Your culture is a combination of what you create and what you allow

Like most tinkerers, I’ve been a member of a few technical forums over the last 15 years. I don’t know what I would have done without them.

At one time, before social media,  I would sit at a computer and jump between 2 or 3 forums for a couple of hours every evening. Back then there was no Facebook ,twitter or Instagram. Fast forward 10 years and forums are dying off in their droves. Let’s face it,  most of them look and feel pretty clunky these days, especially when pitched against modern social media platforms. Mobile devices now dominate. If a forum isn’t mobile responsive ( optimised for viewing on a mobile device) it’s pretty much useless to anyone who isn’t sat in front of a computer. Worse still, if it is still relying on remote picture hosting like photobucket it will now be full of black squares where pictures used to sit.

In contrast, platforms like Facebook make it very easy to start an interest group and it’s simple and convenient to use from any device. Easy picture uploads, unlimited bandwidth. So who needs forums right?

In the face of all this “progress” why the fuck did we bother re-launching the oldskoolsuzuki.info technical forum? It’s not like we hadn’t seen others try to launch similar forums and fail in the interim.  Even some of the long established technical forums were emptying, replaced by Facebook groups.

Well,  the answer to that question was obvious to us from the start and chances are, it might now be dawning on others too. We wanted to be independent, we wanted to control how our space on the internet looked. We wanted to make sure we owned and controlled all of the data and privacy settings for the information our members were sharing and building.

Recent news coverage of the facebook data scandal has confirmed most peoples suspicions as well as vindicating our own decisions. Facebook know who you like, what you like, when and where you like it and who you liked it with. Facebook use that data to profile you and then they sell those profiles to businesses that want to target you for advertising. In fact, that’s the very deal you strike with Facebook; your info, in exchange for their social media platform. Facebook has been sold once already and your profile was sold with it. In case you were under any illusion about what Facebook’s product actually is; It’s you!

 

 

Our only use for facebook is as a community page to share articles from our website. Every-time we post a link on our community page, Facebook offers us the opportunity, at a price, to target new members by selecting interests, locations, age etc. That is Facebook’s principle purpose and revenue stream. Ultimately, we are not concerned  because we know that if anyone really wants to be a part of the OSS community they must  come here and register on our forum (oldskool). We know it wont be long before Facebook start charging facebook groups for the privilege of appearing on members timelines or at best, they will pepper group pages with targeted advertising. Facebook already controls the posts you see. For publishers, they are already being charged to appear on the timelines of customers, even if customers have liked and followed the page. Interest groups may follow. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

So why is www.oldskoolsuzuki.info bucking the trend? The answer to that question is simple: We re-thought the concept of a technical forum and updated it. Many have made the mistake of thinking it’s easy to run a forum. It’s not. While other forums fail or fade or take the easy option of transitioning to Facebook groups we have gone in the other direction and more than that, we have actually been successful, despite our narrow subject matter. We know this is not down to blind luck or happy accident. We did it this way by design.

Firstly,thanks to our technical Guru and man behind the curtain, Jelly, we selected the right platform. It’s mobile responsive and it’s easy to use. We have little or no restriction on picture sizes and all pictures are hosted by us. We have a well moderated forum. We have hand picked traders who offer discount to our members with 0% commission to the site. Our news page has regular updates and the site is 100% free of charge. We do the occasional t-shirt run and the money goes back to the site. Any shortfall is made up by the site Admins.  Everyone involved in running the site gives their time, effort and their skills free of charge.

Our approach has gradually attracted over 2000 people to join us over 2 years and that is largely down to our growing digital footprint across a range of digital channels but for us, the single most important point is, everything leads back here, to the URL that spawned so many other interest groups www.oldskoolsuzuki.info

Our efforts have taken time, forethought and planning by our busy team of enthusiastic mods and admins.  More importantly,of course, we would be nothing without our enthusiastic members who are willing to spend time sharing their builds and answering questions on our technical boards.

The popular illusion about forums is the idea that ” if you build it, they will come” This is  idea is outdated, simplistic and somewhat naive. In a growing universe of digital noise, how does a potential member find you? More importantly when they find you, what is it that makes them want to stick around?

In our case, we know that people will find us, we know that when they do find us and they understand us, they will stay. If they don’t understand us, well there is always Facebook.

Back to the original question; Why the fuck did we re-launch a technical forum?

We set out to build something of quality that we hoped would gradually attract like minded people from around the world.  Like everything of quality we knew we had to set out our stall with a clear and unwavering proposition and values.

  1. We wanted to be a technical forum dedicated to building up free information and expertise with the aim to  inspire, instruct and assist those that want to modify, build or race a unique oldskool Suzuki machine – We have a purpose.
  2. We are not for profit. The forum is free – We are independent.
  3. We simply want to fulfil our purpose and to do that we have strict forum rules. We rigorously enforce them to keep our content focused. – We actively maintain our culture
  4. We simply don’t give a fuck what the rest of the known world thinks about what we are doing or how we are doing it. –We have integrity

The short version: It’s about the bikes and the builds, it’s free, there are rules, If you don’t like it, you’re in the wrong place.

We are safe in the knowledge that people will either identify with our values or they wont. To date we appear to have rung a chord for many and that is gratifying but the truth is; if there were only 100 of us here but there were 100 cool projects in the project section we would still be fulfilling our purpose. oldskoolsuzuki hasn’t changed at all in that respect.

With every year that passes, the information we build together creates its own digital gravity, drawing in curious members who have stumbled across our digital breadcrumb trail on search engines or shared social media feeds. Our project section and bike of month winners are ultimately what we create. All of the info and threads are well arranged and they are always in the same place when you come back.

We are not the the pick and mix section of the internet that has become the norm over the last decade. We are a friendly bunch but we don’t suffer the sort of fools you’ll find so readily elsewhere. We are never worried about reducing our member count. Quality , not quantity is our moto. Those that instantly get it, eventually get it, or even just grin and bear it, are the people that make up our community.

Just like the bikes that we all love, build, race and ride;  the best performance always comes when you tighten up on any tolerances. We built this place as a place for  others and ourselves to enjoy. That is why we swim against the tide and maintain a forum .

So judge us on what we create rather than what we allow. That is is the true measure of any culture.

Members discuss here

Do more things that make you forget to look at your phone.

Now that it’s the end of the year, we have some time for reflection.

In the current day and age, everything is about numbers; how fast is your car, how expensive is your house, how many likes does your selfie get and how many friends do you have on Facebook?

Our OSS-world is “sort of” the same; numbers are an easy way to measure if you’re doing something right. As it is now, Facebook and other readily available social media run the world; a lot of people are just not bothered about putting in any effort at all online, because the aforementioned Facebook,Instagram or Snapchat will happily do it for you. In return means all your data is shared and sold to advertisers. This is something just about everyone just takes as a given and give it no real second thought. We do though.


Since all these We-Do-Everything-For-You platforms have come to rise, most traditional technical forums have been dwindling, and that got even worse when Photobucket thought it’d be a good idea to block all “third party hosting” (unless you were to fork over 400$/year) which meant all pics you ever used on a forum posted from Photobucket were now gone..


All this in general means many don’t bother with forums anymore; it’s just too much work. Rightly so, it is maybe a bit less straight forward than Facebook, BUT, all that You post would actually stay Yours and in the place you put it. Facebook and the pages we all frequent have one pretty big issue; useful information gets washed away in a sea of nonsense, never to be seen again, plus there’s too many “experts” that will endlessly argue over a given point without ever giving actual proof of their said expertise.

Now, since we were talking numbers, let’s make them work for us. While many forums are struggling in the face of social media, we as OSS have managed to bring over 2000 members together on a forum in 2 and a half years. Granted, these are not all active users, but 2000+ people non the less that have taken the time away from the usual internet to immerse themselves into our world. Some will stay, some will flounce, it’s been the same since day one; OSS really isn’t the most easy place for outsiders; we like people to put in some effort, not your usual play on the internet.

This is all done to “naturaly select” those that would have no place amongst us. You either bring something to the table, or you leave.

2000+ members, 10 Raceteam members (at time of writing) and growing fast, 300+ project topics with more getting started every day, OSS has proven to be a good place to hide away from the fast/short/simple that is the daily internet, to find it all a bit more in depth and (for me personally anyway) a generally more relaxing atmosphere. Just remember to read the rules.

From me to you, thank you for visiting, posting, engaging on Oldskoolsuzuki.info and helping us spread our beliefs on the internet and in real life during bike nights and the bigger events, it’s greatly appreciated. It must mean we as a team of people are doing something right and the decision of bringing back OSS as a stand-alone website has been the right one.

Let’s get 2017 behind us and go forward to 2018; more projects that are actually easily to follow and properly documented, more high profile Winged Hammer racebikes run across the globe and let us meet up somewhere along the way.

We promise to not make you want to look at your phone every 10 minutes. Just check in every once in a while, when you feel like it and share with us what you have been doing. Most importantly, do so safe in the knowledge that it will still be there when you come back and no one is going to sell your digital soul for a quick buck.

See you next year, thanks,

Rene EFE

Discuss here

NB; All bikes in this article are built, owned and maintained by the Admin team. If you like what you see and would like to know more, please join our forum and get in on all the fun. We’re a friendly bunch.

Never give up on something you can’t go a day without thinking about…

1011022_189366621226132_1459505250_nLooking back on the years between when the original OSS faded and the months and weeks directly before we brought OSS back from the dead, there were some that thought we should have let sleeping dogs lie. OSS had lived out it’s natural life cycle and should remain assigned to the past along with, for most of us,  our late 30’s and our 40’s. There was a belief that we could never hope to re-capture the magic because those days had passed and so much had changed in the world and in our lives. The brotherhood that thrived during the OSS heydays had fragmented into a thousand pieces and scattered to the winds. Too much time had passed to sound the great horn once again and bring all the parts back together.

Back then we were united by an idea. The idea that we could take a 10 year old bike and armed with a smug sense of self belief , the power of shared knowledge, cunning engineering and self anointed divine righteousness we could single handedly nullify all of the progress that the Japanese motorcycle industry had made over 20 years  by outperforming all modern machinery and embarrassing  their owners with our re-engineered  prehistoric wonders. I don’t know if we ever truly succeeded with any constancy but it felt good trying and the shared belief that what we were doing was worthwhile provided us all with a real sense of belonging at OSS and a strong collective identity.

Fast forward 10 years and a new age is upon us. People are actually welding slabby subframes back on! Slabby bodywork, which once lay discarded at the back of sheds all over Europe, because it couldn’t be given away, is now being traded for the price of a small Caribbean  island. The world and his wife now wants to own a standard 80s 0r 90s sports bike.

So what place can there be in this new world  for a relic of a website  from the naughties and its foolhardy inhabitants who continue to dedicate themselves  to the retro upgrade of what have now become expensive contemporary classics?

Well, take one look at the project section and you’ll see that little has changed in the respect that we are still trying to re-engineer bikes from the 80’s and 90’s and while turbos where something for the favoured few back then they have become standard trim in recent years thanks to people like Dave Dunlop making it look easy.( it’s not)

There are also a number of changes in our identity that have been more organic than engineered. In truth, we didn’t know how may of our original members would return and we didn’t know what we might end up with when we re-animated the corpse of OSS.

So what else has changed? and where has it led us? Well, for one thing, we are all a little older, a little wiser, a lot more experienced and for many of us we have a little more disposable income than we did 10 years ago. What this means is that that the quality of what we can build has improved along with the finish and the over all quality of the components we can buy. So in short 15 years later, most of us are building the bikes we couldn’t hope to have afforded to build or hoped to execute 10-15 years ago. (middle age rocks)

The second welcome development is the  rise in popularity of post classic racing and other straightliner events. This  has led to a renaissance in building OSS bikes fit for purpose. There are still plenty of street bikes being built but there are more and more of our bikes being built to compete. Last year, 2 of our bikes of the month took world records at Pendine Sands and one was an  international post classic racing series winner. We also have a number of members building their bikes solely to compete in various race events.

While the original site did have a few racers ( Go Runt Go!) we never really gave them a special place on the site.  Over the last year we have recognised the importance of those that choose old school Suzuki motorcycles as their foundation for a building a competitive machine. This has convinced us that we need to provide a race section on the site and we need to create an OSS identity for our growing band of intrepid competitors.  Over the next few months the Oldskoolsuzuki International Race Team will start to take shape. We have begun working on a new winged hammer logo as the team emblem that racers will be able to proudly display on their bikes. We will also hope to encourage companies to offer the Race Team discounts in exchange for coverage and trader status. We also hope members may also be able to try to support with parts when possible.

There will of course be rules ( Fucking rules) this is OSS after all. To be a Racer you will have to be a current competitor in an organised race series or competitive straight-liner event. We will also expect you to keep us all informed of your antics in the race section.

Keep your eyes peeled for the race team launch before the end of 2016.

So, we might not be the OSS that we once were ,but in truth, we are a far better fit for the world we now find ourselves in. OSS is just a website, without the passion that we all share and the time that we all dedicate to updating our threads and sharing our knowledge, it would be nothing more than a blank page.

Thank you everyone for continuing to waste your valuable time with us. May your 10mm socket always be where you thought you left it and may the power of  Hanma-Shin’s mighty hammer be with you, always.

And for those lost OSS brothers and sisters still wandering , we sound the great horn once again and hope that you hear its call.

 

 

 

Happy Birthday to us.

This time last year we were getting ready to press the go live button on the re-launch of oldskoolsuzuki.info. At the time we were all worried whether it would work and whether anyone would actually turn up.

Classic bike mechanic

As we approach our 1st birthday we have the benefit of hindsight and fortunately you did turn up. Not only did you turn up but you stuck around and you shared your workshop antics and your crazed shed born master plans with us through nearly 8000 project posts. The projects section remains our busiest section and that confirms that we got the emphasis of what the site should be about right.

The project section has provided us with a steady supply of worthy bike of the month winners over the last 12 months. Each one is a fine ambassador for what OSS is all about. There are plenty of others in the project pipeline.

During the year we left Jurassic Park and introduced Hanma-Shin’s mighty hammer to guide our way.Not an easy decision but we haven’t looked back.

Ancient Hamna-shinWe closed the old Facebook gang hut where we had all hung out waiting for the site to relaunch and we launched a new community page on Facebook. So much has changed since the days of the original forum and social media has become so slick and easy to use. Even the new site feels clunky in comparison to today’s’ social media platforms. Nonetheless, we set out to create an oldskool forum where our collective endeavours would be recorded in a structured and ordered way, for easy reference. We have improved picture uploads to encourage people to share their pictures ( we still like those). Forums will never again be the social gathering that they were a decade ago but they still make the best place to spend an hour or 2 a week browsing the threads and sections to see what’s new and if you’re serious about information sharing, there is no substitute.

Throughout the year we’ve put on 2 show stands and this summer we have a Cadwell track-day social event, a Donington weekend show gathering and a dyno day.  Not bad for a bunch of part time enthusiasts. Which leads me to my final point. At the end of the day the site and forum will only ever be the sum of its members and their input. Our thanks to everyone for taking the time to share their builds, their wisdom. their questions and ultimately their time to keep OSS alive and kicking. A special thanks must go to the volunteers that give up their time to moderate, organise events, stickers, hoodies and t-shirts. There would be no OSS without you.

If you have any good ideas for content and info and you want to get more involved send us a message through the contact link at the bottom of the forum or PM an Admin.

So happy Birthday OSS. You’re still here and given your historical struggles, that’s no mean feat.

Discuss this article here.

A word from the wise

pp_logo The site RobbyNitroz.nl was started in 1999 by a small group of friends (Robby Nitroz and Mr. 7/11) intending to log the building and modifying of their bikes. RN(S) was the result of Robby’s Streetfighterpage and the Suzuki 7/11 Boulevard joining together.

As time progressed, Robby changed sides and got himself a H*nda fireblade. In 2001 Mr. 7/11 added a forum to the site, which is when things really started to take off. Then Bral joined the RN(S) team in May 2001 but Unfortunately, Bral couldn’t dedicate enough time and left the team leaving Mr. 7/11 running229144_5871722894_2873_n things on his own.

In 2003, after a very open forum discussion with the then-current site members, Mr. 7/11 changed the site name to OldSkoolSUZUKI.info. Eventually in 2003 I stepped-in to assist Mr. 7/11 running the forum.

Over the next year I changed my username from PerversePolisher to PP and got promoted to be a full moderator, running everything behind the scenes with Mr. 7/11.

In 2007, due to personal events and a lot of changes in his life, Mr. 7/11 made the tough decision to step back from running the site he’d built up and leave it totally in the hands of PP

1923646_8911572894_4629_nDevelopments over the years have included a section for “Twins” in support of Wingnut’s Mini Twin racer, and a section for 2-Stroke Suzuki’s (by popular demand).

At the tail-end of 2008, my life went through some fairly major changes and led into an ongoing run of misfortune; the most major or which being the total failure of the server that OSS had been running on in 2011.

Several attempts to rebuild the server, using external services to re-create the site and lack of time and funds led to me having to put the site on hold. Several of the original site members couldn’t let it lie down and began a Facebook page to ensure that the social side of OSS could continue.

Where the site now goes is up to them….

PP

Discuss here

Tagged

Welcome to v2.0

“Hello, my name is Rene and I am new” It was the first line of my first 39981post to a forum which would turn out to change and enrich my life, and which would be the source of about half of the friendships I actually have in the real world at this very moment.

I didn’t know it at that time, but I was already very aware of the pedigree and what OSS stood for in the digital motorcycle world that was forming in the (fairly) early days of the internet.

I treaded lightly and took all the information that was there, to heart. Tons of people that really knew their stuff, dared to go beyond the beaten path and no-one was affraid to try something new. OSS was a place away from the internet; no distractions, no things outside of what OSS meant.

It was that way from the off and everyone knew it, understood it and was very much used to it. It was “our” way, and if you didn’t understand this, you had no business on OSS.

mr711Through the years a lot has happened with all things OSS; PP took over from Mr7/11, troops were brought in from overseas to strengthen the international relationship and many hardline moderators helped to keep the ball rolling until the website was being so flooded in spam that it was not realistically possible to keep going without major work to the system. The forum was closed and not long after, the entire website was taken offline.

Banoffee had already taken it upon him to start a Facebookpage, at the time meant to bridge the downtime of the forum, so that we could all stay in contact, but it swiftly surpassed the actual website in membership, and the longer it stayed offline, the more it was looking as if the FB-page was the actual base from which all was ran. This all to an outsider, off course, because those that were there for the journey, knew there was more to it.

Some of the members that had been part of the former website felt out of place on Facebook and Ash was the one that opened up the Proboards-forum. A welcome addition to the FB page that was already in place and plenty members of old have found their way to Ash’s pages and a lot of info has already been posted to be used across the globe.

This bring us to the Now. Firstly, I’ll have to make clear as to who has the current ownership of Oldskoolsuzuki.info ; Me. It has been signed over to me by Mr7/11, with my promise to guard and stay true to what he and PP, along with the founding members have created. I’ve surrounded myself with a few key people of the old page and the 4 of us; Banoffee, KatanaMangler, Jelly and myself, currently at the helm on FB, with Ash and Captain Chaos keeping the Pro-Boards forum running. We took it upon ourselves to revive OSS, and if you’re reading this, it’s possible that you find yourself in new but familiar surroundings.tumblr_nho2vhOKpf1ri1ymoo1_500

A lot of stuff has gone on behind the scenes and more then a few people have put in their time and hard earned money, just so we could get OSS back online. We’re still busy converting old articles to be available on the new home of OSS, and photo’s are being converted as we go. The old page was so full of info, that if we have chosen to add this over time, because otherwise it would’ve taken at least another year before we had anything to show for.

We understand a lot of you will have questions, which we will all try to answer in future posts in the not to distant future. A forum is in place with the same guidelines as the old one was. Sadly, we could not save what was left of the old forum, to be usable and live on this page, nor is there the possibility to migrate Ash’s forum to this one, due to Pro-Board rules. This makes it a bit of a hassle and we’re sorry for that, but there’s little we can do.

To tumblr_ncbjmeoBVT1tmt2lko1_500be fair; some of you don’t know me and will raise an eyebrow as to “why this crazy Dutchman has taken over our page” I’ve heard this more than a few times but I can tell happily tell you; I’m not taking it over, we’re not taking it over. It has been trusted to us while originally formed between a few Dutchmen and ran by people that didn’t even live in the same country, the English language was chosen to cross borders and that is exactly what it did.

In this OSS has succeeded more then anyone could ever wish for. OSS is known the world over, from the Northern most tip of Finland where they race on ice with Proboost equipped slabbies, to all the way downunder, where a fair few members race their GS’s and Katana’s and come out on top.

And then there’s all of us in between; OSS is bigger then just us, and we should treat it that way.

We welcome you into this new chapter in the OSS and ask you to be a part of it. It’s been a bit of a bumpy ride the last few years leading up to the point where we are now, but all is in place to give the place it’s second lease of life.

Go build, race, restore and modify your bikes and make sure you keep us informed about your findings.

And pictures, we like pictures.

Rene EFE

Discuss here

The first 7/11

The original 7/11 was built by Bradley O’ Connor and was featured in Performance Bikes Magazine Sept. ’92. He put a GSX1100F engine in a GSX-R750 chassis to create a bike that gave him the same surge of adrenaline as he got from riding a Kawasaki ZZR-1100 without spending a lot of money.bradley

Although built from standard parts and any further tuning it was measured to outperform the ZZR on every aspect. His bike became a inspiration to many and nowadays there must be hundreds of 7/11’s on the streets. Bradley later added nitrous and put the engine in a Harris Magnum 4 frame.

The combination of the monster torque of a GSX-R1100 and the light weight and short(er) wheelbase of a 750 chassis results in a bike which; “Has enough torque to pull a Brontosaurus out of quicksand” and “Leaps out of your hands coming out of corners without even being asked

brad711And that is exactly what we 7/11 owners want, a affordable bike witch will give you that same feeling of sheer power that you got when you got on a 1100 for the first time, even when you own it for years now, something you just won’t get used to.