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Bandit 1200 drag bike


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Hi, I’m happy to be part of the OSS race team. Thanks to Katanamangler for sorting all out

I first started drag racing nearly 20 years ago, on my first Bandit 1200 and then a Gsxr 7/12. I raced until 2005 then stopped for quite a long time. In 2013 I fancied another go, and bought a Bandit 1200, as they are cheap and take abuse well, and are a good bike for the 11.1 second straightliners class. I finished 5th in the championship then took a break again and put the bike back on the road.

 The bike is a 1997 Mk1 Bandit 1200, pictured below when I first got it. The bike is fairly standard, the main modification being a gsxr1100 usd front end. For some odd reason when I got it, the bike had a 33bhp restrictor kit fitted. After removing that and taking it straight to the strip, I had some clutch problems, and I ended up fitting a MTC lockup, which has been brilliant. 

At the back end of 2018 I was thinking about how much I missed racing and at the last minute I dug the bike out of the garage and entered the season finals at Santa Pod. I ended up running a demo number as I didn’t want to interfere in the championship results on the last round. I came away buzzing and decided I would race the full season in 2019.

Here are a few pictures from 2013 when I got the bike, ran it in straightliners and fitted the lock up. My next post will be a recap of my 2019 season and what else I’ve done to the bike so far, and plans for 2020.







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Before I get into my current plans for next year, I thought I’d do a recap of 2019. I had planned to have a strip only bike at the start of the year but the ABS failed on my van and expensive repairs to that wiped out all of my spare money. For now the bandit would have to double up as my main road bike and drag bike. 

Round one Santa Pod. The weather was typical of Britain in March, pretty crap, and the 11.1 class quiet with just me and one other entry. It was cold and windy, I only got a few runs in, and the weather started to turn bad,  my only rival broke out of the class just before racing was cancelled, leaving me to win the class. Not how I wanted to win, but you’ve got to be in it to win it.

Round 2 East Kirkby. A very windy day, I struggled to run a high 11 but with every one else struggling too this left me qualified in second. I got beaten by 0.02 of a second in the eliminations. I was also struggling with wheelies, I had geared the bike down and it was lifting way to easily.

Round 3 East Kirkby. I put the gearing back to standard, but still struggled with wheelies, but was getting some much better launches. Not a great day, ended up 5th from 6 in my class, but I was leading the championship by just a few points.

Round 4 RAF Honnington cancelled due to lack of entries. Round 5 was on the Isle of Man, 2 weeks after I’d spent 2 weeks there for the TT, couldn’t go to the Isle of Man twice in a month so had to miss it.

Round 6 Elvington. Due to very heavy rain, we all spent most of the day hiding in each other’s vans and under awnings. Mid afternoon it was starting to dry out, we were asked to do some sighting runs and take it very easy. I went out and did 2 gentle runs. On my third I was happy to go as normal, ended up running 11.9 and then the heavy rain came back and racing was cancelled.

Round 7 East Kirkby. A new road bike hadn been bought so a few changes were made to the bike to make it more drag orientated, new dog bones were fitted to lower the rear, and I strapped the front down. I also removed the headlight and fitted a fairing. These changes helped get me down to 11.5.

Round 8 East Kirkby. Finally happy with the bike, with the fairing and lowering, I ran my best time of the season with 11.36. As the day went on my bike got noisier each run, so I parked it up until the eliminations with a suspected blown exhaust gasket. Up against Bow in the semis, he shut off and I beat him on the line. In the finals, I got beat by 0.01 of a second.

Round 9 Santa Pod. Bike serviced and new exhaust gaskets fitted all ready for the last round. Going into the finals, Bow was leading the championship by 22 points with me in second. The final round was double points which can make things interesting. Unfortunately the nasty weather came again this weekend. Some people got a few runs on Saturday which was run what you brung and not championship racing. Sunday was horrid. The weather was terrible and by mid day the racing was cancelled and we all went home.

With the last round cancelled, points stayed the same, with Bow taking a well deserved 11.1 title and me finishing second. 

A few pics

 the bike at the start of the season, at Santa Pod, a trophy, always nice to get one, and at the end of the season, the bike now took off the road and lowered front and rear with a S model fairing.











Edited by SlingshotSteve
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  • 2 weeks later...
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Now the season is over, it’s time to get ready for 2020. First up, a visit to FBM, to get my swingarm extended. Dave did a top job, in a very fast time at a great price. Bow very kindly gave me a Factory advancer, and I also ended up buying a Hagon shock off him as my Suzuki one was on its last legs. Also put my stickers on. Once Christmas is out of the way, I’ll order a long chain and get get back in the garage to do more work on the bike. I’m still trying to find a used pro pipe, so I can get the bike as low as possible, but used ones are hard to find, I’ll give it a few more weeks and if no joy I’ll but a new one.





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A very long overdue update, my apologies.

Last years racing, first up, its affected us all in various ways, the dreaded covid. The first half of the racing season was cancelled, finally in July we were allowed to race again. Last year I decided to move up a class from 11.1 to 10.1   I bought another bike for the road and decided the bandit would be a drag only machine, and I started to remove anything that would reduce its weight. Off came the lights, indicators, pillion pegs, centre stand, grab rails etc. Unfortunately the jump up to 10.1 proved to be a bad decision. In 10.1 I was up against hayabusas and gsxr1000s. I was way off the times I needed and I got throughly beaten all year long. Despite this, and mainly due to attending every race event, I ended up with enough points to finish 4th overall. As mentioned above by Sam, I fancied some new 1 piece leathers for racing and I had a visit to Padgetts of Batley. It must have been my lucky day as the lady pulled out their very last Belstaff suit, and let me have it for £100, a crazy bargain considering they were once over £600 to buy. Extra bonus that they matched the colours of my bike. Also my wife decided to have a go at racing, and entered her fazer in the 12.1 class and came second. I just need to get her off the Yamaha and onto a Suzuki.

This year things didn’t go to plan at all. At the start of the year, my van suffered abs failure which wiped out all my spare money that I had put aside for racing. Then before the drag season started, the Mrs and I decided to take the road bikes out for a ride. After a few months off the bikes over winter she found in spring she was massively struggling to swing her leg over the seat to get on the bike. A trip to a specialist and a x ray revealed she had zero cartilage in both hips and severe arthritis. I made the decision to sit this year out and look after her as it got worse over the months and she ended up in agony 24/7. She has 2 new titanium hips being fitted over December and January. 

The plan right now is to put all the road parts back on the bike, make it road legal, remove the long arm and go back to standard wheelbase. I will put the bike back on the road, and enter either 11.1 or run what you brung. I’ve bought a spare rear wheel, so I can have one for the road, and another for the strip and then it doesn’t matter if I do burn outs and kill the tyre. So that’s me up to date. For short term I’ll run the bike in road trim, and in the long term I want another drag bike, I’m unsure whether to go down the route of a busa or gsxr1000. Most of all, I’d love to have a gsxr11 or Bandit 12, and beat my best time of 10.3 on my first Bandit that I had over 15 years ago.

I have added a photo of how the bike looked at the back of last year when I was racing it.


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At the moment, the swingarm has gone to a mate to test on his bike, he’s given me a fair price for it, but we have a gentleman’s agreement where I can have it back any time for the same money. I’m seriously strapped for cash at the moment, so the best option is to have it both on the road and in 11.1. I was toying with the idea of having it for road and 10.1 .The longer arm actually felt ok on the road, but with the forks dropped through the yokes it was way too low for the road, and too much of a risk of it bottoming out. I had my other drag bandit on the road years ago with a similar lowered front and I had a very scary moment when the down pipes hit the ground out under hard braking. The best option long term will be to get another road bike.


Although a busa or gsxr1000 is tempting, it seems an easy way to go fast. I’d much prefer the challenge of making an old skool bike go faster. Back when I used to race in early 2000s, I just wanted once to dip under the 10 and run a high 9. So for now I’ll stick with 11.1 and long term when my money problems are over, I think I’ll get another bandit 12 or Gsxr 1100 and really go for beating my 10.3 time and then eventually a 9.



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I had a chat with my friend who had my arm, he’s had a few runs with it in and he has decided to go back to using a much longer arm. As per our agreement I ended up giving him his money back and I got the arm back today. I still plan to put it back on the road for a little while. But what I will do is use the long arm, and keep the suspension at normal height, as it’s not safe to run it lowered on the road. Realistically I think getting another bike for the road is also a good idea then I can do whatever I want to this bike.

The clocks on my bike have been damaged since I got it, they worked but were always wobbling around and were held together with tie wraps. I got hold of a mint set but with a cut loom. So I spent an hour and put my good loom into the good clocks. Best of all, theres only 300 miles difference on the clocks.

Next I need to decide what bars to use, the Gsxr clip ons felt good on the strip, but I had run with severely restricted steering lock to stop them hitting the tank and the fairing. I don’t want high up road bars, so might go for a flat bar. I am also thinking that I might remove the S model faring and fit a small nose cone type.



Edited by SlingshotSteve
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Some interesting news has came my way. Straightliners, the club I run with, have decided to scrap most of the bracket classes. So the existing 12.1, 11.1, 10.1 classes are now gone, and for next year, we can dial in our own times. At first I wasn’t sure about this, but the more I think about it, the more I like the idea. As I wrote above, I had a very good year in 11.1 but the jump up to 10.1 was a mistake as I was nowhere near the time. With dial in I can start at 11.0, then as I improve I can knock of a 1/10th at a time, and dial in at 10.9, then 10.8 and so on. The eliminations at the end of the day can see me up against any bike in the final. The lights will be staggered so for example if I dial in at 11.0 and my opponent is 9.0, then I set off, he gets a 1.5 second delay and then sets off and we should cross the line very close together. I’m really looking forward to this new format.

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He actually gets a 2.0 second delay !  Dial in racing can be close but you MUST, MUST, MUST, be killer on the tree and be able to run quicker than your dial-in. In your example if both hit a 0.400 light and hit dial in's you should cross together but if you pull 0.500 light against a 0.400 light you've possibly lost and you can only hope he breaks out. This is why you need to be able to go quicker short track to force opponent to pass you down track when you can back off forcing a break out! Be wary of scooters and low powered daily's as the handicap is massive and they'll be 50m from the stripe before you start - very hard to beat that!

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On 12/12/2021 at 3:22 PM, Gixer1460 said:

He actually gets a 2.0 second delay !  Dial in racing can be close but you MUST, MUST, MUST, be killer on the tree and be able to run quicker than your dial-in. In your example if both hit a 0.400 light and hit dial in's you should cross together but if you pull 0.500 light against a 0.400 light you've possibly lost and you can only hope he breaks out. This is why you need to be able to go quicker short track to force opponent to pass you down track when you can back off forcing a break out! Be wary of scooters and low powered daily's as the handicap is massive and they'll be 50m from the stripe before you start - very hard to beat that!

Not sure why I wrote 1.5, it is indeed 2.0. I’ve drag raced on and off for 20 years and it’s always been in bracket classes. Can’t wait for dial in. I think I’ll get another bike for the road too at some point next year.

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19 minutes ago, matt7 said:

" I think I’ll get another bike for the road too at some point next year. "


Same model & colour as your race bike...




I've thought about getting another b12 for the road. The drag bike doesnt need its gsxr usd forks.  Be good to get a second one and do it up nice, and put the gsxr forks from this on it. 

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Posted (edited)

As per usual things haven’t gone to plan, my wife has 2 new ceramic hips, but the second operation got delayed which in turn messed up a lot of things in our lives. Good news is she’s on the mend and back out on her Yamaha. I decided to get another road bike, a cheap gsx600f teapot came up for sale near me, so have that for the road now. That will do short term but I still fancy another road bandit to sit alongside this one. Last time the bike was raced there was a very small oil leak coming from the front right of the sump. I was worried that I might find a hairline crack in the sump, but I’ve pulled it apart, the sump and engine look fine and I found the gasket to be damaged at the point where it’s leaking. It’ll be back together in the next day or 2. I need a new rear tyre, the one on the bike has been on it for a few years now, amazingly it’s had a few thousand road miles and lots of drag meetings and has lasted way longer than I expected. It’s fine at the prepped track at Santa pod but at Melbourne there’s no grip left in it. So it should be ready to race again very soon.




Edited by SlingshotSteve
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