Test Rider by Julian Amos Review
Who hasn’t mused about how cool it would be to ride the latest, greatest, top-secret prototype motorcycles under development by one of the world’s premier motorcycle manufacturers? It’s got to be the dream gig on the planet with no down side, right?
Well, maybe. Take a ride on the inside track with someone who has actually been there and done it—Julian Amos, author of “Test Rider: the True Motorcycling Adventures of a Secret Development Test Rider.”
In telling the story of his years as a product development test rider for Triumph, it becomes clear there is, indeed, a substantial upside to being a test rider. It includes riding the most advanced, state-of-the-art machines on street, off-road and closed course conditions, travel around the world and getting paid to do it.
The down-side includes having to pound out 500 miles a day—sometimes more—day after day up to a minimum required mileage on a deadline, regardless of the weather.
That means pouring on the miles when you’re sore, tired and maybe even just not in the mood that day because it’s winter in the U.K. and its snowing, sleeting or raining cold and hard. It also means riding in the 120 degree heat of the Australian outback summer.
Amos puts it this way: “As with most dream jobs, things are rarely as good as you’d hope. Riding a motorcycle 500 miles in one day is hard work. To be honest, if you’ve never done it before, it would probably impossible for an average rider to keep up high mileages like these for more than one or two days.
“Unless you’re going for some adrenalin-fueled world endurance record, to fill a week—Monday to Friday, with 2,500 miles and to keep it up week after week until you reach 30,000 miles is quite daunting! Breaking it down, to cover the 500 miles in a day you could aim for an average of 50 mph over ten hours. Of course, this isn’t possible, because to average 50 mph you would have to do 100 mph for the same length of time you are standing still at traffic lights or filling up with petrol.”
On the other hand, there are some amazing compensations to offset any disadvantages, such as Amos experienced when testing new Triumph models in Australia’s Blue Cow mountain range:
“Lake Jindabyne stretched out ahead of us as we rounded the bend, and the sight took my breath away. Silhouetted behind was a fantastic panoramic view of the Blue Cow mountain range that reflected in the still water of the lake so perfectly that you could have viewed the scene either way up. The pale blue early evening sky and the deep purple of the distant mountain range was almost too impossibly beautiful to be real—an achingly poetic spectacle and, it seemed to me, a near-proof of a Heaven on Earth.”
Amos’ clear, vivid prose blends his own life story into the narrative. From the mundane aspects of building his career day-to-day in both music and motorcycling to the description of his sublime assignment to put 750 miles on the yet-to-be introduced Triumph Rocket III Tour model at speeds as close as possible to a sustained 120 mph on Germany’s autobahn! All the while trying to keep the massive and very singular looking Rocket III from attracting too much attention.
Amos has traveled more than one million miles in 27 countries around the world on motorcycles and has lived to tell the tale—and quite a tale it is!
- Title: Test Rider: the True Motorcycling Adventures of a Secret Development Test Rider
- Author: Julian Amos
- Published: 2015 Paperback and hardcover. 163 pages, 22 color and b/w images.
- Publisher: Austin Macauley Publishers, Ltd., 25 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5LQ, U.K.
- ISBN: 9781784559069 MSRP: U.S. $14.95 U.K. £8.99 €10.99