It seems like a while ago now, but at some point in the summer I had a free day and decided to head north though ‘the pipe’ for a change, and, looking for a destination hit upon TTT Motorcycle Village in Sudbury Suffolk. Bikes and a café combined – what more could you want.
I set my TomTom to ‘thrill’ level after turning off the M11 and a couple of hours later ended up on a small industrial estate. There’s a large parking area and you enter through a somewhat unprepossessing 60’s style office building into a large shed, I would estimate the size of a couple of tennis courts, possibly more.
There’s a café area in one corner – but disaster, a notice reading ‘No hot food today’. Apparently they normally do all day breakfast options, burgers and a bargain shepherd’s pie for £7.50. As I couldn’t be bothered to start looking for somewhere else to eat I settled for the sandwich deal – large baguette, drink and crisps for a fiver – not bad. Looking round there might have been ten or a dozen customers in the place, all but a couple clearly of pensionable age and probably like myself out for a weekday ride rather than being serious punters.
After lunch I had a wander. Two of the walls were lined with apparel mainly mid-market brands of the Spidi/Spada type. There are some displays of generic spares and accessories but a lot of the hangers were empty. Just waiting for deliveries? The fact that recent rainfall had resulted in large puddles on the floor might indicate other issues. Who knows?
What of the bikes? The Village seems to have quite a miscellany. Firstly there are the learner compliant Chinese bikes – they stock Mott, Benelli and a few others. No doubt most of these on finance to young people in the local villages who need to get around.
Second: ‘classics’. I was astonished to see an RD250, albeit in decent condition for £12k; there were a couple of Kettles, I suspect imports, a long way from showroom condition going for £13 and 14k respectively. More realistically there was a correct but tired looking R80RT at £2,750. I see that it’s still on their website. There’s a cute Franny B for £1.5k if you want something even slower.
Thirdly, crammed together are a vast number of second hand bikes, mainly from the Big Four, and mostly in the £2-4k range . There are a few standouts – a Multistrada 1260 a couple of years old but the vast majority are of an age and mileage that you’ll never see in franchised dealer’s showroom and obviously sourced from dealer’s trade-ins, either directly or via auctions. If you’ve always fancied an R1 there’s one going for £3,750, mileage 35k only, or what about a Honda X11 for £3,495? If you’re looking for something from the nineties/noughties or a cheap winter bike/commuter and don’t want to take the private sale route it might be worth considering.
Staff seem to be thin on the ground – you’re certainly not bothered as you browse. A lad of about twenty was taking pictures of the bikes for their on-line catalogue and I overheard an older gentleman enquiring about Bluetooth helmets – the assistant had to look up the information on line, so I didn’t get an impression of overwhelming expertise about the place.
So, while I can’t give TTT my full endorsement either as a café or bike shop it is something a little bit different and probably with more of a buzz on busier days. Is it a destination for a members’ ride? Perhaps, but the kitchen had better be open.
Kettle – ‘The Flying Kettle ‘ nickname for the Suzuki GT 750 a 3 cylinder 2 stroke of the 1970s, so called as it was liquid cooled. Now very collectible.
Franny B – Francis-Barnett: Coventry based manufacturer specialising in smaller capacity bikes and out of business since the early 60s.But, I was astonished to see, have been revived and now manufacture or more likely assemble electric bikes and a retro-styled 400cc twin.
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