Multibike Garages: Bob Collins


BeMoto Multi Bike Garages featuring Bob Collins of FWR Tyres

If you ride on track or have raced motorbikes in the last 20 years, you’ll probably know or have heard of Bob Collins. He’s a well known face around the paddocks at UK and overseas track days, as well as racing in many different cups and championships over the years - including his current ride on the Team Classic Suzuki GSX-R1000 K1.

You’ll also see Bob as a regular contributor to the Trackday Addicts forum on Facebook, and may also have seen him interviewed recently by Bruce Smart on his Tea Time podcast.

We speak to Bob about his collection of bikes as part of our multi bike insurance series: Multi Bike Garages, about what’s in his garage and why…

Tell us about you and your background

I’m Bob Collins, owner of FWR in London. I’m 43 and have been in the bike industry for nearly 30 years, since the age of 14, working as a Saturday boy washing bikes and helping out at the Suzuki bike dealership in West Wickham (Bromley) - Premier Motorcycles.

My dad had lots of bikes when I was a kid, and was always buying and selling them on the side, so I was always around motorbikes and had a keen interest in them. When I left school and worked in a bakery, the guys there were also bikers, so it was inevitable that I got a CBT at 16.

I got a full time job in a bike shop in Streatham (Hamilton’s clothing department), and at 17 I got the opportunity to live the dream and moved over to selling motorbikes in the sales department. Having access to all these new and exciting bikes at a young age was incredible… I even had a Fireblade at 17.

I started working at FWR in 2001. I’m often asked what it stands for. Fat Wanker Racing (FWR) was originally owned by David Black who moved to Spain in 2007 and sadly passed away in 2008, which eventually led to me buying the business in 2010.

Bob Collins standing next to his FWR Fireblade race bike

How did you get into track days and motorcycle racing?

My early goal was to compete in the Isle of Man TT, however, I took up club racing to stop me getting into trouble on the roads - I’d already had my spleen removed after a crash whilst showing off on my Blade to some girls at a bus stop (a story for another day).

I did my first track day with David Black in 1999, back when it was mostly novice track day riders on road bikes. I started club racing in 2003 and in my first year won the BMCRC or ‘Bemsee’ Rookie 600 championship and the Clubman 600 championship. I even set the Bemsee lap record (around 49s ish) at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit, which still stands to this day!

In 2003 Superbike Magazine had a chat with me for their mag, which ended up with me being entered into the R6 Cup alongside well respected racers like Tommy Hill (he won it), Ollie Bridewell (brother of Tommy), Cal Crutchlow, James Hillier, Keiron Clark (now a stunt rider for Tom Cruise), Peter Ward (now does Triumph R&D) and the likes. Whilst I was a regular top 10 finisher, I was not at their level, but I did learn my race craft against some of the best riders and future champions.

However, it all went wrong with a series of crashes around 2006/07 at Scarborough, NW200 and the TT (coming out of Ramsey with a stoppie into the wall). So after a break, I gave up on road racing and got back into Club Racing in 2008 with a guy called James Clark (Team Glam) that owned a load of classic bikes. I was racing all over the place with him for 10 years, in the UK and overseas, riding at places like Phillip Island and having a few successes like a win at the 2017 famous Spa Classic / 4 hour endurance with Team Neat and later that year helped team Scert lift the FIM classic championship.

Bob Collins on Ducati Motorcycle at race track start line

Tell us a little bit about FWR

FWR is mostly known for selling motorcycle tyres as we do this nationally. We’re actually Bridgestone Motorsport’s largest retailer and sell locally as well as via mail order. But, we also have an MOT bay and workshop at our garage in London.

What was your first bike?

I took my CBT at 16 and my first bike was a Suzuki TS50X with drum brakes and big bore kit. I crashed it three times the first day (couldn’t turn it lol). No photos sadly from back then.

But I actually learnt most of my early riding skills aged 16-18 delivering Pizzas on weekends/evenings for Domino’s - mucking about on their bikes - doing crazy stuff they would not have approved of…

What bikes are currently in your garage?

The majority of my bikes are Honda Fireblades, a mix of older and newer models, starting with a 1992 CBR900RR Fireblade (my fathers bike which I used to ride pillion with him), as well as the 1993, 1995 and 2000 models. I also have a 2021 CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP (road bike), a 2021 Blade (my main race bike in the pink livery), and a 2022 Urban Tiger replica.

Two Classic Honda Fireblades at FWR Tyres Garage in London

Why the Honda Fireblade obsession?

It’s not really an obsession… Most of my bikes when racing were Yamaha’s and Suzuki’s.

My love of the early models was sparked by a photo in PB mag of someone scratching the pegs on a Blade, so I nagged my dad to buy one, which I then used to love going on the back of at any opportunity. My dad always had Hondas, CBRs, VFRs and Fireblades too. Even now at 78 he has a CB1300.

Bob Collins 2021 Fireblade in Pink FWR Livery

What else is in your garage?

I have a Bucci Moto mini bike for training at karting circuits and a beautiful MV Agusta 750 that belonged to one of my original sponsors, who helped me out massively. My mum originally bought it for my dad before I ended up owning it. I also have a H2R and a BMW S1000XR.

What’s the pride of your fleet and why?

My Kawasaki Ninja H2R track bike is my absolute favourite, which hopefully will be road registered soon… It's off to VOSA for Motorcycle Single Vehicle Approval (MSVA) - I managed to get the bits needed to make it roadworthy, lights and a horn etc.

Whilst it’s not as good on track as you’d expect it to be, it’ll make an incredible road bike, with a bonkers 300hp and aggressive styling… It’s a unique bike, and will be even more of a rare sight when on the road!

But I also love my Hornet 900 commuter bike as well.

Bob Collins riding a Ninja H2R Race Bike on Track

First one that you’d sell and why?

The SP road bike would be the first to go. No strong reason, other than it’s just a road bike, with no special emotional connection. Although, for the right money I’d sell any of them, even the H2R... I’m not a hugely sentimental person about material things, and there’s always something else to do with the money.

Word of advice for owning multiple bikes.

Get a forgiving partner… I don’t have any sensible suggestions that probably haven’t been said already in these interviews. A good filing system maybe, so that they’re all insured, taxed and MOT’d on time. Optimate smart chargers and motorbike dust covers… the usual stuff.

What’s the one other bike you really want in your multi bike collection and why?

There are so many… A red GSX-R1000 K2 (because I had one originally); an RC45 maybe. But the cream would probably be a Honda NR750 - I wanted one as a kid - or the modern day RCV213 for the road. That would turn heads and be an amazing ride!

What is the single best experience you’ve had on one of your bikes?

The highlight is possibly when I rode a Royal Enfield Bullet, from Delhi to a very high point in the Himalayas in 2019 - just me and a tour guide - It was a recce for Matt Wetherell to work out a 10 man tour. Thankfully it went pretty smoothly apart from seeing a bloke hitting a bus and watching his internal organs frying on the tarmac, oh and a landslide wiping a small jeep out… nothing too major!

What is the best bit of motorcycling advice you’ve ever received or dispensed?

The advice I remember well and dispense the most is “Wear good quality protective gear”. When I was young, I rode around in jeans and trainers etc. I still see kids doing it now and it makes me shudder. Get good boots and a lid... It’s too easy to think you're indestructible at a young age and you’re not.

Bob Collins Wheelie on track riding Honda Fireblade