Bike of the Month March 2022

GIA framed GSXR 1216 special.

Many of us will be familiar with the term “chequebook build”. If you are not, it’s a term used to describe a bike that has been built with no expense spared and it also means the owner has commissioned all the work by others with virtually no work done by them. If your chequebook is big enough and you schedule everything effectively you could rattle out something very cool in a matter of months.

This month’s bike of the month is the polar opposite of a chequebook build. That’s not because it isn’t dripping in high-quality components or because it hasn’t been assembled with great care and attention to detail. This bike is at the other end of the spectrum for two important reasons. Firstly, the owner doesn’t have a massive chequebook and secondly the only way the owner has been able to afford to build a bike to this standard is by taking 10 years to build it. During that time, he has built several other bikes all of which he has sold along with hundreds of other parts that he has refurbished and re-sold.  All the money he has made from doing that has gone into buying the parts he wanted to build this bike.

When his money dried up, he got to work generating more funds through building another bike to sell and all the time he kept refurbishing or repairing parts and upselling them.  There was never any question of compromising on the quality of this build. In fact, the quality kept getting better as time went on.

This year the bike was finally complete enough for it to be rolled out onto our stand at the Scottish Bike Show earlier this month. Having watched this build grow from a frame tank and swinging arm 10 years ago, it was rewarding to finally see a decade’s journey finally nearing completion.  It was also good to see the bike being admired by so many at the show.

This bike started as frame number 0014 from the very talented Gav at GIA Engineering. Sadly, Gav passed away just last year but those that know their special frame history will know that if you bought a Spondon frame to fit an oil-cooled GSXR engine back in the day chances are it was built by Gav. The GIA frames were a progression of everything Gav had learned about frame building at Spondon, taken to the next evolutionary level.

The engine was painstakingly hand-built by Barry Armstrong the owner. It is based on a GSXR 1127 engine, but the crankcases have had 300 hours lavished on their insides removing seams and sharp edges and mirror polishing them to improve oil flow.

The Crank has been lightened and balanced and the Wiseco 1216 pistons sit on Carrillo rods inside a billet block by WSR. The head was ported by Roger Upperton with 1mmm oversized stainless valves with heavy-duty Ape springs and titanium retainers. The timing is custom with slotted sprockets on Yoshimura cams. The carburettors are Mikuni RS38 with 50mm bellmouths with foam filters. The exhaust is an Akrapovic system with a Yoshimura R77 carbon end can.

The Gearbox has been undercut and a heavy-duty clutch is fitted.  All exterior cases are billet one-offs commissioned by Barry and they include a one-off WSR billet rocker cover and sump with a removable panel on the sump for easy access to the strainer, a one-off windowed clutch cover, a one-off starter gear and pickup cover, one-off sprocket covers, and cam links all done by WSR.

The ignition is a Dyna 2000 and Dynatek mini coil combo and all wiring, clocks, indicators, switches are Motogadget with integrated keyless ignition.

The headlight is a billet red six LED unit. The front forks are Ohlin from an Aprilia Tuono factory with one-off billet yokes. The wheels are BST carbon fibre. The brakes are Brembo callipers front and rear using ISR brake and clutch master cylinders with ISR switchgear. The rear shock is a custom Nitron unit.

The subframe is Ducati 999 with a one-off carbon fibre seat unit. The GIA aluminium tank was skinned by hand in 3k twill carbon by Barry, with a matching carbon mudguard.

All nuts and bolts are black titanium.

No expense has been spared on this build and whenever possible Barry has done the work himself. Watching the crowds around this at the Scottish Bike Show was a testament to just how special the result is.

Barry, congratulations you have built our Bike of the Month for March 2022.

Members discuss this here.

Bike of the Month January 2022

I’ve been let loose with a keyboard once again to write a little intro to Oldskoolsuzuki Bike of the Month, January 2022. This was actually a bloody difficult task because of all the fine attention to detail this build has had lavished on it.

The bike we chose for this month is the GSXR turbo Harris Magnum built by Clive Wood.  The bike was originally owned by Swirl, another OSS membeer but unfortunately he wasn’t able to complete it so he sold it to Clive. 

For me to do this build any kind of proper justice, I would have to wax lyrical for pages giving you details of the many brackets, the turbo headers, the plenum and all the other parts which were hand made by the Clive, often using just basic hand tools. That aproach requires a hell of a lot of ingenuity, skill and an real eye for detail.

I really love many of the little things like the boost gauge holder, the cheeky use of Lidl gloss black paint on certain components. Then there’s the bigger things like having the balls to chop up a JMC swinging arm. I’d never be that brave! That’s because because I don’t possess the skills Clive does. 

If you want to read about all the details you’ll need to sign up for the forum and look up the build thread in our projects section.

Clive has built a beautiful looking bike, but it’s not just a looker. It measured an impressive 260 bhp when dyno’d recently at our annual OSS Dyno day. 

Congratulations Clive, your Harris Magnum is our Bike of the Month. Members discuss here

Bike of the Month December 2021

Under normal circumstances Bike of the Month is chosen from the project build section on our forum. This month we have made a special exception for a very special bike, a very special builder and a very special cause.

You may or may not be aware that in November many of us were shocked and saddened by the news that John Martin the founder of Air Cooled Suzuki (ACS) had passed away after a short illness. John was a life long Suzuki fan. He was an active part of oldskoolsuzuki for many years as well as being an active member of the UK katana owners club, which is where I first met John nearly 20 year ago.

John and his wife Florence

It’s safe to say that John’s love of building big air cooled Suzuki based specials and restoring big air cooled Suzukis was truly unmatched. I can’t really remember a time when John did not have a ground up Suzuki build on the go. As all of John’s bikes bare witness, John was a very skilled builder and his bikes were always finished to the same very high standard. Despite the number of builds he started, he always finished them!

Anyone who knew John would tell you that he was a genuinely lovely human being. He always had time to stop and chat when you saw him at a show or a rally. He was always interested in what you were up to and what you had been building. Johns Facebook group ACS was an international focal point for air-cooled Suzuki enthusiasts and the catalyst and the energy behind the many UK events that ACS attended. John was what I would describe as being quietly driven, and by that I mean there was never a hint of ego involved, yet he always got things done and that is undoubtably why he was so well loved and respected by all who knew him. His focus was always first and formost on his friends, his family and their wellbeing.


When John’s wife Florence was diagnosed with MS she wrote a book about her own experience in a bid to help others going through the same struggle but also to raise money for the MS society. Ever the supportive husband and partner, John decided to put his bike building skills to work to support Florence and the MS society by building a Katana that would be sold through a fund raising raffle to raise funds for the charity.

With the help of the ACS Community, many of whom donated parts or services to help with the restoration, the GSX1100 SZ Katana was transformed from a pile of tired parts into a truly stunning finished product.

Sadly John will not be with us to see the charity raffle completed. The raffle will be orginised by Suzuki UK, and we want to encourage all of our readers and members to make the effort to buy tickets when they go on sale and make John’s last build the fund raising success that it deserves to be. You can follow news about the raffle here.

John, and everyone at ACS your Suzuki GSX1100 SZ Katana is our Bike of the Month December 2021.

Members discuss this here.

Bike of the Month November 2021

November 2021 Bike of the Month oldskoolsuzuki

I was asked to pick this month’s Bike of the Month and write an article about it. As I am writing this, Halloween is approaching, so I thought about picking a scary monster of a bike, a turbo GSX-R 1100 or something similar, to stay true to the Halloween spirit, but being a kutbuitenlander* ,I do things differently.

*(Editors noteDutch swearing is complex and I’m banned from using it or translating it – do your own research)

This month’s BOTM is a nice little bike which even the Japanese can ride legally, and if you know how restrictive their licensing system is, that says a lot.

Cunnerz77, apart from being a kutbuitenlander as well, is also quite handy with the spanners. He bought two GSX-R400’s in bits and made one good bike out of it.

Within a few hours of starting the build thread it appeared that many OSS’ers have (had) a GSX-R400, some even have more than one. It was as if they were ashamed of owning a little watercooled 400 but the coming out of one of them (by writing a project thread) made them all appear. Actually the very first GSX-R was not an oilcooled 750 in 1985, but one year earlier the watercooled 400 had that honour.

Cunnerz’ one is a later beam framed one though. It is also an SP model, with some extra modifications like Monster stickers (so it suits Halloween after all), carbon look tape and speedholes.

The intention was to build a stock SP out of all the bits and sell the leftovers. After sniffing a lot of brake cleaner, and many bongs, he ended up with one squeaky clean GSX-R400. Not only squeaky clean but also completely original, down to the exhaust and JDM only turn signals. Ready just in time for the first snow of the year.

The first ride out showed that it is not only clean as new, it rides superbly as well. It is meant to be riden by a hoon so Cunnerz rides it like a hoon. To the point of unvoluntarily adding more speedholes. Not yet having sold the leftovers pays off at moments like this.

Now the bike is converted to track use only, so he can ride it like it is supposed to be riden, flat out everywhere.

Congratulations Cunnerz77, your GSX-R400 is Bike of the Month November.

Members discuss this here

Bike of the Month October 2021

This is my First time out writing the blurb for BOTM, not as easy as you might think, but thankfully this month’s bike of choice doesn’t need too much of an introduction. I volunteered to write this because I knew the builder and the bike well, having spent some time with them both at a recent OSS dyno day as well as various other OSS events.

Paul Morris’s and his gorgeous looking GS750 pretty much sums up what OSS is all about for me. For those of you who don’t know Paul, Paul is one of the OSS events team and over the years has organised many events from dyno days to OSS stands at shows, always there to lend a hand, eat ice cream and take the piss. 100% OSS material, just like his GS750.

Like many of us here at OSS, Paul did what a lot of us do (okay, what I would like to be able to do, but I lack the talent to do), take your all-time favourite bike/first big bike and give it a massive boot into the 21st century with radial brakes, better suspension, better tyres, add a trip to FBM for some turbocharged tomfoolery, a fancy LCD dash, a very sublime paint job and then finished to whole build to a standard that Suzuki San himself could only have dreamt about, when this bike first rolled off the line.

The standard of finish on this build really has to be seen to be appreciated, read the build thread to see what I mean. Oh, it also goes rather well on the road too, as I witnessed first-hand when Paul demonstrated with some high speed low level sorties over some of North Yorkshires finest roads on our way back from the last OSS dyno day.

I must admit, I was quite gutted when Paul broke his last Turbo GSX creation (also a former BOTM) and I thought, at the time, he must have had brain freeze from too much ice cream, but seeing what he has built to replace it, I now fully understand why it had to go.

Congratulations Paul your GS is BOTM, mines a 99 with a flake, thanks.

Members discuss this here.

Bike of the Month June 2021

It took me quite some time to think of a hook to base this write-up around. It’s usual I’m late with the BOTM article but 9 times out of 10, I’m just busy/lazy/procrastinating. Not this time; this one was hard..

I’m not even sure how long OSS has been around now, but it’s easily more than 20 years. In these 20 years, the bikes we focus on have become older, rarer, more expensive and pushing the boundaries on a platform that has been around for as long as they have, becomes quite a mission.

With that, the focus maybe should shift from the actual bike itself, to the thought behind it. Confused? Let me explain.

Over the years I think we can all say the hive mind on OSS has been a bit different from the “regular” bikebuilding fraternity. You could see it years ago in SF magazine and still on places like Facebook; OSS bikes tend to stand out, 1 part the bike, the other part the person that built it.

I hate the word “attitude” when it comes to bikes, but that is exactly what it is; an attitude towards how a bike should be build, that is what makes a bike recognisable as a OSS-build.

Now, if someone with 9 times the talent of the regular person sets out to build a bike in this spirit, but then takes a bike that actually rolled off the line AFTER Oldskool had already launched, you know you’re about to see something special.

Yantosh has been a well know and respected member on OSS and beyond, as a builder of bikes that had that little bit extra (or A LOT extra) and fabricator for endless other bikes of friends and customers, both on OSS and further afield under the BFT-brand. If you’ve never heard of BFT (Blunt Force Trauma), I urge you to dig thought the internet a little and expect to be amazed.

Actually quite a while ago, since the bikes is finished and on the road, Yantosh started out with a perfectly functioning K4 GSXR1000 and pulled it apart, only to be left with a engine and a plan.

The idea was to build “A Bike” from the ground up, using the engine and some chassis components of the 1000, at least until something prettier turned up, and do everything else at home, in a tiny shed…

With a self fabricated pipebender, a jig and some plumbing supplies, he set out to build a frame, from scratch, in the tiny shed. Most of us mortals struggle to fit different wheels to our bikes but this was another level entirely.

With cardboard, MDF, polycarbonate and a CNC mill, the main plates were fabricated so that the freshly bent pipes would have something to be welded to and before long, the engine had a home again.

It all sounds rather simple typing this out, but with the details for the sidestand, the swingarm pivot and others, I assure you this is not something anyone can (or should) do. Tony Foale’s knowhow has been put to good use here; another thing to Google if you don’t know who this is.

With the frame welded up, more time was spent at the mill to fabricate yokes, swingarm-adjusterblocks and swingarmpivot were machined up to get the project to the next stage. Next stage is; getting offers of trick bits you have to have, on the most inopportune time. We’ve all been there.

Race shock, race wheels, race pipe; just what anyone needs when building a bike, so all were aquired, as normal. Attention was turned to the bodywork, which would basically be just a tank and seat, but it can make or break any build with being aesthetically pleasing or not.

Lots of faffing about with foam, fibreglass and Kevlar, the bike started to look like a complete build but looking complete and being complete are 2 totally different things, so again much time was spent making rearsets, headlight mounts, steeringdamper mounts, etc. A lot of stuff to make, in a world where you can flex your creditcard on ebay and easily have something special, but that’s not the same, is it?

Yantosh even went as far to have it registered as a completely new bike, legally on the road, build by himself in the tiny shed. Quick swap of exhaustcans, shakedown to the TT and all was well-ish. The tank didn’t hold fuel so another tank was build to get the bike where it is now.

Is it Oldskool or not, it’s a good discussion to have. I think it is. No, the bike isn’t oldskool as such (because it’s not old), but the work that has gone into this to get it where it is, and more so the though or “attitude” behind it makes it a lot more oldskool than the next Bandit with some streetfighterish bits bolted to it.

It’s a new age, we best get used to it, otherwise we’ll all be has-beens.

Yantosh, your bike is this months Bike of the Month

Discuss here

Buildthread here

The truth is out there…

…and on here, welcome to OSS…and what the fuck are you all about?

Obviously you’ve RTFR and are about to post your project in the relevant section, you’ve proofread it, (extra points for those for whom English isn’t their primary language, oh and wraith) pictures are all correctly oriented…and all that jazzz….and up it goes.

Sometimes it’s soggy cabbages, rotten tomatoes, a false leg, burnt out plugs, oily rags….etc etc and sometimes it’s not, but I liked this guys project intro, I save my cabbages for this kinda thing, a goal, a vintage caferacer with manly* parts of the 70s.


It’s an aircooled gs750 (awesome) a fine looking thing, and without venturing far from the overall original silhouette it’s still easy on the eye, subtlety modified with period style. No ridiculous angry stance, unnecessary extras or affiliations. It’s definitely not trying to be anything other than what it is, a really kool airkooled’s got an attitude, a good attitude, and I’m guessing by the way he can volley a soggy cabbage, so has Hariii.

He obviously cares about what he does with his time as it shows from your build to your posts… (check out the quality of his images)…a certain way in a certain style, and plenty of effort. A forgotten  queen rescued by a king of hearts, the only king without a moustache so you can see he speaks the truth, love, a fine reflection with a brown seat… orange tank….standard running gear….cabbages….rotten tomatoes…. yeah I’d happily own it, and ride it, it looks like it does exactly what it says on the tin.

Congratulations Hariii, not only on BOTM, but for your fine attitude and confidence to speak the truth, go, go and race from cafe to cafe on the Traveler.

Thanks for the inspiration, viz.

Discuss here

Buildthread here

Bike of the Month April 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more here

Discuss here

Bike of the Month January 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Discuss here

Buildthread here

Bike of the Month December 2020

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

Members discuss this here