To borrow the chorus line from Nancy Sinatra’s 1966 hit of These Boots Are Made For Walkin’, my ride on the new Honda NT 1100, which is marketed as a top-end sports tourer, made me change it to “these wheels are made for riding, and that’s just what they’ll do, one of these days these wheels are gonna ride away with you”! Sorry, it came to me as I was test-riding this bike. Look up the video and you will laugh.

This new offering from Honda is meant to replace the beautifully named ‘Super Blackbird’ which was discontinued some years ago and left, some would say, a hole in their range for fast tourers. Many Blackbird riders refused to give
up and held onto their bikes for a long time and some, no doubt, still do, racking up huge touring miles. What would this bike be like? It was tricky to secure a demo ride on a bike this month for two reasons: (1) the lack of demos in dealerships due to Covid-19 and the 1st March registration launches and (2) this bike was booked up morning and afternoon at Newcastle Motorcycles! I picked it up at 1 o’clock and the seat was still hot!

This engine is a lower height re-working of the 101 bhp, 1084cc parallel twin that is in the Africa Twin but with a 270- degree crank so that the firing sounds and gives the feel of a V twin. Clever stuff. I voted the Africa Twin the best of the bikes that I had tested in 2016.

It comes with a lot of kit as standard. Five stage heated grips (very toasty for my fingers on a freezing cold ride); the smashing TFT display which I did find easy to use, although there are lots of buttons on both sides of the handlebars; a very neat touch – the USB port and a power supply and a blue-tooth port just underneath the manually adjusted screen. There are small, neat wind deflectors just underneath the handlebars and where your feet are at the bottom of the fairing. They seem to do a pretty good job of keeping all of the muck off on what was a very clear, cold and enjoyable ride through the February salted roads of Northumberland.

On picking the bike up, there was a pleasant throb, throb from the standard exhaust (you can uprate), and the bike had a look of the Yamaha Tracer and the KTMs about it. However, it is very Honda. It is all in grey which seemed to suit it and it wasn’t so high as the Africa Twin. I forgot when I set off, so easy it was to get on with, that it was a DCT until my left hand was opening and closing and nothing was happening! Doh! It was in tour mode and I didn’t realise that I could have changed up and down using the paddles in drive (D) but used that paddle method on the sport mode during the ride itself.

This is an enjoyable bike to ride – unblurred mirrors, supremely comfortable (one of the best seats I have been on) and the riding position gave a great view forward. You were at one with the bike immediately. I decided to avoid the City Centre and A1 traffic and took off up the Military Road. I could see about 20-30 miles away, over the tops.  On a whim, I turned right just before Chollerford, taking me through the hamlets of Chollerton, Colwell and Little Bavington until I was able to meet up with the Rothbury crossroads on the A697 to Otterburn. I bashed along the A697, on this deceptively rapid bike (shades of the old Super Blackbird).  Both the switch-back country roads and those fast-sweeping A-roads were fantastic on this bike with its responsive handling.

I pulled into the Blacksmiths Coffee Shop in Belsay and had a pleasant stopover with a flat white and my dad’s favourite short-crust pastry mixed berry pie with hot custard. Bliss. I enjoyed my chat sitting outside on the patio with a junior doctor from the RVI, on his racing cycle – discussing Covid and the thrills of two wheels on the highway.
Swinging back through Ponteland, the A1 was again nose to tail so I went through town to get back to the local Honda dealer on Scotswood Road. Filtering through traffic was a piece of cake. This bike was smooth, usable and was not top-heavy like some tourers. No stiff “clutch hand” in traffic on a DCT!

I think this bike could take everything that would be thrown at it; would get you there and back in great comfort but would excite you on the same journey. I can see why it has been so popular. Thanks to Graeme and Newcastle Motorcycles
for the demo, a few days before the 1st March registrations. Much appreciated.

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 or call 0191 2533509.

Mary was born and has lived all her life in the North East of England. Her first interest was science and she originally studied Biomedical Science at Northumbria and worked in the scientific research field and the NHS, before studying part time, again at Northumbria University, to obtain her degree in Law. Since then she has enjoyed a varied career covering many different areas of law, before specialising in Children Law, which she has done almost exclusively for the past 5 years.

Mary loves reading and history and at a weekend can often be found at one of the many historical sites the North East has to offer and has even been known to play video games when she can find the time.

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 in 2012 to study at Northumbria University undertaking the M Law Exempting (BPTC) course (the only undergraduate course in England and Wales which incorporates the Bar Professional Training Course), graduating in 2016 with a First Class Honours and a Very Competent in the Bar Professional Training Course. Prior to joining Alderson Law Jasmine specialised in RTA Fraud in a Personal Injury firm, before moving to another firm to work as a Family Law Paralegal.

In 2018 she joined our team as a Family Law Paralegal and before qualifying as a Solicitor within the Family Law Department based at our Morpeth office. Jasmine represents clients in a wide range of matters including; divorce and matrimonial finance, disputes regarding the arrangements for children as well as parents who are subject to Local Authority involvement both before and during Court proceedings.

In her spare time Jasmine likes visiting the beach, going to the gym, watching live music and looking after her pet rabbit.

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 Alderson 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 and practising Tai Chi and Tang Soo 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 Blyth 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.