Bike of the Month August 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buildthread here

Discuss here

Bike of the Month July 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Discuss here

Buildthread here  

Bike of the Month March 2020

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.

Still very 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.

Congratulations Oilyspanner, your bike is this months Bike of the Month

I’d have left the purple wheels though…

Discuss here

Buidthread here

Bike of the Month December 2019

Some bikes 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.

Playing 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.

Long overdue since it has been finished for some time; congratulations Kraptanaman, your GS Turbo is this months Bike of the Month.

Buildthread here

Discuss here

Bike of the Month November 2019

Wintertime, the offseason; pumpkin-spice everything, snow, iceskating, Christmas… Don’t you hate it?

I do; I’d rather be basking in sunshine, hooning the backroads on my EFE or trying to get that one lap even better than the one before on my next trackday. Another thing wrong with autumn/winter is basically, the lack of light and all that comes with that very fact. My motivation grinds to a halt, nothing gets done and that in turn demotivates even more.

However, you need the time off to get the bikes you broke during the summer preceding it, or building the racebike you dreamt up in your head, to attack the circuits next year.  I’m usually of the the former variety, breaking more than planned, having other projects taking a backseat to whatever I have to bodge first, to get myself underway again.

This also is less than inspiring and pretty much takes the fun out of it and turns it into frustration. One solution to turn all this around and get my mojo back to go and do something myself, is to read about others building their bikes. Most are built to a standard well above my ability, but it doesn’t hurt to have something to strive for.

Trackaddict as I’ve become, I get properly excited when I find true racemachines being built out off the bikes of our penchant. Probably because in my head, it gets translated to; “I can do that” (I can’t) but again, these OSS-bikes appeal more to me than other bikes, for obvious reasons, and get the blood flowing just a bit more than the next late-model superbike.

Duncan’s Slabby you see here, is one of those bikes. Purpose built for the Thunderbike championship, no shortcuts were taken and everything on the bike is there, because it needs to be.

Reading through the buildthread started all the way back in 2016, it’s a tale of triumph and defeat, coming out the other side, chin up and ready for more. Member of our Winged Hammer OSS-raceteam, I’m quite proud to see this bike used for what it’s built for, ridden on and over the very limit, making it better everytime the tires hit the tarmac and also, beating more modern motorcycles just because he can.

I met Duncan last summer when we both attended a weekend of trackday-fun at Cadwell; supernice guy and you wouldn’t think for a second he’s the Take-No-Prisoners racer that he is when the visor goes down. The bike too; it’s a black Slabby with gold wheels, until you start to look properly. Detail upon detail is found and it makes me want to start building my bikes to the standard this is.

I can’t, but I can try..

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

Discuss here

Buildtread here  

Bike of the Month September 2019

I’m late, I know it and I’m sorry..

We chose this months BOTM 2 weeks ago and I could have written this then. I was distracted by working on my bikes, thrashing them on various circuits (with a visit to the graveltrap included) and all other boring things that make up life.

If I had a timemachine, I could go back to the start of the month and pen this article in time for JB to gloat the full month, being awarded BOTM. Sorry JB; all my fault..

However, if I actually did have access to a timemachine, I really wouldn’t go back in time a week of 2, I’d go back straight to the time when our bikes were the newest/fastest/best you could buy. A different world, different music, fashion and a very different way of modifying bikes. I’d fucking love it..

Back in the 70’s and early 80’s, there were more than a few options to make a bike handle better with forkbraces (remember them?), aftermarket swingarms (Davida, anyone?) and even complete frames.

When does a bike stop being one thing, and start being the other? A discussion for later maybe, fact is that for many an aftermarket-frame bike is the pinnacle of bikebuilding and modification.

We still drool over Spondons, Harris’ and Marteks but there are a few more obscure manufacturers too. Not that these bikes are lower on numbers but a lot of the Moto Martins and Eglis are used what they were once built for; Racing.

When JB got his hands on the 750 you see before you, it had been off the road for quite a few years.  Diving straight in, the bike was in running order in not too long a time and even got in touch with the framebuilder to verify what the frame had been originally intended for; a GS1000.

One job at a time, it didn’t take long before the bike was on the road and not long after that, on the racetrack. I’ve been out with JB a few times and it really is quick; a testament to JB’s riding skills, building skills and further proof that theses frame really had an edge over the factory frames of the time.

Congratulations JB, your Moto Martin is this months Bike of the month

Discuss here

Buildthread here

Bikes of the Month August 2019

Rooster Racing’s bike 81 and bike 82. The GSXR 1100 powered Harris Magnum and the GSXR 1100 slabside are my firm choices for Bikes of the month for August 2019.

Rooster Racing GSXR1100 Harris Magnum and GSXR1100 Slabside

This will come as no surprise to those of you who followed my write up on Rooster Racing at Spa last month. We normally choose a single bike for bike of the month but the truth is, they both now hold a special place in my heart and a special place in the oldskoolsuzuki Winged Hammer’s hall of fame.

Rooster Racing team 81 and 82 Spa 2019
Rooster Racing Oldskoolsuzuki Winged Hammer
Rooster racing Angus Green GSXR Harris Magnum Spa 2019

Both bikes boast in excess of 165 BHP at the rear wheel, they are peppered with hand made functional engineering and they have one of the loveliest and well executed paint schemes you’ll find.

Rooster racing GSXR1100 Slabside Spa 2019

They were built with a single purpose in mind and they fulfilled that purpose admirably.

Rooster racing GSXR Harris Magnum
Rooster Racing GSXR 1100 Slabside

Don Hill and Rooster Racing you built our very first Bikes ( plural) of the Month.

Members discuss here

Bike of the Month July 2019

Some bikes will mean more than others.

To the person that built it, helped build it or to the person that owns it. This bike is owned by Russ750ET, after inheriting it from his dad, the universally known Pete750ET.

Pete raced this very bike in the Earlystocks championship and many of us were following his progress, either online or at one of his racemeetings.

Racing cut short after a crash in 2006, the ET was converted back to streetuse and Pete ran it as it was up to his too early departing of our favoured planet.

Sorely missed by all, including myself. I have had the privilege of meeting Pete several times over the years and you really couldn’t encounter a nicer guy.

Russ has inherited the bike from his dad with the intention of using it and finishing what his dad had envisioned for it.

Starting with the lengthening the frontend and getting rid of a squashed exhaust (courtesy of too-short Hayabusa forks), this bike is now again in a rideable state but far from finished.

I’ve never seen a bike finished, so to say a BOTM needs to be a finished article would be a lie. Even if this bike has many mods to come in the near future, we found it fitting to honour Russ with BOTM now, because for us as OldskoolSuzuki.info, it fills us with nothing but pride that we can give this bike centre-stage and show the world what these bikes can mean to so many across the globe.

Russ, thanks for keeping OSS in the loop on this bike, it’s good to see it lives on, as does your dad.

Congratulations, your ET is this months Bike of the Month

Read more here

Discuss here

Bike of the Month June 2019

Having rules is nice and all, and for the forum, this is really good. However, in other instances, it can make your (or; mine) life a bit hard. One of the rules we set for ourselves, is that a BOTM has to be built on the website and have a topic showing the ups-and-downs of the project.

Here we have a BOTM with NO buildtopic, for the simple reason that this bike is pretty much as it left the factory in Japan all those years ago. Just that makes it damn-near unique in our little OSS-world. Rivetcounters really have no place here, just don’t think we don’t like a properly preserved bike.

Our friend Dorkburger should get an award only for the fact that he has been a staple of originality, in a sea of bikes modified to within an inch of their life. Also; he takes a mean picture.

Thank you for keeping your EFE as how our friends in Hamamatsu meant it, so we can all recognise where we came from.

Congratulations Dorkburger, your bike is this months Bike of the Month.

Read (some) more here and 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