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.
As February has come and gone, you may have noticed a apparent lack of BOTM that month. They made that month too short; that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. It didn’t help that the weather was utterly miserable and riding bikes in the summer sun was a long distant memory. Cue March and we’re inching ever closer to spring. Yesterday was the first decent day of 2020 here and I even managed to get the bike out.
I don’t ride on the road very often anymore (not here anyway) but if there’s one thing I get the most gratification out off, it’s showing up modern machinery with our older bikes. Having the powerrangers scratch their Rossi-rep lids in disbelief how they just got left for dead by a bike older than themselves, usually ridden buy a guy in jeans and trainers. But, enough about me…
The above is best done on a bike that is very understated and one that, in the eyes of the unknowing, just looks “old” My pink-neon wheeled EFE doesn’t fit this category but the 1100M Oilyspanner built that you see above is one of the best I’ve ever seen.
Even if you
do know what you’re looking at, you’d have to look twice to see all that has
been done to the seemingly stock-looking bike. Starting off fairly standard a
few years back when it replaced a (much) later model GSXR, all was done to have
the older bike get in the realms of modern sportsbikes.
Weight was shed anywhere and everywhere possible; roughly 40kgs (!) saved over stock and with a modern frontend swapped with the endlessly outdated (and questionably sprung) original Slingy USD’s, the rear was balanced out with a very trick raceshock from Nitron.
The buildthread of this bike reads as though a proper hands-on journalist is using it as a longtermer, with a wealth of information on chassis and especially carb-setup. Jetting all done on the basis of experience, “feel” and the use of a private road (officer), the bike has become what it should’ve been in 1991, had our friends in Hamamatsu had the technology of today.
much a project but you can’t help but tip your hat to the work already gone
into this bike to make it what it is now.
Oilyspanner, your bike is this months Bike of the Month
It’s early January. You could be feeling full of cheese, confused about which day of the week it is, have back-to-work blues or you may even be doing one of those ‘dry January’ or ‘veganuary’ fads. Not me, I like beer and cheese too much. I also like really clean, tastefully modified naked bikes, especially if they are blue and white and have clip-ons. Anyway, enough of that, look at this…
January is a great time to look back on the last year and consider what you’ve acheived. OSS member Allspeeds can do that with great pride, having transformed this humble 750K into a stunning 7/12 turbo in (just over) a year.
The bike was completely stripped and a 1200 engine was sourced. Apparently they are ideal for turbocharging and continue to remind us what a great donor bike the humble Blandit is.
The attention to detail on every component is amazing. Polished / coated / modified or upgraded everywhere you look. I looked at it a lot, you should too.
The turbo route was chosen and looks fantastic. 380BHP anyone? On carbs too. Mmm… carbs. Oh sorry, I got back to beer and food again. Anyway, just look at it…
So, what are you going to look back at in January 2021 and say you acheived in the past year? Get planning (beer optional, however recommended). Get building. Get it documented in the OSS projects section of our forum.
What a transformation in that time. Congratulations Allspeeds, your stunning, brutal 7/12 turbo is our January 2020 Bike of the Month.
You can find out more about this bike and discuss it here.
are built because you can, some because you want and sometimes because you need
to. A sense of urgency before you miss that window of socially accepted
ownership, so to speak. Such is the tale of Kraptanaman’s turbo GS1000.
Excuses at the ready to justify the actual turbo to the good lady, parts were gathered from inside OSS-land and the build commenced swiftly. This very bike will be the first awarded BOTM twice, because the frame is YoshiJohnny’s old GS1000 Yoshimura-rep, previously earning BOTM way back on the old page.
around with the hacksaw to make the engine fit properly without having to re-do
the headers, all fell into place after some persuasion and focus was shifted to
the frame itself. Deciding on a slightly shorted seat, the backend was lopped
off and the seat shortened to suit.
Making use of the talents and knowhow of several OldSkoolSuzuki heavy-hitters and also a few local tradesmen, the project neared the end of the journey and after the obligatory MOT, it was out on the road, all nice and legal.
However, as normal with pretty much any bike built in any shed, trouble rears its head when you think you’ve done everything properly. This was no different and work was needed to the tank because it sprung a leak under the new paintwork, which ended up needing a different tank and another complete paintjob again.
Over time a
trip to Blair’s dyno to get the best out of the old oilboiler, Andrew ended up
with a 200+ Bhp machine, having scratched his mid-life itch of building and
owning a turbocharged motorcycle.
since it has been finished for some time; congratulations Kraptanaman, your GS
Turbo is this months Bike of the Month.