to be launching a series of webcasts and webinars to look at particular riding issues. I intend to make these free to view too, though donations via my Ko-Fi page will be gratefully accepted.

FIVE – you can buy my books online at:

As it’s likely that deliveries of physical goods will also be interrupted, I’ll be making available e-books of all my products in the next couple of days – watch this space.

SIX – I’m working hard setting up the first module of my ‘Performance: BENDS’ e-course. This should be up and running by the end of the week at the latest, and you are all welcome to sign up for this course. I’ll open up the first module free, then
subsequent modules will carry a modest charge. Watch this space.

I know we’d all rather be out there on our bikes as we head through spring towards the warmer and sunnier months, but even if we can’t ride, we can still talk bikes and better biking.

To round off, let’s all try to help each other through this difficult time.

Thanks for reading, and if you don’t already, follow me over on Facebook at:

*** Coronavirus (COVID-19) *** How Survival Skills is approaching the outbreak

I’m sure that you, like me, have been following the news on the CV-19 outbreak here in the UK with some concern over the last few days.

Right now, major sporting events have been unilaterally cancelled by the organisers, and it looks like the government will be introducing emergency laws next week to ban gatherings of over 500 people.

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I’ve also been looking to see how other organisations within motorcycle safety are reacting.

I received word that at least one of the Fire and Rescue Services have put non-essential public contact activities on hold from today and have cancelled Biker Down, and I believe that other FRSs are ‘consulting’. A motorcycle safety day I was booked to attend has also been cancelled.

What about the DVSA? They issued guidance to ATBs on Friday 13 March which basically repeated standard government advice to “stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms”. They are also offering a free re-booking service at short notice if either the trainee or the trainer has to cancel because of symptoms. The implication is – as of Friday 13 – unless you know you are ill, business as usual.

One extra piece of sensible advice really should have been added to that:

“If you have recently travelled from anywhere which already has a more serious outbreak of COVID-19 – China, South Korea, the Middle East and Italy are obvious examples – you should be self-isolating for 14 days”.

Although it wasn’t in that guidance, it appears that should a driving examiner test positive, the driving test centre will be closed.

The Driving Instructors Association (DIA) have pointed out that trainers should suspend training too if exposed to a suspected case.

As a trainer, I have a duty of care to my customers and whilst I think it’s important not to over-react, at the same time I do believe we all need to be prepared for rapid changes in the situation.

Right now – and I’m aware that because of the exponential upward trajectory in diagnosed cases this could change rapidly – I believe there is a relatively low risk in going ahead with practical training. It’s an outdoor activity in the open air, and we can stay out of service areas and cafes too. So as it stands today, I think with some simple precautions courses can continue to go ahead with minimal risk to either of us.

If you are looking at taking a course, I’m accepting bookings in two ways:

– booking on a day-by-day basis just a few days ahead

– booking ahead as usual but with a proviso that the course could be cancelled as circumstances change – if we end up following the same path as Italy, the decision could be out of our hands in a couple of weeks. For that reason I WON’T be taking a deposit for any training booked from today.

However, if you have already booked and you are concerned about going ahead, then I’m happy to offer an indefinite postponement – and give you a FREE SEAT on an e-course (see below).


With all that in mind, I’m actually working as we speak to put my training back online as an e-course.

I trialled this successfully some years back – many of the people who took it were surprised with just how much they could learn – but the platform I was using was shut down just as I was getting the courses going. Although there are a number of other options, It’s taken an age to find another that was flexible enough for me to use in the same way.

E-learning is an accepted way of delivering skills in many fields, and has been for quite a few years. Because motorcycling is seen as a hands-on skill, many riders really do under-estimate how much learning on any rider training is theoretical…

…and any theory content obviously CAN be delivered remotely – I’m sure you’d agree you can read a book or watch a video, and learn from it, and of course I also provide comprehensive briefing notes and links to videos before any course that tell you not only how the day goes ahead, but also gives you an overview of the course content and how it can be applied.

What’s not so obvious is that we CAN learn practical skills too. If you’ve purchased my book Survival SKILLS (which has had a lot of positive feedback too), you’ll know each section of the book concludes with some simple-to-try practical exercises which allow you to go out and directly try out the theory.

Although I cannot be there to assess the results directly, previous trainees have supplied GoPro footage which can be critiqued. And of course, there’s nothing to stop you booking a practical session after all this has cleared up.

So to sum up. Although I am not suspending practical training immediately, I think it’s sensible that I continually review the situation over the coming days depending on developments.

I hope to have the first module of the e-course up and running by Monday or Tuesday 16 or 17 March. What I’ll do is open up the first module for free, so you can see how you get on with it.

Stay safe out there, everyone!

A day out on Honda’s NC750X

A while ago, I tested the original NC700 just after it was released, riding both the DCT automatic version and the conventional bike with the manual gearshift. It’s hard to believe it was almost eight years ago that I wrote the original article. I titled it:
Fun, functional, frugal… or flawed? Honda’s NC700X tested
Although I subsequently got a lot of flak from happy owners telling me that my criticisms were ‘wrong’ and how good the bike was, I felt those four words really summed up the bike from MY perspective as a potential owner. Obviously, what I want out of a bike isn’t what everyone wants and the machine obviously hit the spot for those owners who gave me a hard time. Nevertheless, my comments were valid, and the fact is, there are also plenty of experienced riders who’ve tried the original NC700 and found it lacking.
Over the hills and far away with Honda’s NC750X
What turned me off about the original? To start with, Honda made a feature of the car-based motor being low revving. But a car engine is designed to haul two tonnes of vehicle away from a standing start, for which low gearing is actually necessary. And with a wheel at each corner, a car is inherently stable, and so changing gear halfway round a bend isn’t an issue if it’s reasonable smooth. But a powered two-wheeler driven by chain is a very different beast. My impression was that the motor was TOO low revving for a bike, with the auto version changing gear so early that it usually caused the chain to chatter when accelerating. Rather bizarrely, the dealer had already advised me that the bike would be better off in the higher-revving sport mode around town. The DCT bike also had a bad habit of changing up a gear halfway out of junctions, just where the bike is leaned over and the rider wants smooth drive for stability. Yes, the DCT is ultra-smooth but it cannot completely eliminate the jerk. I also found it hanging onto a high gear for too long when slowing down which not only offered little in the way of engine braking, but could leave the rider a bit stuck for drive if the traffic started moving again before the bike came to a halt. True, switching to manual mode and riding it on the flippers meant I could change gear when I liked but if we’re going to be overriding the auto box, I couldn’t really see the point of DCT for normal riding so having handed the auto version back, I took the manual gearbox bike out for a spin too. Even with full control over gear shifts, I still found the low red line and the ultra-low gearing a pain. Almost as soon as the bike was moving, it needed shifting up through the box. And in terms of get up and go, it performed almost exactly the same as the auto because both versions of the old bike lacked power – pulling out to overtake a truck uphill on a dual carriageway, there was near-zero acceleration in top @ 60-odd and not much more when it shifted down a gear in response to me cracking the throttle wide open. There were ergonomic issues. The tank was too wide at the rear, pushing my knees out into the breeze. And the indicator switch, moved to where the horn usually sits, was a PITA to operate. Yes, you could (and would) get used to the new, lower, position if you only ever ride the one machine. But it wasn’t ergonomic to reach, and if you swap bikes regularly (as I do) it makes sense to put an important switch like this in the same place as all the other bikes.
Downtown LA – the perfect environment for a DCT bike?
So the NC700 was definitely a Marmite bike. Overall, I DID like the bike – it handled well and on back roads, both versions were fun to ride – but the pluses were not enough to consider one as a work machine. To my surprise, Honda released an updated 750 version almost immediately, with a slightly bigger engine, a higher rev limit and a bit more power. Although I was intrigued to see how they had addressed the issues, I had to wait a while to get my ride on one and that chance came when my brother bought a 2019 DCT model late last year. And he loves it. Just to put his experience into context, he’s owns a modern WR250 and a classic Honda CB350. He’s ridden everything from an AR80 to a fire-breathing TL1000R, and his riding experience encompasses everything from working as a courier in London to riding from the UK across the Sahara and down the length of Africa to the borders of South Africa on a lightly-modified CB250RSA long before overlanding was ‘a thing’. So what were my impressions of the revised model? Almost the first thing I noticed was that the indicator switch seems to have moved. It’s still under the horn button but now it’s more or less back in line with the thumb joint as opposed to below it, so it works cleanly. Now it’s the horn that is harder to hit, although as a result I hooted rather less often when trying to signal than on the older bike. Frankly, Honda would be better off admitting that this arrangement is a mistake, and going back to putting the buttons back in the conventional positions. As soon as I pulled away in the standard ‘drive’ mode, I noticed that the revised motor changes up a little later which partially solves the chain chatter issue. It also seems to downshift a bit sooner, which offers more engine braking. However, as you pull to a halt, and the revs drop ever lower, you still get the machine ‘chugging’ on the chain, which upsets the bike just as it stops. You can live with it, but it’s definitely a good idea to get this bike upright as it comes to a halt. On the move, you can select between drive and one of the sport modes. As I mentioned, sport mode on the old machine paradoxically worked better in town than the drive mode, yet now the new drive mode seems far more usable and although I did experiment, I saw no real need to switch away from it in the heavy LA traffic. Having escaped the urban sprawl at last, we headed up into the canyon roads north-east of Los Angeles. They make for challenging riding, with a mix of short straights, fairly steep slopes and sharp bends. Whilst drive mode coped, it was also a chance to try out the new multiple sport modes. This new feature gives the option of pre-setting the bike in one of three sport modes, although you can only switch between them at a standstill. Once selected, that mode can be swapped in and out with drive on the move as needed. Something I love about my 600-fours is the long, flexible rev range which allows most twisty roads to be ridden in just one or two gears. It’s not just avoiding the need to shift, it’s all about getting a good mix of drive and engine braking too. On the new NC, the combination of the revised sport modes and higher red line gives a bit more flexibility, and the motor seems to be less busy shifting gear. Stopping every now and again to change the sport modes and trying to get the best results, after much back and forth between the modes, I settled on S2 as a good compromise downhill, although it still had a tendency to change up a gear as I started to open the throttle just as I arrived at a bend. [Edit – I’ve been corrected by owner David Gibson, who tells me you don’t have to come to a standstill to switch sport modes, but just close the throttle completely.  The correction on the sport mode is appreciated, though on a purely practical basis the idea of having to close the throttle completely to change mode on the move is a less-than-appealing one. It would have been better to do something like flip from D to S with a short press, then cycle through S1, S2, S3 with a long press of the button. That would make far more sense than having to shut the throttle on the move.] Once again, I could avoid this by selecting manual mode and changing gear via the ‘flipper’ system – my brother said that he either rides it in S2 or on the flippers – but quite honestly, if I it were me, and the canyons were going to be my regular riding environment, I’d just buy the foot shift version saving the weight and cost of the DCT system.
The incredibly useful storage space is still under the tank, but the filler is still not-so-usefully (if you have throw-over luggage) under the seat. Meanwhile, the plastic catch on the tank doesn’t look too robust either.
However, I suspect that most people won’t be buying this bike for canyon carving, but instead for town and general commuting use. I certainly concede twist-n-go is nice in city traffic and there is plenty of that in LA. In terms of get up and go, the 750 feels as if it’s gained a bit of power too (although it’s a long time since I rode a 700) but it’s still not a fast-accelerating machine. It’s good enough for the traffic light GP, and it pulls well from bend to bend on twisty roads, just like the old bike. It’s when you twist the throttle hard you notice not much happens – even my pretty tame XJ6 has more zip. In normal riding, it’s not really an issue, but there’s still not much in reserve. Fully laden with luggage and passenger, it would tour but I wouldn’t want to be planning too many overtakes without plenty of room to make them. On paper, the bike’s quite heavy but the weight is carried low and on the move the machine changes direction quickly. The suspension may be basic but it’s well-controlled – whilst it may not suit the quickest sporting riders the NC handled some seriously bumpy surfaces with ease. In other words, it’s a suspension system that copes perfectly well with what 95% of riders will need 95% of the time. Likewise, the brakes are good enough without being startling. The bars are well-angled for the upright riding position and the seat was comfortable for the journey on a hot 80F day. Interestingly, I didn’t notice the ‘knees stuck out in the breeze’ effect of the earlier bike either – has the tank been re-profiled at the rear?
Beak, skinny screen, high-ish bars – all the adventure bike styling cues. The 17″ front wheel works fine on the road and the ‘much more road than off’ Bridgestone Battle Wings give plenty of grip on tarmac. I didn’t test them further off-road than the packed dirt though.
One problem my brother reports is poor lighting from the dual LED headlamp on low beam. Just one of the pair of beams is lit, the other joins in when using high beam. Having ridden behind this kind of set-up before, it’s often like someone turns out the lights when low beam is selected. And what about fuel consumption? It was hard to read on the too-small, too-cluttered and too-reflective LCD display (what is this current trend for shrinking all the instruments into a tiny binnacle – give me something bigger and instantly readable any day!) but when I was able to stop at the end of the ride and put my reading glasses on, the dash panel was showing an average 84 mpg at the end of our 175 mile ride in the mountains. That’ll be the short-change US gallons of course, and when converted to the chunkier UK measurement, that is a quite remarkable 101 mpg. And we weren’t hanging around either. My final comments? The improvements are small but make a real difference. It’s still not a choice for everyone but for me personally, the bike’s gone from being one I crossed off the list of possible work bikes to one I’d consider. when I retire the Hornet, I’ll have a long and very hard look at the NC750X. Fun, functional and frugal.

Why Survival Skills?

…because it’s a jungle out there

Since 1997, Kevin Williams MSc and Survival Skills Rider Training have led the way in making high quality rider training courses and advanced motorcycling skills accessible to all riders. The goal of Survival Skills has always been to help motorcyclists at all levels – newly-qualified, intermediate, and advanced – to develop skills and ride with more confidence and enjoyment, not just by offering practical training courses but by offering books, online advice and even working on numerous rider safety projects – often for free!
“Ordinary training? No, extra-ordinary training” Barbara Alam

*** OFFERS *** Yes, it’s Black Friday

I know it’s another US import but hey, ho… everyone is offering special one-off prices and my publisher is no different. So until midnight tonight, you can take advantage off a whopping 25% discount on the entire range of Survival Skills paperbacks:

– the DIY guide to better riding ‘Survival SKILLS’

– ‘Tarmac Tactics’ an in-depth look at riding everywhere from town centre to mountain top

– ‘MIND over MOTORCYCLE’, the book that puts brain into biking

– ‘The ‘MAG Columns I and II’, easy-read articles from my column in ‘The Road’

and not forgetting:

– ‘The Science Of Being Seen’ – the book behind the presentation

Don’t miss out. Get yourself some winter riding and be a better biker next year. Or treat someone you know to a Christmas present with a biking theme.

As always head to to order.




Why Survival Skills?

…because it’s a jungle out there

Since 1997, Kevin Williams MSc and Survival Skills Rider Training have led the way in making high quality rider training courses and advanced motorcycling skills accessible to all riders. The goal of Survival Skills has always been to help motorcyclists at all levels – newly-qualified, intermediate, and advanced – to develop skills and ride with more confidence and enjoyment, not just by offering practical training courses but by offering books, online advice and even working on numerous rider safety projects – often for free!

“Ordinary training?
No, extra-ordinary training”

Barbara Alam