Yes – we are back. Back with a bang! My fingers had been itching to write an article like this. It’s difficult to put into words everyone’s feelings since March 2020, so I’ll let the bike do the talking. I had several bikes lined up in my mind that I was aching to get out to ride. This one was the first one I thought of at about the same time last year, so I thought it was right to start with an “A”.

Aprilias have a massive racing history, and they are pretty good at reminding you of that. I sat astride the bike in the forecourt of Motech in Newcastle, and for the first time, even before I switched the ignition on, my first impression was of a decal on the petrol tank. It reminds me of the Aprilia that has 54 World Cup victories, and both the front mudguards and the TFT when it fires up shows the legend “#be a racer”. That set the tone for the ride.

This bike is in a lovely set of colours which are Lava Red. After being shown around the bike and handed the key, it was easy to find a comfortable riding position on this middleweight sports bike. It’s set against the likes of the Honda CBR 650 but makes no bones about its racing pretensions. It looked to me as it was a racer set for the road. Although it is a parallel twin, it’s basically the front two cylinders of the RSV4 V four bike. It’s the bigger engine cut in half and angled forward. It is, however, a 100 brake horsepower bike (yes!). Put that with a light frame, beautifully machined and engineered accoutrements and I thought that this is going to be a great ride.

Firing it up, even from the standard exhausts racket (Mr Akropovic is available as well), it has an urgent bark and crackle and the TFT display so loved by new bike manufacturers, clicks on with the first thing telling you “#be a racer”. I chose the middle-of-the-road mode which is dynamic rather than commute or race. You can input individual dial codes for engine, brakes, suspension and all of the gubbins necessary nowadays, but I chose not to. With only 21 miles on the clock, I was advised to take it easy on the not yet run in tyres.

I decided to run up the Northumberland coastal route and made it to Alnmouth, along the twisting roads from Warkworth. I liked that stretch so much that I went back and did it a few times. This bike loved those switchback roads. It has that ability to stay exactly where you put it and take you around the tightest bends, without a flicker; far better than you think you can do so yourself. Handling, flickability, brakes and the suspension setup (even to my standardised approach) were fantastic for this bike. I know there is a more relaxed riding style for the similarly sized and engined Tuono, but I didn’t have any problems there and back on the road with my “office workers bad back”. Town work on these sort of racers are harder without a sit-up riding position, but as soon as the open road beckoned, this bike wanted to be away.

I kept the revs to 5,000 instead of the 12,000 indicated, there was more than enough. Those with higher standards than myself, and expectations of what they need from their bike will be delighted to dial in all of their requirements, into the electronic system. This bike has an APRC system. It is one of the most advanced and race orientated systems designed to prevent instability. Obviously, I didn’t call upon it. That tricky misfuelling type, hiccuping at low revs around town; especially when the bike is cold, is a bugbear that some more mature riders are unhappy with on modern production bikes. There was none of it here – I say again none of it. It was sweet from start to finish. Those angular wing mirrors stayed exactly where they were with no vibration or blurring.

I took the bike out on one of the hottest July days. The hot wind was perfect, and the bike settled in on the ride north as soon as we got to respectable speeds. It was loud but not obtrusive and had a willingness to rev which I didn’t want to entertain as this demo had so few miles on it. I was able to shiftless change all the time without any problems, but forgot it had a quick-shifter. There was a lot of traffic about which spoiled my plans. When I did get the chance to let the bike have its head, it responded gloriously. This is a non-run in bike, so the expectations when it will be run in will be fantastic.

I thought of an Italian themed cafe for this bike but everyone I tried to go to was closed. I came across my old friends at Spurrelli’s in Amble and decided it had to be some of their ice cream with a double espresso Macchiato sitting in the veranda. I did change the Italian theme and had sticky toffee pudding-flavour ice cream as my revenge for the euro final. As is always the case, I seem to get the hang of it after a coffee and something sweet and the ride back was splendid. I had a couple of sublime moments on the bike on beautifully tarmacked bends, which flattered my riding style – that’s the effect with this bike. I could have gone over the borders and not come back with it. It was begging to be ridden.

Motech tells me that these types of bikes are flying off the shelves. This bike is beautifully engineered, comfortable and soulful (not every bike has that all-important description nowadays). Get on down there and experience a bit of Northern (Italian) Soul with this cracker of a bike.

Mark Hipkin is a Partner/ Head of the Personal Injury and Civil Litigation department. He welcomes your e-mails or calls on the law (or your biking experiences) at wbay@aldersonlaw.co.uk or call 0191 2533509.

Chris was originally a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives from 1997 and qualified as a Solicitor in 2001.

He has over 25 years experience in private client work comprising Wills, Trusts, Probate, Powers of Attorney and other Court of Protection Work such as Deputyship applications. Chris has been a Partner in several firms in the North East, being Head of Wills, Trusts and Probate.

He brings a wealth of experience to his role and works closely with clients, providing them with a service tailored to their needs

Susan was born and bred in the North East, spending all of her working life in Blyth. She qualified in 1981 and, after some years at Alderson Law, began to specialise in family law, covering both private and legal aid. Susan was a member of the Law Society Family Panel and an accredited Resolution specialist, specialising particularly in private children law and domestic violence.

Susan took part-retirement in December 2018 but still works as a Solicitor here at Alderson Law. Outside of work she enjoys cooking, walking, reading, and spending time with her family. She has also been a Brownie leader for over 40 years.

Originally from East Yorkshire, Jasmine moved to the North East to study Law at Northumbria, graduating with a First Class Honours and a Very Competent in the Bar Professional Training Course. Before joining Alderson Law Jasmine specialised in RTA Fraud in a Personal Injury firm.

She joined our team as a Family Law Paralegal in 2018, after which she undertook the Legal Practice Course at the University of Sunderland and became a Trainee Solicitor in March 2020. In her spare time Jasmine likes visiting the beach and watching live music.

Julie is a highly experienced property solicitor. She studied Law at Northumbria University and, after qualifying in 2000, went on to work at national and international firms prior to joining the team at Anderson Law in 2017. She works alongside her clients, advising on residential and commercial property development, property investment, portfolio management, property finance, landlord and tenant, easements and restrictive covenants.

Fiona is a specialist private client lawyer providing advice and assistance with wills, trusts, tax planning, probate & estate administration, lasting powers of attorney, court of protection and elderly client work. Having previously worked with a number of Newcastle-based firms listed in The Legal 500, Fiona brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the role. She is a full member of STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners), the association for specialists in family inheritance and succession planning.

Fiona grew up in Northern Ireland and studied law at Durham University, and has remained in the North East ever since. She enjoys spending time with her family at their cottage in Northumberland.

Mark Hipkin, partner at Alderson Law LLP, has been advising businesses and claimants since he qualified as a solicitor in 1982.

Mark’s passion is for representing claimants on two wheels in complex, serious and catastrophic motorcycle, scooter and cycle injuries, but he also has extensive experience of acting for claimants in many other personal injury areas including occupiers and public liability work and accidents at work. He specialises in challenging and complex cases. Mark always puts the client first, looking from the first day of instruction to obtain the best and fairest outcome for a claimant, no matter how long a case may take. He is a fan of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and early neutral valuation as alternatives to litigation. Sometimes, however, litigation is the best option, together with the necessary drive to see every matter through to a fair conclusion.

Mark also, having started his own business, advises business clients, often with motorcycle-, scooter- or cycle-related businesses and also deals with complex commercial disputes, professional negligence cases, and general civil litigation.

Mark likes to spend what free time he has with his family, his faithful sprocket spaniel, and practising Tai Chi and Tang Too Do (Korean karate – in which he is a second Dan).

Having worked in family law for over 25 years, Julie is a highly accomplished specialist in her field. She has a vast body of experience in dealing with family law, from divorce and related financial issues to complex child-related cases. Julie was the first person in North Tyneside to achieve the status of an accredited advanced family law specialist, and is a member of the Law Society Advanced Family Panel, which demonstrates her experience in complex contested family cases and other subject-specific matters.

Though multi-talented and highly experienced, Julie’s particular speciality is in complex ancillary relief (financial settlement) claims and complex residence and contact disputes.

In her spare time Julie enjoys relaxing and spending time with her family and three grandchildren. She attends clients at our Whitley Bay and Blythe offices.

Tracey is one of our Partners and qualified as a solicitor in 1997. Throughout her career she has had a varied caseload undertaking matters in most areas of civil and private client law. Tracey can assist clients in a wide range of matters including: Wills, Probate, Powers of Attorney, Debt Recovery, Residential and Commercial Conveyancing as well as Licensing and Landlord and Tenant matters.

Tracey is one of our most senior practitioners with over 20 years of local experience, having graduated from both Newcastle University and Northumbria University. When not in the office she enjoys walking, cycling, and cooking with her family.