It took me quite some time to think of a hook to base this write-up around. It’s usual I’m late with the BOTM article but 9 times out of 10, I’m just busy/lazy/procrastinating. Not this time; this one was hard..
I’m not even sure how long OSS has been around now, but it’s easily more than 20 years. In these 20 years, the bikes we focus on have become older, rarer, more expensive and pushing the boundaries on a platform that has been around for as long as they have, becomes quite a mission.
With that, the focus maybe should shift from the actual bike itself, to the thought behind it. Confused? Let me explain.
Over the years I think we can all say the hive mind on OSS has been a bit different from the “regular” bikebuilding fraternity. You could see it years ago in SF magazine and still on places like Facebook; OSS bikes tend to stand out, 1 part the bike, the other part the person that built it.
I hate the word “attitude” when it comes to bikes, but that is exactly what it is; an attitude towards how a bike should be build, that is what makes a bike recognisable as a OSS-build.
Now, if someone with 9 times the talent of the regular person sets out to build a bike in this spirit, but then takes a bike that actually rolled off the line AFTER Oldskool had already launched, you know you’re about to see something special.
Yantosh has been a well know and respected member on OSS and beyond, as a builder of bikes that had that little bit extra (or A LOT extra) and fabricator for endless other bikes of friends and customers, both on OSS and further afield under the BFT-brand. If you’ve never heard of BFT (Blunt Force Trauma), I urge you to dig thought the internet a little and expect to be amazed.
Actually quite a while ago, since the bikes is finished and on the road, Yantosh started out with a perfectly functioning K4 GSXR1000 and pulled it apart, only to be left with a engine and a plan.
The idea was to build “A Bike” from the ground up, using the engine and some chassis components of the 1000, at least until something prettier turned up, and do everything else at home, in a tiny shed…
With a self fabricated pipebender, a jig and some plumbing supplies, he set out to build a frame, from scratch, in the tiny shed. Most of us mortals struggle to fit different wheels to our bikes but this was another level entirely.
With cardboard, MDF, polycarbonate and a CNC mill, the main plates were fabricated so that the freshly bent pipes would have something to be welded to and before long, the engine had a home again.
It all sounds rather simple typing this out, but with the details for the sidestand, the swingarm pivot and others, I assure you this is not something anyone can (or should) do. Tony Foale’s knowhow has been put to good use here; another thing to Google if you don’t know who this is.
With the frame welded up, more time was spent at the mill to fabricate yokes, swingarm-adjusterblocks and swingarmpivot were machined up to get the project to the next stage. Next stage is; getting offers of trick bits you have to have, on the most inopportune time. We’ve all been there.
Race shock, race wheels, race pipe; just what anyone needs when building a bike, so all were aquired, as normal. Attention was turned to the bodywork, which would basically be just a tank and seat, but it can make or break any build with being aesthetically pleasing or not.
Lots of faffing about with foam, fibreglass and Kevlar, the bike started to look like a complete build but looking complete and being complete are 2 totally different things, so again much time was spent making rearsets, headlight mounts, steeringdamper mounts, etc. A lot of stuff to make, in a world where you can flex your creditcard on ebay and easily have something special, but that’s not the same, is it?
Yantosh even went as far to have it registered as a completely new bike, legally on the road, build by himself in the tiny shed. Quick swap of exhaustcans, shakedown to the TT and all was well-ish. The tank didn’t hold fuel so another tank was build to get the bike where it is now.
Is it Oldskool or not, it’s a good discussion to have. I think it is. No, the bike isn’t oldskool as such (because it’s not old), but the work that has gone into this to get it where it is, and more so the though or “attitude” behind it makes it a lot more oldskool than the next Bandit with some streetfighterish bits bolted to it.
It’s a new age, we best get used to it, otherwise we’ll all be has-beens.