Longest Day Challenge 2023

I’ve wanted to participate in The Longest Day Challenge for years and this year it was goingto happen. My friend Simon Hindley arranged for me to get in touch with the organisers, a bike was chosen and the deadline was there.

Cancer is a horrible disease that has brought too much misery to me and too many people around me. I’m not a doctor, I can’t make someone better or help in a practical sense. What I can do is give 5€ to the collector of KWF Kankerbestrijding / Dutch Cancer Society, but that doesn’t cut it for me. Money is and remains necessary and the fact that there are fundraisers in all sorts of places and by just as many different people is illustrative of this.

So this is The Longest Day Challenge; on the longest day of the year (21 June) from Land’s End to John o’ Groats, on a bike bought for under £600, without using the motorway. 1000 miles/1600km in about 24 hours. A nice day out on a motorcycle.. All this as a challenge to ask for sponsorship for charity. As a Dutchman it might be a bit strange that I would be doing this for a foreign charity, but half my social circle is in the UK and research certainly crosses borders.

I’d been working on a GSXR750 since October 2022 and it was pretty much finished when the suggestion came that this thing might be “a little too mad”. Sometime in March ’23 the Powerscreen was taken out of storage and I started working on that.

Bought for 100€ (so about 550£ post-Brexit) and A LOT of work later it was neatly on its tires. The most legal motorcycle I’ve built, with the most amazing paint job (thanks to the Boeijinga family)
The last things were done, it’s just packing the van and I would be on the boat the next Saturday. At this point I had already raised £920 (plus £127 giftaid); REALLY a lot of money. I knew there were still significant amounts on the way from friends/acquaintances/family/customers/suppliers so it would be even more!

If you donated; Thank you! Really, this is a big deal. If you feel inclined to help with my cause;


Bike all finished and ready to go, I loaded up the van and got myself on a boat across the sea.

I would make my way to @Kid Kearsley in Chester, leave the van there and drop down into Cornwall stopping over at @Billythekidd place. From there it was just a short run to Land’s End, plus this way I’d only have to come down half the distance from John ‘o Groats.

En route I found out via @Paulm there was a VJMC Trackday going on at Mallory. Since I would litteraly drive past it, I thought it be a coool idea to stop over and say hi.

Having never been, I felt a bit stupid not having entered this event because it would’ve fit my schedule perfectly.

Made quick work of breakfast and got myself back on the road to Kev’s

Arrived in Chester I hung out a couple of days and got on the road mondaymorning. The plan was to have a GoPro, which I blagged from @Quist have running on a timelapse.

This did/did not work; the footage that I did get was amazing but the battery died every half hour or so. I didn’t want to stop every time it shut itself off, so I just got my head down and make my way to Truro, down through Wales over some amazing roads. No pics or video though..

While on the way down south, it started running a bit lumpy, misfiring under load and all sorts.

At home, I had 1 of the floatbowls off to clean it out, but the seal ballooned so bad, I left the rest and just hoped for the best.

In vain apparently, because I was starting to doubt the bike would make it to Billy, not even thinking of JoG at that point. I managed to limp it to the Bennetts Grounds and let it be for a bit. 

I was going to leave it and see how far I could make it on the LDC, but Billy persuaded me to get it done properly, so that’s what we did.

If there’s anything I learned from these bikes, it is that they are just awesome to work on, be it a bit heavy.

We mananged to keep the seals in place and got rid of the accumulated gunk. The tank certainly wasn’t good for a longer lifespan than where it was (like the rest of the bike tbh), so I expected it to return at some point. Fingers crossed for how far I could make it. 

Without the misfire, the bike was an absolute joy to ride, like we’ve come to expect from these engines. Under 30 it was painfully unstable, probably due to the different geometry that came with the wheels and forks but anything at normal speeds was perfectly fine. I took all the backroads, as I had about 100 miles to go and all day to do it in.

I’d never been to Cornwall, but I knew I’d be in for a treat. How much, I found out on the way; the place is very pretty and very different from what I’ve gotten used to as “UK”

I could’ve stopped every 5 miles and gotten a completely different scenery. I chose to just get on with the riding and enjoy it now that I wasn’t on a clock. Rolled in to Land’s End at about 2pm and the first people for the LDC were already there.

Meeting up with everyone, I definitely felt like the odd man out; most bikes were bone stock, bought as-is and serviced; that was pretty much it. No built for purpose machines and apart from a Teapot, not another Oldskooler in sight.

The vibe was good, the sun shone and everyone was ready(ish) for the day ahead. Fellow OSSer @graveltrapexplorer (Andy) was oddly absent and I was getting a bit worried the Bandit woudn’t make it to the startline.

My Powerscreen was met with a fair few raised eyebrows 1; for the fact that people just didn’t know what it was, 2; far (in their eyes) from stock, 3; had been in bits that morning (I sent the carb-pic in the Whatsapp group), 4; It was on a foreign plate.

It being the 20th, we had some official stuff to get through at Land’s End but the actual start of the LDC was up the road from the hotel. Posh dinner and more officialities, I actually got presented with an award! :pimp: Andrew turned up  in the end and all was good.

After what felt like sleeping for mere minutes, everyone was gathering in the carpark to be ready to set off at dawn. Quitely bikes were packed for the journey, don’t think anybody really felt ready but the spirit was high.

A bit cold, spitting rain; certainly didn’t feel like the height of summer, but what you gonna do?

According to my Google Maps, we set off at 3.57AM along the A30, looking out for the cameras on the top of the hill which have suprised more than a few LDC-ers before us. It got light very slowly due to thick fog and I was leading, so I had to figure out where we were supposed to go and where we were actually going, this with visor open, and glasses fogging up..

Sticking to an easy 80Mph, we were left for dead by 2 LDC veterans but for the first bit, everyone stayed fairly close, until it was time for the first fuelstops.

80Mph was a good speed, but the Powerscreen was very thirsty. We figured it was probably better to slow down a tad and just relax a bit, after all; “It’s not a race”

First pitstop in Cirencester (I think) I got my first experience of how big this thing actually was; the carpark was full of bikes being looked over by volunteers including our very own @dupersunc, while others made sure you were fed and fit, ready for what was next.

Pockets lined with sweets and cakes, chain lubed and adjusted we turned northwards; next stop would be The Raven; Hometurf :) 

We got there around 11:30am, it was now proper sunny and warm. The fog of the morning was forgotten and we made good time one the others. Same story; you park up and helpers flock around your bike like you are competing at the Bol d’Or (“IT’S NOT A RACE!”) and you just stand there stuffing your face with whatever just came out of someones oven or The Raven’s kitchen.

From the Raven, the route would take us through central Liverpool and we were warned about the traffic, the roads in general and well, basically Liverpool..

But, what these lovely people didn’t know, is that I probably know my way around LPV better than I know it in my own village. The route would take us right by the docks, where you would take the ferry to the IOM.

We made it through the city well before rush hour and it being the shortest leg of the Challenge, we got to the next stop in Preston at about 2:30pm.

During the trip, I didn’t take too many pics. Andy and I were on a mission to make good time, and we did till about the Scottish Borders where we got sent WAY off course due to a deviation that was wrongly sighposted.

I think we lost about an hour in the process, and that’s without mentioning we nearly both went through the side of a car that (as usual) “just pulled out” in front of us. I went across the front, Andy swerved the other way and we must’ve missed it by inches. I wonder if the driver is still sat there; it hadn’t moved when I looked back. 

We got to the Gourock Ferry just as the last boat was about to leave. We had to scramble a bit to get on and I think we never got a ticket for the crossing, or Andy paid mine, I’m not sure.

The time was now 10ish and the sun was setting. Crossing to Dunoon with was going to be the most epic part of the trip. I remember the roads from when I went in 2018, hanging on for dear life while trying to keep up with @KATANAMANGLER and I couldn’t wait to have a go again.

How wrong was I..

We got off the boat, first things first; fuel. There were about 20 LDC-ers on the Ferry and everyone went left, we went right. We made it to the fuelstop right as they were shutting up shop, some others were too late and had to make their way to the next one or syphon it from a parked H#nda, whichever worked best.

It was now getting late and dark, and I was feeling it. Midgies were out in force too, and I made the stupid mistake to whipe my visor with my glove; that didn’t work.

I had to stop to get my visor cleaned up a but, but as most here will know; the midgies will then eat you alive, so that’s exactly what they did.

The route was still something else though; A815 around Loch Eck, turn left on the A89 and then the A819 up to the A85. Turn right to Clifton and then left through Glencoe. 

These roads have no competition, non. It would have been the best ride of my life, if it wasn’t for my body and brain shutting down completely. It got more scary and more dangerous every mile we kept going but Andy kept my pointing in the right direction. Stopping off every now and again, my speed went down to 30, maybe 40 miles an hour. I was done…

Coming out of Glencoe, we turned right on the A82 and made our way to Inverness where the final pitstop would be.

I was seeing things, mind wandering and honestly, I probably just should’ve just stopped and gotten off. With Andy behind making sure I kept it between the lines, we eventually made it to NC Moto in Inverness, tha last pitstop.

I was ready to pack it in. A lady gave me some soup and a scone and I just sat there for a while, all the while other LDC-ers were arriving and leaving as if it was nothing. I couldn’t get my head around how these people were all so very much alive; I felt like death warmed up. 

About 20 minutes into my Soup/Scone dinner-breakfast hybrid, I was slowly coming back to the land of the living and felt my energy coming back; I just suck at eating right and timely, and I paid for it big-time.

My bike was diagnosed in having a split oilcooler, which probably happned right before we got to this pitstop; I went through the most violent pothole I’ve ever experienced and that it only cracked the cooler is a bit of a miracle.

From Inverness, we got on the A9 and it would only be a short blast to the finishline. We rolled into JOG at 5.24am, just a bit over the 24h mark and I was slightly disappointed for a minute. I knew I could only blame myself for that, because if I handn’t had my energylevels fall through the floor in the Highlands, we would have easily been 2 hours earlier.

No matter; we made it, the bike made it (to my very big suprise) and I was happy to check this experience off my list.

Today is half a year on from when we did the LDC and I have had more than a bit of time to reflect on it.

It’s been an experience I wouldn’t want to have missed. I’ve done something that I had never done before and honestly, won’t be doing again in a hurry. However, it’s all for a very good charity that is very close to my heart and I’m proud of what little old me has contributed to this charity.

My total is 3.365£ with giftaid and the total for the 2023 LDC is 102.280£ with giftaid at time of writing ; a HUNDRED GRAND. That was a record and then some. Happy with that.

A short sleep and it was time to turn around and head back down. I had planned to take the long way and just enjoy Scotland for a bit more but after 2 hours NC500 I just wanted to go home. 

I managed to get to a hotel in Aviemore and after that I limped the bike to Kev’s; the carbs were playing up again and it was hating life and so was I; still proud though…

Bike of the Month June 2021

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.

Yantosh, your bike is this months Bike of the Month

Discuss here

Buildthread here

Bike of the Month April 2021

Let me start with an apology; there hasn’t been a BOTM since January. I have been under the radar for pretty much all of the last few months. Very little motivation to do anything on bikes or just anything in general, moving out of the way of confrontation and basically just got fat on the couch for a good 12 weeks. So, sorry for that.

I got fed up with myself, but only because some people around me managed to talk me off that sofa, give me a kick in the butt and get me pointing in the right direction. Nobody is anybody without the help of his or her friends. It is a great thing to find yourself in a position where people around offer up their time to help you out. It’s hard to put into words; thank you..

This bike is also born out of helping out a friend. Jasper, a good friend of Spike, had always had his “ultimate Slingshot” in mind. However, lacking at the spanners, it would surely only stay a vision. A what-if had Suzuki carried on with the development of the Slingshot; what we’re looking at is pretty much it.

With Jasper not being the biggest toolman but knowing full-well what he wanted, Jeroen (Spike) stepped up and off they went. Starting out with a 750M-frame and a late 1127-motor, all was in place to build whatever Jasper had dreamed up.

Many choice parts accumulated over the years found their way to the bike, together with some bits supplied though this website and after a good 2 years (if 2020 can be counted as a year..), what you see above emerged on the other side.

I try not to make this too personal of a choice, but honestly, if I had the means, the time, the parts (and the patience), this is exactly as I would build mine. I see this bike really as a what-if, had Suzuki stayed with the oilcooled platform.

Now, with this out of the way, we’re ready for a good Spring Clean; be ready for some Kool things coming up in the near future. This bike exists as a celebration of friendship, and I can only salute those involved for it, as both are a great thing.

Congratulations Jasper and Spike, the bike you built, is this month’s Bike of the Month.

Read more here

Discuss here

Bike of the Month January 2021

With 2020 behind us, it’s time to start 2021 off right. What better way to do that on OSS than have a properly homebrewed EFE as the first BOTM?

I like bikes in general, Suzukis specifically and shedbuilt EFEs are on the top of my list.

There’s something about getting up close and personal with someones project that he is tackling all by himself, underterred when diving into the unknow but also not afraid to ask.

Pretty much perfect for OSS; sharing information has helped this bike come to be and that’s all we’re here for.

Shaun started with “a pile of bits” bought from a mate and over the course of a year (give or take, not counting lockdown-delays) it has turned into something that does OldSkoolSuzuki.info proud.

Naturally starting off with a general idea, it’s hard to argue with wanting your own custom EFE, even if they’ve been done before.

That’s not the point; the point is doing it yourself and overcoming the difficulties you find yourself, in your own way.

To outsiders, park a few EFEs next to eachother and they’ll say they’re the same bike, and they wouldn’t even be completely wrong.

What makes these bikes truly unique is the story behind them and for this bike, that has been minutely documented.

Thanks Shaun for sharing your story of this build with us. Your EFE is this month’s Bike of the Month

Discuss here

Buildthread here

Bike of the Month November 2020

On OSS we make a point of having new people introduce themselves, preferably with many pics of (relevant) bikes, new and old. If you do it like this;

“If my gsxr were to be a human, it would rule the skatepark, scare children, snort all the drugs, start fights and go after the girls like its life depended on it. It does not care what anyone thinks and does precisely what it wants to do, be a tatty 1200 euro bike in a 90s tracksuits, with the results of my very concerning e-shopping addiction, badly bolted to its flanks”

you have my attention..

I met Cunnerz for the first time not even a year ago, I think. A Brit building a Slingshot pretty much round the corner from me and us not knowing eachother; downright weird. First time we (Jelly and myself) went to visit, we dropped off the purple people-eater ET Cunnerz bought off Jelly and promptly we went onto what could be called an “enthusiastic” run for Cunnerz to get to grips with the mighty 816cc of aircooled goodness we just unloaded on him.

We were told to “keep up” and got thrown the keys to his 400bhp v8 car. We had been there for all of 10 minutes, I’d never met the man before; this was gonna be fun… Back from the shakedown, we were brought up to speed about his soon to be finished slingshot; a bare frame sat on the floor of the shed, just back from the people that were supposed to just de-anodise it, and then had gone to blast the whole thing.

Now, I’ve met many people that had been very keen to get busy with a project and have their deadlines set with no wiggleroom; I personally always take this with a pinch of salt. In my few years, I’ve seen it all and probably bought more half-built projects than some of you will own bikes, because the builders involved lost interest when the enthusiasm wore off and time/money was needed elsewhere, leaving bikes to gather dust in corners, half built, waiting for someone like me to come and rescue them (on the cheap).

I’ve probably grown into the OSS-equivalent of a grumpy old man and honestly, I need to see it to believe it, so when Cunnerz told me he’d have it finished in a matter of months, ready for a trackday, that is exactly what I thought.

Passionate as he was about the 1100 in question,  we were given the rundown of how it came to be and where it was heading. Still a bare frame I was standing next to, stories of wheelies thought Italian towns, 2-up touring all across Europe, crashing it into the side of a mountain and still never missing a beat, It was like I was talking to myself. Owned since 2015 and done everything on one bike is a lot less like me though, because I just get a different one after blowing up/crashing whatever is in the shed at the time.

An unrelenting devotion to a bike so outdated it hurts, but still better than anything that left any factory before or after; there’s just nothing like it, and that’s why it was now in the state it was in; get it to the next level and make it everything better and faster than before, because it earned it.

Countless hours were spent to correct the damage done to the frame by the blasters, slowly but surely the desired finish started to shine through and before long, the engine was back in the frame. Suspension seen to by Dutch K-tech specialist Front Row Components, the front and rear ends followed in short order with a swingarm from a later ’95 (?) 1100.

Fancy PFM brakes with radial calipers up front get the chassis well into the 20th century but with Fiberman fairings to replicate the original silhouette, only those that know, will understand what they’d be looking at. Flatslides and the Yoshi 4-1 make sure it doesn’t go unnoticed in traffic though, even to the most oblivious of motorists.

Painted straight black, it was given to our own Quist to do some decals with the brief “something 90’s”  Knowing Quist and understanding his way of thinking, this could only ever become the loudest bike you’d ever seen, and I called it. When I saw the stickers, I knew I wasn’t wrong and Quist had truly outdone himself (again).

Finished in time ready for the Assen trackday, together with yet another international (inter-continental even) OSS member Kamikaze, the van was pointed in the general north-east direction to the “Cathedral of Speed” for the inaugural shakedown. I wasn’t there, but there’s no doubt in my mind that Cunnerz’ 1100 was easily the coolest bike there, with Kamikaze’s 750 in close second. There’s just something about these bikes, but I might be biased.

Cunnerz77, thank you for showing me that there still are people that put their money where their mouth is; “Imma build this” and then actually do it, in short time and to a standard I’ve all but seen in our little country. Took a Brit to do it, but still..  

I’ll be around shortly for a frikandel speciaal.

Congratulations Cunnerz77, your bike is this month’s Bike of the Month

Discuss here

Buildthread here

Bike of the Month August 2020

I regularly bore you with how OSS is something of a community and how we help each other out. I tell tales of how parts are sent across the globe just to get someone’s bike on the road, more often that not an exchange between people who never even met. It makes for a good story, but wouldn’t it be even better if I just show you what OSS can do?

Kev and I met in a field in Burton, 2014. A longterm member was having her birthdayparty and a whole bunch of OSS-ers were attending. I just got my 100€ 1100-G going and thought it be a laugh to just randomly turn up without telling anyone I was coming. Totally worth it..

I went to a party knowing full well what to expect and having met just about all the people there before, so it’s not really diving into the unknown; hardly an adventure. How different would it be if you choose to go to a random party you saw posted on FB, knowing near-0 people there, going to an OSS-do as a through-and-though Kawasaki fan but owning the most colourful B12 on the planet? Cue Kev.

He fitted right into our merry crowd of Suzuki-fanatics and it didn’t really take that long for us to make him see Suzukis really are better. He’s still building his Zed, but more on that some other time.

Me and Kev personally really hit it off. So much so that I attended his wedding not a few years later, along with a fair few people that were also present in Burton that weekend in 2014.

Over the years Kev had been playing with the thought of building a bike for his better half Jess and she suggested/asked for an EFE, because after he sold the B12-powered one he had (and crashed) a while earlier, the EFE shaped hole in their life was too much to bear. Mistakenly selling it, the deal was regretted for long and with parts few and far between, and prices for those parts on the up, the idea of building one stayed that; just an idea.

But, when you have OSS at your disposal, sailing the unforgiving seas of OldSkoolSuzuki-unobtanium becomes a ferryride across the Mersey river, a frame was acquired from PaulM to kickstart the build and it didn’t take long before other integral parts for the build were starting to turn up.

Me being me; I didn’t know what to get the couple for the wedding, so I took EFE-bits, happily received and put to good use a few months later when we chose to build a “bike” in a day over newyears. This is still start of 2019.

DaveCara supplied the enginemounting kit which was welded in place, we flung some engine in from a distance, bolted Kev’s old turboheaders on it for good measure and there was something there resembling the endgoal. I went home, 2019 got underway and Kev and Jess went on to do the project as anyone tackles a project, while keeping a normal life, entertaining a child and keeping everyone fed; slow and steady.

Taking no shortcuts, all was done properly; powdercoating, some pro modifications to the JMC swingarm borrowed of Dad Kearsley, some things even got 3D-printed (posh) and  wiring was done in the kitchen, as you do.

All pretty normal, and then Covid came. The whole world grinded to a abrupt halt, leaving many of us wondering what to do. No need to go to work and no option to go anywhere fun, Kev got the project on the rails properly and steaming to the finishline. Making good use of daytime tinkering, the bike went from “It’ll be done in a few months, honest” to, “It’ll be done in a few weeks, really”.

The world is still a bit strange with not being able to move around as we were used to, but if this whole historic episode brought one thing positive, it’s having yet another EFE back on the road. Time that was usually wasted on working for the man, was put to good use in the shed. With bits sent from all across the UK and beyond, this bike is a good show of force of what I mentioned all those times before and I’m proud to have played a small part in it.

Now, if all goes back to normal, I could actually go see it but until then, this will have to do.

Congratulations @Kid Kearsley and @MrsKid, you EFE is this month’s Bike of the Month

Buildthread here

Discuss here

Bike of the Month July 2020

When are projectbikes ever finished? ARE they even ever finished? Some bikes get moved on when the initial owner/builder reaches the goal that was set, or interest is lost, only for someone else to take up the challenge and see it through to the possible end. Some other bikes get broken for parts to be sold off and in turn help other projects get finished.

It’s a natural “circle of life” if you will, in the OSS fraternity and I think on average more bikes actually DON’T get finished than do, which is a good thing, because where else would we get all the bits from?

Owner/builder Katanasteve and myself have never met, we’ve never spoken, yet I’m quite aware of some of the projects that moved though his hands. Some finished, some others sold on or broken, as per my previous statement. One thing that did seem to be a recurring theme was the fact that Steve takes it quite a bit further than most.

Engineswaps, turbochargers, superchargers, dual front wheels; everything that you could dream up, Steve probably did it, and to a better standard than most of us could even dream it up to be.

For this build, something was done that we very rarely see on our end of the planet, yet in Japan you could say it’s almost normal; marrying 2 frames top and bottom, to have the runninggear from one bike, and the bodywork of the other. I’ve seen it done to Blandits, but this has taken it yet another step further; Slabside GSXR bottom frame, Katana spine (is that the right word?) and a GSXR1100 motor sandwiched in between.

Tank and sidepanels made out of aluminium by the very talented Kenty, another OSS heavyweight,  all was meticulously bolted (literally) together to get all the proportions right. No easy task as the original Katana must be a good 5” longer than the GSXR that is residing under this one.

A separate subframe was fabbed up to support the seat and have the added job of holding the top end of the twin shock conversion. The original Slabby arm was in turn also modified to work with the twin shocks and a brace was added for good measure.

Swiftly build up and MOT-ed, it has turned out as a bike that even those that do know what they’re looking at, need to give it a 2nd look; it’s done so right, that you could walk past it thinking it is “just a Katana”.

This build has been on my radar for quite some time and with it on the road and finished, I saw it fit for BOTM. I sit down to write this very piece and the topic is all the way up to the top again; Steve went ahead and started fitting spoked wheels and stacks..

They’re never finished. If we had to wait for a bike to be completely done to get picked as BOTM, we’d have a VERY hard time choosing, simply because few ever really are.

Congratulations Katanasteve, your bike is this month’s Bike of the Month.

Discuss here

Buildthread here  

Bike of the Month June 2020

We are TALL. Whenever I shoot off anywhere, be it UK or somewhere else, at least once a day someone will comment on my height. At home, I’m average at best (heightwise..), abroad I seem to be seen as some sort of giant.

I can easily get my feet flat on the floor on the biggest of showroom enduro machines and a EFE doesn’t feel that big to me. However, “not that big” is something different than actually small..

Now, our friend Blubber, he IS an actual giant, he’s like 9ft something, give or take (not really), so he makes our beloved EFE look like a GS500E when he’s on it. To get his project to somewhat fit with his ample frame, he actually went and cut the frame to pieces, lengthened it, heightened it and widened it, conveniently making room for a GSX1400 motor.

B-King and ZX9 parts were hung into place at their respective ends of the bike, getting everything bang op to date to the modern day, with decent brakes and tyrechoice amongst other benefits, besided looking cool.

Paintscheme in mind, this took another turn when Blubber ended up with very tidy bodywork in the colours of the Dutch flag; choice was made to keep it as is. As it’s a proper longterm project, Blubber didn’t want to do thing by halves and went to work on the engine.

The GSX1400 engine is a good motor on its own, be it a bit boring; 100Bhp or something, not really something to write home about, especially taking the displacement into consideration. However, it’s been found over the years that these engines were built with Suzuki’s age-old Over-engineer Everything ethos, thus leaving a lot of room for improvement.

Some have been turbo’ed with very good results, or you can just go BIG, 1700cc-big. Readily available bits, some even on the used market, make it a viable, if often overlooked, option to go proper mad with this engine, instead of sinking your hard earned into something that’s at least 20 years older, with the added abuse during its life.

Now, as it stands, the bike is running and driving but far from properly finished, as is the same with any projectbike I ever laid my eyes on, I still feel as though this bike deserves the BOTM-medal for this month, because Blubber has taken it this far, with limited space and tools in his little shed (I checked) and still ended up with a bike that for most will look pretty much stock and untouched.

The bike itself is of a standard we rarely if ever see in our little country, all the more reason to celebrate this one. Those that know, will know.

Congratulations Blubber, your 1700-EFE is this month’s Bike of the Month

Read more here

Discuss here

Bike of the Month May 2020

It’s not often that I have a hard time to come up with the words to a BOTM article but this time, I’m genuinely struggling. You see, this bike is a bit different to everything else we do on OSS, as is Matt, tbf..

No cradle frame, no aircooled engine, it doesn’t even have 4 cilinders, yet here it is. The OSS breed has a very narrow vision of what goes and what doesn’t, and there’s very little deviation from this path.

However, every now and again, something stands out amongst the crowd; something that works when in reality it shouldn’t. If you were to say to one of us; I’m gonna build a TLS, with a Kat fairing and a GP-like seat, we’d call you mad.

Rightly so, it shouldn’t work; a curvy bike with a very pointy fairing stuck on the front of it; not a chance..

However, looking at the pics of the finished article, I think we can all agree Matt-man has actually pulled it off and made it look as intended.

It’s not really finished, as some modifications are on the cards when lockdown ends, but that’s the same for most projectbikes

I met Matt-man for the first time in 2008, in a pub in Buxton; I called him mad then, this bike just proves me right.

Congratulations Matt-man, your KaTL is this month Bike of the Month  

Discuss here

Read more here

Bike of the Month April 2020

Yes, really; you’re reading a BOTM article on the very first day of the month. The world is in shambles, and here I am actually getting some work done; I don’t know either, it’s not even a joke…

Ask the question; “What is a Streetfighter?” in a group of people that we have been surrounded with over the years, and chances are you kickstart a full-on brawl. Whatever your opinion, there’s no denying the fact how it started out.

Dig out your oldest SF mags and see for yourself; if it’s just Slabbies and Slingshots with 916-seats; you need to go further back, because it didn’t start out that way. Most were chopped up GS’s, GSX’s and some built out of other inferior brands we won’t mention, hardtailed or not but near all of them  were very hopped-up Jap 4’s in a modified factory frame.

Actually, they were all pretty close to the ET you see in the 2 pictures above, albeit faster. The bike you see here is owned and build by our friend EFEchop (obviously), Karl, for friends. Bought in 2011 as a mildly modified 750ET, built in spirit of the very first Streetfighters as mentioned earlier, Karl took his time to build it over the years to what it has become.

A bike not just reminiscent of the “proper” ones in the old days, but a bike that can show up the best bikes from way back when, and now, not only for the fact that it actually gets used on the road. Over the course of 9 years of ownership, Karl used a lot of tried and tested ingredients to get the bike to this level, but it takes more than just the right bits to end up with a decent bike. You need to know how to actually put the whole lot together too.

The weedy 750-lump was rightfully changed to a TSCC1135, complete running gear replaced with obligatory Slingshot parts, frontend mated to the headstock with thug yokes, just like it was done all those years ago. Swingarm on the opposite end balanced out with fancy shocks, exhaust routed thought the hole where the monoshock used to live; this bike has everything and makes it work.

Engine fed with a bank of fresh RS36’s, Dyna ignition and coils for a better bang and every other thing you can think of (bar a turbo); it’s been done to this bike. And then, there’s the paint..

Most bikes you see built now have very abstract paintjobs or even wrapped. These days it’s rare to see a bike airbrushed to within an inch of it’s life; it’s almost a forgotten art. More bikes need airbrushing; there I’ve said it. If there was ever a better example to stake my claim, this bike is it.

Btw; he has a few more nice bikes too; priorities and all that..

Anyway, without further ado; congratulations Karl, your Pork Chop is this month’s Bike of the Month.

Discuss here

Buildthread here