Sadly, because of Covid-19 and two extensive lockdowns, this is a review over two years. During that time, I have ridden two scooters (both electric), three cruisers, three retro Roadsters, two sports bikes and one sports tourer – eleven in all. I’ve had to split this review into two parts. Here is Part 1 , with Part 2 to follow next month.

Despite two lockdowns, I have been helped enormously by local bike dealers offering demo rides on an increasingly small range of demo bikes produced to the dealers because of Covid problems. The bike market has been turned upside down. Normally dealers would have three or more demos across their range. Sometimes I was lucky if there was one demo available in their whole range. Either the demos weren’t being delivered, or they had one demo which had been sold online, almost immediately and it was someone’s bike, so I couldn’t ride it.

Crazy was another word for the bike buying market. Second-hand bike prices went through the roof because of supply problems, not only from the Far East but also from Europe. Microchips were unavailable for the latest TFT displays on instrument panels and engine management systems. Containers which would be used to transport the bikes were in the wrong part of the world and there was no sea traffic to bring them over. Some factories reduced their production capacity.

I won’t dwell on the tragedies and traumas of this difficult time and this overview is meant to be a light touch review of the better days of biking and scootering in the UK, from my own personal viewpoint in testing these bikes and trying to lead as normal a life as possible.

In the February 2020 issue, I took out my own bike. It is a Honda VFR 800X Cross Runner and contrasted it with the latest model which I had ridden for my first bike review for this magazine in April 2015. This was a real-world review of a not so shiny bike! It should be called “Ronseal” for obvious reasons. A do-it-all V4 stalwart.

In March 2020, I took out the ginormous Triumph Rocket 3R. This bike has got to be a contender for the bike of the year. The looks, sound and the way it goes simply has to be checked out. This is currently the largest production motorcycle from main manufacturers in the world. Mine was literally a black beast. I could understand how every one of these £20,000 bikes was sold as soon as it hit the salesrooms. You must try it out.

From the sublime to the electric – I tested in April 2020 the Vespa Elettrica which is the equivalent of a 50cc petrol scooter. I whizzed around Tyneside’s urban hang-outs. It was great. I particularly liked the coiled under-seat three-pin plug – pop it onto your garage socket to recharge. Simple.

The next was the Triumph Speed Twin 1200 in black and looking at the photos what a marvellous sunny day I had in my next review which was September 2020 (first gap for lockdown). I took this powerful but nimble bike along the Military Road to the Sill Visitor Centre just beside Housesteads. It was a glorious day sitting on the sun patio. This is a real bikers’ bike. Power. Handling. Looks.

October 2020 saw me riding the Kawasaki Z650. It was a very focused but usable Japanese sports bike in the naked sports
bike category. An aggressive but easy to use package. Obviously in green.

November 2020 and I rode the awesome (I cannot think of any other word) BMW R18 (Retro Cruiser) which is a ‘statement’ in itself. A very expensive and beautifully made Bavarian take on the Monster Cruiser style. It felt that you could ride through stone walls on it! Cow horn handlebars and beautiful detail.

December saw me re-riding the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 from an earlier test I had done in June 2019 borrowing my son’s bike and taking a trip across the Moors by Edmundbyers recreating the fantastic run I had on this bike first time around. What a great looking, great handling and inexpensive package this is.

We then had our second enforced break. See next month for the rest in Part 2 – to be continued… best bike and best pit stop awards!

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.