Bike of the Month May 2019

Choosing BOTM is hard; there’s loads of bikes to choose from as it is, but we also need a proper buildtopic with a nice backstory, a bike that represents OSS as it is and we want diversity. We could happily just choose Katanas and/or EFEs and we’d be able to carry on for about a year or 2 without coming up short, but that’d be too easy.

Another thing is the “deadline”; I don’t think a single BOTM has been published on the 1st of the month and I don’t think that will change in a hurry, mostly because a laidback approach that we (or, I) quite like. Anyway, with all these bikes at our disposal, it’s quite easy to forget what the people closer to home are doing. I felt that way when I chose Dave’s EFE, because he is a good friend, and I feel the same about this bike as well.

It’s as close to home as it can get, in OSS terms, but for now, it just felt right. I don’t really think I need to explain my personal reasoning for choosing this bike, because there are many. No, this bike is BOTM because of what it is and how it came to be.

For as long as OldskoolSuzuki.info has been around, it’s been a source of inspiration for many people, be it members, guests (lurkers) or even those steering the ship. A few years ago we found ourselves in the Cadwell paddock, a whole bunch of OSSers signed up for the trackday taking place. Our friend KATANAMANGLER was there with his 1135-powered Katana streetbike, on touring-tyres, no real idea of how the handling would be and even less of a clue how to attack the circular stretch of tarmac draped over the Yorkshire landscape.

Trackweekend over, KATANAMANGLER made a descision; a trackbike was needed. Parts were sourced from far and wide and in about a year, the Slabby you see before you was built with its first outing during the Donington Classic weekend in 2017. Sharing the shed with an angry Katana has done the Slabby only favours as its gone from a trackbike, swiftly into a proper racebike (and then it promptly blew up, but that’s another story..); it really is hard as nails

From what you’ve read on these pages, KATANAMANGLER is a man with a very open mind and quite a broad view of the world, so it really was only a matter of time to go racing when you have a track only up the road with guys running WELL at the front, using the very machinery we prefer, and then get in touch with one of the better tuners around; it’s hard not to do it, to be fair..

In the Netherlands we have a saying; “Goed voorbeeld doet goed volgen”. It’s kinda the same as “Practice what you preach” KATANAMANGLER is one of the people that invented the Winged Hammer moniker and the OSS Racingteam it embodies, so it’s really only right for him to be part of it as well.

Yes, this man is a very good friend and I am quite proud of that fact. It’s got Fuck All to do with why I choose this bike as BOTM, because it’s great as it is and us knowing eachother, and him being one of the website-owners shouldn’t mean it can’t be chosen as such 😊


Congratulations KATANAMANGLER, your Slabby is this months Bike of the Month

Read more here

Discuss here

Bike of the Month April 2019

Only yesterday, it was made evidently clear that OSS and especially its forum, are a step away from current reality; from “normal” or “the norm” or whatever you want to call it. Facebook and/or Instagram are the go-to place to show off your bike, collect likes and get your ego fed, and rightly so (if you’re into that sort of thing). It’s easy, fast, all your friends, colleagues and your mom are on there, thus you get to publicly show off how awesome your life is etc.

This is normal…

Don’t get me wrong; I’m on FB as much, if not more, as the next guy, but really; FB and its peers really dilute what you’re actually doing. Your project goes from your own personal achievement, to just a bunch of random photo’s posted at different times in someone’s feed and it’s hard to make sense of it all, being bombarded by meme’s, Brexit-discussions and catpics, all the while what you want to have your friends see, is that personal achievement.  

We have our forum, so that you can actually have your own little place where you can chronologically post your progress, ask relevant questions for others to answer in that same place and you and others can actually find information where you left it, weeks later. Try that on FB…

Now, that in itself is different; we’ve established that in this piece, and many times before in other articles. This is our ”normal” yet even for us freaks, there is something that is away from the norm. Our friend Fatblokeonbandit borders on what anyone can get away with on OSS (it kinda in the name) yet he’s been doing it for many years. Building something of interest to us out of a Bandit isn’t easy, and if you choose a Teapot as your canvas, well…

However, Fatbloke did just that and after receiving a pile of random bits from a fellow member and a rummage through his own stock, a project was underway. I personally quite like the Teapot, but I’m weird like that..

Started in September last year and having it’s first outing on a racetrack only last weekend, it’s quite easy to understand Fatbloke knows what he’s doing, having a full project done in a good 6 months. Some struggle to change tyres in that time, let alone build a full bike and having it in working order.

I’m a sucker for “different” and I don’t think within the realm of OSS it can get any different than building a cool Teapot; these 2 words just don’t usually go in the same sentence together. Build as a sleeper, it still looks as a scruffy 750-commuter from the early 90’s to the untrained eye. That it’s got a 150Bhp 1216 under the debatable fairing only ads to the fun, for those in the know.

Congratulations Fatblokeonbandit, your Teapot is this months Bike of the Month

Read more here

Discuss the article here

PS; It is NOT a Katana

Bike of the Month December 2018

I try to stay as far away from politics as I can; tax is inevitable, and they’ll never do what we want anyway, so why bother? I’m happy to say that OSS is the same; no Brexit discussions here, and that’s how it should be.


Now, “politics” in itself goes further than just the governing body of your country. One could argue that us admins practice politics in our own way, but we honestly try not to; everyone here is the same, and we all follow the same basic rules. We just have the means to push some buttons when someone’s out of step, so we can safely guide our little Ark of OSS through the turbulent waters that is the current Internet.


One thing that I’m very wairy of, is nepotism. Under no circumstances must anyone one this page feel he or she is drawing the shorter straw, just because they’re not part of the IC. Yes, I have many true and some very close friends here, but I’ll take the piss out of them just as much as everybody else; we’re all the same.


Now, the other side of this is actually glancing over that what your friends have achieved in their sheds and when I was thinking about my next choice for BOTM, it was only right to give Dave his spot in the limelight. His EFE has been a regular since the first incarnation of this website, and Dave has done us all proud in rebuilding it to a standard we can only approve of.


Built to use 2-up TT2018, he started May’17 (a year before TT) and in absolute true OSS-fasion, it was in bits hours before rocking up at the ferry to get over to the Island. I was witness to it all and it would’ve felt wrong if it hadn’t been the case.


The bike made it to, over and back from the Isle of Man without any terminal damage. Going to the TT on a bike you built in your own shed or garage is brave in itself. If said bike then actually holds its own there, you know it will do anywhere; the place it utter mechanical torture, but in a good way.

We’re now almost a year on and this bike hadn’t yet made it to be chosen as BOTM. That is by no means because it wasn’t up to par before but here, we just really are spoilt for choice and it’s just one of those things..  Not taking away from the quality of any of the bikes chosen as BOTM up to now, or the ones after, but this bike was long overdue its recognition.


Dave, congratulations, your EFE is this month Bike of the Month.

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Discuss here

Bike of the Month November 2018

When we set out resurrecting Oldskoolsuzuki.info as a website and dedicated forum, we knew we had a monumental task ahead of us. It would be hard, take countless hours, maybe even cost serious money, and we didn’t really know if it would actually be succesful. Still, as you know, we went ahead anyway


Bike projects can be pretty much the same; when you start off with a bunch of bits and a general idea of what you want, you’ll never really know how it truly will end up until it’s done, and if it will actually work or not.


Solcambs managed to bag a Bay of E-bargain and set to work, using the forum to document how the Katana you see before you went from a bare frame to what it is today and likely, what it will be later. Starting with a 750 frame and aircooled 1100 motor, later swapped out for a bit more fresh oilboiler. Blasphemy in the eyes of the purists, which, we’re not.


Through the 22 pages that the topic is now long, we’ve seen the build through the stages of initial planning, fiddling with forks and carbs, right through to a tour of continental Europe, proving again that our bikes are more than capable to shine in the current day traffic.


I know we’re not always given the time of day by the general “Biker” fraternity, usually only until we outbrake, accelerate or just plain outrun them on our outdated bikes, but this Katana is yet another example of how a 35 year old bike can be made more than relvant in the Now, and looking better than anything you can buy in the showroom today (and basically, ever) to boot.

Congratulations Solcambs, your Katana is this months Bike of the Month

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Bike of the Month October 2018

I’m a firm believer of the proverb; “Better late than never”; It’s never too late to change your life for the better, it’s never too late to resurrect that website that used to be so great once (because it is once again), and it’s never too late to start Dragracing..

Anna first pointed her front wheel quarter-milewards after having owned the bike she was on for the grand total of 35 years. The seed was planted and a racingcareer was born. In the quest for more speed a Slingshot was put into service and over time up to now, all the right mods have been made to get the bike as quick as possible, yet also as rideable as possible for Anna; it’s all well and good having a 500Bhp bike but if you can’t use it, there’s not really a point (apart from being the baddest dude in the pub)

We have been enjoying Anna and Kyle’s adventures in great detail as them being one of the first (maybe even The First?) Winged Hammers, the racethread has been religiously updated after nearly every racemeet and tests that were undertaken.


We’ve all read about crashing, burnouts, racing in sub-zero temperatures, tyrepunctures and all else that comes with the age-old sport that is dragracing. I for one hope the regular updates continue to be posted up, because it’s one of the threads that makes you come back, have a bit of a read, get motivated and start working away on your own projects again.


Better late than never Anna (and Kyle), your Slingshot is this months Bike of the Month.

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Discuss here

Bike of the Month September 2018

I’m not one for drinking (much) but generally, the best ideas are conjured up during a good session on the booze. This bike came to frutition just like that.

Imagine just any cool bike. Did you? Was it a GS500E? I bet it wasn’t. When you put that night on the piss into the equation and you start toying with ideas, together with some equally pissed up friends, what’s not cool in the sober world, can be mindblowing in the other.

The title of the buildtopic of this particular bike raised some eyebrows amongst those with access to certain buttons but with the story unfolding in high gear, all was well. The OP was left to it and we all got to see how Tony actually went ahead with his mad plan and built what could arguably be the raddest GS500E on the planet.


We’re very narrowminded here and don’t like too many different bikes, the GS500E normally really isn’t one of them. Tony’s bike however, is an example how, if you’re a bit creative and have a very big partsbin, you can cheaply make something utterly undesirable into the coolest bike on the block.

Tony, congratulations, your GS is this months Bike of the Month

Discuss here

Buildthread here

Bike of the month August 2018

Having something like BOTM on Oldskool is a big deal. It carries a certain weight, which makes OSS stand out from all the other websites and facebookpages that scatter the internet and, to me anyway, just water things down. Good bikes are good bikes, but having to visit 10+ websites and filter through the bolt-on brigade to find a few bikes worth reading about, gets old really quick. We’re different, we know it, others know it, and it will only get better.

One could argue that choosing BOTM for the next month, should be for a newly finished project, largely built on the forum, with its own thread and many, MANY pictures. However, due to the sheer amount of bikes being built over the years, sometimes a bike more than worthy of being chosen as BOTM has to wait for a bit.


This bike is such an installment. Its owner/builder Arttu has been a OSS-household name for many years. While many of us modernise our bikes with newer suspension, wheels and brakes, Arttu takes it up a notch. You see, the bike you see here is basically a rolling test bed for all sorts of EFI-trickery, which really shouldn’t have any place on one of our air- or oilcooled motors. Now, he didn’t just get it to work properly on his turbo EFE-powered EZ, he now helps many others out to convert their bikes to fuel injection as well.


I personally have been up close with 2 projects Arttu has been involved with and I can tell you the quality is beyond what you’d expect from a factory, let alone someone working from a little shed in Finland. It’s all pretty impressive and with the build reaching a next stage, it will only get better.


Arttu, congratulations on BOTM for August 2018.

Read about the project here

Discuss here

Reggie’s Roadtrip 3/3

Out with a bang

There’s a certain sense of achievement when you get to test the bike you built in your shed with your own hands, to the absolute limit and finding it’s performing faultlessly. I always said that going to the IOM and using your bike there would be a test of your own technicall prowess, but the fast bits you do there last maybe a few minutes. In the time in Scotland, I had done hours at great speed and nothing fell off, broke or blew itself up; well happy, I was.

When we came to Perth, that’s where the fun ended and we came back down to reality. Some motorwaymiles, a stop for fuel and having waved Deeds goodbye, Katanamangler and I went onwards, following the M90 back home. En route, I clocked a few signs for Knockhill Raceway, and thought it’d be a good idea to see if anything was on when we got home. Parked the bikes up, said hello to everyone at home and opened my laptop; Knockhill Bikefest Rewind festival; “Enjoy the sights and sounds of all the iconic bikes on show at the Rewind festival with 3 special track sessions for classic bikes.”  Well shit, we missed that..

Sitting there thinking about what I was going to do next and where to travel, I carried on trawling the internet for ideas and on of my digital stops was the Cadwell Park website. Since I was to be there for fridaynight, I thought it’d be good to know what was on the days before the Classic Trackdays event. What I found was another trackday on that friday, and it was cheap too. It was open to all bikes, but the 105Db limit was in place, so I thought it’d be rude not to get this day in as well. I would be sharing the track with modern machinery, but with groups seprating the Valentino Rossi’s from the Lloyd Christmas’, I guessed I should be fine. That was another blank day in the diary filled. 3 days thrashing Cadwell as a last hurrah to my 3 weeks away from it al; best go out with a bang, I thought.

To keep things simple (and cheap), I spent the next day at the Manglers, going into the city by bus. Got rained on that monday, which had been the first proper rain in all my time away from home. I’ve been very lucky in  that respect, the good weather seemed to follow me around. I spent the day actually coding the ccs for OSS in a Starbucks, I got very in touch with my inner hipster. Wandered around a bit more and saw the weather turn from shit to glorious. It’s nice when that happens, but when you left the house wearing kevlar pants, a hoody and a windbreaker jacket to keep the weather at bay, you get warm..

I had gotten in touch with Viz if it’d be ok to crash their place for a day or 2 and catch up with them after my time away. As you’d expect after reading about the way this trip has gone up to now, I was told to “turn up whenever you like, stay as long as you like and do whatever, and when nobody’s in, there-and-there is the key” Another 2 days filled, so that was the plan sorted.

I set off southwards through the Scottish Borders, making a point of staying away from the motorway. The place was nearly as amazing as the Highlands where we had just been, with one very distinct difference; speedcameras. During the 4 days in the north, we hadn’t come across a single one, let alone a policecar, yet in the Borders, they were friggin’ everywhere. Now, in my van, I’m hardly fast, the thing won’t go much over 70 on a good day. However, I could see me not going back here on the bike, because there wasn’t really a point, knowing the Highlands were only a good 2 hours drive where you could have all the fun in the world, and actually getting away with it. Also noteworthy; the amount of Scottish flags on one side of the border, and English on the other. I guess it’s a local thing..

Driving downward to Peterborough, I was going to swing by Wescooley19, of SF Services fame, to drop off a frame I owned, but that had been sitting in Katanamangler’s shed for over 2 years. I had no use/room for it and he wanted to have it; it beats scrapping. I was met with the biggest cup of tea in my life and he took me to the best chipshop in the region. Being served another huge Fish & Chips, I didn’t get to finish it, sorry Si. It really was proper good though. Back in the workshop the most we spoke about was me going to the Bikeshed , the bikes that were there and the whole scene around it, all the while not mentioning skinny jeans. You see, there are some people that actually make their wages building these things. I don’t like the brownseat brigade and their blatant overuse of the Caferacer-handle, but if it keeps my friends in business, there has to be some good in it, right?

Backing into the drive at Viz and Minx for the second time in I’d been in the UK, I wasn’t wecomed. No, I got a cup of tea, was told to put my beer in the fridge and given 20 quid for food; I wasn’t just made welcome, it felt like I lived there. My hosts would be gone for the night and I was left to look after the cats, make myself comfortable and most of all, “don’t burn the place down” I can tell you it’s a pretty strange feeling to be in someones house for mere hours and feeling exactly in place, even the cats acknowledged me. Looking for order-in food, I ended up with worlds most expensive pizza, again. Nice food but 20 quid for pizza, damn..

The wednesday, Viz suggested to take me to FBM Turbosystems, the go-to guy in the UK to have a turbo stuck on your bike of choice and get your boostfix. Topping up the oil in the EF and having charged the battery after me leaving the ignition on (…), we were set to go for the 30 mile run to Oakham. When we arrived, I found myself in the OSS equivalent of a candystore; there was unobtanium EVERYWHERE. Dave made us coffee and let me wander through the shop without worry and answered every question I asked. Also very cool was the fact that whatever came through the speakers, was exactly what I play on the radio in everyday life. I have a pretty obscure taste in music, so I thought that was nice. Also very nice was seeing the near-finished funnybike Dave has been building for a while. The engineering going on in this machine is next-level and very impressive, I can’t wait to see it used in anger.

If you know some of us through Facebook, you might know about the tree Havoc goes to, to take pictures of his bikes. PaulM and Kid Kearsley had both found it before, but apparently both had forgotten where it actually was. I wanted to go there with the van and take a few pics as sort of a suprise to Havoc, but that meant finding it in some way. What followed was a long night of scrolling through pics on Facebook and narrowing the search down on Google Maps. Discussing back and forth with both the Kid and Paul, and later with Minx, Viz, Jelly and Katanamangler, we managed to find it.

It was now thursday and all I had to do that day was turn up at Cadwell for the 3 days on track that would start the day after. The tree was very much out of the way, but I had all day anyway, so I just went. Finding it in real life was still a bit difficult, because from the direction I was coming, it was hidden behind all the other trees. Still, with the modern satnav and a few pics to go by, I managed to find it and made it into a proper landmark.

With that done, I pointed the van in the general direction of Louth and got underway. When I eventually turned up, the paddock was completely empty. I was early; that’s new.. Setting up my awning in a force 8 gale was someting of a mission, but I ended up getting it sussed and in a good 2 hours, my little cloth pitbox was all set. I got the EFE out of the van as well and shot down the A153 to Louth to get something to eat. Having been in the saddle of the bike for days, at speeds we shouldn’t really mention, I went straight into attackmode. Now, I don’t know if anyone local is reading this, but that bit of road is good fun, I tell you. I eventuall managed to find a random kebabshop and got myself fed. For whatever reason, I was bloody tired, even having only done the best part of a 100 miles today. It was to be the first night on my own, after 18 days of being amongst friends. It was to be the first test to see if all this time away had actually fixed me.

The next morning I hobbled out of the van and got the Banana out of the awning. I was met by more than a few raised eyebrows from my fellow visitors, as the bike was the oldest there, by quite a margin. Guys using brand new superbikes and 600’s, and me, with my 28 year old, rattling yellow weathervane affectionatly know as The Banana.

Some call Cadwell Park the mini-Nurburgring and for good reason. There’s tight sections between trees, fast sweeping and completely blind bends, and The Mountain, where you can get both wheels of the floor,  if you have a bit more talent than me. The first day was organised by No Limit Trackdays and was as you’d expect your average trackday to go; some red flags, some good sessions, it was over before I knew It. I managed to get 7 sessions in, which is pretty good going and upped my speed quite a bit, ready for the next 2 days when I would be met with likeminded people of equal skill.

Early evening, I was joined by YoshiJohnny and 370 Steve, who both would be out on track the day after as well and soon we had our own little OSS-territory. In the following hours the paddock went from a modern racemeeting, to a more nostalgic feel and one where I feel a lot more connected to. The atmosphere changed from competitive to a lot more relaxed and I was even nice to people on Hondas. I met with a lot of friends that I hadn’t seen for a long time, most near a year ago at Spa, and met with Robert, one of the organisers, to find out if I really would be out both days.

The next 2 days then went on to consist of miles and miles on a racetrack, getting higher wheelies over the mountain every lap and turning into Coppice faster everytime than the time before, it was everything I had hoped it’d be. I got faster as the weekend went on and from having others dissapear in the distance to getting to keep up and actually outrun them in later sessions. It’s not a race, they always say at the briefing during trackdays, but that’s only really for the guy that doesn’t win.

Saturdaynight we managed to fend off some horrible weather, missing us by as little as a mile, but we didn’t manage to get the bbq going due to the wind. After trying for what seemed like forever, YoshiJohnny suggested to throw in the bbq-towel and get food in the Cadwell Clubhouse. We then got up to speed with whatever was going on at home in both of our lives and that had me firmly back on the ground after days of keeping myself busy with all sort of random things, be it bikes, visiting a tree, all sorts, as long as I had something to do.

As the sunday got underway, we were met by more visiting friends; Minx and Viz turned up for their long awaited ride, GSXRSam, GSHub, MeanBean49 (thanks for the chassis advice) and many more, I’m sorry if I’ve forgotten anyone, it’s not intentional. As we worked out way through the day, time to start packing up came and the far away thought of it all ending and having to go home slowly turned into a reality. I had 450 miles to go and wouldn’t be leaving until after 5pm, so I had to cancel the dinner I was supposed to have at Zedhead’s place. It would just mean getting home at even sillier o’ clock and it was bad enough as it was.

Having said goodbye to YoshiJohnny and 370Steve, I made my way back down to Dover and I was thinking about how I was going to get all that I had just experienced, into a frontpage article of our website and I basically came up blank. I had thought about starting to write it while still on the trip but hadn’t done so, because I didn’t want to start looking back while I was still fully immersed in the experience. Now that that moment had passed, I needed to figure something out to actually get it into writing and share with you how special all this had actually been.

All of what I had done over the last weeks, has been possible because of people I met through OldskoolSuzuki.info. I’ve said it many times when explaining to others outside of my bikingworld what OSS actually is and means and more often than not, I call it a place away from the internet, on the internet. It’s hard to understand when you’re only used to the daily Facebook-, Twitter- and Intagram-feeds, all powered by advertising and algorhythms, having a computer decide what you see and who you interact with, that there actually are places different from that. No advertising and no behind the scenes cleverness keeping track of all you do. It’s almost oldschool in itself, and we’re very proud and also very protective of that (rtfr)

I can’t begin to explain to you what these 3 weeks have meant for me and how it managed to get my thoughts directed away from something very heavy and bad, if only for a short time. Every minute enjoyed is a minute no-one can take away from you. When I got home, reality set in and I found myself in the same place as before I left. I had hoped to get better, but I didn’t. It is what it is, the 24 days on the road will not soon be forgotten. When I opened the door and walked into the kitchen, a picture of me was hanging up on the wall..

 

 

A BIG thank you to all that have welcomed me in their homes, got me fed, made me tea, offered me a place to sleep and listened to my life’s stories; you have no idea how much it means to me. Thank you Mark, Sarah & Viz, Paul, 2 Step & Yenko, Tom & Suzanne, Kev & Jess + Jack and extended family, Dave and the missus, John & Jo, Kwool, Jon,  Darren, Ash, Gary, Katanamangler & Leigh and the girls, Andrew, Deeds, Simon, Dave, YoshiJohnny, Brian, Steve, Rob and Darrin, Rob Bean, Nolan, Chris, Grumpy Gary and Jelle & Pep for the picture.

It’s been emotional…

/Reggie

 

 

Discuss here

Reggie’s Roadtrip 2/3

Traa dy liooar

The next day Kid and Miss Kid turned up and I turned into their surrogate child. They were supposed to have a little time together from home, yet they completely went out of their collective way to make me feel well and let me be part of their little holiday. It was great; I didn’t have to think about where to go, what to drink and eat, and what time tea was, because it was all decided for me. One thing that I did need to do is lead the way pretty much everywhere, because appartenlty I’m the best informed foreigner when the Manx roads are considered. We were on what we called “Island Time”and took everything as and when, no rush; Traa dy liooar.

Miss Kid hadn’t been out on the bike much before TT and with me clearing the track and the Kid keeping an eye on the other end, we gave her a crashcourse in real-world roadriding and she went from tippy-toeing the first day to having me to speed up through the Cronck-y-Voddy section within a week. We also got her to sign on for the Ramsey Sprint and she ended up getting third in class and fastest woman of the day. We’ll leave the bit where she was the sole lady entered out, it makes for a better story..

The weather, the racing and the atmosphere on the Island were all very good, but I did have a funny feeling during the entire time I was there; something wasn’t right. It was as if everybody on the road had left his/her sense of self preservation at home, because there were some (actually quite a lot) UTTER dickheads out, and as mentioned before; the Mountain was shut more often than it was open. The three of us got on the Mountain to have it ticked off and when I came down at the Creg and stopped for the others to get there, there was zero traffic behind me, nothing.

I parked up and waited, checked my phone and waited some more. Worried now.. Strolled up to the policeofficer there and asked if there had been an accident; “Yes mate” My heart sank. “Do you know what bike it was?” “It was a Suzuki sportsbike, mate”, said the copper.  Ok, that didn’t make it much better, as both were on Suzuki sportsbikes. “Right, were they red or blue?” “No mate, yellow”, he said. That was a bit of a relief; any accident on the TT course is bad, and you’ll feel bad about it, but it’s better when you know it’s not one of your friends.

After a few more minutes I got a message from the Kid; he was stopped at Brandywell and turned the other way. A guy on a Thou had come in too hot very close in front of him and Brandywell is a slight left, and then a tight left which you can’t really see, so if you don’t know, you’ll get yourself into trouble, as this man obviously did. He was fine in the end; few busted bones, busted ego and his bike ready for the scrapper.

Miss Kid was stopped at the Bungalow, and this meant they would come off the side of Snaefell on completely different places. We agreed to meet in the paddock and get something to eat. Knowing your way around in a busy place like this can help you get away from the endless queues, loud people and antisocial seagulls; cue The Bowling Green. Only the locals know about it, so it’s a bit like a tranquil hideout for us “from Across”. Good coffee, tea and food; if you’re ever over, make a point of going there.

The rest of the week was spent watching some sensational practicesessions, sad moments with Dan (and Adam) coming off and Steve’s accident that followed it, but yet more recordbreaking racing that followed in the days after. It’s the way the TT works, and I can’t really explain it. Outside of racing, the Wheelies and myself sat in the sun, went go-karting (I won), ate icecream, visited a few proper landmarks and talked, a lot. With me having my head not really straight, my company made sure I was able to vent all that I wanted to get off my chest, without me feeling like I was just there, ruining the vibe.

Having suggested a little meeting on our forum, I found myself in Peel the last night I was on the IOM, meeting up with a bunch of fellow OSS’ers for some good food and taking shit, and by chance, a 3rd EFE turned up; total photomoment. Gave the guy riding it a bunch of stickers and suggested he’d sign up. Not sure if he did, I’d need to check. Stories were shared and bikes were categorically picked apart, right up until the food was served; then everyone went quiet.

A good, but for myself a bit premature end to the TT; I never missed Senior Raceday in the time that I’ve been coming, so it when I was packing my gear the next day, it all felt a bit unfinished. Still, the prospect of going up North and getting to see new things, was a very good one, so I just got on with the job. Said goodbye to Jo and shot of down Poortown Road for the last time. The roads round Peel are “our” roads. There’s few that are faster there than those that visit John and Jo over TT down Poortown Road, the A1 out of St John’s and the Peel Coast Road and it’s all the more funny that I pass people on a bike that most don’t really know what it is, and with a foreign plate. It freaks them out.

Met up with my fellow sailors and home we went. Packed the van back up, went to Davecara to pick up some bits, blag some pizza and tea and after a few hours, I was on my merry way to Scotland. When driving passed the turnoff to Dumfries, I had a few happy memories from sitting in the Roundhouse all those years ago. Those that know, know. I ended up at the Manglers residence a bit late, but Leigh still managed to get me fed and watered before shooting off to bed herself. Midnight chili is the best chili, even when you’re sober.

The next day we got the bikes out, loaded up and got going up from Edinburgh to Crieff to meet up with Kraptanaman who would lead the way up from there. Since we overshot the road into his shop, we just stood on the side of the road like a few lost tourists until our guide for the day turned up. Just the 60 or so miles, half of which was motorway, from Manglers to there, had already made a big impression on me; Scotland is just verything different from what I’m used to. Round mine, everything is flat and dead-straight, bends don’t really exist, we just have 90 degree corners for the most part. The Scottish motorway had been more of a laugh than my usual sunday blast has been for years.

From Crieff we went toward the Green Welly stop, on the edge of Glencoe. We filled up and I was asked if I was ready for it. I didn’t really knew what that meant, so I basically just said “Yes”. For this holiday, I had turned into a Yes-man; I ate stuff that I’d never eaten before, went to places I never went to and I was pretty much up for anything. Good thing nobody asked me to go bungeejumping..

Pulling out of the petrolstation, we were off and a few miles down the road we were on a steady climb out of a very long (and pretty shit) left hand bend; I did this road 3 or 4 times in the next few days, and I couldn’t get it right, for whatever reason. After climbing to the top, you find yourself in the Glencoe Pass and it’s downright breathtaking. Problem was, our average speed was hardly fit to happily be taking in the scenery, so I just got my head down trying to keep up with the 2 locals showing me the way. This trip was supposed to be about the riding and the Scottish roads, so I’d just leave the touristy bit for some time later.

Up from Glencoe, through Fort Bill and up to the A87 next to Loch Cluanie is where Kraptanaman left us to turn back home himself. We said our thankyous and goodbyes and Katanamangler and myself carried on further up the road heading for Skye only to turn right a few miles before it, to make the climb to our first stop for the night at The Wee Campsite in Lochcarron. Tent put up and midgiespray sprayed, we strolled into town. Well, I say town, It’s basically a lakeside road with bunch of B&B’s next to it, with a pub, a cafe and a tiny grocerystore, that was really it.

We ended up on the outside terrace of the cafe being served the best fish and chips I’ve ever eaten, and even my fellow traveller was impressed, so it really must’ve been good. after food we went for a wander down the road and naturally we ended up in the pub, who’d ‘ve thought? I went for my go-to drink for this trip; Shandy. I can’t drink for shit; if you’re out on the piss with me, I’m a cheap guy to have around. For your 3 pints, I might do 1. The Kid got me introduced to it and it completely sorted the issue, because all of a sudden, I could actually keep up, and not have to worry about a massive hangover the next day. Favorite new thing, really.

The next day we left packing up a bit later to get ourself up and over the Applecross Road. It had been mentioned by Deeds, who we were supposed to meet later that day, as a must-do while you’re there. He hadn’t really mentioned why to Katanamangler; insanely fast road, mindblowing views, sheer impressiveness, it could’ve been any. When we scaled the mountain and got to the top, one thing was very clear, it wasn’t because it was a insanely fast road. The roadsuface to the top was below average, at best and with all the cyclists making their way to the summit, we’d hardly get out of 2nd gear.

But, when we did finally make it to the top and took in the place the way you’re supposed to, fuck me, it’s impressive. I have no idea how high up we were and how far our view reached, but I just stood there for a few minutes. I’m a sucker for stuff like this, but for whatever reason, the trip being about what it was and my mind in the place where it was, it all landed a bit harder than normal, so to speak.

We made our way back down, stopping at virtually every bend to take yet more pictures because every 50 yards or so, the place looked totally different. Back at the tent, packed up and off to Kyle of Lochalsh for breakfast. This too was amazing, 3 out of 3 meals in Scotland and they were all superb. The next 3 days, this continued, I’m happy to report. After breakfast, we nipped over the Skyebridge for me to be able to say I’d been on the Isle of Skye, and turned back at the roundabout on the other side. The day would consist of riding back to the Green Welly Stop where we would be meeting up with Deeds, or Captain Progress, as I would get to know him.


Doing about 170 miles in a day after you’ve done 300+ the day before, messes with your rhythm a bit and we made a point of stopping more often than we normally would, because otherwise we would end up at our destination 4 hours early. This day would prove to be a bit more about taking in the sights I hadn’t had time for the day before racing the other way, so I was suprised by loads of things that I totally missed earlier; complete castles and Lochs hadn’t reached my occipital lobe at all so even though I had ridden down this road only yesterday, it was as if I’d never been there.

Back where we properly started the day before, we made out way to our cabin for the night, to be greeted by the most aggressive midgies I’d ever experienced. After Deeds had turned up and we had had dinner (proper Scottish, haggis and all) we got back to the cabin but the little creatures were in such numbers that sitting outside was no option. We went inside, got the map out and started planning out next day, all the while enjoying my next shandy.

It was decided that we’d go through Glencoe again, but this time all the way up to Inverness, cross the bridge to Ullapool and come back round to Inverness the other way, after which we’d find a place for the night a bit further east; no midgies. Within minutes I found myself doing speeds up from even the first day with Kraptanaman. Remember, I’m on a utterly unfit bike for touring, loaded up with gear for a weeks worth of living out of a bag, and no real clue of where I’m going. I need to keep up. This is where the “Cpt Progress” moniker Deeds has, comes from; making progress. I think we averaged an easy 85mph to Inverness and the next bit to Ullapool was even more mad. All on closed private roads officer.

On the run upto Ullapool, we came across about 12 dutch H%nda Goldwings doing 30mph; I think we were doing 130 coming up to the back of them, so when we overtook them, it could’ve suprised them a little bit. A day of fast roadriding when you’re in the zone, it doesn’t really matter how many miles you do, because you get so shut off of anything from the outside and it will be just you and the bit of road you can see, everything after of before is irrelevant. We managed to clock up 308 miles that day, and the EFE and Katana didn’t skip a beat. They did use a bit of oil though, but we’ll forgive ’em for that.

We found a place to stay in Kinloss, another cabin. In hindsight, if we would’ve taken a cabin for the first night as well, we’d have been a lot lighter packed, but that’s something for next time. Fire was made and shandies were drunk (by myself) and we found the place perfect to do an OSS do there, so that might be a good one for the future. While discussing the day to come, Deeds mentioned something about a road going from very fast, to slow, complicated and technical in seconds. I didn’t really process this as I continued to play with my phone and be generaly distracted by whatever thoughts were running through my head at the time.

The following morning I was last to wake up and be moderately productive. This was my final day out in Scotland, so I really wasn’t in a hurry to get going. Starting early meant ending early and I basically didn’t want it to end. Deeds and Katanamangler were ready to go when I was still brushing my teeth; must be the puberty-thing I have yet to shake. When I was finally ready to go, I’d wasted (or won, depending how you look at it) another hour. I hadn’t made a plan yet what to do when we came back to where we started, so I just dragged it out as long as I possibly could.

From Kinloss, we turned off through Forres and straight into the Cairngorms National Park and through the Glenshee pass. Fucking Skilifts! Pardon me for my ignorance, but I really didn’t know Scotland had skislopes, I thought that was a thing just for the Alps. This bit was also the part of road Deeds had been talking about; I realised this after having overtaken Katanamangler at 145 miles an hour down a straight, to be greeted by what only can be called a public Supermoto track not half a mile further down the road. (A83 Old Millitary Road, go there, it’s awesome) I was screaming inside my helmet, looking at Deeds dissapearing in the distance and myself and Katanamangler scratching pegs and knees to get round a few of the bends, on our old bronto-bikes and having the best time doing so.

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Reggie’s Roadtrip 1/3

  1. Whichever way you throw me, I will stand

This may well turn into the most personal post you’ll ever find on OSS, up to now and likely for a long time after. Those that know me, know I can get a bit intense. Here’s some options; you’re intrigued and will carry on reading, you’re not bothered and are only here for the pics or you’ll feel awkward and click through to the next article. It’s all good, I’ll continue regardless.

You see, a while ago when I was thinking about this piece, it was going to be about my annual pilgrimage to the TT and I wondered how I was going to put it into words, without repeating myself and getting stuck in age-old cliches. Then life happened and the trip turned into something totally different.There’s more to life than just playing around with outdated Suzuki motorbikes and getting them to work in the modern world. Over the years I’ve found myself meeting others OSS members through our shared interest in the dinos of choice, yet over time, usually within minutes of meeting someone you’ve spoken to on the forum before, you’ll be discussing work, relationships, the place you live and just life in general.

It’s funny how that works; you’ll travel a good 400+ miles (or much more for some) to meet people in a field/mountain/pub to discuss bikes, and when that’s out of the way, you really get to know the person sitting opposite of you, on a totally different level. For me personally, through OSS, this has created more than a few true friendships, even if these people live more than a 1000mls away , in different countries and speak a different language.

When you want to go to the TT, you best book quick. So quick even, that you really want to book for next year, BEFORE that years TT has actually even started. Our booking had been done as such and we’d have a casual 2 weeks away from the usual hectics of life, to have a fresh start into summer. It’s been a annual thing for me for years and I actually was planning for this to be my last one, to do something else next year.

Due to a cock-up of monumental size of my own, I ended up having to go by myself. That posed a bit of a problem, because I’m hardly my best on my own, to put it mildly. I feed of energy of others; by myself, I just end up doing the headless chicken. A change of plan was in order, but since my head wasn’t right, this proved to be a bit of an issue.

At best a week before I was to actually travel to the UK, a plan was hatched and I booked the ferry from Dunkirk to Dover. That was it; I HAD to go. The TT to most people remotely into bikes is bucketlist-material, but to me, it’s quite “normal”, so yes, the thought of not going at all had crossed my mind. Two and a half weeks, by myself on an island turned up to 11 wasn’t something I thought I was ready for. Cue OSS-made friendships.

We would be traveling to the UK with the van, bikes and gear in the back, all the way to Liverpool, saving us from endless boring motorwaymiles, squaring tyres and the usual breakdowns. We were going to leave the van on the drive of at Miss Kid’s house, leaving us a good half hour away from the Royal Albert Dock from which the Steampacket sails. We’d meet the Kid and Miss Kid on the Island a few days later and it was all supposed to be a perfect little holiday.

Part of this plan stayed firmly into place; I would still leave the van on the drive and would still meet the Wheely-fam on the island. I would be a few days early in the UK, so I needed a stop-over along the way.  I didn’t want to just take up time of others and just basically “sit there”, because that was my MO at the time (and still, but that’s another story) Also, with them [Wheelie fam] leaving the Island earlier than what I was supposed to, I just went and changed my sailing to be the same as theirs, leaving me with yet more time to kill in mainland UK.

Because I would be one or two days early, I contacted Viz with the question if I could surf their couch and I was greeted with a very welcoming answer; “turn up whenever you like, stay as long as you like and do whatever”.

First stopover sorted and having decided to stay a night at the Kid’s as well, it was suggested that I’d bring my 1127L motor with blown gearbox that had been sitting in my shed for many years; “Yeah, we’ll just fix that while you’re here” Cool, that’s what the van’s for.

With having about a week to spare after TT, I contacted Katanamangler, to see if he had any ideas; “Yeah, I’ll just take a few days off work and we’ll do that run of Scotland we’ve been discussing since 2008”. Ok, so that meant a good bit of the days coming back had been filled as well, not a bad outlook really.

My return to mainland Europe was to be the tuesday, 2 1/2 weeks after coming across but while trawling the forum, which I hadn’t really visited in a while due to the personal stuff that was going on, I noticed the annual Cadwell weekend of our friends at Classic Bike Trackdays was on. The choice to take another 2 days off work, stretching the holiday a bit and possibly getting a trackday in while I was over, sounded like something to good not to do.

So, in days I went from not going away at all, to 3 weeks away, visiting good friends and many, MANY miles on the bike, in the van and possibly even on the most lairy racetrack I know (possibly, because it was looking to be fully booked, but I basically just chanced it; “turn up, it’ll be fine”)

With the van stuffed with gear for these 3 weeks, including 2 bikes, wheels with wets for the Banana, 2 engines; one of my own and one that Quist sold to Duckndive, 2 tents and loads more, I set off in the dead of night. I turned up in Dunkirk 2 and a half hours early, but the good people of DFDS just waved me through onto a earlier boat. They didn’t even charging me more, even if I had booked the sailing as a “large car” instead of a van. I’m Dutch and thus, tight; we can’t help it.

A quick text after coming off the boat in Dover to Gpz1100_Convert and tea was sorted for the early morning. I hadn’t seen him in a while and he probably didn’t know all of what was going on in my life at that time, but I ended up breaking down in his kitchen. Sorry about that…

We sat in the back garden, drinking tea, listening to Rammstein and having a truly eyeopening conversation, something that was to be a bit of a theme for the 3 weeks that I was about to head in to. After saying my goodbyes and thanking him for the tea, I rolled onto the M20 to get myself to Minx and Viz’ place. I had noticed on the good old Internet that ” The Bikeshed” was on in London, and I thought about visiting. I’m by no means a fan of the current caferacer-fad that is moving it’s way through our bikebuilding world and this is probably the nicest way I could put that into words.

I knew there would be a few nice bikes that I wanted to see and since I was close, I chose to go anyway, just to have it ticked off and not be left wondering if I had missed anything. The run into London and especially the multistory carpark with a LWB, leftwheel drive van is something that I won’t quickly forget.Was it worth it? Fuck no, but at least I knew. The Racefit Kat and Sticky’s bike were cool though..

After spending the grand total of 20 minutes inside the Tobacco Dock, ogling at perfectly trimmed beards and brown seats, I found myself back in the van with a good few miles to go, straight into rushhour traffic in central London with a van with a foreign plate and the steeringwheel on the wrong side; try it, it’s fun. It was supposed to take 2 hours, I think it turned into 4.

Backing into the drive at Fair Winds, I found Viz and PaulM working away on the famed turbo ET. I hadn’t seen it in its latest guise, so that was a cool suprise. Having had Viz fix it, Paul suggested I’d do a little testrun. Oh, ok..

Before, I had only ridden Kid Kearsley’s Turbo during a few paradelaps at Donington last year, this would be my first time out on a proper road, using the FBM demo that was converting the entire OSS world into strapping a blowdryer on the front of their motors, chasing boost, power and BOV fluttering. I now can fully understand why and I too want a turbo. I have wanted to turbo my EFE for a while, but now I was properly sure of it.

Paul’s ET rides as you’d expect the average well-sorted oiler would, grunty from lowdown, but this time with a bit extra. “The hand of God pushing you along”, that’s exactly what it felt like. I’m not sure who mentioned it like that, either Viz, Paul or Havoc (who I visited the next day on the way to the Kid), but it really explains what it feels like. Aside from that, the bike felt suprisingly light compared to my EFE, while they’re pretty much built from the same bits with the same general idea behind it. More headscratching for me..

Minx was away from home, visiting our Mekka (which you’ll read about in a separate piece later) so Viz and myself had the most expensive pizza ever for dinner, talked a bunch about life and had a fine evening all round. I was shown the grounds, introduced to the cats and was told; “This is your house now, do as you please.” It’s pretty special if you think about it. After a good night’s sleep; tea, toast and more general chit-chat, I again packed my toothbrush and set off westwards.

Stoping over at Havoc’s along the way, it took me about 6 hours to do a 4 hour drive; all the time in the world. After getting the strangest looks from pub-goers driving into the street where the Kid lives; I don’t think these people see many red-turned-pink foreign vans drive down this little road, I walked straight into the workshop, finding the Kid and Davecara with Dave’s freshly built EFE spitting oil from “somewhere”. With Dave joining us on the IOM in a few days and his little shakedown not going to plan, it was all hands on deck to get it sorted.

What this meant was; me pointing stuff out, Kid asking Dave why he did that and Dave apologising for his wrongdoing. The trouble ended up getting sussed; I should be a workshopmamager. After this, we pulled my 1127 out of the van and got stuck right in. I saved this engine after binning the original, pristine bike (twice) and selling the rolling chassis back to Jon Tober, who I bought it of a few years prior. “It’s a bit fast” he told me when I bought it, freshly recovered from writing off my 750K. I managed to catch up with Jon over at the IOM a few days later. Two fellow countyman traveling 500 miles to a place in the middle of the Irish sea to meet up; a bit extreme maybe.

I had it dynoed a few weeks after and it ended up making 160bhp at the wheel. We rung up the original owner to find out what was done to it and he told us he had just chucked a load of money at his tuner in the early 90’s, but never asked what he had done to it. With me now in the Kid’s workshop, I was hoping to find headwork, hip cams, forged pistons and maybe even fancy conrods. We found nothing, not even the thought-to-be blownup gearbox..

We swapped 2 gears and the selectorforks for a few fresh ones and bolted the cases back together. I was a bit miffed not having found anything remotely interesting on the inside but it was quickly estabished that this engine would be the perfect candidate to use as a turbomotor. This way I wouldn’t have to take the trusty powerscreen that currently powers the EFE to bits and risking to end up with yet another longterm project and no roadbike. That was it, off to bed.

The next morning we moved to Miss Kid’s house where my van would stay while I was over for the TT. We unloaded all I needed, stuck the van in a corner and went for breakfast at the local bikeshop-come-cafe. I had beans for the first time. Yes, really. The day was further filled with sitting in the sun and basically watching the world go by; it was a good day. That evening I was to catch the Manannan to Douglas from Liverpool, so the Kid showed me the way. I had done it before a few years ago on my own and in my memory, it was a 5, maybe 10 minute ride. It was a good half hour, at least. I must’ve been somewhere else with my thoughts.

Having been dropped off at the docks and informed about Liverpoolian biketheft, I waved the Kid goodbye, knowing we’d meet up again in 2 days, yet in a totally different world. The crossing was uneventfull and I just sat and watched people getting (rightly) excited about going to the TT. I’ve been too often, so I’m sort of used to it now.

After the short and very fast run out of Douglas, over the TT course and Poortown Road into Peel, I landed home with John and Jo, who I also met though OSS. You see, John is GSXR884’s brother. I ended up there in 2010 and have been going back ever since. A story for another day maybe.

We in the First World, go on holiday to get away from home, have a change of pace and a change of scenery. Either for fun or to get away from the stress that is real life and wind down a bit. I too had this plan; get away from it all and set your sights on something else. Within 30 minutes of being there, I found I had failed; I was home.. I’ve been coming so long, know my way around so well; I could just as easily live there as I do at home.

In the house, I know where to find food, tea, I actually know the wificode from the top of my head and I helped build the shed I was sleeping in. I had left home to try and leave it all for a minute, yet somehow I ended up in a place where I was very much at home, where I  had been before, and not just by myself.

That proved to be a bit odd because instead of being distracted by all that was around me; the Isle of Man is an impressive place in itself, let alone during the TT, I was confronted with many places I had shared with that someone before, and all the thoughts and memories that came with it.

The first day I was my own entertainment, so I just got on with it and tried to get “a lap” in. I failed, because the Mountain was shut, as usual. If you ever go to the TT, be sure you don’t get the red mist and throw yourself of the side of Snaefell. That’d mean the road will get shut again, and I again will have to turn around and come back later. The TT festival is slowly getting more notorious because of the visitors instead of the exciting and dangerous racing.

 

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