The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (and a Giveaway)

OK, so maybe not quite as wonderful as that first start up after a long engine rebuild! Or eagerly awaited trick bits turning up in the post. Or lining up for the 1/4 mile or a track day. Or finally getting your jetting spot on… I could go on. Anyway, it’s that time of year again soon. You know, the time to sneak off from family/turkey/sprouts into the garage to ‘get some more beers’ whilst secretly spending ages looking at your bikes or indeed pile of project bike parts. The time to make plans for the new year to finish … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

Part V – The Visit comes to an End – Sayonara, Hamamatsu

There was no EFE. I lapped the room again just to make sure it wasn’t hiding in a corner that I’d missed. Nope. Clearly, this was in my opinion a HUGE gap in the gathered collection. How could they not have an EFE out on show?! But so it was. ‘Suck it up, sunshine’. I am totally writing a letter. I returned to do the circuit of exhibitions the other way around, just to get those different angles. Sometimes you get very interesting angles. I walked the floor, gathering extra snaps of my favourites. I was still feeling pretty euphoric … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

Hamamatsu Heights – Part IV

Another spotless flight of steps led to 3rd and final floor of Suzuki motorcycle history. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this place, Suzuki Plaza. Everyone has their own idea of what Suzuki is, what they do and what that means to them. I wondered if the old boy who worked the front desk with limited English but a welcoming smile even knew that there were groups of like-minded folks gathered within oldskoolsuzuki.info still trying to better what Suzuki had intended (in our own special ways). I had high hopes, of course that I would see all my favourites … Continue reading

Hamamatsu III – The History Stuff

Being a good student, I already had some of the history of Hamamatsu down to an ‘elevator pitch’ but let’s see what I missed. The bikes were not going anywhere but I was still teasing myself with thoughts of what the top floor had in store for me. First I had to make my way through the manufacturing exhibition. As you’d hope, there was some interactive stuff. Pulling levers to rotate a car door on a fully automated robot production line was a good one -great sounds. I knew from a little inside tip that there was another machine which … Continue reading

Hamamatsu – Part II

Had I set my expectation too high? What if I was disappointed? Travelling solo brings out split personalities – the one voice in my head saying ‘You have 1 day in Japan .. do you really want to spend most of it on a train?’ The rational voice replying … ‘Let’s go!’ And so … I’m here now. In Hamamatsu. Walking past the factory, I gripped the metal fence bars and stared at the unassuming swathe of factory buildings. There was no hint here as to the impact this site has had on my 2 wheel world. No piles of … Continue reading

Hamamatsu – The Holy Grail

Suzuki Fever hit in my teenage years. It was the mid 90s, GSXRs ruled the streets and the mighty EFE was still winning at the tracks. Gary Rothwell was my hero and Streefighters Magazine fuelled my fever. Who knew over 20 years later, my passion would lead me to Hamamatsu, the home of Suzuki Motorcycles. The path through life has many cross roads. Back in 1995, it was going to be either a GS550 or a GPZ550 uni trak. I’d spent my first full year on the road on a forgiving and relatively new Kwak but I now had a … Continue reading

Bike of the month October 2019 GSXR1100

What is bike building if it isn’t an exercise in expression and interpretation? Suzuki’s GSXR Slabsisdes have been the focus of many a rivet counting, concourse restoration over the last few years. Many of those restorations were reverse engineered streetfighters from the noughties. Renthals and twin dommies swapped out for overpriced body work, extortionate paint jobs with original Suzuki GSXR decals. I was riding bikes when the GSXR slabside first hit the roads and I remember riding one for the first time in 1988. It just felt so right. You sat in it, not on it. The clip-ons and the … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading