Sun, 19 November 2023
Hello and welcome to FEC185, the new-bikes-for-2024 special version of Front End Chatter, Britain’s fave motorcycling podcast with him Martin Fitz-Gibbons and him Simon Hargreaves.
But WAIT! Before you move on, thinking “Oh, I’ve already endured that pair of idiots nattering about the new bikes for 2024 in their EICMA Show review on the Bennetts BikeSocial YouTube channel they have these days,”... (to watch it, go to www.bit.ly/feconfilm)
...well – yes, that’s what you’re getting here; the audio version of the video, but one you can take on your travels while you’re raking up fallen leaves on the lawn, walking the dog (or dogs if you have two of them), spannering in the garage (not heard it called that before) or even dogging on the treadmill in your local gymnasium. Jogging. I meant jogging.
But there’s more! Because we’re also revealing details of something far more important than the tired old toot the manufacturers are trying to foist on you in 2024. Because, dear FECers, we have details of not one, but TWO FEC Tours in 2024 – both flawlessly organised, as always, in conjunction with Paul from MCI Tours.
For the first tour, and to celebrate the 10th birthday of Front End Chatter (aka A Decade Of Drivel), FEC Tours is going international with a 10-day FECstravaganza – riding for two days across France down to the Pyrenees, spending three days exploring the sensational mountain passes, then another two days across to the fabulous Picos range in northern Spain before heading back to Santander and the leisurely cruise back to Plymouth – with a live podcast recording on the boat.*
*subject to sailing conditions and Brittany Ferries playing ball, which we’re sure they will.
Viva FECspaña promises to be a spectacular motorcycling holiday and the trip of lifetime. The dates are: Sunday 2nd June (depart Portsmouth) to Tuesday 11th June (return Plymouth). Find more details here:
The second tour is a little more modest in scope and commitment, as we FEC Up The Borders. Long overlooked by passing tourists, the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway are regions of stunning riding and gorgeous scenery. FEC has (literally) taken over the Buccleuch Arms Hotel in Moffat, a legendary motorcycling establishment dedicated to serving the needs of hungry motorcyclists. We have an extensive ride-in and ride-out either side of two days exploring both areas including Britain’s second-longest B-road, the birthplace of Steve Hislop (plus riding some the roads he surely cut his teeth on), a suite of border passes steeped in tribal history and legend, and the desolate splendour of the Galloway National Park. It’s some of our fave riding in the UK.
The dates for FEC Up The Borders are: ride-in on Tuesday 30th July, ride-out on Friday 2nd July. More info here:
STOP PRESS – the FEC Up The Borders Tour is almost sold out already, so get your enquiry in pronto to secure a place!
Only after putting up with all that – hope you enjoy the FEC Guide To 2024’s New Bikes (well, the ones we’re really interested in!).
Thank you for listening/watching, if you appreciate what we do please get your insurance from Bennetts and become a BikeSocial Member, email your thoughts and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org (normal service will be resumed next episode) and catch us on the socials:
Sun, 15 October 2023
Hello and welcome to Episode 184 of Front End Chatter, Britain's Bestest Biking Bodcast with him, Martin Fitz-Gibbons, and him, Simon Hargreaves – with thanks as ever to our patient and perfect partners Bennetts, the bike insurance specialisms, and BikeSocial.co.uk, the most informative and entertaining motorcycling website on the, er web. Is it still called the web?
Sun, 8 October 2023
Hello and welcome to Front End Chatter, Britain's most foresighted motorcycling podcast and, as regular listeners, you don't need to be Nostradamus to know what we're going to say next. So no surprise it's a massive thank you to Bennetts, Britain's best motorcycle insurers, who continue to amaze and astound with a litany, nay, cornucopia of offers, competitions and nice things – one of which is bikesocial.co.uk with all the biking news, new bikes, consumer features and BSB info fit to eat. And check out Bennetts' YouTube channel coz it's amazing. And become a Bennetts BikeSocial Member and get access to all the above, for a paltry £60 a year – and it's free if you're insured with Bennetts.
Wed, 27 September 2023
Hello and welcome to Front End Chatter Episode 182, live in front of a bunch o' FECers from the Elephant & Castle in Newtown, Wales!
Mon, 4 September 2023
Hello and welcome to Episode 181 of Front End Chatter, Britain’s most electric, eclectic and eccentric motorcycling podcast, presented by hoary old motorcycle journalists Simon Hargreaves and Martin Fitz-Gibbons. We are as ever indebted and in cahoots with Bennetts, Britain’s leading bike insurance experts, and BikeSocial.co.uk. No flipping, don’t change that channel – check out the offers, competitions and discounts Bennetts offer and become a BikeSocial member to access them all even if, for some reason beyond the wit of man, you aren’t insured with Bennetts. Don’t take our word for it – see for yourself.
On this episode of Front End Chatter we have topics as widely varied as:
• Triumph’s addition of user-lowered rear preload on Tiger 1200s to make them more usable for more people of inversely advantaged verticality
• why KTM’s 890 Adventure R could be a forever bike, even if it doesn’t last forever
• proving a Zero electric bike can manage a day’s adventure (including off-road)
• and why every single commentator on YouTube, in print or on podcasts need their riding advice filtered through an ‘it doesn’t apply to me’ filter – this stuff ain’t Gospel, okay?
Sat, 19 August 2023
Hello and welcome back to Front End Chatter, Britain's most durable motorcycling podcast, with Simone Hargreaves and Marion Fitz-Gibbons – a pair of ye olde worlde motorcycle journalists like wot they had off them magazines they used to have, talking about bikes, talking about riding them, talking about remembering what it was like to ride them, talking about dreaming of riding them, and talking about other things as well. Or even better. There's more to life than bikes – you might think that's what you came here for, but bikes are just the start.
Wed, 12 July 2023
Hello everyone and welcome to episode 179 of Front End Chatter, Britain’s Chattiest Motorcycling podcast with him Martin Fitz-Gibbons, and him, Simon Hargreaves – underpinned, as ever, by Bennetts, Britain’s best bike insurer and BikeSocial.co.uk, the place to go for your biking info.
And on this week’s FEC we have:
Yes, we’ve teamed up again with our friends at MCI Tours to bring you a FECin Welsh Weekend. When’s that, I hear you ask?
I’m glad you did – the FECin Welsh Weekend is taking place from the afternoon/evening of Friday 22nd September, riding on Saturday and Sunday, departing Monday 25th September. JOIN US – on the best roads in Wales, officially selected by the Cannes Jury Of Mint Roads in Wales, Bach.
Visit bit.ly/fecwales and get involved.
Also in this honestly massive episode of FEC (because bigger is better, right?)
Tue, 27 June 2023
Hello everybody and welcome to a Front End Chatter FECsack special. Special you say? Yes, very special indeed, thanks for asking.
Why so special? Special because in a change from FEC's (un)usual format, we've devoted a full hour to answering one single, solitary, lonely, individual question sent in by a listener. Well, you know, after 170-odd of these things, we figured it's about time we did one properly...
And as such it is the unbelievably enormously magnificently humongous pleasure of Britain's best bum-lickingiest biking podcast to welcome the one and only Adrian Morton - Britain's best bike designer - to the deepest deep dive (too soon?) you'll ever hear on:
We hope you love this detour from our usual FEC waffling as much as we do. And if you'd like to contribute to our bulging FECsack of listener questions, please fire your ponderings through to email@example.com
Sat, 17 June 2023
Hello and welcome one and all to Front End Chatter, Britain's cakiest motorcycle podcast with she/him, Martina Fitz-Gibbons and it/blimey, Simone Hargreaves. As the country's leading formerly employed but subsequently jettisoned motorcycle journalistas, now freelancing for anyone with a gold sovereign and a glint in their eye, we're proud to be supported and stimulated by Bennetts, Brian's leading bike insurers, and BikeSocial.co.uk, more motorcycling news, reviews and blues clues on the web than the web really deserves.
Fri, 9 June 2023
Hello everybody, and welcome to a quick but exciting FEC cordially inviting you, dear FEC listener, to the Bennetts Snetterton Track Day on Thursday 13th July.
We’re going, and we’d love you to be there with us for a chin-wag and a cup of coffee.
Bennetts BikeSocial trackdays aren’t like other trackdays – they’re WAY better.
As well as 7 x 20-minute track sessions, with novice, intermediate and advanced group options, you’ll also get FREE action shots taken by a professional British Superbikes photographer, and be able to meet and ride on track with Mr John McGuinness.
An onsite BSB mechanic will offer set-up advice, a team of instructors will offer riding tips, and Yamaha track hire bikes are available to book. If you’re a novice, this is the perfect introduction – there’s an extended safety briefing if it’s your first time, plus two free classroom sessions offering advice on body position and circuit riding.
And all of this costs just £139 – an absolute bargain.
Normally Bennetts trackdays are only available to BikeSocial members, but we’ve swung a deal to allow FEC listeners to come along too, even if you’re not a BikeSocialist.
We'll be there, and we’ll have a garage put aside exclusively for the use of FECers.
Obviously you will need all the usual trackday safety kit (ACU approved full-face helmet, full one-piece or complete zip-together two-piece leathers, proper boots and leather gloves and all the rest) plus a full length back protector, and a front brake lever guard or hand-guards, and your bike will need to meet the noise limit (102DB static / 92DB driveby).
To book, you’ll need to head to the link below:
You’ll find all the info you need, the terms & conditions, plus a link to take you through to book your place, at Snetterton, on Thursday 13th July.
Sat, 3 June 2023
Hello, good morning and welcome to Front End Chatter, Britain's best general-purpose biking podcast (apart from racing podcasts, of which there are many and excellent). This is Episode 177 of nonsense, the first since the FEC Grin Up North tour. And it's been a while because Simon and Martin have been busy eking a living from the dry, dusty soil of freelance motorcycle journalism.
Tue, 9 May 2023
Hello and welcome to Front End Chatter E176...
Yes folks, after a lengthy absence due to life, the universe and everything, Front End Chatter is back – and not only back, but back LIVE. Recorded in front of a hand-picked audience of FEC friends from a hotel in Lancashire, your hosts Simon Hargreaves and Martin Fitz-Gibbons talk a load of nonsense including:
• guff about the new Suzuki GSX-S 8S and why it might be better than Honda’s Hornet
• guff about the new Yamaha Tracer 9 GT+ and how it helps you brake
• Mufga goes trials riding with Inch Perfect Trials
• plus questions from the audience, including:
• why pillion seats are so small
• who will build the last petrol engine ever
And a bit more.
Thanks as always to Bennetts and BikeSocial.co.uk for their enduring and endearing support.
Thanks also to Paul at MCI Tours (www.mcitours.com) for organising and managing the FEC Grin Oop North Tour.
Thanks to the staff of Crooklands Hotel, Kendal, for their hospitality.
And, more than anything, thanks to our friends on the FEC Grin Oop North Tour 2023:
Tue, 21 March 2023
Hello and welcome to Episode 175 of Front End Chatter, Britain’s funkiest motorcycling podcast, presented by Simon Hargreaves and Martin Fitz-Gibbons, supported as ever by Bennetts, the bike insurance specialists, and BikeSocial.co.uk, the best place to get your motorcycling news and other two-wheeled resources.
And on FEC175 we have:
• KTM and MV Agusta re-organise their dealers (which only matters to the half of the podcast who owns an MV Agusta)
• Irish road racing is back on after securing £90,000 from crowdfunding and a renegotiation of their insurance premium, which is good news – although is this now going to be an annual issue?
• the first two races from World Superbike at Phillip Island and Mandalika
• plus more of our emails, including:
- the when and where of throttle snatch
- why can’t I go round right handers?
- how come Sikhs don’t have to wear helmets?
- recalibrating quickshifters – urban myth or actual thing?
- why does my bum ache?
...and much more...
Thank you very much for listening, and please send your thoughts, queries and random comedy motorcycling moments to
Tue, 21 February 2023
Dearest FECers, welcome to episode 174 of the long-running – well, it's our ninth birthday, apparently, Happy Birthday to us etc – motorcycling podcast brought to you by Simon Hargreaves and Martin Fitz-Gibbons, and ably, nimbly and elastically supported by Bennetts, the bike insurance specialists (and if you haven't yet, you really should) and bikesocial.co.uk, the world of wokecycling on the web.
Sun, 12 February 2023
Hello & welcome to Front End Chatter with him, Martin Fitz-Gibbons, and me, Simon Harararargreaves. This is episode #173 of a long-running saga, in which we are as ever indebted to Bennetts, the only bike insurers who actually invest a shed-load back into British motorcycling culture to promote the British Superbike series, create an ocean of free content at www.BikeSocial.co.uk, planted the seeds for a rich and fertile YouTube channel, and allow FEC to come in your ears once a fortnight. That's gotta be worth the entry fee.
Sat, 28 January 2023
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.
Thu, 12 January 2023
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).