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Front End Chatter

Author: Simon Hargreaves and Martin Fitz-Gibbons

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Britain's best biking podcast, with Simon Hargreaves and Martin Fitz-Gibbons
158 Episodes
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Front End Chatter #172

Front End Chatter #172

2023-01-2801:48:25

Hello and welcome to Front End Chatter Episode 172, hosted by Simon Hargreaves and Martin Fitz-Gibbons and supported in their noble endeavours by Bennetts, the bike insurance gurus, and bikesocial.co.uk, the world wide web of wokorcycling.  Bit of a special episode of FEC – c'mon, keep it light – as we visit the Motorcycle Industry Association annual conference and speak to the head of the MCIA, Tony Campbell, to find out what the great and the good of the British motorcycle industry are doing to prepare for the UK government's proposal to ban the sale of new petrol-engined bikes in just over a decade from now. It's not all bad news, but some of it might be.  Thanks for listening, and please email your thoughts, reactions, questions and opinions to:  anything@frontendchatter.com Get us on the socials:  @SimonHBikes @Mufga
Front End Chatter #171

Front End Chatter #171

2023-01-1202:01:52

Hello and welcome to Front End Chatter E171 and I’m a bit short on time this week so here’s a condensed version of the usual word salad: FEC is a motorcycling podcast created by Martin Fitz-Gibbons and Simon Hargreaves, a pair of motorcycle content creators (I wrote a load of other stuff here about crumbling ivory towers but thought the better of it and pressed delete). Meanwhile, FEC is truly, deeply, madly proud to be supported and fertilised by the good people of Bennetts, the bike insurance specialists, and bikesocial.co.uk, the best motorcycling website in the world. Pay them a visit, check out what's going on, and get involved with Bennetts Membership with all its offers and discounts. And there are many.  Bit of a slow news week for this episode, so in the absence of actual news worth repeating we have a deep dive into the FECsack instead, covering so many topics you might as well listen than have me type them out here, if that's ok? Ta.  Please keep your thoughts, queries, musings and mumblings coming in to: anything@frontendchatter.com And thank you for your continued aural appreciation.  @SimonHBikes @Mufga 
Front End Chatter #170

Front End Chatter #170

2022-12-2201:58:07

Hello and welcome to episode 170 of Front End Chatter, the UK's finest motorcycling podcast with Simon Hargreaves and Martin Fitz-Gibbons (other finest motorcycling podcasts without Simon Hargreaves and Martin Fitz-Gibbons are available). FEC is, as ever thus far, supported and ported by Bennetts, the bike insurance specialists, and BikeSocial.co.uk, the greatest motorcycling website on the, er, web.  And on this episode, we natter about:  • birthdays, and why BMW are celebrating theirs like a death in the family • prices for Suzuki's GSX-8S and P-Strom, and why maths isn't their strong point • KTM's spy-shotted RC990, and possible the origins of its motor • last chance for an exclusive place to the FEC tour 2023 (It's Grin (and indeed, Gin) Up North) before we spread the love on the internet • our memories of ex-motorcycle journo John Cantlie • plus loads of next bike recommendations, too late as usual but no-one ever does what we suggest anyway Thank you for your listening ears throughout 2022, and 'ears to a similarly audible 2023.  Please keep your thoughts, ponderings, musings and questions coming to anything@frontendchatter.com @SimonHBikes @Mufga  
Front End Chatter #169

Front End Chatter #169

2022-12-0702:03:05

Hello and welcome to Front End Chatter, Britain's best biking podcast even if we – 'we' being Martin Fitz-Gibbons and Simon Hargreaves, a pair of motorcycling ne'er-do-wells who once had an opinion and now just have onions – do say so ourselves, which is just as well because no-one else does.  Front End Chatter is as ever supported like a great surgical truss of benevolence by Bennetts, the bike insurance specialists, and their media empire of bikesocial.co.uk, upon which one can find all the news, reviews, new bike and consumer tests one could wish for. And check out their YouTube channel too.  On this esipode of Fnet Rund Chasser we have, for your aural delectation:  • a bit of goss from that Motorcycle Live they had recently • a thoroughly in-depth chat about Honda's new CB750 Hornet • why World Superbike will be worth watching in 2023 • the return of KTM's 790 Duke and Adventure, only made in China and as we predicted ages ago • details of the FEC Tour 2023 – It's Grin Up North!  • plus a stack of your emails from the FECsack Thank you for listening, and please keep your thoughts, queries and ponderings coming to:  anything@frontendchatter.com @SimonHbikes @Mufga
Front End Chatter #168

Front End Chatter #168

2022-11-1301:49:261

Hello and welcome to Front End Chatter, Episode 168 in the long-running series of Great Motorcycling Podcasts – yes, we're back after a late summer break in which one of us got married and one of us didn't.  Thanks as ever to Bennetts, the bike insurance specialists, and BikeSocial.co.uk – supplying quality motorcycle news, reviews, videos, launches and consumer product tests longer than anyone can remember. No, not the consumer tests themselves; how long BikeSocial has been aro... oh never mind.  Right, 168 is easy to describe: • a big chatter about the finale of the MotoGP races of the season, who won, are the Japanese factories on the way out, and why it will be our last for a while • tons of new bike news, including Honda's Transalp & Hornet 750 slugging it out with Suzuki's P-Strom 800DE and impossible-to-pronounce GSX-8S, plus a bit of green news from Kawasaki (geddit?), the most advanced radar system ever on the new Yamaha Tracer 9 GT+, revamped Triumph Street Triples and loads of stuff we forgot to mention.  Thanks again for listening with your ears, and please send thoughts, questions and offers of pretty much anything to: anything@frontendchatter.com @SimonHbikes @Mufga
Front End Chatter #167

Front End Chatter #167

2022-10-0601:58:39

Hello everyone, and welcome to episode 167 of Front End Chatter, Britain's poddiest motorcycling cast, supported as ever by nos amis at Bennetts, the bike insurance specialists and bikesocial.co.uk, not only the web's most informative and enlightening motorcycling website, but also refreshingly free of the nasty, irritating ads and pop-ups you get on other websites. So let that be a lesson.  And on this FEC we rabbit about: • the new Ducati Multistrada V4S Rally • BMW's uprated S1000RR • Honda's new CB750 Hairnet • ...and which of those is the most important for the future of motorcycling • the action from MotoGP in Thailand, including how Ducati are actually managing to beat themselves • 42 MotoGP races at 21 MotoGP rounds next year, including one in Kazakhstan (why?) and India  • Plus more ruminations from the FECsack  • details of FEC at the NEC – yes, on the Black Horse stand talking with Jamie Whitham on Thursday 24th Nov Thanks for your ears, and please send your thoughts, ideas, disputes and questions to: anything@frontendchatter.com Get us on the socials: @SimonHBikes @Mufga
Front End Chatter #166

Front End Chatter #166

2022-09-2301:27:00

Hello and welcome to Front End Chatter, Britain’s chattiest motorcycling podcast with him, Simon Hargreaves and him, Martin Fitz-Gibbons, and supported as ever by the wonderful folk at Bennetts, the bike insurance specialists, and BikeSocial.co.uk, the best biking website, er, on the internet. And on E166 we have for your aural delectation: the fallout and the fall-offs from Aragon, son of Arathorn, including Marc ‘Mayhem’ Marquez a farewell to Dovi, the new Dani Pedrosa speculation around the new Honda Hornet 750 parallel twin and Transalp more speculation around Suzuki’s forthcoming parallel twin adventure bike and roadster, including why it could be an 800, not a 700 a whole thing about the future of motorcycling if there’s anyone left, a bit of FECsack including Suzuki power modes, Groms, and how crash recovery isn’t the same thing as breakdown recovery. Thanks for listening, please send thoughts, questions, contributions and other scribbled notes to anything@frontendchatter.com @SimonHbikes @Mufga
Front End Chatter #165

Front End Chatter #165

2022-08-2501:53:20

Hello and welcome to Front End Chatter, Britain's best biking podcast, and episode 165 featuring him, Simon Hargreaves, and him, Martin Fitz-Gibbons. Front End Chatter is, forever and day, sponsored and supported by Bennetts, the bike insurance specialists and www.bikesocial.co.uk – the best website on the planet to get your fix of news, views and reviews.  Hot news – FEC will be *briefly* be on stage at the NEC at 11am Thursday 24th November at Motorcycle Live! Be there, and come prepared to FECkle!  And also on this week's FEC we have:  • MotoGP's plans for an additional Sprint Race in 2023 • Marc Marquez's Honda ultimatum • the long-term future of Yamaha and Honda in MotoGP • oh, and there was a race in Austria • meanwhile, we take a guess at Ducati's seven new 'products' in 2023 • plus the usual deep dive in the FEC sack - your questions, queries, comments and thoughts - please send them to anything@frontendchatter.com Thanks for listening!  @SimonHbikes @Mufga
Front End Chatter #164

Front End Chatter #164

2022-08-1502:03:16

Hello and welcome to Episode 164 of Front End Chatter (or 'FEC' as it's also known around these parts) – a motorcycling podcast, ish, supported by Bennetts, the bike insurance specialists and bikesocial.co.uk, the world of biking on the web.  And on this episode of FEC we have:  • a round-up of Silverstone MotoGP, for the benefit of the 26,000 people who went last year but didn't go this time.   • Energica Experia – in a genuine ooo, Mufga test rides the best electric bike, by a mile, so far. • Royal Enfield make the UK's best-selling big bike.  • Triumph's Enfield Meteor rival, built by Baja . All this and more, including ruminations from the FEC sack of listeners' emails.  Thanks for listening, keep the emailed questions coming to:  anything@frontendchatter.com @SimonHBikes @Mufga 
Front End Chatter #163

Front End Chatter #163

2022-07-3101:50:39

Hello and welcome to Episode 163 of Front End Chatter, Britain's most flavoursome motorcyclistic podcast with Simon Fitz-Gibbons and Martin Hargreaves if you're listening in black & white.  Front End Chatter is supported by Bennetts, the bike insurance specialists, and BikeSocial.co.uk, the best place on the web to keep up to speed with all things two wheels (and don't forget the Bennetts' YouTube channel wot has tons of good stuff on it).  And on this week's FEC we have:  • testing jackets for RiDE magazine on the hottest day EVER  • the splendour of a Bennetts' track day at Cadwell on an SV650 • World Supers from Donington • running over cats and dead piglets • does MotoGP visit democratic countries?  • why boots squeak and how to fix it • how much better is a Tracer 9 GT than a Tracer 900 GT? • should we experiment with cornering ABS? All this and much more, or less, depends on your point of view and the orientation of your ears.  Thanks to everyone for listening, please keep your emails coming in to anything@frontendchatter and see you soon! @simonhbikes @mufga    
Front End Chatter #162

Front End Chatter #162

2022-07-1501:34:10

Hello and welcome to Front End Chatter, Episode 162 of the long-running family of motorcycling podcasts featuring wayward sons Simon Hargreaves and Martin Fitz-Gibbons (combined motorcycle journalism age: 50+, combined mental age: -50), supported like a pair of workshy fops by the patriarchal benevolence of Bennetts, the bike insurance specialists and bikesocial.co.uk, the place on t'internet to get all your bike info.  And on this week's FEC we have:  • when does riding off-road stop being fun? • Peco Bagnaia done for drink-driving and sticking his car in a ditch • Suzuki cease World Endurance support as well as MotoGP – is it the beginning of the end?  • detail on Ducati's V21L MotoE race bike (which exists and be ridden) and Triumph's TE-1 prototype (which exists but won't) • bolt-ons that make you ride like an idiot All this an much more...  Thanks everyone for listening, please send your thoughts, feelings, emotive pleas and questions to: anything@frontendchatter.com Get us on Twitter and Insta: @SimonHbikes @Mufga
Front End Chatter #161

Front End Chatter #161

2022-07-0101:55:251

Welcome to Front End Chatter, Britain’s favourite biking and egg-throwing podcast, presented by Martin Fitz-Gibbons and Simon Hargreaves, and supported by Bennetts, the bike insurance specialists, and bikesocial.co.uk, the best and most complete motorcycling website on the, er, web. On episode 161 of FEC: When is a MotoGP crash a mistake and when is it reckless riding, and what’s the difference? what is a Maeving RM1 and are friends electric? • Mufga puts his best foot forward at the Royal Enfield Slide School RIP Steve Harris, one third of Harris Performance How much power is too much, and what does too much feel like? How do we ride with people who are slower than us, and is it ok to get a bit frustrated sometimes? Is a slow, safe rider a ‘better’ rider than a quicker but riskier rider? All this and much more, including pillow-fighting. Thanks for your ears, please spread the good word (and the bad ones), and get us on the socials: @SimonHbikes @Mufga    
Front End Chatter #160

Front End Chatter #160

2022-06-0302:02:051

Hello and welcome to Front End Chatter, Britain's Podcastiest Motorcycle, brought to you by Simone Hargreaves, Martina Fitz-Gibbons, Ben Nets (the bike insurance specialists) and bikesocial.co.uk (the best biking website on the er, web).  And on this, the 160th episode, we have for your aural delectation, gossip about:  • Marc Marquez – will he or won't he?  • Suzuki – will they or won't they?  • MotoGP – is it better than WSB or not?  • The FEC800 – was it amazing, or was it amazing?  • Simon's injury – is it broken leg or ankle?  • Yamaha's Ténéré 700 World Raid – is it better than a Ténéré 700 or not?  ...and much, much more! Thank you very much for listening, and please follow Simon and Martin on the socials:  @Mufga @SimonHbikes And get your insurance from Bennetts, visit www.bikesocial.co.uk, subscribe to RiDE magazine and buy your kit from www.sportsbikeshop.co.uk
Front End Chatter #159

Front End Chatter #159

2022-05-0302:07:131

Hello and welcome everyone to Episode 159 of Front End Chatter, Britain's Lengthiest Motorcycling Podcast – supported and extended by Bennetts, the bike insurance specialists, and Bikesocial.co.uk, the best biking website on, er the web. And on FEC159 we have:  • MotoGP gossip from Portimao and Jerez • the FEC800 is nearly upon us! • Suzuki Bennetts BikeSocial Busa Bonanza • the planned trials of 'noise speed cameras' • more on motorcycling training in the US • disappearing testicles and inopportune arousals •... and plenty more where that came from Thanks again for listening and please keep your thoughts, questions and poetry coming to anything@frontendchatter.com And catch us on the socials: @SimonHBikes @Mufga
Front End Chatter #158

Front End Chatter #158

2022-04-2302:04:22

Hello and welcome to Episode 158 of Front End Chatter, Britain's most sideways motorcycle podcast, supported by Bennetts, the bike insurance specialists, and BikeSocial.co.uk, the best place on the web for all your biking news, views and reviews.  And on E158 we have:  • the implications of Marc Marquez' remarkable ride at COTA • what is going on with Alvaro Bautista's hair? • The return of the Honda Hornet, but not as we remember it • Kevin Schwantz and Wayne Rainey ride together again at Goodwood Festival of Speed • Mufga's new bike revealed! • why are some modern bikes too cramped to even fit an alarm? • the merits of revamping your existing track bike instead of buying a new one ...plus much more!  Thanks for listening, keep your questions, thoughts and admonishments coming to anything@frontendchatter.com Follow me and him on the socials:  @SimonHBikes @Mufga
Front End Chatter #157

Front End Chatter #157

2022-04-1001:47:32

Hello and welcome everyone to Front End Chatter, Britain’s talkiest motorcycle podcast, and episode 157 presented by Martin Fitz-Gibbons and Simon Hargreaves – supported by Bennetts, the bike insurance specialists, and BikeSocial.co.uk, the world of motorcycling on the web. And on today’s episode we cover the following ground: MotoGP gossip post Argentina but pre-Circuit of the Americas (well, the North Americas) will head-butting a herring gull write off your helmet? bar muffs – sensible and comfortable, or unforgiveable fashion faux pas? should you take your helmet as hand-luggage or checked-in hold luggage on a flight? does a wide helmet aperture reduce riding stress? suggestions for extending life of a high-compression two-stroke (no, really) best all-season daily textile jacket for under £200 group riding as a confidence-builder and much much more Thank you so much for continuing to grace us with your ears, and please keep your thoughts and questions coming to anything@frontendchatter.com Catch us on the socials: @SimonHBikes @Mufga
Front End Chatter #156

Front End Chatter #156

2022-03-2801:35:41

Hello everyone and welcome to Front End Chatter, a motorcycling podcast of sorts in which Simon Hargreaves and Martin Fitz-Gibbons conspire, despite something like a combined half century in motorcycle journalism, to demonstrate the absence of having learned anything worthwhile. They are ably supported in their endeavours by Bennetts, the bike insurance specialists, and BikeSocial.co.uk, the best motorcycling website in the world. If you’re insuring you bike, you’d be well advised to have a look at  Bennetts BikeSocial Membership scheme, which gives you access to a vast array of discounts, competitions, tracks days and events – including the upcoming Busa Bonanza: the chance for Hayabusa owners to come to Elvington near York and take their bike up the runway as often as they like. Details below. Onto FEC Episode 156, among the contents of which you may find: guff from the second MotoGP race from Indonesia, including Marc Marquez – he gets knocked down, he gets up again... but how long can this go on? MotoGP Unlimited: hit or a miss? ex-500GP-and-lots-more old-age-race-ace Jeremy McWilliams wins a race in the US on an American V-twin for the first time since 2010, when he last won a race in the US on an America V-twin Busa Bonanza details, and why going fast in a straight line is a Good Thing KTM 790 Duke makes a comeback after a colossal one year’s absence Honda Hawk, a modern café racer based on the, take a guess, yes, the Africa Twin platform Triumph’s Tiger 1200 ridden, rated, and is it as good as a GS? There isn’t lots more, because that’s it for this week! Lots of FEC-sack emails thoughts, questions and ponderings in FEC158, promise! Thanks for listening and supporting FEC, and please continue to spread the word! Follow Simon and Martin on the socials at: @SimonHBikes @Mufga Busa Bonanza details! Calling all Hayabusa (and B-King) owners, road legal or otherwise… how would you like to attend our event in conjunction with Suzuki GB for as many high-speed runs as you want? What?We’re calling the event, The BikeSocial Busa Bonanza! BikeSocial and Suzuki GB are inviting all Suzuki Hayabusa (and B-King) owners, road legal or otherwise, to a disused two-mile long airfield for a chance to run their bike flat-out. Straightliners, the drag racing events experts, will use their immense experience to operate the event with support from BikeSocial and Suzuki GB. Bikes that have run at over 200mph will also be running, and a team of experts will be on hand to help with launches and body positions. Free professional photos, as well as a commemorative printout of the registered speed at ½ mile and one-mile intervals, and a beautiful sticker(!) will form part of the record of your day. Suzuki GB will bring several of the latest generation Hayabusa models which can be booked for a trial on the day. The 2022 Buildbase Suzuki team who’ll be competing in the Bennetts British Superbike championship will be in attendance along with riders Christian Iddon and Danny Kent, fresh from the season’s opening round at Silverstone. Come on, how many opportunities will you get to feel what 170mph+ is like?! Where? Elvington Airfield, Yorkshire, YO41 4AU. A former RAF base. When? Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 10.30am – 5pm. Gates open from 8:30am. First runs at 10:30 following the safety briefing. No need to pre-register, just turn up. Spectators are welcome too but it'll only be Hayabusa's and B-King's permitted on the runway! How much? After a £5 entry fee per person (rider, pillion or spectator), the opportunity to run-what-you-brung along the runway will be free of charge for BikeSocial Members, but there’ll be a one-off £10 charge for non-members. There is no restriction on the number of runs between 10.30am – 5pm. Small print: Riders will be required to sign an indemnity and have their riding gear checked (one-piece leathers preferred though 2-piece leathers must zip-together all the way around) then they’ll receive a sticker for their bike and a wristband for themselves. Only once a safety briefing is completed can the rider join a queue to be escorted to the beginning of the runway. Only one bike at a time will be permitted on the runway. The noise restriction is 105dB static. For those wishing to book one of the latest Suzuki Hayabusa road bikes to test on the runway, you need to provide your licence and DVLA check code. You will be entitled to two runs. Spectators: £5 (under 16s free but must be accompanied by a fee-paying adult). BikeSocial members must bring their policy or membership number. We look forward to welcoming you to Elvington, and don’t forget to tell all your Hayabusa owning friends! For further information or any questions, please email us on enquiries@bikesocial.co.uk or join the discussion at the Busa Bonanza Facebook Events page          
Front End Chatter #155

Front End Chatter #155

2022-03-1102:01:40

Hello and welcome to Front End Chatter E155, the Ben Bostrom episode, presented by Simon Hargreaves and Martin Fitz-Gibbons from Chatter Manors, ably supported by Bennetts, the bike insurance experts, and BikeSocial.co.uk, the place for all your motorcycle news, launches, reviews, road tests, product tests and racing. And on this edition of FEC we have: the first round of MotoGP 2022 from Qatar and matters pertaining... as Triumph announces the restarting of bike manufacture in the UK, would you pay more for a bike assembled in the UK instead of elsewhere in the world? should tech development in MotoGP, like carbon discs and shapeshifters, be limited to relevance on road bikes? Honda’s V4 history filtered through the FEC mangle ...and much more – nearly two hours’ worth of chatter and bobbins. Thank you very much for your ears, please keep your emails, thoughts, opinions and musings to anything@frontendchatter, and catch Martin and Simon the socials... @SimonHBikes @Mufga
Front End Chatter #154

Front End Chatter #154

2022-02-2501:57:09

Hello and welcome to Front End Chatter E154, and – please put your lips together and pipe us a tune – it’s our 8th birthday! That means Simon has been making Front End Chatter for 14% of his life – and 20% of Mufga’s. Front End Chatter is proud, nay, positively tumescent to be sponsored and supported by Bennetts, the bike insurance specialists, and their multimedia wing, BikeSocial.co.uk. We implore, nay we beseech you to get your bike insurance with Bennetts – bike insurance run by motorcyclists, FOR motorcyclists, and putting more back into the industry than any other bike insurer, FACT. From BSB sponsorship to their YouTube channel with bike reviews and features and kit and gear tests, to the BikeSocial website with news, stories and tests – right through to BikeSocial Membership which gives you access to tons and tons of cool stuff such as: discounts at Sportsbikeshop, money off Yoshimura and Akrapovic exhausts, R&G stuff, Evotec stuff, a VIP weekend at the Nick Sanders Expedition Centre, and bargain track days exclusively for Bike Social members.   Anyway, before all that, a bumper episode of FEC including MotoGP testing from the disintegrating Mandalika circuit, rants about MotoGP Unlimited, surprising indifference to the news Wayne Rainey is riding at Goodwood Festival of Greed Speed, the new Yamaha Ténéré Wordle Raid, and a slew of lovely listener emails. Keep ’em coming to anything@frontendchatter.com And catch Simon and Martin on the socials at @SimonHBikes @Mufga
Front End Chatter #153

Front End Chatter #153

2022-02-1302:11:09

Hello and welcome to Front Endy Prongs number 153 in the long-running cerealised podcast of motorcycle-related things, sponsored forever and a day by Bennetts, the prince among Thebes of bike insurance specialists – and bikesocial.co.uk, the number one place to go for bike-related news, reviews and product and kit tests. And check out Bennetts' YouTube channel, with all the lovely lovely lovely moving images contained therein.  Now, to business. This week Simon and Martin natter about:  • MotoGP testing from Sepang • sending long termers back to importers in a crate • taking the bodywork off test bikes on location • Norton ex-boss Stuart Garner pleads guilty • Triumph's TE-1 electric Speed Triple ready for testing • BMW's 2022 K1600 reviewed • and a tone of other stuff, including a smattering of your lovely lovely lovely emails Thanks for continuing to indulge our witterings, and please continue to send emails with thoughts, queries and questions to  anything@frontend chatter.com Catch us on the socials at:  @SimonHBikes @Mufga
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ian logan

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Jul 20th
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Paul Currans

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Sep 14th
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