At Carole Nash, we believe in connecting with our customers, which is why we have our customer council. The people involved are able to represent the public’s view on motorcycles and provide their unique perspective. We got in touch with David Dyet to hear his views on the motorbike industry. David is a Technology Innovation Manager and a keen follower of MotoGP. He has a love for several motorbikes, such as his Triumph Tiger 800 XRX.
How did you come to be a member of the Carole Nash customer council?
I was contacted by Carole Nash and they asked if I was interested in becoming a member of the customer council. When I learned what it would involve I jumped at the opportunity to represent the views of my fellow bikers. The customer council members have been able to provide a customer perspective on proposals put forward by Carole Nash before they have been introduced, as well as helping out with some secret shopping at bike shows.
Can you give our readers some background into what you do when you’re not riding?
I work as a Technology Innovation Manager at Scotland’s largest college. This indulges my gadget geek tendencies by allowing me to investigate and introduce new and emerging online and mobile technologies. Away from work I love building, restoring, repairing and generally fettling motorcycles (and anything else I can lay my hands on). I’m also a keen sports fan taking particular interest in the MotoGP and Scottish football. Last but by no means least, I like to spend time with my family and have recently returned from a family trip to the MotoGP at Silverstone.
What was your first experience with motorbikes?
My first experience of a powered two-wheeler was a bright yellow Lambretta Cometa with a mighty 75cc engine, leopard skin seat and sissy bar. I quickly realised that a scooter with small wheels was not for me and I bought a brand new Honda CD175 which was all my budget would stretch to. Living in a small village the Honda opened up new horizons for me and was used 365 days a year no matter the weather. When I finally traded it in, it had many thousands of miles on it, had been rebored and was showing the ravages of riding through several winters, yet I still regard it fondly for the freedom it gave me.
Do you currently ride a motorbike and if so what model is it?
Currently, I have a 2013 Triumph Street Triple R and a brand new Triumph Tiger 800 XRX, which replaced a 2010 Honda CBF1000GT. The Street Triple is my baby and has had a lot of time, attention and money spent on it. It leads a really cosseted life and is only allowed out when it’s dry. The Tiger is my working bike for day-to-day use, but as I’m a serial modifier I’ve already fitted a few accessories that I plan to personalise. My long-suffering wife has to take credit here for tolerating my bike habit and all the essential modifications they seem to need.
Do you believe commuting to work on a motorcycle is more beneficial than driving?
As a regular two-wheel commuter I find it is beneficial on a number of levels. For example, on a psychological level riding a bike is a more involving activity than driving, and this coupled with being more in touch with my surroundings helps me arrive mentally sharper and ready for what the day brings. On a practical level there are obvious benefits such as lower fuel costs, helping to alleviate congestion (as well as being less affected by it) and offering more flexibility in parking. There’s also the camaraderie with other riders who travel the same routes, which doesn’t happen when driving.
Do you think being a motorcycle rider can help you be a better car driver?
Riding a motorcycle is a much more involving activity than driving. Riders are in closer touch to their surroundings than car drivers, who are generally cocooned from them. However, this sense of involvement and engagement comes at the price of an increased vulnerability, which any good rider has a sense of.
I believe that good riders learn to read their surroundings and adopt techniques to keep them safe, which allows them to not only survive but also to be in a position to indulge and enjoy their passion for riding. Carrying these skills over to car driving helps riders to be much better drivers than non-riders who don’t have the same level of awareness and the instincts to cope with hazardous conditions.
A good example of this is my oldest son who was a schoolboy MX rider, but has only driven cars from the age of seventeen. Now, at the ripe old age of 30, he’s bought a 125 to practice on before sitting his DAS test. He’s learning to read the road and identify hazards which are not so obvious when driving a car and this newly acquired knowledge can only have a positive effect on his driving.
What kind of road trips in the UK would you recommend for other riders?
I’m privileged to live in the west of Scotland with ready access to some of the best biking roads in the UK, so I would have to say going anywhere on the west coast. There is such a wonderful variety of options available from day trips down the Ayrshire Coast, to going up to the Green Welly via Loch Lomond, or longer routes such as the North Coast 500, which takes several days to complete. Personally, I would recommend taking several days to explore the area around Plockton, Applecross and Skye. I would also recommend visiting Motorcycle Scotland which lists loads of great routes all across Scotland.
With the proposed ban on diesel and petrol vehicles by 2040, how do you think it will affect the motorbike industry?
My initial fear is that the motorcycle ban would struggle to fund the development of viable alternatives. However, there is growing evidence that other countries, including China, will introduce their own bans and several car makers have also announced plans to reduce reliance on petrol and diesel engines.
This is all positive for the motorcycle industry as it will help stimulate global innovation and ensure that significant R&D is devoted to developing viable power plants and fuel sources.
The challenge for the motorcycle industry will be to incorporate these new technological solutions in machines which retain the spirit of motorcycling. I’m encouraged by the way in which companies such as Triumph have shown themselves more than capable of embracing innovation and producing exciting motorcycles in the face of increasing legislative demands. A greater challenge in my mind is safety legislation and developments such as driverless vehicles, which may curb some of the freedom which is an essential part of motorcycling.
How do you think the government could help out with the rising number of motorcycle thefts in the UK?
There is a widely held perception that the government and police are powerless at the moment to curb motorcycle crime and their main strategy seems to place the responsibility on owners to use improved security. Yet it only takes a brief search of YouTube to see how easily the thieves overcome most types of physical security and how often alarms are ignored.
In my view it is time for the government to step back and look at the root causes of motorcycle crime and come up with innovative solutions. This could include investing money in supporting the development of innovative security measures. They could also divert some of the VED revenue to provide tax breaks and subsidies for trackers and other security solutions.
Local authorities and car park operators could be encouraged to provide secure motorbike parking with controlled entry, either as dedicated facilities similar to those provided elsewhere for bicycles or as dedicated areas in existing car parking facilities.
Finally, paying more attention to the root causes of why youngsters are attracted to motorcycle crime would go a long way to helping cut down not only this type of crime but also all the other crimes which are committed using stolen motorcycles.
Do you think there was ever a ‘golden era’ of motorbikes?
The answer to this question will vary depending on who is asked as every rider will have their own ‘golden era’. For me it is the seventies when riders such as Sheene, Agostini, Reid and Roberts were dicing on the track and Sheene in particular was capturing the wider public’s imagination.
On the road, Honda’s revolutionary CB750 followed closely by the Z1, GT750 and XS750 from the Japanese big four were changing the face of motorcycling. Yamaha’s RD range were offering new riders performance previously undreamed of. The FS1E was bringing a whole world of fun for sixteen year olds and the Kawasaki KH500 was just insane. A particular favourite of mine from this time is the early CB400/4, which changed the perception that Japanese bikes didn’t handle and could run rings around bigger bikes, including the contemporary British offerings.
The decade was topped off by the introduction of the Yamaha Elsie, a truly seminal machine. This was also an era where motorcycles still offered an affordable method of transport when compared to cars which tended to be expensive to run and not particularly durable. As a result, many young people turned to motorcycles for practical reasons. Then, they became hooked and started a relationship which continues to the present day.