If you are a lover of classic Italian bikes you will have heard of Motori Di Marino. Hidden in the heart of Sussex, with many beautiful bikes, we met with Pietro to talk passions, designs, and about having the bug.
Q: Why is your collection of bikes so broad?
A: Because I like them. If I like it, I buy it. If I don’t like it, I probably won’t buy it. I choose to do this. It doesn’t matter - the reason, that’s not important, but I chose to do this, it suits me. The old fashioned thing is, if it doesn’t turn me on it’s not going to turn the customer on. How can I say how ‘wonderful’ it all is (which they all are) if I don’t like it?
Q: Do you have a favourite bike?
A: No. The new one I get in is my choice for the day because I bought it, I love it, I get enthusiastic about it, then once I’ve done it I go onto the next. That’s why it's difficult for me to own a bike, I can’t. To me, I’m a foster home. I get up, get 'em sorted and pass them on to someone else. This one here [he points to a bike] belongs to Sergeant Fry from "The Bill", bought 20 years ago, Christmas eve and I’m selling it on for him.
Q: What are your thoughts on the new Ducati Scrambler?
A: They’re nothing like the old ones, all this retro-modern. It can’t be like that, it will never survive. This is a 1974 Scrambler here, we’ve just recommissioned it, an old one. We just finished it, I mean you can see stainless steel rims and spokes and all those things. We didn’t want it to look restored, just wanted it good, up-to-date, so we could use it. With the new ones they’ve done a good job of getting the overall style of it, the tank, the handlebars, the knobbly tyres and the seat. But the rest is just a modern V-twin.
Q: What the best way to advance if you're a newbie?
A: Do all the best training you can, get experience, in other words get a feel for what it’s like when you accelerate, when you stop, when you turn. All machines have a different weight, a different feel. All experience comes with the training; build up slowly. Don’t go in and buy the best and fastest thing out there, build up gradually. Over a year perhaps, two or three different types of bike. Purely to get the different experience and the feel. It doesn’t have to be expensive, it’s a gradual process but you can do it quite quickly.
Q: How do you rate riding in the UK?
A: In the UK it’s great biking weather, it’s not too hot, not too cold. A little too wet occasionally but by and large, when it's good it is really really good. When it is too hot it’s not very nice out there, with all your gear on.
Q: What would be the best choice for riding on small B roads?
It's what does it for you. I mean talking about different cars, some will love an MG or Triumph. Or, someone else will jump into a little mazda and enjoy that. It doesn’t matter, it’s great fun. To me, I have as much fun, if not great fun on a small bike than I do on a big bike. Big bikes are macho, they’re fast, but that brings its own problems with steering, handling, cornering. It is not the size, it's the style of bike that’ll do it on these roads (local B roads). Small to medium is probably the right answer there.
Q: How do I know if I'm a bike nut?
You’ve either gotta want to do it or don’t. There’s no halfway house. If you really enjoy it and your enthusiasm is there, you’ll enjoy it, you’ll love it! But if you do it because, ‘oh my mate's doing it’ or whatever, it will literally bite you on the bum. When you’re riding a bike at any speed, even a moped, you’ve got to focus. When you drive, [a car] you’re talking to people, your mind wonders. Do that on a bike, well… you fall off.