There are many reasons why you might single out a particular bike as a bike of the month but invariably those reasons always boil down to the same thing; the bike embodies, in some way, the values that make OSS what it is.
This month’s winner has been too many times the bride’s maid, and never the bride. It holds a special place in OSS folklore and special place in our hearts. It’s the bike that launched a hundred annoying banana stickers and a stroopwafel fueled track day race team/boy band. The infamous chart topping heart breakers that are team Banana.
So, what is it about this hurriedly put together and horribly abused little 750 slingshot that makes it so special? Well, it’s just that; for a hurriedly thrown together little track slag, it has equipped itself admirably around some of the UK and mainland Europe’s finest race tracks, it has been crashed twice repaired twice and really should have died a long time ago, but it has always delivered the goods.
Knowing my good friend Rene, as I do, I sometimes think for a Dutchman, he would make a damn fine Scotsman ( apart form the fact he cant drink). What I mean by that is that Rene knows how not to spend money. We Scotsman recognise and amire a fellow tight arse when we see one. So the Banana was never going to be a “break the bank” build but then Rene’s builds never are. I used to think that Rene was the possibly the luckiest man I knew but I have come to recognise that he makes his own luck. He keeps things simple and that means for the most part, they work.
The thing I admire most about all of the bikes that Rene builds is that they are not built to look at. They will never win a beauty contest or a rosette. They don’t drip with high priced components. They are all built for a purpose. They are built to ride. Be it a journey, an odyssey, a pilgrimage or in the case of the banana a new sport. Rene is a wanderer, he’s never happier than when he is travelling Europe and the UK, couch surfing his way round his many friends or sharing valuable time with his friends in a race paddock for a weekend.
This, for me, and for Rene, is a huge part of what OSS represents. Right from the beginning the rules were clear: you build a machine, you load it up and you take off on a journey to meet other people who have done the same. That’s what the Banana represents for me. It’s where the bike takes you and who you meet that makes a motorcycle the world’s single most amazing invention.
So, 2020 has been a real shit show. We’ve all missed out on so much but it won’t last forever. It will soon be time to get back on the road and back on the track. I wanted to finish the year looking back on a heart warmng high with one eye on a return to much better times round the corner. I don’t know if I’ll ever see the banana again, last I heard, she was looking a bit tired and sorry for herself, but if I don’t, the memory of it and the good times it represents for many of us, will live on.
Congratulations Reggie, the Banana is finally and rightfully our bike of the month December 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
Up until very recently, I have to admit, I had never encountered a Cougar in the flesh. Not the rare sharp clawed big cat variety , not the even rarer Stiffller’s Mum variety and certainly not the rarest of them all Spondonesk small batch UK special motorcycle frame variety.
This Month’s Bike of the month winner Barry Armstong (AKA Cullinoc) has been a Suzuki nut for longer than most. He has countless high-quality OSS builds under his belt, built for himself and for others. In the last 2 years, I’ve watched him build 4 ground up quality olsdskoolsuzuki builds, all of which were worthy of BOTM and two of which were built and sold just to raise money for another very special ongoing build ( but that’s a different story for a different month) Barry also supports me as pit mechanic when I race so to say I trust his abilities and his eye for detail is an understatement.
Unusually, Barry has decided to keep the Cougar and run it as an everyday bike. He has a small stable of everyday bikes, all of which are Suzukis. He has no car license either so they are literally everyday bikes. Hardcore!
This month we are featuring Barry’s Bandit 12 powered Cougar. Barry bought this from another Suzuki nut and long time OSS member Pip Brodie. When he bought it it was powered by an EFE 1230 engine and an assortment of period early 90’s fittings. Barry’s original plan was to strip it back and refresh the EFE engine and upgrade everything else. When Rooster Racing were looking for an EFE engine for a race build last year Barry and Don did a deal for a fresh bandit engine and some frame mounts to house the oil cooled plant.
What has emerged is a very tidy, very usable looking Cougar framed Suzuki Special. Barry congratulations you are oldskoolsuzuki’s Bike of the month, October 2020. It’s your first time as BOTM Barry but I’m sure it won’t be your last.
Read about the build here. Members discuss this article here.
It’s been a while since I’ve done a bike of the Month but Rene is on holiday so I’ve been forced out of semi-retirement to do September.
I don’t feel I’ve got my finger on the pulse of what’s hot and what’s not in the project section of late. For that reason I’m going back in time here in order to recognise a bike that should have been lamented at the time but wasn’t.
Back when we launched the new improved OSS.info we agreed that we would never choose a fellow admins bike for BOTM . Instead, we would reserve BOTM for members’ bikes.
This month’s winner was owned by an admin when we launched the site but she has since retired and that means I can now do what I couldn’t at the time it was first finished.
Minx your turbo slabby is a well overdue but nonetheless very worthy Bike of the Month for September 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
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.
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
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
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…
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.
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
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.
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.
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.