The quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten

At the beginning of August oldskoolsuzuki took a stand at the VJMC show at Donington. I decided I would go down for the weekend and hang around drinking beer and looking at bikes.

As the weekend progressed and my bike ogling and beer drinking continued I began to reflect upon how much my personal opinion on what constitutes a desirable bike has changed over the last 25 years.

Looking back to when I was in my 20s  my opinion was driven almost entirely by 1. Aesthetics and 2. Affordability. If I liked the way a bike looked and it was affordable, I would buy it. Even in my 30s little had changed when I bought a tatty 1982 Suzuki Katana for £500. From the age of 13 when I first set eyes on the Katana’s crazy German/Japanese design,  I had wanted one.

Although my work on the Katana started out with a largely aesthetic goal in mind, I was quickly drawn into a very different mindset. My journey led me me beyond aesthetics alone, into the world of functional performance parts that, to the untrained eye, often looked awkward or even aesthetically out of place. If you knew their significance, however, they took on a functional beauty all of their own.

So, my view of what constituted a desirable bike had gradually distorted. What makes a desirable bike for me, these days, hinges almost entirely on the sum of it’s parts rather than the whole. More accurately, form now follows function.

Where once I would stand back from a bike to take in it’s lines and evaluate it’s stance and other wanky bullshit of that nature, I’m now more likely to be found crawling around underneath it, taking in every bolt, bracket and component. If it has the right parts and it has been well put together, to me,  the engineered, functional simplicity, that some might find ugly, becomes a thing of great beauty.

We now live in the world of Facebook Instagram and Twitter and there are more shared opinions about what is right and what is wrong than ever before.  My opinion is just one more of the many opinions shared and although I represent a unique type of anorak, I live happily with the knowledge that I am not alone and I have a place to go, away from the internet, to indulge my world view.

I still remember when OSS spent a few agonising years on Facebook while the forum was up on the ramp. The problem with most of the open and untethered internet is that literally anyone can pitch up and offer his or her opinion on content and knowing what they are talking about is purely optional. I remember on the old Facebook page someone had posted up a picture of a really nice EFE fitted with a turbo. It’s fair to say that a more brutal looking engine and assembly of purposeful plumbing, would have been hard to find. While most of us were liking it and fawning over it, one learned chap commented, with great authority, that he didn’t think the oversized frame tubing looked very good and that it ruined the lines of the bike. Somebody quickly corrected him on the fact that this was actually the feed from the turbo to the plenum and not the frame tube. “I still don’t like it” he replied ” it looks out of place and ruins the lines of the bike”.

Every time I see an overpriced CX500 cafe racer with a brown leather seat, bathing in the glow of an Instagram filter, I am reminded that there are many who will never see beyond style alone. Each to their own. Fashions come and fashions go but quality never goes out of style.

A walk around any race paddock and you quickly realise that these guys have always believed that function dictates form.

 

We built oldskoolsuzuki.info so that we would not be alone in our lust for expensive components, trick engineering and the love of admiring the work of  those that are able assemble said parts to form unique performance motorcycles. Looking around our stand at Donington, I was reminded that we did the right thing.

Quote of the weekend at Donington goes to a passer by on our stand, who after taking a long and careful look around the bikes on the stand, turned with a smile and said “you guys are fucking mental!” Naturally, we took that as a compliment.

So here is to continuing to beg, borrow and engineer  the very best parts we can, safe in the knowledge that the quality always remains long after the price is forgotten.

Members discuss this article here

A picture paints a thousand words……

Brian O'Shea 04 a

When we re-launched the site we were keen not to fall into the traps that  the previous forum had suffered from. As we saw it ,those were bandwidth issues and forum maintenance issues.We also wanted to fund the site independently and transparently, without donations.

Bandwidth

So as far as the bandwidth issues were concerned we decided to host the entire site remotely. In order to keep hosting costs low we restricted the size of uploads ( pictures) In the time that the site was down everyone naturally and understandably became very used to the seamless and automatic picture resizing prowess of platforms like Facebook. This meant that resizing images prior to posting had become a total pain in the arse. We now believe that this is ultimately affecting the desire for members to share pictures and content on the forum. We concede that this is counter productive.

Forum Platform

We trialled a few platforms before we settled for IPB. The platform is fully supported  by the company that makes it which means we don’t have to do do much to keep it in good health.  It is mobile responsive and offered the best balance between cost and  functionality. Unfortunately it did not have a picture resizing plug in that would allow any size of picture to be uploaded and resized automatically. We hoped IPB would develop this but they have not, yet. This lead to many members using photobucket and other picture hosting platforms to save having to resize pictures.

Picture hosting

Now, while remote hosting of pictures from your own account is easier than resizing as well as being easier on our storage capacity it’s not ideal for  the info stored in the threads. The reason for this is that photobucket links break for all sorts of reasons. For instance if you delete pictures on your hosted account then the links on the forum no longer work and threads that were once full of pictures fill up with annoying black boxes with a message saying that the image is no longer available.

We like pictures

So, here’s what we have done to remedy the situation:

  • You can now upload any size picture that you want. We have lifted the restriction on file size.
  • We want to store all site pictures here rather than hosting them elsewhere.
  • When we need to we may have to increase our hosted capacity but that wont be soon.
  • Use the yellow link which says choose files to upload your pictures.
  • We have also repaired the glitch that was affecting hosted pictures links.

We could have just said “we’ve fixed the picture problem” but we wanted to take the time to explain what we where trying to achieve as a way of explaining the decisions we have made. Communication black outs were another pit fall we wanted to avoid.

Please do your best to keep file size down and help us save space. We will routinely delete pictures from the for sale and wanted sections once the posts are dead, in the interests of maintaining space.

Happy posting.

Discuss here

Horsepower talks and bullshit walks

20160227_122610_zpsd6oxbfqc

There are few points in a bike build that have more potential for self back patting and/or self loathing than the inaugural visit to the dyno man.  It is the place where  a curved line graph and 3 magic digits coldly define the fruits of a long winter spent chasing those elusive extra horses.

Dyno runs don’t normally come cheap but thanks to OSS member Havoc ( Tom Davidson) we have secured the use of a dyno provided by RTR in Nottingham. Dyno sessions will be 20-25 minutes for just £25. Each dyno run will come with a full print out as well as advice from RTR’s proprietor.

The date for the planned dyno day will be Sunday the 31st of July starting at 10am and it will be held at RTR Motorcycles,  7 Moorbridge Road, Bingham, Nottingham NG13 8GG. The venue is just 2 units down from Allens Performance so we will try to arrange carb jets to be available for tweaks between runs.

In order to make the day financially viable we’ll need 12 people so once we have 12 people paid up the event will go ahead. If we don’t have 12 people by the end of May we wont do the event. Details on how to sign up and pay can be found here on the forum. If we have more than 12 people and our costs are covered  any surplus will go to the air ambulance fund.

Tom has also arranged for a catering van so that members can keep up their strength on the day.

If you are looking for a dyno run to set up your bike or you just want to know what it’s pushing out at the back wheel £25 is not a lot of money.

Naturally we will start a competition where members can claim a  BHP figure before the start and depending on the results we might resurrect the OSS bullshit award for the biggest difference in the dyno result.

Please bear in mind that your bike’s mechanical well being  is entirely your own responsibility and OSS takes no responsibility for mechanical failure  or any resulting mechanical damage that may occur  during your dyno run.

Raiders of the lost KnarF

Rene is on location today so he asked me to publish this article on his behalf.

Many of you will instantly recognise the name knarF and you will know the importance of the OSS build project associated with it. For those that are new to OSS, we need to provide  little bit of background.

knarf_memorial_project_gs_001

On the 13th of July 2006 the OSS community lost a close friend KnarF (Frank) when he died suddenly due to freak allergic reaction to something he ate while on holiday. At the time, we only learned this sad news quite a bit later when Mr7/11 (OSS site founder) was contacted by KnarF’s family to ask “what to do with all those bike bits”. Like so many of us, Frank had been collecting parts to build his dream bike for a number of years, while still always having a fairly tricked out bike on the road, it’s a familiar OSS condition.

After getting over the initial shock of loosing a close friend ,  Mr7/11 spoke with KnarF’s family and agreed it would be a fitting tribute to try to complete and realise KnarF’s dream of a  Yoshimura GS build.  Mr7/11 came back to the OSS community and asked that we all share that commitment to build Frank’s dream bike. Mr7/11 saw this is as his and the OSS community’s obligation to Frank and his family; to posthumously build the bike Frank had been dreaming of but would sadly now never  have the opportunity to complete.

Thus the  KnarF GS build began. The project  got it’s own  board on the forum and a legend was born. Parts were gathered from all over the world and the whole of OSS community  rose to the occasion lending their support  through parts, engineering, painting, powder coating, tuning, expertise , know how, encouragement and enthusiasm.

knarf_aug2nd2

Mr7/11 led the project, with a lot of help from many generous site members. We all watched as Frank’s dream bike took shape before our very eyes. The KnarF GS was finished in 2007 in time for the deadline and revealed to the world at Circuit Park Zandvoort .

knarf_zandvoort_1  tumblr_ni8crgqCSz1tmtxceo1_1280 tumblr_ni8cnhRdAT1tmtxceo1_1280

The bike was track tested at Assen and I still remember standing in awe as the bike went through the pit lane at onto the track to do what is was made to do. I watched with a sense of great pride as it promptly slaughtered a H#nda Fireblade on its maiden laps.

NP7L4985 (1) NP7L4980 NP7L4941 (1) NP7L4917 NP7L4896

After the KnarF GS  first appeared at Assen , it was campaigned for a good year or so as a proper classic racer by a site member Ron. After a while news  of Ron and the KnarF GS went quiet. Ron went missing and with him the Knarf.

I never gave up hope of finding the KnarF GS again and over the years I picked up  rumours and snippets of information about it’s whereabouts and it’s well being. More recently there were talks about  it being found and returned but as it so often  goes with some things, for one reason or another they were never followed through. I kept hoping  that it would one day magically turn up.

Those hopes finally  became a reality when I recently got a message from  Fred on my phone; “call this number”. When I did I found my self speaking to a guy  who I don’t personally know but who appeared to be familiar  with all things OSS. Most importantly he told  me he knew where the KnarF bike was.

In the end it turned out it ended up in the hands of a mutual friend, who was unaware of what the bike was and what it meant to a lot of people. Most importantly he agreed to return the bike to the OSS community.

So today marks the return  of a long lost friend and the story of this bike and the community of OSS, who built it continues.

KnarF 1KnarF 2

July the 13th 2016 will mark ten years since we lost our friend KnarF. It gives me the greatest pleasure to announce that we will  be setting out to get the bike back to the state and specification that it was in  when it was first finished in time for that important anniversary and I hope that once again we can call upon the help  of the OSS community .

Watch this space… ” Read more here

Rene EFE.

Follow the restoration thread here

Bike of the Month December 2015

BOTM DEC 2015Each month, the site is carefully scoured for the very best offerings from the technical and project sections to justify the award of the accolade ‘Bike of the Month’.

This month’s choice demonstrates the versatility of the Old Skool Suzuki in adapting to different careers. In a game where form follows function, there is little on this machine that hasn’t been tweaked, fettled or upgraded in order to achieve the very best performance results – whatever the job.

Congratulations to you and your machine johnny1bump!

To discuss click here

To read more about the bike click here

 

Hanmā-shin Hamamatsu- The Hammer God of Hamamatsu- A brief history.

Ancient depiction of Hamna-shin

Ancient depiction of Hamna-shin

Up until the early 90’s Hanma-shin could be found in the Suzuki factory at Hamamatsu where he diligently watched over the work of Suzuki’s designers and technicians, blessing their work with his divine and mighty hammer and scroll. Legend has it that his hammer is made from the very same meteorite that crashed to earth and killed the Dinosaurs. It is also said that the in-line four Suzukis of the 80’s and early 90’s owed their explosive power and durability to the thunder of his mighty hammer, which he divinely bestowed on each and every machine that rolled off the production line. It is also written that he was never without his sacred scroll of engine tuning spells which were attached to his hammer handle by the power band from a GT750.

The story goes that only one man ever got to view the contents of his sacred scrolls. He was a young mechanic named Pops who, after glimpsing their contents,  was promptly forced to flee in fear of divine retribution. Some say the Hanma-shin never fully recovered from the trauma. Things really started to go down hill for him shortly after that when he refused to bless a water cooled in-line four engine that was in development at the factory. He was rarely seen again after that.

By the late 90’s there were whispered rumours that night watchmen at the factory reported older production lines for EFEs and oil cooled GSXR engines just starting up of their own accord. Technicians working on Suzuki’s latest models reported missing front ends and swing arms as well as other cutting edge cycle parts. The legend goes that somewhere in the factory there is a hidden room where Hanma-shin has built a stable of the most perfect old skool Suzukis. The bikes that Suzuki should have built but never did. They are rumoured to be the perfect blend of old skool grunt and cutting edge bling.

For years after his disappearance there were reports of  H*nda Firebl@des in the staff car park being found smashed. The management of the factory put this down to badly driven delivery trucks but staff reported that the bikes very clearly looked like they had been smashed by a huge mash hammer.

A long serving Suzuki executive told us that all rumours and sightings had abruptly ended around about the same time Suzuki had introduced the water-cooled Bandit. He said he thought this had been the last straw for Hanma-shin.

I am pleased to end this sad story on a high, for after many years in the wilderness, Hanma-shin has finally mastered the wonders of the internet. After months of surfing inane, confused and frankly pointless motorcycle “web dwellings” ( as he calls them) he was on the verge of raising his mighty Hammer to smash his 10th computer of the day when the “sage oracle” ( this is what he calls Google) suddenly spoke to him of a distant clan of mortals by the name of the OSS, who had not yielded but had instead stayed true to the ancient ways, forsaking all other things. Since then he has carefully observed that the OSS too live by the hammer and scroll and in turn has come to realise that the OSS is an Island sanctuary in all the interweb and indeed in all the world. Perhaps here, he thought he might find lasting peace.

Here at oldskoolsuzuki.info he truly believes he has found his spiritual home. A place were fellow Luddites burn the midnight oil in secret rooms toiling to create the perfect Oldskool Suzukis by pilfering incidentals from modern machinery. He also loves the rules so much, that he has a laminated copy and slipped it in beside his sacred scrolls. Henceforth he has pledged his mighty hammer and his blessing to our cause.

Hanma-shin has agreed to allow us to use his hammer as our symbol and his image as our emblem on our “interweb dwelling” ( website) on our machines and on our “tunics” ( hoodies n’ that).

Thank you Hanma-shin, may your blessing give us success and your hammer protect us.

Discuss the the new emblem and logo here.

 

OSS- Hamna-shin emblem for the back of a tunic.

OSS- Hanma-shin emblem for the back of  our tunics?

The New OSS logo. Hamna-shin's mighty hammer.

The new OSS logo. Hanma-shin’s mighty hammer.

You are now leaving Jurassic Park

OSS logos evolution

When we finally wrestled the URL www.olskoolsuzuki.info down from a dusty top shelf, blew away the cobwebs and relaunched the new site, we wanted the look and feel of the site to be familiar.  We wanted loyal members who had been waiting patiently in the wilderness to get a sense they were coming home. We were careful with the colour scheme and we were very careful with the logo. Both got a refresh and a polish but not much more.

Five months later we couldn’t be happier with the way things have gone. The site is well on its way to 1000 members and we have over 3500 posts alone in the project section. We have kicked off our trader section, relaunched our Facebook page, bike of the month as well as updating the news pages and vault regularly.

So everything is perfect right? …..well not quite.

There is one thing that the Admin team have debated more than any other subject and that is the Jurassic Park inspired logo.

On one hand it is an iconic symbol of what OSS is and stands for. Instantly recognisable on any bike. It’s a symbol we have all taken to our heart. It is part of our identity as a group.

On the other hand it is also instantly recognisable because it was designed that way by a very well paid design company working for a multi-million pound film studio. In other words; it isn’t actually ours. While we can stop people using our URL which we own, we can’t copyright the logo because it isn’t ours. Anyone who ever uses the logo to produce merchandise will always run the risk ( no matter how small) of an intellectual property law suit by a very large film company. The risk increases the more widespread the logo is. Social media is able to do this more effectively than the website alone could 10 years ago. So in our view the risks are very real. We are also aware that for a long period of time when the site was down that merchandise and the logo became more about the t-shirts and the stickers than it did about the ethos behind the logo.

We have worked hard to reset the culture of the new site so the focus is back on the bikes and the builds. Now we want to reset the visual identity too. We want the logo to mean something again. We want the merchandise to be earned not just bought.

So with a great deal of careful consideration and a lot of soul searching we have decided that a mass extinction event for the dinosaur is the only real course of action. We have been working on a new and completely original design for the logo that will allow us to:

  • Register a trade mark
  • Make our own very limited runs of merchandise without fear of being taken to court
  • Provide stickers for completed build thread bikes
  • Sell merchandise at events
  • Create specialist stickers for BOTM and OSS race bikes
  • Use it whenever and wherever we want without having to watch our backs

Please stay tuned for the big reveal of the all new OSS logo and some background to the design very shortly.

Discuss this article here.

It’s not what you know but who you know.

OK, “what you know” is actually quite important on a site dedicated to info about a long since extinct motorcycle species. Our point here is that we all know genetic engineering  isn’t a cheap hobby.  That’s when the “who you know” bit becomes important.

We all know the special warm fuzzy feeling that you get when you receive that padded envelope in the post and it’s full of little plastic bags with the red and white labels. Unfortunately that warm fuzzy feeling is tempered by the sinking feeling when you see the bill.

red labels

Well worry not! Thanks to our very own Yoshijohnny we have secured a very useful  15% discount on all genuine Suzuki parts from Robinsons Rochdale. YJ works with the company and his employers have kindly agreed this very generous discount,exclusively for OSS members.

Robinsons Rochdale have been in the business for 60 years and if they don’t have the part on the shelf they can normally have it within 24 hours.

Robinsons

YJ has also agreed to alert us to any special offers on vintage Suzuki parts clear outs where discounts can sometimes be in excess of 30%

Details on how to get the discount are in our traders section on the forum and is only available  to members.

Find out more here

Fitting a 916-style Steering Damper

By Banoffee.

My slabby has a lively front end, so I’ve been wanting to fit a steering damper for ages. I even acquired the period Daytona fitting kit and damper however couldn’t get that to work with my USD front end. So, seeing as I wasn’t keen on modifying the frame to take a bolt-on side mounted damper the only option left was a 916-style fitment. Seeing as I’m running an Ohlins rear shock, the damper had to be Ohlins to match of course!

Basic theory:
Whilst steering damper manufacturers don’t list fitting kits for oldskool bikes, it’s actually a simple matter of taking the measurements and then doing some research to find a suitable kit (or parts from several kits).

The measurements: (Note – some measurements are taken with internal vernier edges, some external. These are just shown to illustrate, you should of course check your own measurements carefully!)

A: Yoke nut centre to tank front mount centre

AB: Top of tank mount to top of top yoke

BC: Between centre of tank front mount bolts

CD: Between LH lock and centre (then multiplied by 2)

DThe research:
I took a tape measure with me to bike meets, bike shops etc to measure up more modern bikes (with owners permissions of course when they were about!) and also bothered a few people selling kits on ‘that auction site’.

My bike:
(750G with 400gk76a USD front end)
A: approx 50mm
B: approx 60mm
C: approx 50mm
D: approx 60mm

Things to note:
On my slabby, the damper is quite close (5-10mm) to the tank. Double, triple check all measurements to ensure it won’t foul anwwhere.
Source the fitting kit before buying a damper so that you can mock up and modify if necessary. Setting a good search on ‘that auction site’ makes this surprisingly easy and cost-effective.
For the damper stroke, obviously err on the side of slightly longer but not too long as it will look unbalanced.

The result:
I picked up a 2000-model H*nda Firebl*de Harris fitting kit from ‘that auction site’ for a whopping �20. Measurements were near-perfect as a 1-2mm on the tank mount, etc. is just fine. Only slight drawback was 30mm lower ‘B measurement’ so I acquired a 30mm tubular spacer.

EMy ‘D measurement’ (remember to multiply by 2 of course!) meant an approx 60mm stroke damper so I ordered a 63mm stroke Ohlins damper from BikeStuff (cheers Rich!).
In the pics below you can see the finished result. I’ve lost a tiny amount of right-lock, however, eventually I’ll get a spacer made up to under the tank-mount part which will solve that. All-in-all I’m well pleased!

245

Oldskoolsuzuki in the news

When we launched the site nearly 2 months ago we prepared a press release on the re-launch and sent it out to the editors of all of the bike magazines. As with so may things in life it’s always who you know and not what you know that makes the difference. Thanks to Banoffee’s contacts  at Classic Motorcycle Mechanics and Dave Manning’s influence at BSH and 100% Biker we received some great coverage,

Even the original site’s  founder Patrick Fonck ( MR 7/11) felt the need to share a press cutting on facebook  and say It almost seems like a different lifetime when I started this website, but it’s nice to see my brainchild has grown up and finally found a way to take care of itself.
Well done and good luck to the people who are supporting it right now. The new logo looks brill btw.”

Thank you to everyone who was involved in getting the news of the site’s re-launch  into print.

Press coverage

BSH and 100% Biker

Classic bike mechanic

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics

Discuss here.