Looking 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.