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

How To – Plastic Welding

Long term member from across the water, nightrider had a touch at a salvage auction with a Suzuki GS1100ES  bearing some cosmetic damage. Nothing that can’t be fixed, right? Right!

Here, he takes us through his tried and tested approach to plastic repairs.

I have been plastic welding for almost three decades now. I started in an old skool moto shop back in the 90’s. The old timers back then hated sportbikes so it was up to the young buck (me) to figure out how to fix those annoying fairings with that smelly Mac tools Plasti-welder. Through trial and error I weeded out what worked best for thin motorcycle plastics. Later I went on to repair Kayaks where the repairs were a bit more critical.

That being said, plastic welding is a fairly easy process.

Most mistakes I see is from people just smearing the filler rod material on the crack like glue. It’s best to think of it as welding. You have to get the filler material to penetrate and mix with the plastic being repaired. If you think of it more like really slow oxy acetylene welding you will have more luck.

First off, you are going to have to spend some money.

Yes, you could modify a soldering iron. Perhaps braze a foot on it?  But if you purchase a Plasti-welder you will find it handy for fixing all sorts of things (like any other welder). I’ve had the same Polyvance Mini-Weld Model 6 for over 10 years. There is a Model 7 now. They can be found on Fleabay or Amazon.

Don’t bother with the flat welding material. You will need the ABS R3 filler rod.

Once you have your Mini-Welder and R3 rods you’re ready to go.  Generally speaking you will only need to weld on one side. If your bodywork still has good paint you will want to weld on the inside (I typically always weld on the hidden side of the bodywork).

First off I place a piece of foil tape on the outside as a heat sink (this helps to keep the crack from puckering with the heat).

Next you will want to crank up the heat on your welder.

With ABS material I tend to just crank it all the way up to 11 but you might want to stick to the R3 setting if you’re dealing with y2000+ bike fairings as modern fairings tend to be pretty thin.

Once it’s heated up you will want to “stitch” the crack. This both tacks your weld and makes it easier to mix the filler rod with the fairing plastic in the next step.

Put your finger under the area you are welding and drive the toe of the welding iron into the plastic. You’re going to want to drive about 3/4 the way through the material you are welding at a fairly steep angle.

With your finger on the other side you can feel how hot the plastic is getting. Too hot for you, too hot for the plastic.

After you have done that you are ready to start filling.

Stick the rod through the cylinder on the welder.

With a wiggling motion, draw the welder across the stitch line while pushing the melting rod material into the little pockets in your stitches. Try to blend the two materials together (wiggling motion).

After that go back over your weld using the foot of the welder and melt down the excess and blend it into the surface. (This ensures that the outer edges of the weld are bonded and it makes it look a lot better). Take care to not get it too hot or you will ruin the paint job on the other side.

Peel off tape and Bobs your uncle.

With any luck you will barely even see the crack!

… and your shed will reek and Missus will be pi**ed and the neighbors will bitch and…

 

Huge thanks to nightrider! It’s all about the .info 

Read nightrider’s build thread on the forum here

Have you got any tried and tested techniques you can share? (Keep it clean, please!) >>>> here

Bike of the month March 2018

There’s many reasons to start your own build, with “because I want to” coming first and “because I can” second. (If the person taking on this project actually can, is something different, but more on that some other time)

Other reasons are aplenty but there’s two that carry much more load than any other reason I can think of. One; building the dream bike of a lost friend. Two; being asked to build that dream bike, by said lost friend.

This Katana was trusted upon Pete by Dave “Swingarm” Roberts, member of old and builder of one of the very few actually cool Bandits in history. Dave was lost to a horrible disease and the Katana for which he already had most of the parts, was left to Pete to finish.

Pete took it upon himself to finish the bike to a standard we rarely see outside of OSS. With a general idea of what Dave wanted the bike to be, he set to work.

Built over the course of less than a year, the Katana was entered in the Newark Show as its first public outing this January, it promptly won a award.

The Kat turned out, arguably, better than the Yoshimura-1135R Pete posted up as the end goal for the build and it’s received praise far and wide.

A fitting tribute to a lost friend, I tip my hat to you Pete; the Katana is this month’s BOTM.

More here

 

 

 

 

New OSS Trader – Lucky7moto

We are pleased to welcome Lucky7moto as an OSS Trader, with a discount available for OSS as well as a fantastic prize to give away too!

Lucky7moto are well known for building cool bikes, several of which have featured in magazines around the world. Their ‘no fucks given’ approach has always been fun to see, take a look at their T-shirts! They do it because they want to, not because they have to.

As well as building cool bikes for themselves and others with deep pockets (check out the Katana or ET they built), Lucky7moto also sell specialist parts.

New bike builds in the making include a GSXR1100 Slabside for a customer and a GSXR Slingshot that will become something endurance based. All builds result in some bespoke specialist parts being made and these are then offered for sale to you.

Today their most commonly requested item is the seat re-covering service. Steve the founding member, is a time served upholsterer by trade spending years in the Aston Martin interiors factory. Using only the best materials like high-grade leather or the latest waterproof Alcantara to the best textured vinyl, Lucky7moto seats can be found on some of the best builds on the planet. Racefit can attest to that. Lucky7 seats are on all of their builds. Steve has partnered with Jay who is an active member here on OSS.

Whether it’s a GSX1100 Katana, Bandit, GSXR (or any other bike including one off specials) these guys can (re)cover it transforming the look of the bike. Just don’t ask them for embossing or bright blue stitched logos, that’s not what they do.

Current bike parts on offer are GSX1100 and Katana oil catch tanks, under trays, swing arm spacers to allow later model swing arms to be used and shock mounts to allow newer style mono shock arms to run twin shocks. Lucky7moto will also supply you with a Racefit Legend system if you ask nicely 🙂

The newest product to come out of the workshop is a stunning hand beaten aluminium tank for the GSXR750 Slabside. It’s internally baffled, much lighter than stock and a real thing of beauty. These are a limited run so be quick to get some exotica. Other limited run, hand made aluminium tanks are on the horizon with GSXR Slingshot and Katana tanks being talked about.

If you can’t stretch to a fuel tank then Lucky7moto offer some very cool T-shirts and stickers for sale too. OSS members will receive a 10% discount.

To celebrate their new OSS Trader status, they are offering as a competition prize a re-cover for your bike seat OR if you are lucky enough to be a Katana or GSX1100 owner – an oil catch tank OR undertray set. Basically one winner, one prize.

For details of how get your OSS discount and to enter the competition, see the article in our Traders section here. Please note that you need a 50+ post count on the OSS forum to take part.

You can find Lucky7moto on the interwebs here:
http://facebook.com/luckyseven.motorcycles
http://lucky7moto.com (currently under construction)