Michael Mann's review of 2016

Yamaha MT-10

As 2016 winds to a close, the BikeSocial team takes a look back at some of our highlights from the year gone by and our hopes for 2017. Today it's the turn of birthday boy and web editor Michael Mann... 

Best bike I rode

I’ve been fortunate enough to ride some incredible machinery this year. Stand out bikes include the MV Agusta Brutale 800 for its terrific engine, Africa Twin for being a capable all-rounder, 1299 Panigale for being, well, sexy. And noisy. YZF-R1 is incredible bike and Triumph’s Bobber was the surprise package of the year but if I were spending my own money then it would be on Yamaha’s MT-10 (above).


Best Bike Social moment

Trying to keep up with 1299 Panigale-mounted Scott Redding while on an MT-10 around the Silverstone GP circuit! Equally I enjoyed several group tests this year, particularly taking four big adventure bikes around Loch Lomond.

Best sporting moment

There are two; Cal Crutchlow’s MotoGP win at Philip Island wasn’t only his second victory in four races. He dominated and won fair and square. Secondly, feeling the rush of air from the likes of Hutchy, M Dunlop and McGuinness while watching the TT Superbike race from the inside of Milntown; 150mph+ no more than a metre away.

Scariest moment

Some of the trails that off-road guru Dave Thorpe encourages you ride on the Honda Africa Twin School in Wales (top picture). Many of them look too steep to climb, let alone ride a 240kg motorcycle up and down. Oh, and they have big rocks, loose gravel and muddy ruts too. Only fell off once though!

Honda Africa Twin

Falling off a stationary Yamaha Tracer and tearing a hamstring was pretty daft

Michael Mann

Product of the year

My Dainese Laguna one-piece leathers are fantastic. They ooze quality and fit my unathletic shape perfectly. Though I’ve had plenty of use from a Davida Ninety-2 open face lid and mirrored goggles too.

Most embarrassing moment

Falling off a stationary Yamaha Tracer 700 on the press launch in Italy and tearing a hamstring was pretty daft.

Michael and Mav

Ego-centric moment

Met Maverick Vinales for the first time at Silverstone at a Suzuki press event where he demonstrated an Ecstar-liveried Radical sportscar. We had a chat afterwards and talked about the GSX-RR’s strengths at Silverstone. What happened three days later? He only went and took his debut MotoGP win. Obviously it was all down to my influence...

Looking forward to…

MT-10SP press launch in South Africa is going to be epic while our plans for group tests in 2017 are going to be thorough, interesting and awesome. BikeSocial is going from strength to strength and I can’t wait to get stuck in.

Ambition for 2017

To keep on providing mega content for the site while improving my riding and knowledge and encouraging as many non-riders to get on a bike as possible. We’re rolling out The BikeSocial next year too, which will see us visiting many more bikes meets and events on our long termers or test bikes.