Issuu on Google+

RGV250: the original sinner Keeping

Yamaha R1 Seminal superbike bought and rebuilt for £2200

Your hands-on guide to make fuelling right


20 PAGES OF TECH TOP TIPS Fix powervalves Project VFR750F Airboxes explained Buy a Honda NS125 Headlight upgrade

Kawasaki GPZ600R Suzuki GSX 7/11 ES special Kawasaki Zephyr 750 Honda CBR600F

£4.10 SEPT 2015 ISSUE 59

Overhaul CV carbs Rebuild fuel taps Restore rubbers De-rust a fuel tank Balance carbs

Bikes Inside



Saviour of Bologna; now best buy road-burner

September 2015 Issue 59


FREE 16-PAGE GUIDE Everything you need to know about fuel system fettling Turn to the centres. Page 58


Putting the Zed into Zephyr


GSX take on the 7/11 hybrid


Bought and built for just over two grand


Get 12 issues of PS and an Oximiser 900 battery charger. See page 36

06 Reader restoration: Suzuki RGV250K Not so much restoration as conservation for this VJ21

14 News Pro-Am Yamaha LC revival meet, GSX-R style goes MotoGP and more

34 Events diary

49 CBR600 Challenge

Don’t worry, we’ve sorted your next few weeks of social engagements

What happened when Honda went single-make series racing

36 Subscribe

56 Kawasaki GPZ600R restoration tips

Great savings on your favourite magazine delivered to your door

18 In your shed

38 Reader restoration: Yamaha YZF-R1

Your building and tinkering in the garages of the UK and beyond

This might be Dan Mawson’s third R1, but it’s definitely a keeper. You’ll see why

21 In our shed

Lip-smackin’ at Cadwell Park

Jim tries some new tyres, Austin fits a shock... and Alan has too much to do

Doing the right thing when restoring the original 600cc sportsbike

60 Ducati M900 Monster fact file The naked that saved Ducati’s bacon... and gave them the cash to do the 916

70 We want it: Kawasaki Zephyr 750

24 Letters

Cop a load of Z1 style in Kawasaki’s 1990s budget commuter

Your chance to sound-off about all the latest goings-on in PS-land

75 Special Brew

27 Events coverage

We’ve all seen GSX-R 7/11s, but what about a GSX ES take on the theme?

The PS trackday at Cadwell Park was a blast. Here are the selected highlights

114 Bikes of my life

32 CRMC report

Adam Wibberley on bikes, wheelies... and some questionable denim shorts

The championship’s really hotting up...





Project 851/888 in (almost) one piece

82 How to: fix Powervalves The ends wear out. Here’s a cheap fix

84 What’s the problem? High-temp paint for exhausts; rattly ’Blades

93 Project VFR750F Sorry, we’re endurance racing this thing when?

98 How to: fit a headlight relay Get your lights switching right with Rupert Paul

100 Project Hunter 87 Project 851 So that’s it. The hard work’s done. What now?

Delights and frights we’ve seen this month

90 How it works: airboxes Why you might think twice before fitting pods

102 Buyers’ guide: Honda NS125F/R When Honda had Italy build their 125 sportsbike

106 Bikes for sale


Room for one more? Of course you do

Doing battle on Honda CBR600Fs

Why you shouldn’t be scared of Monsters


Yamaha powervalves made good and mended



UP TO £ 500 OFF




29 31 AUGUST 2015

9LNPZ[LYMVYV\Y)HUR/VSPKH`:\TTLY:HSLHUKÄUK your local dealer at *Terms and Conditions apply: 1. The promotion is open to UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man residents aged 18 years or over except employees of the Promoter, their Dealers and agents and members of their immediate families or anyone connected to the creation and administration of the promotion. 2. £500 contribution available on new on-road Honda Motorcycles of 300cc and above purchased or ordered at participating Authorised Honda Dealers between 29th– 31st August 2015 (both dates inclusive). 3. To obtain your £500 contribution, you must first obtain a unique voucher code by registering your details at between 29th August and 31st August 2015. Once registered you will receive the voucher code by email. The unique voucher code must be presented to the Dealer at the time of purchase or order of the motorcycle. The contribution will be applied at the time of purchase or order and voucher codes will not be accepted after this time. Opening times of Dealers vary – please check with the Dealer. 4. One voucher code only per purchase. No cash alternative available. No purchase necessary. 5. No responsibility will be accepted for voucher codes lost or damaged. 6. All Honda motorcycles subject to availability. 7. The Promoter accepts no responsibility for any loss, damage, injury or disappointment suffered by participating in this promotion, or any damage to any participant’s or other person’s computer or mobile phone equipment as a consequence of participating in or downloading any material relating to this promotion. Nothing shall exclude the Promoter’s liability for death or personal injury resulting from its negligence. 8. The Promoter reserves the right to modify, cancel, terminate or suspend this promotion in whole or in part, at its sole discretion, if it believes the promotion is not capable of being conducted within these terms and conditions or in the event of a virus, computer bug or unauthorised human intervention or any other cause that is beyond the reasonable control of the Promoter that could corrupt or affect the administration, security, impartiality or normal course of the promotion. 9. If in the Promoter’s sole determination any participant acts contrary to these terms and conditions or their actions are or are considered to be fraudulent (including but not limited to tampering with the operation of the promotion or bringing the Promoter and/or any of its Dealers agents or representatives into disrepute), they may be rejected from the promotion. 10. The decision of the Promoter is final and binding and no correspondence will be entered into. 11. These terms and conditions are governed by English law and are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts. 12. Promoter: Honda Motor Europe Limited t/a Honda (UK), Cain Road, Bracknell RG12 1HL.

Stewart Fenn (left) explains his resto philosophy to Jim (see over)

THE BRILLIANT thing about restoring a bike is there are no rules.You can do a complete nut and bolt rebuild, or you can simply tidy up what’s there. It’s your choice, and it’s all good. Stewart Fenn, whose fantastic RGV is featured over the page, decided to do a bit of both when rebuilding his VJ21. He’s meticulously refreshed the motor and cycle parts, while conserving the subtle 27-year-old patina of the original bodywork. It looks and rides fantastically, and proves that the best restorations are the ones done your way.


The same goes for specials, like Simon Francis’s Suzuki GSX-ES (page 75). From the moment we first saw it, we had to have it in the mag. It looks that good.Yet it was built by a man notorious for thriftiness, and it shows you can still build a brilliant bike even on a tight budget. Ducati’s M900 Monster broke the mould.Affordable, usable and fun, it proved so right first time it changed the fortunes of the firm that built it.And it’s officially Italy’s best selling bike, ever. Find out how from page 60. Enjoy the mag Jim Moore, Editor

FREE INSIDE PART FOUR Silky-smooth, glitchfree fuelling is what we aspire to with all our bikes. Achieve perfect fuelling with our fourth pull-outand-keep Workshop Wisdom guide, FREE with this issue (see centre pages).

I did it my way…

Jim Moore Editor My Katana was never going to be standard. It had to be an ’80s style special. I love it. jim.moore@

Austin Smith Art editor I’m a stickler for originality, so with my NC30 and VFR750 I’ve kept stock where I can. austin.smith@

Jonathan Bentman Features writer My TLR250 was rebuilt to suit me and I’ve hauled it across continents rather than sell it. psportsbikes@

Alan Seeley Technical editor My project Ducati 851 has had its detractors, but stuff ’em. It’s my bike, done my way. alan.seeley@

Gary Hurd Technical consultant There’s no Katana like mine. It’s known as my bike. I put it back to silver once but it didn’t feel like mine (see it on page 23).



h g u o r h t “I drove t a m r o t a snows ” … t i y u b 3am to er was the least of ... but inclement weath ms when Stewart Fenn’s proble RGV250K restoring this Suzuki


Just built No time to waste – the stripdown commences

Heads and barrels oozed silicon

Terrible toll taken by British road dirt


Restore a VJ21 for a true ’80s sportsbike buzz


Fenn’s Suzuki RGV250K still wears much of its past on the svelte blue-and-white panels enveloping its V-twin heart and is, we reckon, all the more alluring for it. Patina is a wonderful thing. It reveals a past and a truth of originality that can never be matched by a nut-and-bolt rebuild. As a 1989 F-plater this RGV was one of the first to make it to UK shores, so it’s fitting that Stewart’s conservation approach to restoration has kept the Suzuki so true to its roots. The VJ21 RGVs left quite an impression on 18 year-old Stewart when they arrived in his local dealer more than a quarter of a century ago. “Some of my mates had RGVs and I remember thinking how amazing they looked,” he says. “But I couldn’t afford one at the time, so got myself a 350LC and later a TZR250. The VJ21 has always been the model for me because I’d moved on to cars by the time the VJ22 came along – girls didn’t like riding pillion.” Stewart’s love of bikes never left him though, and over the past few years he’s been steadily amassing a collection of machines that he’s either previously owned or had some sort of connection with. So far he’s got hold of an AR50, RD125LC, DT125R, TZR250 and a TL1000R. It was only a matter of time before an RGV found its way into the mix.

“It was January 2013 and knew I wanted another bike to do up – I found an RGV down in Leatherhead that looked just the job,” explains Stewart, who is a mechanic by trade and now teaches bike maintenance at a college in Hull. “I was so keen to get it that I set off from Hull at 3am and battled my way through a snowstorm. Condition wasn’t really an issue, so the fact it looked nowhere near as good in the metal as it did in pics wasn’t a problem – I’d kind of braced myself for that. It hadn’t been used in a while, but the thing that really attracted me was its complete and original state.You don’t find many like that. The price – £1200 – was good too.” Back home in East Yorkshire, Stewart was able to prod and inspect his purchase.The plastics looked good (even the screen was original) but all the metal surfaces were scarred through exposure to the elements. Things looked even uglier behind the fairing. Although the motor ran (just, gasket paste oozed from between the barrels, heads and cases like badly applied bath sealant). “I knew there and then that it’d been through the hands of at least one bodger...” Stewart always has a plan when tackling a build, the first part of which is to assess the horror and make a parts list. Fortunately the arrival of Stewart’s new project coincided with Suzuki offering up to 50 per cent off RGV spares through its vintage parts scheme.


Just built

THE BUILD – how Stewart did it 1




Externally caked with grime and internally suspect the motor sits on Stewart’s bench awaiting inspection.

The original discs were shot, and the elements had done their very worst to the fork legs and calipers.





Stewart overhauled the delicate AETC mechanisms, fitted new exhaust studs and had the barrels replated.

Measured and checked, the crank was good to go again. All gasket paste from the previous ‘rebuild’ was removed.





Used but good SV650 discs blasted and cleaned. Forks meticulously defurred and rebuilt with fresh springs and oil.

Ongoing building work at Stewart’s house saw the project come inhouse for several months. TV dinners all round, then…





Perfecting the fuelling was made all the more difficult by the fitment of 34mm carbs from a later VJ22 model RGV.

The previously rusted pipes have come up a treat after being bead-blasted and refinished with good old BBQ paint.


“I got busy straight away and pulled the bike apart. A lot of early RGV owners fit VJ22 cylinders for the broader spread of power they give, and also because the K pistons are unique and more expensive as a result, but I wanted to keep it original and with the discount it didn’t break the bank to get the K pistons.” A bodger had indeed done their worst with the barrels. Rather than replace damaged exhaust studs, the joker in question had ‘fixed’ the problem with a couple of old nuts and bolts that happened to be lying about. Stewart reversed the situation by fitting new studs before sending the barrels off to RGV specialists The Tuning Works for a replate. Meticulous inspection and measurement of each component showed that while the conrods and bottom-end were all still strong and well within tolerance, the powervalves needed attention. One was worn, so was replaced with a good used part, while seals and pivots were refreshed with new. The seals needed to be pressed in – a job Stewart didn’t have the tools to tackle himself – so this was done by Sean at The Tuning Works. The cassette-type gearbox and clutch appeared alright when removed and measured, but since the RGV’s been back on the road it’s taken a dislike to staying in second gear under load. Stewart will have it apart again soon to investigate further. While diligently working his way through the motor, Stewart realised there was a problem. The carbs on the bike didn’t match the carbs shown in the workshop manual. K-model VJ22s run Mikuni TM32SS carbs, but this RGV was fitted with TM34SS units from a later VJ22. Shouldn’t be a problem, right? In theory no, but the differences between the two types are far greater than a 2mm hike in diameter. For starters the main jet size is much bigger on the 34mm carburettors – 280 compared to 200 on the early models. Crucially the VJ22 carbs run a computerised engine management that electronically regulates the Despite appearances the shock was still good

Two-stroke fans always like a laugh. Stewart (left) lets Jim in on the joke.

Bench test Suzuki really didn’t improve on the lines of the VJ21 with later models. It still looks up for it now

air intake according to both rpm and throttle position.And in order to run the 34mm carburettors they have to be used with the larger VJ22 reedblocks. “I had to blank off the air regulator circuit because the 21 doesn’t have an ECU to control it. Ideally I’d like to find and fit a set of 32mm carbs, but I’ve had no luck yet. Until then I’ll make do with these. Setting them up has been a nightmare, and they’re still not quite as I’d like them – I like things to be just-so.” The pipes have come up particularly well. After bead-blasting the rusting spannies, Stewart protected them from the elements once more with several coats of barbeque paint. The unscuffed silencers were made good with Autosol. “They’d only started to go around the cap welds, and they’ve really come up mint.” Autosol helped bring back the fork lowers, top yoke and footrest hangers too. Stewart avoided a polished look by finishing them with grey Scotchbrite. The fork stanchions also needed work – first Autosol, before a final rub down with 800-1000 grade paper to remove the last couple of high spots.

Suzuki RGV250K WHAT I LEARNT Don’t assume eBay is the 1 cheapest source for parts, or that pattern spares will save you money. Some pattern parts are such poor quality they simply don’t work and you’ll end up wasting cash. Likewise, original doesn’t need to mean expensive. Suzuki were offering up to 50 per cent off genuine spares when I was doing the RGV. I saved loads. Just because a component is 2 old, or even showing signs of corrosion, it doesn’t mean it’s past it. Measure it and you might find it’s still well within tolerance. On the other hand, you might find that while it looks alright it’s actually shot – like my RGV’s fork springs. I found Halfords camouflage 3 paint to be excellent for replicating the factory olive green finish on fasteners and bolts. It’s cheaper than sending them away to be treated, too.

Stewart’s a reasonably big lad of around 15 stone, so the original fork springs that had compressed over time were no longer up to the job. A new Suzuki set went in their place, along with fresh 10W oil. At the rear the Full Floater suspension was treated to new bearings and seals, while the shock was thoroughly cleaned and checked for static sag. All was well, although Stewart has since decided to reduce the rebound damping to suit his taste. Having covered more than 26,000 miles the front discs were crying out for new bobbins but, with new ones no longer available and Stewart not a fan of the pattern kits, he was forced to come up with a different solution. “They’re genuine Suzuki discs, but off an SV650. I got them secondhand at a good price. I’ve bead-blasted the centres and they’ve come up really well.The rear disc was brand new; half-price from Suzuki at £30. I was going to fit braided hoses for the extra power and feel, but I’ve inspected the original lines and they’re good. Had I discovered them to be spongy at the lever I’d have replaced them, but they’ve been spot on.”





FULL All prices quoted are from and inclusive of VAT




Helmets RST R-14

RST Classic TT

Alpinestars Gunner WP

Bell RS-1 Liner





Clutch Kits Spidi Ace





Motul 5000






Pads from £9.84



Arai Chaser V Spencer



Lines from £25.00


Chain and Sprocket Kits

Shoei Terminus TC-9

Nolan X-802R Ultra Puro Carbon



RST Vintage





Discs from £21.66

Filters from £18.00





Progressive Fork Springs

Service Kits from


Alpinestars Supertech R



Alpinestars J-6 WP


Bike-It Lockwire from

Sidi Mag 1


Dainese Torque RS

Tools and Workshop Equipment

RST Tractech Evo



Bike-It Lockwire Pliers




Carcoon Bikebubble from


£19.99 Warrior Tyre Pressure Gauge

Paint Sticks


£3.79 Three Bond Gasket


Optimate 4D




Stands WAS £139.99 NOW





50% £19.74



JB Weld Plastic Weld

Warrior Ramp


0906 970 0707





ER LINE: 75 Ash Road South, Wrexham Industrial Estate, Wrexham, North Wales, LL13 9UG

Low rate call. Lines manned 8.30am - 5.30pm, Mon - Sat

All major credit cards accepted and Paypal transactions. Cheques, postal orders or bankdrafts made payable to Demon Tweeks. Goods despatched on express carrier service £8.70 or economy carrier service £7.50

Follow us


Just built

The fun really starts north of 9000rpm

With the mechanicals all done, Stewart faced a choice. Respray the bodywork and make it mint, or make the best of the original plastics. “I used to be a sprayer, so doing the paint wouldn’t have been a problem. I was even toying with making it a Pepsi replica, but my wife talked me out of it in the end. After checking the plastics over and realising it was all actually really good, I decided to conserve rather than restore.”

Stew’s looking for new seat. Note fag burn

At five paces you’d never tell. It looks mint; either fully restored or hardly used. Only when you get close do you notice the odd chip on the tank’s lower seam, a scratched decal or a tiny ding. But far from spoiling the look of the RGV, it adds to its appeal. It wears the same paint as it did back in 1989 – that’s rare. Stewart’s pleased with the way it rides too, even if he is slightly critical of the fuelling. Let’s see if that criticism is justified.…

The ride THERE’S ONLY ONE way to ride an RGV, and that’s hard. No other way will do. Only then – V-twin motor spinning north of 9000rpm, spannies wailing – does this generation-defining GP replica reveal the true extent of its genius. I’m there, right now, utterly absorbed in a world of last-second braking, clutchless upchanges, knee-dragging and maximum

Factory finish There’s no way to replicate the sheen of original paint. This is the real deal

Specification | 1989 Suzuki RGV250K ENGINE Type liquid-cooled, crankcase reed valve, 90° V-twin two-stroke with AETC Capacity 249cc Bore x stroke 56 x 50.6mm Compression ratio 7.5:1 Ignition electronic Carburation 2 x Mikuni TM32SS TRANSMISSION Primary/final drive gear/chain Clutch wet, multiplate Gearbox 6-speed cassette type CHASSIS Frame aluminium DC-ALBOX beam frame Front suspension 41mm teles, preload adjustable Rear suspension Full Floater monoshock, preload adjustable Front brake 2 x 290mm floating discs, 4-piston Tokico calipers Rear brake 1 x 210mm disc, 2-piston caliper Wheels cast aluminium hollow 3-spoke Front tyre 110/70 x 17 Rear tyre 140/60 x 18 DIMENSIONS Dry weight 128kg (282lb) Wheelbase 1375mm (54.1in) Seat height 755mm (29.7in) Fuel capacity 17 litres (3.7gals) PERFORMANCE Top speed 125mph Claimed power 58bhp@11,000rpm Claimed torque 27.48lb.ft@10,800rpm Fuel consumption 38mpg (ave) Price new £3299


Just built

“I’m a big VJ21 fan. To my eyes it’s hardly aged in 27 years”

TIMELINE 1988 RGV250J In its first model year the RGV was sold in Japan only. As such all models are restricted to 45bhp for the home market. Distinguished by having a non remote-reservoir shock. 32mm carbs. Teardrop style indicators, ‘bubble’ mirrors and kph speedo. Speed restricted to 112mph.

1988 RGV250-SP The simple pleasures of a quick-steering stroker

corner speed. It’s a distillation of everything that’s great about the sportsbike experience. Pure. Undiluted. Perfect. Like Stewart, I’m a big VJ21 fan.To my eyes the lines are more predatory than those of the VJ22; in fact, it’s hardly aged in 27 years.The ride, too, is more visceral than the later bike. Simple powervalves bring the power in with a thump from 8500rpm, and the lack of weight (128kg dry) maximises the impact of each and every one of the motor’s true 50 horses. It’s been a while since I last rode an RGV – Chris Newbigging’s 250K back in 2013 to be exact – so I’m starting afresh with Stewart’s. The riding position is more spacious than I remember. Granted it’s no distance tool, but there’s enough room for my six-foot frame to move about. And that’s good because once I get a taste for the motor’s high-rpm punch it goads me into hanging off at every turn and crouching behind the screen on every straight, holding on to every last mph. The RGV steers as much through its ’pegs as its ’bars; weighting each footrest and throwing my bodyweight into the inside of every corner only heightens the notion – albeit ridiculous – that I am Kevin Schwantz and the B1362 to Withernsea is hosting the British GP. Stewart’s brought his immaculate TZR250 2MA out to play, too. It’s a beautiful example, with cackling spannies, but even he admits it’s way out of its depth next to the RGV.


Before we headed out Stewart explained that he’s not yet entirely satisfied with the set-up of the 34mm carbs. “They’re a touch hesitant low down,” he muses, but he really is being critical because it pulls cleanly from 5000rpm and is fuss-free when forced to play ball in 30mph limits. His other caveat – the gearbox – is more obvious. Second gear isn’t happy to take load, jumping out if anything over 5500rpm is applied. It’ll be an easy fix with the RGV’s cassette cluster, but Stewart simply ran out of time to put it right before we arrived. Once in third, however, she’s good to go. The work that Stewart has done in recommissioning the suspension and brakes has really paid off. Neither he nor I give an awful lot of change from 15 stone, so for both the front and back-end to provide such effective damping without becoming overstretched speaks volumes about the quality of the OE components. The brakes, too, are bang on – not what I’d expected after Newbigging’s complete drubbing of his RGV’s stock set-up. As the summer sun beats down and the road stretches out before me like a mischievous invite, there are few other bikes on which I’d rather be. And if Stewart were pushed and could only keep one machine from his growing collection, my money’s on him keeping the RGV. It may like to be ridden hard, but the decision to keep it wouldn’t be hard at all.

Japan only. Fully adjustable remote-reservoir shock and fully adjustable forks (note rebound adjuster at the bottom of the leg). Lighter aluminium discs carriers, fully drilled rotors, closeratio gearbox, uprated pipes and Sports Production logo on the fairing amongst its upgrades.

1988 TV250 WOLF Another Japan-only model. In short, it’s a naked RGV, but there are significant differences. The front brake is single disc only, and there’s no caliper mount on the left leg. A single round headlight, fully enclosed instruments, mini bellypan, a smaller radiator and different pipes (downpipe diameter is smaller) are among the differences.

1989 RGV250K The first worldwide RGV, and basically a J in full power form. UK bikes come with bigger, rectangular mirrors, indicators on stalks, mph speedo and slotted rather than drilled front discs. Limited edition Pepsi colour scheme with distinctive black aluminium silencers offered alongside blue/white. Japanese market Pepsi bikes sold in standard and SP spec.

1990 RGV250L The L is the Japanese K – they were a year ahead in terms of spec. Spec updates include a fully adjustable remote-res shock, carb size up 2mm to 34mm with the addition of a computercontrolled air valve and a slight power hike to 59bhp, plus an extra 8.6lb.ft peak torque.


N O I L L I 1M PARTS Wemoto have the pleasure of sponsoring the Isle of Man Festival of Jurby, Classic TT 2015.

Help us raise funds for the TT Air Ambulance! Endorsed by McGuinness, Cummins, Rutter and most TT racers, all proceeds from the sale of every T-Shirt go to the TT Rescue Helicopter Fund.

T-Shirts available from the Island or buy online now from

Parts for 70’s to present day motorcycles



Have yours before you go! All proceeds go towards fund


We have over motorcycle parts listed for over 10,000 models, massive website, parts added daily

Tel:01273 597072 Unit 7 Grange Road Industrial Estate, Albion Street, Southwick, West Sussex, BN42 4EN, United Kingdom


The Yamaha Pro-Am series was even live on ITV back in the ’80s


Yamaha Pro-Am is back British MotoGP weekend set to go seriously retro as early ’80s racing series makes a welcome return after 31 years F YOU LIKE classic ’80s Yams, legendary riders and a generous helping of competitive spirit, you need to get yourself to Silverstone at the end of end of this month. That’s because the 2015 British MotoGP is going retro with the triumphant return of the Yamaha Pro-Am series as the main support race. Launched in 1980, the Yamaha Pro-Am series pitted emerging riders against established stars on identical RD350LCs, starting the racing careers of people like triple British Superbike Champion Niall Mackenzie and 1996 car F1 World Champion Damon Hill in the process. Now, 35 years later, spectators will see many riders from the original grid go flat-out against each other once again. “We wanted something fun that would deliver a new



experience for the fans and change the regular GP schedule,” said Circuit of Wales big-wig Chris Herring, who was instrumental in bringing the series back. “Everyone we spoke to about riding again was well up for it.” The riders might’ve been up for it, but getting bikes for them to do battle on has been the

biggest logistical issue to sort. It culminated in Daryl Young and the crew at IDP Moto waving goodbye to sleep for two months as they prepared a staggering 30 LCs in time for the British MotoGP weekend on 28-30 August. All 250s to keep costs down, the bikes have been restored to the exact spec of the original series – all the

Doug Taylor (9) chases Simon Buckmaster

way from the number boards to the olive green coatings on the bottom fork yoke. EBC even agreed to make a one-off batch of the green brake pads which were used in the series, despite the fact that they don’t even list them any more. It’s not all retro internal gubbins, though. The bikes – most of which were sourced from Germany and Switzerland – have up-to-date Nitron rear shocks, different fork internals and new Continental classic racing tyres. Mackenzie, for one, can’t wait. “It was a fantastic series because it was brilliant, close racing,” he said. “It launched my career, and above all it was free. When we first thought about bringing it back I wasn’t sure it could be done as all the bikes would need to be bought and brought up to spec, but here we are. I’m really proud to be involved.” Bring on Silverstone…


Workshop Wisdom binders Keep your info tidy the Practical Sportsbikes way IF YOU read PS regularly you’ll be familiar with our bi-monthly fettling series, Workshop Wisdom, which arms you with all you need to know to become a Grade A garage tinkerer. Part Four on Fuel Systems is in the middle of this issue, but if you’ve got the other three and need somewhere to put them, why not treat yourself to a cheeky little PS binder? They’re A4 and cost only £3.99, including postage and

More ferries to get to the Classic TT

packaging. Call Caroline Barrett on 01733 468081 to order. Oh, and if you want to collect the

first three Workshop Wisdoms, email caroline.

If you’re having nightmares about excessive queuing to get your ferry over to the Isle of Man for the Festival of Motorcycling this month, you can rest easy. Steam Packet are running extra sailings during the event, which starts on 22 August, in response to extra demand from fans. Go to

Terms & Conditions: The offer started 15 April 2015 and closes on 31 December 2015. Our order line is open on Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm , the cost of the call is free from a BT landline but mobiles may vary. The offer is only available to residents of the UK mainland and Northern Ireland. Offer provided by Bauer Media. We will aim to despatch your binder as soon as possible but please allow 28 days for delivery.


Boot it with Sidi

IF YOU’RE looking for a new pair of boots that will see you through track days or any level of road riding, the new Sidi Roarr could be just what you’re after. They’re packed full of clever stuff like Sidi’s Techno 3 adjustment system, replaceable toe sliders and anti-twist ankle support braces, plus shock-absorbing heel cups and replaceable bolt-on parts. Oh, and did we mention they look very cool too? We did now. All in all, a damn good boot for just under £200. Go to

How much? WE LOVE Yoshimura as much as anyone else, but this points cover sold on eBay recently for a staggering £94.51 – illustrating once again that people will pay silly money for the right part. Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re just off to bid £350 for a can of Hamamatsu air.

WIN VIP tickets to Endurance Legends IF THE combination of Snetterton, a four-hour Classic Endurance Race and VIP entry sounds like the perfect weekend, that’s because it probably is. And the even better news is that it could be yours for free. We’ve got two tickets for entry on the Saturday and Sunday to Endurance Legends on 16-18 October to give away, giving you and the lucky person of your choice two days of watching qualifying and racing, classic bike track

You could be very close to this

sessions and Suzuki GSX-R anniversary parades. You’ll take it all in from VIP Lounge above the pitlane – well, that’s if you can stand up after the brekkie, dinner and refreshments that are included as well.

To enter, answer the following question: What bike will Team PS riding at the four-hour Classic Endurance Race at Snetterton? a. Honda VF750 b. Honda VFR750 c. Honda VFR400R Email your answer, along with your full postal address and contact number, by 10 September to psportsbikes@ The winner will be chosen at random. Normal T&Cs apply.

Oxford socket sets Fancy yourself a brand new socket set? Of course you do – in which case, Oxford can help. They’ve got two sets to choose from: Socket Set 1 is a compact 11-piece socket and ratchet set, while Socket Set 2 is a compact 29-piece socket and bit set. They cost £19.99 and £14.99 respectively. Go to

Motorcycle Live tickets on sale The wait is over – you can book your tickets for Motorcycle Live 2015. Starting at the Birmingham NEC on 28 November, the show will have over 30 of the world’s top bike manufacturers, top racing stars and a variety of live entertainment. Advance tickets cost £17.50 for adults, £11 for Seniors and £7 for children aged 11-16. Call 0844 581 2345 or visit


You just can’t knock that livery


Mini Foggy and Sheene bikes You’re never too young to unleash your inner Foggy or Barry Sheene, which is why Kiddimoto’s new balance bikes are a great idea. Coming without pedals, they’ll help your toddler learn to ride while paying homage to proper biking heroes. They’ll set you back £139.99 each. Go to

Fettling tome If you’re just starting out on your life of fettling, Classic Motorcycle Restoration could come in handy. It features great advice, stepby-step pics and plenty of tips about tools. It’s £30. Go to

Rutter’s TT tribute Michael Rutter’s Classic TT schedule will now include the F1 race, which he’ll contest on an F1 Ducati identical to the one his father Tony rode to third place in 1984. “Dad got some impressive lap times 30 years ago so it’ll be a thrill and an honour riding a bike identical to that,” said Rutter.

Suzuki goes retro GSX-R gets some blue and white paint for its 30th THERE’S ONLY one way to celebrate to the 30th anniverary of the Suzuki GSX-R – by revisiting the team’s classic blue and white livery from the 1980s. That’s exactly what Suzuki did for the recent German MotoGP at the Sachsenring, as riders Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales chanelled their inner Kevin Schwantz to pay homage to one of history’s defining sportsbikes. “I feel like I’m dressed like the great champions from the past who made Suzuki so famous,” said Vinales. “We are part of a company that

Ah... don’t they all look jolly smart?

has a fascinating heritage – the name of our machines reflects bikes that have become real icons in the racing world.” “To me, the Suzuki GSX-R is the definition of a sportsbike,”

That’s a mobility scooter THE PROBLEM with most mobility scooters is that they’re not fast enough, but that won’t be an issue with this one we saw on eBay. Packing a CBR400RR engine, this is definitely not what Shoprider had in mind

when they build their no-doubt excellent Sovereign 4 electric model. The two 12v batteries have made way for a Honda unit packing 59bhp, and top speed will definitely exceed the standard 4mph. All in all, very handy for the shops.

Tony Rutter at the Ulster in 1984

Petrol tank in the basket: safety first


added Schwantz. “When it came out it completely changed the definition of a sportsbike.” The paintwork was pretty definitive too, might we suggest.

Clarke Pro socket set IF YOU have a need for a deep sockets then this set from Clarke Pro could be just the job. With an ergonomically shaped ratchet handle and a quick-release mechanism for fast socket changes, the sockets come in 8-20mm, plus 23, 24, 27, 30 and 32mm. It’ll set you back £47.98 – we’ll be using it in the PS shed so we’ll let you know what it’s like. Go to

19pc Cold Stamped Combination Spanner Set - Metric

Motorcycle Coil Spring Compressor

 Essential for the assembly and disassembly of suspension units.  Use with ratchet wrench.  Model No. VS1824  List Price £59.95

Motorcycle & Mini Tyre Changer

Exc. VAT Inc. VAT


 Twelve-point WallDrive® ring combination.  Sizes: 6 - 32mm.  Model No. AK63251  List Price £67.95

Exc. VAT

Promotion Valid From 1st June - 30th September 2015

Inc. VAT

Motorcycle Portable Folding Workbench/Pit Table 360kg Capacity


 Model No. MS500  List Price £22.95 o. FPS2 £39.95

 Model No. RPS1  List Price £42.95

Exc. VAT

  F  L   L

Inc. VAT

Exc. VAT Inc. VAT

Motorcycle Ramp 200kg Capacity

 Folded Dimensions (L x W x H): 934 x 296 x 154mm.  Extended Dimensions (L x W x H): 1828 x 296 x 72mm.  Model No. MR200  List Price £129.95


8 x 8 x 800mm Motorcycle Disc Lock Chain

 Model No. S01055  List Price £219.95

 Min./Max. Lift Height (without Frame Supports): 65/740  Min./Max. Lift Height (with Frame Supports): 165/840m  Frame Height: 920mm.  Maximum Frame Width: 980mm.  Model No. MCL500  List Price £319.95


 Works on bearing or hub centred wheels and supplied with two centre posts.  Min./Max. Wheel Size: 102/524mm.  Model No. TC965  List Price £229.95


Single Sided Motorcycle Lift 450kg Capacity






Exc. VAT

Exc. VAT

Inc. VAT

Inc. VAT


 Model No. DLC01  List Price £19.95

3pc Quick Release Locking Pliers Set

 Model No. S01055  List Price £219.95

Exc. VAT Inc. VAT


 Min./Max. Height: 195/780mm.  Working Platform Size (W x L): 660  Model No. MC454  List Price £549.95

Exc. VAT Inc. VAT

14pc 1/4", 3/8" & 1/2"Sq Drive Multi-Coloured TRX-Star* Socket Set - E4-E24

OUT NOW Visit OR download the FREE Sealey App today to view and download all current promotions and the latest catalogue on your Smart Phone or Tablet. Alternatively call us on 01284 757500.

Exc. VAT Inc. VAT

45pc 3/8"Sq Drive Socket Set WallDrive® - DuoMetric®

Exc. VAT

 Model No. AK61800  List Price £31.95

 Jaw Capacity/Length: Curved Jaw - 30/140, 45/220mm, Long Nose - 60/210mm.  Supplied in tool roll.  Model No. AK6863  List Price £47.95

Inc. VAT

 Chrome Vanadium WallDrive® standard and deep sockets up to 13/16"/22mm.  DuoMetric® principle ensures you get every size you are ever likely to need in both standard and deep sockets.  Model No. AK692  List Price £109.95

Find Your Nearest Sealey Stockist Here

Please send me a FREE copy of your latest printed catalogue and promotions.


Exc. VAT Inc. VAT

Ref: PSB/SUM15

Part way through a restoration? Just completed a nut-and-bolt rebuild? Send us your pics, and details Send your pics to or post to In Your Shed Practical Sportsbikes, Media House, Lynch Wood, Peterborough, PE2 6EA

Budget RC45 I’ve had my 1995 Honda VFR750 for three years and in that time I’ve been slowly converting it into an RC45 rep. The spec includes a CBR600F fairing, genuine RC45 seat unit, modified exhaust to exit on the right with carbon RC30 cans, Harrison six-pot calipers, VFR800 rear wheel, twin tank fillers, and YSS shock. I had the suspension and tyre pressures set at Spa by Padgetts race mechanic Dave Castle, so it handles as it should. Fabrication work was done by Weab MCs in Malton and paint by my friend Steve Metcalf. I’ve got engine work planned. Steve Sawyer, North Yorkshire

An RC45 on a budget. A fine idea, we say

“The airbox had seeds in it!” Hello from the States. Here are a few before and so far pics of my 1993 Yamaha FZR1000 rescue bike. It’d sat in a warehouse for at least 15 years when I found it. It had 12,000 miles on the clock and I picked it up for $1200. The carbs were shot and had melted diaphragms. The forks were shot, too, and there was old fork oil all over the front end. There was no gas tank, it had micro fractures between the valve seats, and a Jon chopped a Triumph in for this. Good choice

It didn’t move for 15 years, but Steve has rectified that

Triumph out, Yamaha in I should never have sold my old Yamaha TRX850 for a Triumph that was too tall and heavy, so when this almost original one came along fairly locally I had to have it. I wanted a bit of an RD350N look so I’ve fitted a top yoke conversion with Renthal ultra low ’bars, and an


LC headlight with Zephyr 550 mounting frame. I had to make up brackets to mount the headlight frame and clocks. The race cans were fitted when I got it, but all mods are easily put back to standard. I love it! Jon James, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk


pound of seeds in the airbox! I’ve been doing a rolling restoration with mechanical updates and tweeks. This bike is comfy, fast and has a nice planted stability – I couldn’t ask for more. Love the mag. Steve O’Brien, Salisbury, Maryland, USA

Reader restorations Twelve months and a lot of graft makes a bike like this

A keeper at last? Maybe… As a long-time reader of PS, I thought it was about time I sent some pics in! I’ve had this Yamaha FZR1000 EXUP for about a year and I love it. I’ve bounced from bike to bike for years because I couldn’t bond with any of them. They varied from a ZX-9R to a GSX-R1100WP (what a shed that was). I was never a huge fan of the RU version, but when I was offered this one I couldn’t

say no. After stripping her of all the blue anodised nastiness and the bit of matt black vinyl covering the screen, she’s now in the condition you see here. She has a 2009 R6 shock, braided hoses and Carbone Lorraine pads, China Pazzo levers and a bit of retro tyre art. I love the way it rides and it keeps up just fine with more modern tackle. This one’s a keeper… probably. Jason Newell, Berkshire

What a difference a year makes After seeing the OW01 rep in your mag last year I thought I’d have a go. I found this unloved Yamaha YZF750 locally and sourced the plastics and other parts through eBay. I glass-fibred a section in between the YZF and OW01 parts, then got a local body shop (Darren Earley in Castleford) to paint it up in near-standard

colours. After new tyres and bearings, cleaned and balanced carbs, and a good brake service it’s all ready for the summer. The build has taken a year on and off because time has been at a premium, as our four-year-old daughter has just had a kidney transplant. Chris Wilson, Castleford, South Yorkshire

Still great, 17 years on This is a Kawasaki Z1A that’s been a big part of my life since 1998. I’d always wanted one from the time I went pillion on an A4 in the early ’80s wearing just jeans, trainers, a bomber jacket and no helmet – oh, the follies of youth. She’s not pristine or standard, having gained a Z1B engine and A4 carbs at some point in her life before she arrived in the UK. The rest are period mods. I wanted a bike to ride, not something that only came out on hot days and holidays. Z650 ’bars, a steering damper, modern tyres and Marzocchis help the ride. The two-four seat is off now, replaced with a PMC custom part as it was too hard for distance work. This picture was taken at the Z1A 40th anniversary bash in Germany. Jon Hunt, Dymock, Gloucestershire


Practical Sportsbikes staff members’ bikes enjoy and endure the same highs and lows as your machines


1993 Ducati 900SS Alan Seeley

1989 Honda VFR400R NC30 Austin Smith

1975 Moto Morini 3 Alan Seeley

1983 Suzuki GSX1100 Katana Jim Moore

1991 Yamaha TZR125R 4DL Jim Moore

lan Seeley 1988 Yamaha TDR250 A top-end refresh and a new shock and spannies. It’s all happening Y POOR OLD TDR250 must think that all of its 27 birthdays have come at once. If only the little stroker knew what was coming next and the real reason for the lavishing of all this care and attention – 1200 miles in six days on the Jack Lilley Two-Stroke Challenge. An afternoon attempting to weld the original exhausts was a total write-off because as soon as one pinhole was welded up another would appear, puffing like a mini Krakatoa as the heat opened it up. The solution came from JL Exhausts and a set of stainless expansion chambers and light stainless-steel cans. Jim Lomas is a name that’s long been familiar in two-stroke circles. His products look amazing and sound even better. The set I have cost £520.50 and there are other options in mild steel for the spannies and carbon and alloy cans. They were a delight to fit at the end of a top-end rebuild. I sourced everything I needed for that from Fowlers of Bristol apart from the pistons, which are Mitakas that I bought online.


New Nitron vs knackered original. No contest

JL Exhausts come to Alan and the TDR250’s rescue

More to do The other big thing I did this month was to fit a shock from Nitron, as the Yamaha Monocross original was beyond shot. Mine and the bike’s rear-ends will now be NTR R1 shock: ready for a 1200-mile trip

supported from Portsmouth to Porto by a Nitron NTR R1 shock. What a transformation. The UK firm builds these shocks to suit your weight and application, and they are an ideal road unit as there is a simple single damping adjustment and, of course, provision to set preload. They’re quality gear alright, and a retail price of £393.60 seems more than reasonable for a tailor-made unit featuring extensive use of titanium and hardanodising processes. Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s still a load more prep to do...

Thanks • Jim Lomas 00 420 383 495 041, • Nitron 01993 849449 , • Fowlers of Bristol 0117 977 0466,


Austin Smith 1997 Honda VFR750F-V New shock rejuvenates the VFR as Austin makes cheeky Cadwell appearance NTIL RECENTLY sitting on the VFR has felt like being on a Harley Low-Rider, with the front-end towering above the rear. It was all down to a tired and worn original shock absorber. Clearly, this needed sorting pretty sharpish. There are a few avenues I could’ve gone down as the original shock was in decent condition externally, but internally the oil probably turned to dishwater decades ago and the gas will be long departed. So rather than a rebuild I opted for a new shock, tailored to me, which is where Mike Capon from the Shock Factory stepped in. Before


Fitting the M Shock was a piece of cake

Spangly new shock (right) has sorted the VFR’s handling

Suspension sorted, the VFR now attacks corners with confidence


building you one of his M Shocks, Mike takes your weight and the type of riding you do into consideration. My needs were pretty simple as I don’t carry an awful lot of luggage and never take pillions. So with those facts established, Mike specified the correct spring rate and damping range. You get a print-out of the settings when you buy an M Shock, so if you ever decide to depart from them, you always have a baseline to return to. Adjustment is easy, with a single knob combining both compression and rebound

damping with 48 clicks of adjustment. Too soft or hard and you can adjust the damping as you wish. Fitting the shock required the removal of the side panels, battery and battery box. The VFR’s centre-stand proved its worth as it allowed the job to be done without needing any additional support. Once the shock mounting bolts were undone, the unit came up through the subframe easily. I did place a block of wood under the rear wheel to stop the swingarm dropping to its full extension, so when I put the new one in it was easier to line up the eyelet holes between the shock and linkage and also to stop the chain being strained. Having a spring specific to you is great and at £350 (including ‘C’ spanner for spring adjustment), it’s probably the best investment this bike will ever see. My first impression was of complete amazement – now the bike is no longer sagging on its old shock, its attitude has been restored and the stance is back to sportsbike. The new shock has the proper amount of travel and even a bounce on the back of the bike reveals smooth and compliant damping in both directions, making the new ride – with its shorter and more supple movements – a world away from the old one. The upshot of this is that it’s reignited my passion for riding the VFR. Now that the new M Shock is doing what a rear shock is meant to do I can attack


Paint job blends in nicely... if you’re riding through Sumatra

Austin gives it some welly at Cadwell (sort of)

corners with confidence, knowing I will hold an arc instead of wallowing out to the white line every time. When a shock isn’t working right, neither do the tyres. Now the Michelin Pilot Road 3s reveal themselves to be even better than I thought they were, and with just over 3000 miles done since February, they’re lasting really well. There’s 5mm of tread left and very little squaring off, so the tyres should see me well into the winter months. With everything functioning as it should, I took a ride up to the PS trackday at Cadwell Park (see page 27). Riding for pleasure isn’t something I get to do too often, so I thoroughly enjoyed the empty early morning roads that were a break from my daily commute. For once I felt like a rider rather than a robot, and could really enjoy the Honda at its best. Out on track the VFR was great, but to be honest I didn’t really push it – the thought of having to ride home sat firmly in my thoughts. Sensible maybe, but I still had a great day on my completely rejuvenated VFR.

Thanks • Shock Factory, 01858 288021 ,, • Michelin, • Classic Bike Trackdays, 08451 252646

Jim Moore 1982 Suzuki GSX1100S Katana Continental rubber gets a thorough workout ARY KINDLY, OR rather stupidly, gave me the keys to his Katana at our Cadwell trackday in July. Thanks G. He wanted my thoughts on the Continental Race Attack Comp tyres he’d recently fitted to his ‘understated’ Kat. I was only too happy to help. Big G chose the Contis – a race tyre aimed at trackday goers, yet still road legal to boot – because he’s using the GSX for sprinting this summer, as well as allowing the likes of us to spank its arse on trackdays. Grip rather than mileage was his desire.


Good choice

“My bike is no longer sagging on its old shock – its attitude has been restored”

On that basis he’s chosen well. With its EFE motor Gary’s Katana can get up a fair head of steam on a straight, so I found myself entering Cadwe quicker than anticipated. But not a problem. On a track the Race Attacks are up to temp within a lap (the road version heats up quicker and holds temperature better at more sedate speeds, so is a better option for pure road riding), and I’m able to tip the Kat into even fast turns like Coppice with a lot of confidence. The same goes for the exit. I wasn’t shy with

“They offer bags of grip and feel without the need to adjust set-up” gas and not once did the rear put up a complaint. It simply dug in and fired me and the tiger-stripe Suzuki out onto the next straight. Stability is as important as grip – if the bike’s shaking like a wet dog you can’t get on the gas. The Contis are rocksolidly stable, even at full throttle, and part lean is required on Park Straight. The Race Attack Comps come in soft or medium compound; soft front and medium rear is the favoured track Their real ace card is they offer bags of grip d feel without the need o adjust suspension et-up, unlike some other ace rubber. Gary’s so impressed with them he’d happily pay for another set for us to wear out.

Thanks ontinental Tyres



For back Issues of PS Call Colleen on 01733 468099

Got something to say? This is the place to say it and you might even win a lid. Write on... Send us your pics, and story to or by post to Practical Sportsbikes, Bauer Media, Media House, Lynch Wood, Peterborough, PE2 6EA. join us on Facebook.



Fairly epic Cadwell fail I THOUGHT I’d drop you guys a line to say what a great weekend the Practical Sportsbikes trackday at Cadwell Park was, and that anyone who hasn’t been is missing out big time. Unfortunately I could only attend on the Sunday, with a very hastily prepared Honda Bros, but sadly it stopped while in the paddock. The brilliant Griff Woolley stepped up and tried to help me get it going by rewiring the fuel pump, but it was all to no avail. Then Grumpy came over to help and commented about the grey smoke that was belching out. He opened the tank and said, “You plonker, it’s got diesel in it.” Quite rightly, he let everyone in the paddock know. So my thanks go out to everyone who took pity on me, and who still allowed me to have a great day and some track time. Mark Herbert, email Spotting diesel in a petrol engine... that’s why Grumpy’s the best in the business. Glad you still had a good time though – JM

After his mishap, Mark finally got some track time

Star Letter wins Oxford summer gloves Every month our Star Letter writer bags a superb pair of armoured, drum-died leather Oxford RP-2 race gloves worth £50

One of the best restos ever, made possible by one of the best wives ever

Project VFR fan

World’s best wife I can’t believe James Mansfield in issue 58, whose missus bought him that amazing NSR500 you had on the cover. That’s about £40,000 worth of bike – what a woman. I floated a similar idea to my wife but was met with a bit of a stony response. That said, she did say she’d buy me a set of new spark plugs for my GSX-R750 if I promised to put the shelves up in the spare room, a job I’ve been avoiding for the past seven months. Danny Sutcliffe, email

GPX750R respect I loved the article on that 1980s gem, the Kawasaki GPX750R. I was a motorcycle courier for


nearly 20 years and one of my long-term bikes was a 1988 F1 model. It did 235,000 miles on the same clutch and camchain and I only had to change the cams and followers once (£295 for parts) and adjust the alternator belt once. It was good on fuel and comfortable enough to ride for 14 hours on really long-distance jobs, and still did 150mph on a flat road even with that mileage. Oil and a filter every 7000 miles kept it healthy and an appetite for front discs was its only downside. I agreed with all the things in the article and the only reason I sold it to a friend was when the bottom hose split – and not one dealer in the country had a replacement. It withstood all that London transport could chuck at it in various ‘accidents’ and I still drool over them to this day – even though I now own a Kawasaki ZX-12R A1. Peter Killick, email

I really like what you’re planning to do with Project VFR – I have a similar bike with an RC30 front-end, CBR600FX rear-end, Öhlins shock and Akrapovic exhaust. I bought it with the work already done. It makes a great road and track bike – I’ve sent you some pictures of me at Castle Combe on it a few weeks ago (see right). I also have a full decal set for the red, white and blue colour scheme complete, except for the large main VFR750 logo on the side fairing which I used on my bike. The rest is painted so I didn’t use the decals – again, they’re free if you want them. Finally, a couple of words of advice. I spoke to the CRMC about entering my bike in their events and they wouldn’t allow it because it had six-spoke wheels (they wanted three-

Letters you guys manage to get it finished and race-ready in a matter of weeks then I will be the first to doff my cap. No pressure, lads… Trevor Wyman, email

235,000 miles, one clutch: Peter Killick’s heroic GPX750


Stroker convert

spoke) and 43mm forks (they wanted 42mm). Bear this in mind with any mods you make to your bike, because I believe the 4-Hour event at Snetterton is closely linked to CRMC superstock regs, and stipulates a 160mm max rear tyre as well. Stuart Warner, email Thanks for the heads-up Stuart. And thanks for your optimism that Project VFR will be finished in time... – JM

SPECIAL OFFER Get 12 issues of PS and an Oxford 900 Oximiser Battery charger. See page 36

I’ll hold my hands up: I used to be one of those four-stroke diehards who thought there were way too many twostrokes around. But after going to your trackday at Cadwell Park with a mate of mine – and seeing, hearing and smelling all those strokers in action – I’ve been converted. I’ve now got my eye on a little Honda NSR250R as a first resto – hopefully I’ll have it bought and ready for next summer. Great day at Cadwell by the way. I’m not sure why you call Gary Hurd ‘Grumpy’ though – I saw him smile at least twice. Barry Epp, email

1406726.8 G: GB DIN EN P T PA


Utter legends After reading about it in PS, me and my mate decided to celebrate our 40th birthdays by going to the World GP Bike Legends in Jerez in June, and I have to say, what a weekend. It was absolutely incredible seeing these legends battling it out again. Kevin Schwantz and Freddie Spencer absolutely blew us away with their level of performance – it just goes to show that even though these guys are knocking on a bit, they’ve still got the talent that got them to the top. If anyone’s thinking of going to this next year, I’d say do it. The atmosphere is brilliant and it’s worth every penny. Danny Pillinger, email



Another VFR fan... Someone else who’s had a Project VFR

Busy with the Fizzy It’s great how there’s going to be a remake of Fizzy Days (News, Issue 58). I loved that short film when it came out a few years ago. I was also pleased to hear that Helen Flanagan has signed up to be in it. Seeing as my other half reads this mag, I’ll just be restrained and say that this is an excellent piece of casting by the producers. Bravo to all concerned. Dave Morrell, email

I’m supposed to be going to a wedding on 17 October, but I’ve decided to sack it off so I can come to Snetterton to see the grand unveiling of Project VFR. I’m sure that the sight of a load of drunk people dancing to Abba is going to be nothing compared to the heroically restored Honda somehow staying on the Norfolk tarmac for four hours. Having seen the bike in the last issue I’d say that Alan and Jordan have got their work cut out (not for the first time in Alan’s case, of course), but if


World GP Bike Legends: well worth a visit


To feel at one with the road. Colin, 32, Liverpool

“ For those tight corners. Andy, 45, York

To stay focused. Tom, 42, Southampton

That’s why I ride Why ride with Bennetts? Recommended by riders

24 hour claims

Common modifications covered as standard

Motorcycle insurance specialist Bennetts Exclusives Bonuses†

For your chance to win a Suzuki GSX-R1000 and a monthly prize of £250 worth of kit*

Get a new quote at

0800 072 5945 #thatswhyiride

*Prize draw available to direct quotes only obtained before 31st October 2015. For full Terms and Conditions please visit † Full details of Bennetts Exclusives can be found when you purchase a policy, register and log in to

GSX-Rs and RGs came to Cadwell for their 30th and the PS trackday

PS Trackday



With sunshine guaranteeing warm tarmac and nearly 200 mad-for-it PS readers ready for battle, Cadwell Park was a two-day riot JIM MOORE PHOTOGRAPHY SIMON HIPPERSON, PAUL SOULBY & XTREME SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY ULY’S PS TRACKDAY was the best yet. We had Cadwell for the whole weekend, and you guys kept lapping the track and having a blast until the very end. Hundreds of you came, thrashed your bikes masterfully around the track, cheered on those riding, partied into the night and, at the end, asked when you could do it all again. We’re already working on that. We had a blast, too. Seeing the paddock buzz with excitement and conversations between strangers about resto tips, performance upgrades and on-track high jinx is what PS trackdays are all about. As ever the standard of riding was very high, and even when something went wrong it was all hands on deck to get the


Big G hands out the prizes. “XXXL okay?”

bikes and riders back out on track again. And it was a pleasure to share a beer with so many of you on Saturday night. Gary drunk enough Guinness to floor a rhino… Most impressive was how far some of you had travelled. You came from all corners of the UK: Cornwall, Wales, Scotland and even the Channel Islands. This year we went international: some even rode from Europe and flew in from New York. Over the next four pages we’ve done our best to capture some of the best bits of the weekend. You might even have made the cut. If not there’s next year, or come to Snetterton on 16-18 October for our last blast of the year. See you there. Contact: Turn over for more PS Trackday action


GSX-R750/RG500 30th It’s 30 years since Suzuki invented the modern sportsbike by giving us the first GSX-R750 and the two-stroke RG500. To celebrate this milestone in true PS style, we invited GSX-R and RG owners to Cadwell for a 30th get-together. We asked, and many of you came – a number even riding all the way from Ireland just to be part of it. We lapped the track. We felt the love. Here’s to the next three decades.

Formation mountaineering on ZXRs

John Oliver (1) eyes a move on an unsuspecting YZF

Last month’s cover bike jumps for joy

“I want that one”

“Now, where did I put those keys?” Mick Oakes’ fabulous Cobas BM mullers the Mountain

Jostling for position at the hairpin

All together now. Happy birthday to you…

A borrowed RF900 can bite back, discovers Chris Withey

The excitement was just too much for some…

Terry Kendrew gives it big lean on his 500 Saturno


Best ’70s

Best ’80s

Best ’90s

Bike of the day

Laverda Jota


Kawasaki KR-1S

Yamaha RD200

Andrew Cole “Not only is this one of the best Jotas I’ve ever seen, it was a box of bits when Andrew first got it. His mates weren’t even sure if he should build it, but we’re glad he did. A humble man with a brilliant bike.”

Steve Hill “What a brilliant bike. At first glance it looks like a tidy CB250RS, but with its XR500 motor it’s a completely different beast. And it didn’t half wheelie well over the Mountain. Looked fun.”

Douglas Beacock “Although this KR is in Japanese-market colours, it’s a UK bike underneath. Judging by the way it was eating up the track it’s got some go in it as well. It was great to see it being used hard.”

William Pickering “This bike instantly caught my eye. You don’t expect to see a mint RD on track, but William was enjoying himself all day. To top it off it was his birthday and his daughter had just given birth to his latest grandchild.”


PS Trackday

Alan practices his race face, while the others looks at the target on his back

John Embury styles it up on his Pro-Am LC

Ian Wright’s NS475 was mighty quick

“Who writes this rubbish?”


Best ’70s

Best ’80s

Best ’90s

Bike of the day

Suzuki GS1000

Kawasaki Z1000J

Honda RC45

JJ Cobas BMW

Neil Simons “Neil’s GS caused quite a stir in the paddock. It’s a proper bit of kit with its AP brakes, Racefit 4-1 and fat forks and swingarm. It was great to see it being used on a track, too, rather than just looking mint.”

Alistair McInnes “What can I say? It’s just beautiful, and in that blue Alistair’s 1000J looks fantastic. I liked the subtle mods, like the Astralite wheels and flatslide carbs with airbox. He’s put a lot of thought into the build.”

Keith Mabbot “What a stunning piece of kit. Everything about it is just right, and it was a real treat to see it ridden so hard – that’s exactly what the RC45 was built for. Great noise, too. Can’t believe I’m saying that about a Honda.”

Mick Oakes “I think this was the most unusual bike I saw all weekend. Everyone was staring at it when it turned up. Mick built it himself and he rides it hard, and I really like that. He’s been gradually developing it to get faster still.”


400s and strokers locked horns in the Pocket Rocket class

Pepsi RGV loses its fizz…

The Cadwell lap record remained intact

CB250RSs don’t do that? Right, it’s a 500

GSX-R-based XR rep caused a few double-takes

Our Alan had his own line at the hairpin…


Racing masterclass Kevin Wholey closes in on title after flawless weekend at Brands Hatch S THERE NO stopping the two-wheeled racing juggernaut that is KevinWholey? Not judging by his performance at Brands Hatch Indy in the last round of the CRMC Junior Production Cup, where he won all four races to leave JohnWarwick & Co crying onto their FZ600 handlebars. After Wholey owned the previous round in Anglesey, the pressure was on JohnWarwick to stop his nemesis disappearing off into the distance at the top of the championship standings. Sadly, a DNF in the second race and a sixth place finish in the third –


sandwiching a pair of second places – saw him lose 50 points onWholey over the weekend.“I was right on Kev’s back wheel in that second race,”Warwick told PS.“I thought I could get round him, but I lost the front end and tipped it.” It all seems a long way from the first round of the championship at Pembrey, when Wholey couldn’t get anywhere nearWarwick. “That initial round wasWholey’s first time back racing for about 15 years,” said photographer Paul Soulby, who’s been watching the riders up close all season,“but Kevin raced against James Hayden when he

was younger and won the UK Riders National Championship on a Yamaha TZ250 in 1993. He’s no mug. “One thing that’s really noticeable about him is that he’s very quick on the first lap. You’re not allowed tyre warmers in the CRMC, but he’s just so quick off the line. In the opening race at Brands, his first lap was actually his fastest. His style is very fast and smooth – he takes the same line on every lap, like John McGuinness at the Isle of Man.” Warwick agrees. “He’s one of the toughest people I’ve ridden against. It’s certainly competitive between us – there’s no give and

“Wholey is so quick off the line. In that opening race, his first lap was his fastest”


Championship position: 3rd Wins: 1 out of 16 races Points: 243


Championship position: 1st Wins: 9 out of 16 races Points: 330



Martin Ratcliffe (94) was our Man of the Meeting

take – but he’s a great rider. AtAnglesey he absolutely spanked me. I’ll keep trying my hardest but I can’t see me winning it now.” Glynn Nicholls and Derek Cripps also had impressive weekends, while four solid points finishes made Martin Ratcliffe – another rider who’s just returned to racing after a few years out – our PS Man of the Meeting.Also in decent form wasAndreas Jelden in the Senior Production Cup, where 90 points from a possible 100 put him 79 ahead of AdrianArmson with just three rounds to go. Can anyone stop him orWholey?


Andreas Jelden 302

BIKE Yamaha FJ1100

2nd Adrian Armson


Yamaha RD350LC


Ian Martin


Honda CB1100R


Ian Lucas


Suzuki GSX1100S


Gary Wheeler


Yamaha FJ1100





Kevin Wholey


Yamaha FZ600

2nd John Warwick


Yamaha FZ600



Glynn Nicholls


Yamaha FZ600

» 70/50/30 LITRE SIZES


Derek Cripps


Yamaha FZ600


Liam McCarter


Yamaha FZ600




Septemebr 5-6


October 2-4



available colour ways (in all sizes)

T30 £49.99

T50 £59.99

T70 £69.99


Championship position: 2nd Wins: 6 out of 16 races Points: 276

CRMC Racing Contact Andy Proctor (01205 870277 or for eligibility and CRMC membership (or see


Life is all about the taking part. Go get involved 21-23 AUGUST BELGIUM CLASSIC TT

James Hillier was second in last year’s Classic TT on this ZXR750

Pure road racing is an amazing spectacle, and combined with a continental road trip it’s got all the ingredients to be an unforgettable weekend. The Belgium Classic TT at Gedinne is only ¤15 for a day’s viewing or, if you fancy being the other side of the fence, ¤210 to take part. They run a new-for-2015 class for 250-400cc supersports bikes, so RGVs, FZRs and the like are eligible. Where: Gedinne, Belgium How much: ¤210 to compete, ¤15 to spectate for one day or ¤20 for three, under-16s free Contact:

Classic TT-F1 See the Island come alive to the screaming sounds of V4 twostrokes, 750 superbikes and Italian V-twins in the TT-F1 on 31 August.

22-23 AUGUST WEST WALES MOTORCYCLE SHOW The WWMC takes on a new look for 2015, but with 10 years behind it it’ll keep showcasing great two-wheeled action. Where: Ffos Las Racecourse, Trimsaran, Camarthenshire How much: tbc Contact: westwalesmotor, 01554 811092

5-6 SEPTEMBER PS PRODDIE CUP ROUND 6 Tucked away in deepest Kent, Lydden is like a mini version of the famous track it shares a county with – Brands Hatch. Spectating is excellent and access to the friendly paddock is easy. It’s the penultimate round of the series, and with the titles for both PS’s Senior and Junior Production Cups still to be decided, it’s all to play for. Where: Lydden Hill, Kent How much: £12 adult Saturday, £15 adult Sunday Contact:,


Jack and Jill were never this quick

23 AUGUST HORNSEA BIKE EVENT Hornsea in East Yorkshire will embrace all things two-wheeled on 23 August as it hosts its first ever Bike Event. All types of bikes are welcome – expect a decent smattering of PS-era machines, given that this area of the country is a hot-bed for restorers and VJMC members. As well as loads of bikes to gawp at, there’s no shortage of parking in the town. Entertainment will include live bands, a bouncy castle for kids, club stalls, and a majestic view of the North Sea. Where: Cinema Street, Hornsea, East Yorkshire How much: free to turn up Contact:

13 SEPTEMBER SHELSLEY WALSH BIKE FESTIVAL Focused around the Shelsley Hill Climb that scales 328ft in 914 metres, the Bike Fest is your chance to mingle amongst old and new machines and a have a go at competing, too. It’s £35 to take part in the action up the hill, but if you prefer a more sedate experience you can also get up close and personal to the action as a spectator. There are club stands, displays, big names, and live music as well. Where: Shelsley Walsh, Worcestershire How much: £15 adult, under-16s free, £35 Run the Hill Contact:


Kiaran Hankin on his RC30 in last year’s Classic F1 race



The Classic TT just keeps getting better and better. Now a full-on celebration of old bike ownership, racing and nostalgia, it’s a must for anyone into classic metal, from vintage to 1990s. Bruce Anstey’s win in last year’s Classic F1 race aboard a Yamaha YZR500 proved so popular that his team, Padgetts, will have a brace of V4 GP bikes on the grid this year for team-mates Anstey and Dan Kneen. Away from the racing, which is always spectacular, there’s loads to get involved in, from the Jurby Festival to closed-road parades, and a whole beautiful island to explore. We can’t wait. Where: Isle of Man How much: spectating is free. See for ferry prices Contact:,

AT A GLANCE 28-30 AUGUST ORKNEY TTT RALLY Both Orkney and Shetland have a vibrant bike scene, and many come from the mainland to take part in this annual bash on the former. Camping is on site, and there’s a free nip of whisky for early arrivals – it’s purely first come, first served, however, and there’s not an inexhaustible supply. There’s loads going on including trophies for best bikes, furthest travelled and best rat bike, plus live bands, home-cooked food, and even an on-site tattooist if you’re feeling in the mood to capture a permanent memory. Where: Sandwick Community Hall, Sanwick, Orkney How much: £20 adult Contact: 01856 841502

23 AUGUST East Anglia’s Summer Vehicle Fest Where: former RAF Coltishall, Norfolk How much: £10 adults, 11-and-unders are free Contact: 5 SEPTEMBER Bonhams Bike Auction Where: National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, Hampshire How much: £25 to enter the auction Contact: motorcycles 12 SEPTEMBER Borders Classic Show Where: Lacon Childe School, Nr Kidderminster, Shropshire How much: £4, accompanied children free Contact: 01299 270642

IT’S NOT ONE WAY...’s free both ways. Free delivery and free 365 day returns.*

WHY USE ANYONE ELSE? MCN CLOTHING AND ACCESSORY RETAILER OF THE YEAR 2013 *UK Mainland ex Scottish Highlands. See site for full terms & conditions’



Get 12 issues of PS and an Oximiser 900 battery charger The Oximiser 900 can be left permanently connected to provide long-term battery care

Heavily discharged batteries as low as 4.1v can be charged if the battery is not damaged Suitable for all 12v battery types up to 30Ah including lithium, gel, MF and conventional lead and reďŹ llable batteries

Subscribe online at great or call 01858 438884 36

LINES OPEN 8am-9.30pm (Mon-Fri), 8am-4pm (Sat) Quote ref: HBAA OVERSEAS READERS CALL +44 1858 438884



Five-stage Automatic Battery Management 1 Tests battery connection polarity 2 Analyses battery and diagnoses condition 3 Recovers heavily discharged batteries 4 Bulk-charges low batteries quickly 5 Maintains a low current if voltage drops below set limit

SUBSCRIBE TODAY “Practical Sportsbikes is the UK’s best selling new wave classic bike mag. Every issue is packed with amazing reader restorations, inspiring specials, gripping projects, buying guides, the most useful how-to tech features, plus the bikes that really matter to you. And over the next 12 months we’ll be bringing you even more. So don’t miss an issue – subscribe today.”



when you pay by Direct Debit

Or pay by credit card for £54.20 Overseas readers £72 for 12 issues



when you pay by Direct Debit

Or pay by credit card for £49.20 Overseas readers £67 for 12 issues



when you pay by Direct Debit

Or pay by credit card for £49.20

Quote ref HBAA

Terms & Conditions: Subscriptions will start with the next available issue. The minimum term is 12 issues. After your first 12 issues (1 year) your subscription will continue unless you are notified otherwise. You will not receive a renewal reminder and the Direct Debit payments will continue to be taken unless you tell us otherwise. This offer closes on 16th September 2015. This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. We reserve the right to provide an alternative gift of equal or higher value, or a 3 issue extension, if stocks are exhausted. Please allow up to 28 working days for delivery of your gift. Gifts are not available for overseas subscribers. Cost from landlines for 01 numbers per minute are (approximate) 2p to 10p. Cost from mobiles per minute (approximate) 10p to 40p. Costs vary depending on the geographical location in the UK. You may get free calls to some numbers as part of your call package – please check with your phone provider. Overseas? Phone +44 1858 438828. Calls may be monitored or recorded for training purposes.


Fast, agile and a decent armrest – you can’t knock the R1’s versatility



“The previous owner had this R1 for 17 years. I’m planning to have it much longer...” The original R1 is already a modern classic, and prices are rising. But as Dan Mawson shows, some hard graft can produce a show-quality bike for half the cost of a dealer buy BEFORE


One (sort of) careful owner: the R1 as Dan bought it









The rusting OE tank had been swapped with one from a 5JJ. Dan got both, so sold the 5JJ item to add cash to the build fund.

The filth of use was plain to see when Dan bought the bike, but at least it kept the metal good underneath.

Although trick, the magnesium Dymags didn’t fit Dan’s plan for a stock build. Their sale added handsomely to the coffers.

7 MAY 2015 – PRIME TIME Dan repaired the part-corroded original tank, then had his son Haydn apply a twopack primer before the final spray job.




slightly odd history with R1s, but for him andYamaha’s late’90s classic it’s definitely a case of third time lucky.That’s because after more than a decade, he’s finally found a keeper. “I first bought an R1 about 10 years ago,” explains Dan, a 44-year-old car dealer from the coastal town of Deal in Kent. “It was a project as it had a knackered engine. I had big plans to rebuild it, but I never did because I was immediately offered a good profit on it just as it stood – and, you know what they say, business is business. “Then about a year ago I bought a 2002 R1, the first injection model. I picked it up in my van, went straight to the MoT station where I fitted a new battery to it and got the ticket, then put it back in the van and went home. The next morning I took it for a first quick 20-minute ride and happened to go past a mate. He flagged me down, made me an offer and bought it there and then! Well, you know, wages is wages...” The third time, though, Dan found the R1 he really wanted. He’d always hankered after


From part modified, scruffy project to near finished back-to-stock resto. Only the rear disc (new, and in Dan’s stock) is not Yamaha. Dan’s not a fan of powdercoating so he prepped and sprayed the original wheels himself. It’s a closer finish to factory.

the original 1998 model in the lesser-spotted red/white colours, and a mate put him onto this one in March this year. Remarkably it was a one-owner example with just 23,000 miles, but after years of love had suffered some more recent neglect.As Dan put it, it wasn’t derelict by any means, but needed a damn good tidy up. “When I saw it, it had a lot of aftermarket stuff on it, but it was the wrong petrol tank and the bodywork was shabby. I still wanted it, though. It wasn’t until after we’d done the deal that the owner asked if I’d like all the standard parts as well – I was made up!” The aftermarket stuff was quite extensive, including magnesium Dymag wheels and lots of carbon parts, not to mention an alarm and gear indicator. It was the latter two items that would cause Dan the most anguish in the course of this resto. He put the Dymags, carbon and other bits and pieces on eBay and got some good money back, which helped finance the

ongoing restoration. Dan isn’t a first-time restorer and it’s over a decade since he completed his first, an RD400 built up from boxes of parts. Plus he’s lived for nine years now with an RD500 (actually an RZV500 Japanese model), so he understands fettling well too. Despite not really being a stickler for standard-spec restos, he still wanted the R1 to be as close to standard as possible – because in his mind, as well as ours, that’s how they look best. “The biggest issue I had was the wiring loom – it was a mess, with an alarm and an LED gear indicator both spliced into it.These were causing issues with the bike running – when you put the lights on the bike would cut out or run on three.There were Scotchblocks and all sorts to weed out. “In the past I’ve disconnected alarms like Datatools and had no problems, but this one had no name and I simply couldn’t figure it out. I tried replacing the whole wiring loom, but the two I picked up from eBay both

Reader restoration







Other than needing an external clean the motor was good. Dan treated it to new plugs, OEM filter and Yamalube oil.

Coming apart, and bereft of its wheels, Dan picked his way through bodges. Note the scuffed crank cover; evidence of a spill.

17 years of use had taken their toll on all the painted surfaces, so Dan got his son Haydn to rub the bodywork back.







Having been butchered to take an alarm and gear selector, the loom was a mess. It was one of Dan’s most difficult jobs.

Nasty ‘carbon’ cover removed, top yoke is back to how Yamaha intended. Equally foul red brake-reservoir cap replaced.

Having finished the build in a very tight time frame, Dan is now working through the bike’s set-up. It’s already near spot-on.

needed returning as they were just as useless as the original. In the end we had to repair what was in there.The wiring actually had me beat, and if it wasn’t for my mate Dave Hammond sorting it I’d still be looking at it now. Or rather I’d be having to cough up a good £200 for another one.” Lack of use had also caused the carburettors to gum up. Dan isn’t the first man in these pages to have received an under-par job on an ultrasonic clean, but he’s a pragmatic sort and so took to that age-old technique of applying a brush and petrol to finish the job. The motor itself was just fine for the most part, so it was more of a clean and service than a rebuild. A new rectifier went in, then new NGK plugs to make sure the electrics were tip-top.Yamalube oil and an OEM filter

followed (Dan wanted to do the best by his investment), as well as a new air filter and some coolant. There were a few marks on the gearbox sprocket cover and Dan refinished it using silver wheel paint, which he then flatted back with 2000-grade wet and dry before lacquering. It gave a finish very close to the original. The OE wheels were in with the standard parts given to him.They weren’t clean enough to go straight back on the bike, so Dan rubbed them down and resprayed them himself using his own compressor and spray kit (as we said, he’s in the car trade) and two-pack paint. “I’m not a fan of powdercoating,” he says. “My RDs have powdercoated frames, but I prefer to paint.” The bonus with paint, when done well, is that you’re closer to the factory finish. It’s

noticeable with his wheels that the paint allows the retention of the original roughcast finish on the spokes, whereas powdercoating can smooth it over. Onto the wheels went a new set of OEM discs, which were in Dan’s ‘stock’. Five years ago he bought up some stock from a bike shop that had gone bust; most of it he sold on, but he spotted the complete set of R1 discs (even though, as he points out, the rear disc is actually a copy) and instinctively put them aside for the day when he’d have his R1. New chain and sprockets went on too. The tyres are a near-new set of Michelin Pilot Power 3s – he bought them for £60 off a mate, then sold the Maxxis already fitted to his rear wheel for £40, which put him in the enviable position of having an up-to-theminute tyre set-up for just £20. Dan can’t disguise his wheeler-dealer satisfaction over a deal like that, and rightly so. The bodywork needed a major tidy-up and a complete respray. The tail unit had part of the alarm system drilled into it and Dan could see he wouldn’t be able to achieve a flawless repair, so the money he made from selling

“It wasn’t until after we’d done the deal that the owner asked if I’d like all the standard parts as well – I was made up”


the wrong tank (a 5JJ model, as fitted) more than paid for a replacement tail piece – again it’s that sense of checks and balances.The previous owner had replaced the tank after the original had started rusting around the base. Dan, of course, got that original tank with the spares and sorted it out, cleaning off the rust around the base and the filler cap. The underside of the tank was then treated to a coat of Smoothrite, while the topside was professionally repainted. To paint the bodywork would be the best part of a £1500 job if entrusted to any of the usual pro paint shops, but Dan wanted to go his own route on this. His son Haydn is starting out in the panel and paint business, so Dan gave him the job of preparation and

“The bodywork needed a major tidy-up and a complete respray” base coats.We’re not sure Haydn thanked him for the honour because the rubbing back was a particularly dusty and dirty affair – and time consuming.After Haydn had applied the two-pack base (primer and base), a local craftsman called Dave Dobson looked after the tricky pearlescent, plus application of the transfers and the lacquering. Getting the colours right wasn’t easy, and Dan took time to get accurate matches. He’s only slightly miffed then, after such painstaking work, to find that the colour match on the transfers – for the YZF and R1 graphics – aren’t exactly, well, exact. Namely the drop-shadows on the YZF and the ‘1’ on the R1 should be black, not the near-gun metal look on the transfers that have been applied. Typically the mismatch wasn’t Jon and owner Dan find a cruiser to match the R1


Under cover Seat pads were covered in red vinyl by Abbey Upholstering and now proudly take their place on a repainted replacement tail unit.

Reader restoration Wired right The electrics nestling under the seat in the subframe are ďŹ nally wired right after two used looms were tested and rejected.



Simon Thompson Tel: 07710 148939 Email: Website: As featured in the ďŹ rst addition of Practical Sports Bike

 High output stator kits  12 Volt conversions  )+7/%6244)'6->)45  UK made CDi units  AC regulators  HT coils “Dual Powerâ€? Stator Kits - the ultimate electronic for the Yamaha XT500 $  !   !   $   $     !#"

7%/-6;'2-/54)+7/%6244)'6->)45- 1-65

Wiring supplies for British & Japanese Cafe racers & customs

Tel: 01580 880 768 Unit 5, Russet Farm, Redlands Lane, Robertsbridge, TN32 5NG

Reader restoration New discs came from Dan’s private stock

Grey ‘1’ is a slight mismatch, but still cool

Dan brought the original shock back to factory fresh

detected until after the paintwork was complete.We could get rivet-counter anal about such a detail, but the final effect is actually rather pleasing, with the graphite complementing the carbon-weave colour on the exhaust. Exasperating maybe, but not worth losing sleep over.As it is the whole paint job stands Dan just £550.Yeah, let’s not quibble, shall we? Dan made something of a sprint finish with the restoration. Having snagged PS’s interest, he promised it would all be set for action on a Tuesday. Meeting his self-imposed deadline was a pretty close-run thing, with Dan getting the bike MoT’d just the Friday before and the final fairing panels delivered on the Saturday. Two days before we travelled down to Kent he was still trying to get the throttle cables 100 per cent correctly routed. “As of that Friday I hadn’t even put it into gear and ridden it. I did wonder if I might be pushing it too much.And the MoT was done without the fairing lowers and with the indicators cable-tied to the mirrors. But I Not a bike you’ll see stationary very often

didn’t want to miss out on this opportunity with the magazine. It was worth the stress. “I’d started the job at Easter, and I honestly wasn’t expecting to having it done by July. I thought a year, in between jobs, but I just enjoyed doing it. It was inspiring. It became a passion, so it whistled along.” All told, Dan reckons the R1 stands him £2200. It took a lot of wheeling and dealing to keep the costs down and of course that sum doesn’t account for his nearly endless hours of labour – if he could charge for it at his car workshop rate there’d be at least another £3000 to go on top of that number. That’s passion for you. “For me it’s as much of a classic as my RDs,” says Dan.“Bikes like the RD500 are a love-hate relationship; the nine years I’ve had mine have all been about when it works and when it doesn’t, but I can already see that the R1 will be different.The last chap had this bike for 17 years, and I’m planning to have it much longer than that.This is my bike now, and I’ve no interest in selling it.”


1998 Yamaha YZF-R1 ENGINE Type

liquid-cooled, 20v, dohc, inline-four Capacity 998cc Bore x stroke 74 x 58mm Compression ratio 11.8:1 Ignition CDI Carburation 4 x 40mm downdraft Mikuni CV TRANSMISSION Primary/final drive gear/chain Clutch wet, multiplate Gearbox 6-speed CHASSIS Frame Deltabox II aluminium twin spar Front suspension 41mm inverted telescopic fork, adjustable for preload, compression/rebound damping Rear suspension ‘Monocross’ monoshock adjustable for preload, compression/rebound damping Front brake 2 x 298mm discs, 4-piston Sumitomo calipers Rear brake 1 x 256mm disc, 2-piston Sumitomo caliper Wheels 3-spoke cast aluminium Front tyre 120/70 17 Rear tyre 190/50 17 DIMENSIONS Dry weight 176kg (387.2lb) Wheelbase 1395mm (54.9in) Seat height 815mm (32.1in) Fuel capacity 18 litres (3.96 gal) PERFORMANCE Top speed 169mph Claimed power 150bhp@10,000rpm Claimed torque 79.7lb.ft@8500rpm Fuel consumption 35mpg Price new £9199

Body on a budget With his son doing the prep work and a local craftsman doing the respray, Dan got the pristine bodywork sorted for the bargain price of £550


WHAT I’VE LEARNT Do your research before you buy anything. When parts are described as NOS with a 1998 model that’s not the case – you can actually buy OEM directly from Yamaha, and often at cheaper prices than you might expect.


I like to keep things local. A friend from my bike club found the R1, another local mate helped with the work, as did my son, and I used local businesses for the paint, the upholstering and other needs.


Enjoy the process. I’m proud my son helped me with the resto, and I’m grateful I had mates help find the bike and get it sorted. Working with local businesses took the stress out of the specialist work, but there’s also joy in doing so much yourself and learning as you go.


Brutal Japanese power – with a match for Italian flair


Reader restoration The ride

“It’s just impossible not to warm to the thrill of riding such a potent machine”

IF YOU’RE TIRED of R1s, you’re tired of life. It’s impossible not to love the R1, not to warm to the thrill of riding such a potent machine. There’s this sense that the R1 loves to please. The power comes right from the bottom, urgent and keen, and at all points of the tacho it’s on its toes making life so immediate, so real, so now. Let the revs rise toward the redline and it becomes even more real; the front barely touches the tarmac, the bike, all 176kg of it, dances nimbly from high point to high point.You don’t steer, you just weight the pegs and hang on. Phew. I need a break, and while resting – as the R1 itself cools, from a registered 102 degrees – I’m able to appreciate the bike’s design in a static, as against kinetic, sense. I can see why it KO’d the FireBlade – at a time when the Honda had become flabby and was living off past glories, the R1 arrived with an all-new, razor-sharp take on ultra-sports. Perhaps like no other Japanese bike before, it was a match for Italian design flair too. Okay, look past the slightly dodgy ‘YZF’ and ‘R1’ graphics for a moment and just take in the simplicity of the design and paint scheme. It borrows, I feel, from Massimo Tamburini’s Ducati 916, then adds to it.The 916 was the seductress, almost feline in its slim, waisted profile.The R1 has no feminine side.The lines are classically inspired but the execution is totally male, totalitarian, brutal. And this is a good R1. One previous owner, 23,000 guaranteed miles, and lovingly restored. I need some time to scrub in the near-new Michelins, to bed in the discs and

pads.There’s a little fluff in the low-end carburation and the clutch has that ever-soslightly-fragile feel that sports Yamahas seem to have, right from new. The gearbox, though, is slicker than any R1 ’boxes I’ve experienced (and I’ve ridden a fair few) and the handling is as crisp and balanced as I’ve ever felt. I could be a pedant and ask for a little more damping in the shock, but this restoration was only finished two days ago – the fine tuning will come. But I know one thing: I’d be rather pleased to own it. Is there much more to tell? Not really – the R1 experience has to be on everyone’s bucket list. It’s a remarkable blend of raw power with just enough control to keep it out of the hedges.There are better handling bikes, and today there are more powerful bikes too. But few, if any, can claim to have come from the very tip of that tipping point where we had so much power with only just enough control to keep it rubber-side down. That analogy of ultra-sonic flight comes to mind. It’s life on the edge, and once you’ve tasted it you can’t help but want some more, whatever the risks. Parachute? Who the hell needs parachutes?

Thanks Dave Grocock for finding the bike, Dave Hancock for fixing the wiring and fork seals, son Haydn for the prep and paintwork, Dave Dobson at ND Autos (01243 841672, for the top coat, Abbey Upholstery ( for sorting the seat pads, and East Kent Classic Club for being great mates Nailing an R1: just as thrilling today as it was in 1998


The UK’s Leading Specialist & Classic Motorcycle Dealer Established since 1988 Over 10,000 motorcycles supplied worldwide

Delivery nationwide s With our vast knowledge and worldwide contacts we are able to source any model bike you’re looking for at a very competitive price! s Finance packages are available to suit all s We will deliver your bike right to your door! Anywhere in the world! s Visit us for a test ride.

Yamaha FZR750 RR OWO1 7901 miles outstanding example of this very rare, sought after OWO1 superbike, built to compete against Honda’s RC30s, ZXR750RR and imota’s YB4, and in order for Yamaha race department. 4 stroke, transverse 4 cylinder, DOHC, 5 valves per cylinder, liquid cooled, 121 bhp, 43 telescopic preload forks, ohlins monocross preload compression and rebound damping. 100% original with no corrosion. Will come fully serviced w/ 12 months MOT, tax and warranty. £14999

Yamaha YR5 350 4182 miles Yamaha YR5 350 in gold and black colour, with matching frame and engine number, totally original condition, genuine 4182 miles from new - runs and looks superb (light pitting on R/H silencer). Was originally imported from USA with 1 owner in UK. MOT till 28/02/2015, will come fully serviced w/ 3 months warranty. £3899

Yamaha XT250 SEROW 14354 miles lovely standard example of this very popular low seat height lightweight endure, just arrived from japan not yet registered in UK. Will come fully serviced w/ 12 months mot and 3 months warranty, very rare in this kind of condition, also fitted with rear Yamaha luggage rack. £3699

BMW R1200 C James Bond 23709 miles excellent running bike, very good cond. all round incl. Very clean chrome, original spotless paintwork, v. smooth gearbox. Fitted with skyball alarm with 2 fobs and w/ installation certificate, leather panniers with keys, screen and had the rear seat conversion done by BMW (not cheap). Getting very rare and highly collectable. 1 former keeper, only done 23709 miles from new. A lot of service receipts and handbooks and 3 keys including original metal key. A great bulletproof investment - MOT till 18/5/2015. comes w/ 3 months warranty. A MUST SEE. £5499

Yamaha SR400 9860 miles. Just in from Japan. Lovely all round example of this v. popular 4 stroke, kick start single cylinder classic styled machine. 1996 model, runs and looks superb, excellent starter all set up, v. low mileage, v. rare model, will come serviced w/ 12 months mot and 3 months warranty. £3399

Honda NSR250 SP RK6 TERRA’89 9894 miles an exceptional fully functioning example of this rare sports production. Top spec comes standard magtek wheels, dry clutch, fully adjustable pre-load, damping adjustable forks and v. comfortable l/weight super sport machine. Comes fully serviced w/ 12 months mot and 3 months warranty. £4999

Yamaha TZR250 RS 7452 miles here we have probably the rarest 250 2 stroke, this one RS 92 model only 1000 made v. rare and v. collectable, fitted with blue fox racing, magic fire expansion chambers and carbon fibre silencers, fully set up by ex GP rider Kevin Mitchell, the nearest you will ever get to riding a road legal TZ GP replica in outstanding condition looks and runs great. Will come serviced with MOT and 3 months warranty. £6499

Suzuki RGV250 vj23a SP lucky strike 6248 miles v. rare and clean example of this Japanese domestic market model developed for GP racing for 1996 season.The only 2 stroke 250cc with electric start, lovely shaped exotic bike fitted with close ratio gearbox, dry clutch,weighing 134kgs,V-twin watercooled, alloy chassis, fitted with GP banana swing arm, upside down 41mm fully adjustable forks and adjustable gas preload rear shock. Runs lovely, in the best colour scheme,full SP model,the last of the 250cc 2 stroke made. Will come fully serviced w/ 12 months mot and 3 months warranty.£6999

Kawasaki ZXR400 R2 ZX400-M6 SP 9400 miles 1999 model made forJapan only v. limited numbers. Flat slide carbs, close ratio gearbox, fully adjustable pre-load and damping front and rear suspensions, 65 BHP @ 12,5000 RPM, 6 speed gearbox. 9400 miles from new, v. hard to find one in 100% all round condition. For anyone who knows the ZXR’s or 400 sports bikes would know this is probably the rarest and extremely collectable. Will come serviced w/ MOT till October 2015 and 3 months warranty. £6499

MASH Roadstar 400 brand new on road IN STOCK NOW! Retro roadster inspired by the classic British bikes of the 50s and 60s. Its retro colour schemes, flat seat and chrome chrome pea-shooter silencers make this a classic looking motorcycle. Modern, rider-friendly features include an electric starter and hydraulic disc front brake. V. easy to ride, being l/weight and with low seat height. Features include a well-proven 4 stroke engine designed by a very well known Japanese manufacturer, giving good performance and excellent fuel economy along with solid reliability. £3899

Ducati 748B 13774 miles lovely all round example of this very popular icon. Getting very collectable V-twin race replica machine. All handbooks, 2 keys, full service history, all old MOTs and service receipts, fitted with carbon fibre termignoni exhaust, tail tidy and comes with private plate “B2 UMS”. Had belts changed twice in 13774 miles. runs and looks superb. ONE FOR THE COLLECTION. Will come w/ full service mot till 14/8/2015 and 3 months warranty. £3499

Triumph BONNEVILLE T 100 (865) 786 miles a unique opportunity of owning the last of the carb T100 (865) Bonneville 2007 model, just like new all round, sold due to illness. Outstanding chrome - totally unmarked. Comes with all handbooks and history, 2 set of keys, all old MOTs. MOT till 14/7/15 and 4 months warranty. Also fitted w/ centre stand and comes with king & queen seat. bikes just like new. £5699

Honda CBR900RR FIREBLADE 33288 miles standard all round lovely machine, with full service history, all old MOTs, 2 keys, original toolkit and lots of service receipts no expense spared. Only thing not standard is the silencer but looks and sounds brilliant. Getting very collectable in this condition and also very fun to ride. Will come fully serviced w/ mot till April 2015 and 3 months warranty. £2499

Triumph SPEED TRIPLE 955I 32575 miles lovely all round example of this very popular retro styled machine, fitted with some nice extras colour coded bellypan, single seat, chrome radiator guard, clear headlamp protectors, chrome lower radiator guard, braided hoses, rear hugger, front fender extender and datatool system 3 alarm fitted with certificate. Lots of service receipts, all old MOTs, owners handbook, 2 keys and 2 fobs for datatool alarm. ready to go with tax till 28/2/15, MOT till 16/7/15 and 3 months warranty. Excellent cond. Very clean all round and runs lovely. £2799

Honda CBR400 RR NC29 20326 miles excellent standard example of this pocket rocket low seat height Babyblade in excellent all round standard condition, standard paintwork except for tinted double bubble screen and quill carbon silencer and stainless front braided hoses. LGC chassis, low centre gravity cam gear driven engine. Full service w/ 12 months MOT and 3 months warranty. Real stunner getting hard to find and collectable in this colour - last model. £2999

Visit us at: 26-36 New Hall Lane, Preston, Lancashire PR1 4DU. TEL: 01772 902600 MOB: 07896 162155

Nip and tuck racing, CBR600 style

Honda CBR600 Challenge



Challenge Keen to ensure the sales success of their new CBR600, Honda sold them cheap to dealers to enter in a at-out, fairing-bashing, single-make series that brought many new stars to the forefront


Jim Moodie joined the series in 1988 after a trying time in 1987 on a 250 Yamaha

Geoff Johnson (1) and Eric McFarlane (15) tussle for tarmac at Knockhill in 1987

All go at Donington in 1988 and pole man Brian Morrison (3) and Geoff Johnson (1) have serious competition from Gary Thrush (27) and Mike Edwards (9). Steve Hislop is number 14


ACING MIGHT improve the breed, but having bred the

blighters you need to flog them too. ‘Win on Sunday, sell on Monday’ was a popular mantra in the motorcycle trade for many years, when track success and exposure really did influence the public’s purchasing decisions. Yamaha’s Pro-Am LC series, which ran from 1981 to 1984, did a lot to shift two-strokes and established many household names, aided and abetted by television coverage on ITV’s World of Sport. It’s the 1980s series that’s best-remembered today but was far from being the only one.When Honda launched their CBR600 they saw the perfect wheeze to put the bike in front of prospective customers.The Honda CBR600 Challenge ran in 1987 and 1988, attracting anything up to 80 hopefuls to 10 UK rounds each year. Those riders would have to be whittled down in heats. Many riders who would become household names took part – Steve Hislop, Ian Simpson, Jim Moodie, John Reynolds – as well as established pros like Geoff Johnson, Brian Morrison and Eric McFarlane. Honda had already had a go at single-make racing in 1986 with the Honda V Formula 500 Cup, or VF500 Cup as everyone knew it (see sidebar).The CBR600 Challenge followed a similar template.Where Yamaha brought all the bikes to each series and keys were drawn out of a hat to ensure a level playing field, Honda did things differently. Bikes would be entered by dealers who could purchase them from Honda at or under cost for their rider, some of whom actually paid for the privilige of riding.To keep things equal, the only modifications allowed would be to fit an exhaust from series sponsor Motad, braided brake lines and a steering damper. Even the final drive sprockets had to remain untouched; no changing ratios to suit different circuits. Graham Sanderson was press and public relations officer for Honda UK at the time: “There’s no doubt Honda would have been inspired by the success of the Yamaha Pro-Am series, and having such a useful marketing tool available as a single-make championship open to them,


Hull’s Dean Ashton (5) leads Jim Moodie (40), Eric McFarlane, Ian Wilson (7), Geoff Johnson (1) and Iain Duffus (8) onto the start finish straight at Donington Park in 1988

“The Le Mans start was chaos. You’d push and be pushed; jump on the wrong bike” BRIAN MORRISON

Le Mans start at the opening round of the 1987 Honda CBR600 Challenge at Brands Hatch. The riders qualifying further down the ranks were at a serious disadvantage

why not take advantage of it? Honda’s attempts to establish a single-make series with theVF500F Cup in 1986 had done less to capture the public’s imagination than the CBR600 Challenge would. “Things were very tightly controlled. There was a scrutineer dedicated to the CBR600 Challenge and while you could change front brake lines for a race set-up and fork oil, things like final drive sprockets had to remain standard and they would be checked. Any scope for set-up tweaks was limited to the stock settings.” Another man who followed the CBR600 Challenge closely was photographer Ronnie Weir, whose wonderfully evocative shots of the series adorn these pages. “I did a motorcycle racing column for the Edinburgh Evening News and The Scotsman for many years, and the series was a great fund of stories for me because there were so many of my fellow countrymen taking part.” One of those was Eric McFarlane, series runner-up in 1987 to multiple Production TT winner (and Englishman) Geoff Johnson and title winner in 1988. “I’d tried to get on the list for Yamaha Pro-Am but didn’t get in, and was riding big production classes in the early ’80s instead,” recalls Eric, now US president of Oxford Products. “You need a lot of money to be competitive in the open classes. That was the appeal of the CBR600 Challenge – it levelled the playing field because you could do very little to the bikes so it was all down to the rider. If you ran over the rumble strip, say, and dropped a few revs, half a dozen guys would come past you.” “My bike was entered by Moto Services in Notts. Jimmy Henstock there asked me if I could beat the previous year’s VF500 Cup winner Geoff Johnson. I told him I could and he offered me the ride.Well I had a good go.You had to use road-legal tyres and as I worked as a sales rep with Pirelli distributors CPK, I was sorted for 1987.” Eric’s 1988 championship win was a close-fought thing. Now running on Avon tyres, he was one of three title contenders with fellow Scots Ian Simpson and Brian Morrison as they went into the


Eric McFarlane won the 1988 title with this bike and joined the Loctite Yamaha team for ’89

Brian Morrison on a 1987 Challenge bike

FROM ROAD TO RACE THE transition from roadspec to race ready was a fairly simple one for the bikes of the CBR600 Challenge. Anticipating the inevitable, lights were ditched and bodywork replaced with aftermarket panels. For the 1987 season, the CBR600s were painted red and for 1988 they were white, their panels adorned with the decals of the entering dealer and the title sponsors. For 1987 Bike magazine adopted that mantle, passing it to Motorcycle International for 1988. Motad supported the series and riders were allowed to ditch the air filter and mess with the jetting to get the most from the aftermarket

pipe. If you got it right you could get around 5bhp over stock, which was a claimed 82bhp but closer to 75bhp in real life. Stock brakehoses were replaced with Goodridge braided lines and the rules also allowed for the fitting of a steering damper. Standard clocks often gave way to an aftermarket tachometer from the likes of Scitsu, forcing the rider to focus on the job in hand. You could fit tyres from any manufacturer you liked to the CBR’s 17in wheels, provided the rubber was road legal. The 1987 CBR600FH and 1988 CBR600FJ were essentially the same bike.

“The CBR600 Challenge levelled the playing field. It was all down to the rider” ERIC MCFARLANE


last two rounds at Cadwell and Brands.“I hadn’t had a win all season but I had been consistent and was leading the series,” says Eric.“A win at Cadwell extended my lead.Then we went to Brands where Brian and Ian qualified ahead of me. I beat them but local specialist GaryWeston won the race. My second place gave me enough points for the title. Earlier in the season I’d broken my wrist at Carnaby and had a cast made that would still allow me to ride. I wasn’t on top form for a while but still racked up a few points. I’m glad I did, because without them I would have been pipped to the title.” Although already an experienced racer, Eric’s CBR600 Challenge rides did him no harm and he bagged a Loctite Yamaha ride for 1989. “There’s no doubt that the CBR600 Challenge gave me good exposure and the opportunity to progress with my racing,” he says. Another rider who progressed quickly was Ian Simpson, who would become a British 400 National, Supersport and Superbike champion, and TT and NW 200 winner.“The CBR Challenge turned me into a professional racer pretty much straight away. I did the series in 1987 and couldn’t believe how fast the top guys were. I finished nowhere. It

Brian Morrison (3) tails former sidecar passenger John Gainey (17) through the Knockhill chicane in 1987

was a real wake-up call; I’d only been racing in Scotland until then. My granny died and left me some money so I bought my own CBR for 1988, still only 17. It cost me £2100. It was the best investment I ever made as it let me realise my dream of becoming a pro rider. I got lots of trade support, which was okay but didn’t pay the bills.What did was the prize money on offer.You could pick up cash for fastest laps, best qualifying and my favourite, fastest rider under-23 – which I won a lot. My tyre sponsor Metzeler offered loads of bonuses and incentives. I was making more money from racing than I spent – that’s my measure of professional. “It was lucky for me that you couldn’t do much with the bikes as I had no clue about set-up back in those days. We were all on the same bikes so there was no room for excuses; you just had to get the finger out.” He got the finger out enough to finish second to Eric McFarlane in the 1988 series. Brian Morrison finished in third place that year, the championship position he’d attained the previous season. Already experienced, the CBR600 Challenge proved useful to him too.

Ian Simpson with his father Bill at Carnaby in 1988, just after winning the BBC televised round

“I’d been racing since 1981 and was pretty well established by the time Bike Studio in London entered me in the CBR600 Challenge. The racing was close and the prize money was great. The Le Mansstyle start was chaos. I remember being pushed and pushing guys out of the way; jumping on the wrong bike. It was a strange idea for a short circuit race but I suppose it all added to the spectacle.” Real racers love close racing and the Honda CBR600 Challenge had particular appeal for Morrison. “You had to get the best out of the bikes everywhere; always thinking hard about carrying corner speed and the best lines.You’d be punished for even small mistakes because the guy who’d got it right would get by. More than anything though, the series was a great laugh and they were a great bunch of guys. Lots of big names of the future were involved, like Hislop and Simpson, and they were able to learn their trade lined up against established, experienced and fast riders.” Morrison’s experience in the CBR600 Challenge didn’t do him any harm at the TT, where he took Formula 2 Class and Production Class C wins on the Honda in 1988. WSB and GP rides would follow too. Every vantage point taken. Thousands turned up to watch the CBR600 Challenge at Knockhill in 1988 and the first five places were filled by homegrown Scottish talent


Lap one at Brands and already Geoff Johnson (1) and Brian Morrison (3) are challenging for the lead. The series spawned the Seniorstock Championship which became Supersport 600

Journalist Roland Brown was working for Bike when the mag sponsored the series in 1987.“I was offered a one-off ride at the Donington round. It seemed like a good idea at the time; Bike paid the expenses and Honda supplied the CBR and mechanics. But it was an almighty cock-up. I had hoped to get some practice in and set the bike up but was thrown right in at the deep-end,” remembers Roland. To make matters worse, his CBR was blue when the rest of the field was red with a hulking huge ‘0’ on the front and the time-keepers paid no attention to him during timed practice.With 80 or so hopefuls for the main event, he had to prove his mettle in the heats.Although a target on his bold blue ‘0’-stickered bike, he had a target of his own – MCN road tester Chris Dabbs in his yellow and white leathers.

“The CBR Challenge turned me into a professional racer pretty much straight away” IAN SIMPSON

Dabbs stuck with the series for a few rounds in 1987, riding a bike from Guildford Honda Centre which he financed himself.“It was quite something to be in the same race as aTT winner like Geoff Johnson and the racing was exciting, close and, yes, scary,” says Chris. “I did a few rounds and ran mid-field before admitting to myself I wasn’t really good enough.” Ian Simpson wishes there was something like the CBR600 Challenge today.“A single-make series gives people a leg up without having to have access to an open cheque book or £70k from daddy. Everyone has the same power and so the same opportunity. It’s almost impossible to imagine the CBR600 Challenge these days. For a start everyone is contracted to someone so you couldn’t just hop on a Honda if you ride aYamaha for someone else.” As well as a crucible for new talent and helping to shift a few Hondas, the CBR600 Challenge had further-reaching ramifications. As Graham Sanderson says: “While you can’t thank the CBR600 Challenge for single-handedly establishing the supersport race classes, they certainly paved the way and showed the machines’ potential for exciting racing. Supersport was a fantastic supporting class for Superbike series and of course the capacity class’s influence continues today in Moto 2. But back then all that was in the future; no one thought of that at the time.We just wanted to sell CBR600s.” Honda certainly did that, CBR600 Challenge or not.


V4s CAME BEFORE THE CBR600 Challenge wasn’t Honda’s first foray into a single-make series in the UK. In 1986 they ran the Honda V Formula 500 Cup, for their underrated VF500F V4. The dealer-backed series helped shift more units of the middleweight struggling to step out of the shadow cast by the VF750F with its reliability issues. The VF500 Cup set the template for what would follow with the CBR600 Challenge. There were 10 rounds run alongside other British national series. The bikes were identical and the only modifications allowed were the same as the CBR600 Challenge that followed; there was plenty of

Geoff Johnson (17) is first away on the VFs at Brands

prize money to be picked up too. The first finisher under 23 got a bonus of £150 and Motad put the same amount up for the most-improved rider at each round. The generosity of the series sponsors attracted not just novices but seasoned professionals too. Julian Ryder, journalist and author of the definitive V4 tome, Honda’s V-Force, remembers eventual series winner Geoff Johnson being ribbed by commentator Fred Clarke for “stealing the kids’ pocket money”. Some notable names in the series included Keith Nicholls, Dave Leach, Ken Dobson, Phil Armes and Ian Burnett, brother of Roger.

We supply a comprehensive range of wiring products for repair, modification or complete rewire to your classic bike


Specialists in 2T Motorcycles Working With Two Stroke Engines For 25 Years Re-Bores, Crankshaft Re-Builds Cylinder Re-sleeving

Collection and delivery options available

We also stock a huge range of genuine replacement P Tuning and performance parts

CA FRE TA E LO GU E Visit our website, phone or email for a free catalogue Facebook and Twitter For discounts competitions and more!

01902 307457 PJ Motorcycle Engineers 21 Rookery Street Wednesfield Wolverhampton WV111UN


Tel: 0115 9305454  Email: Vehicle Wiring Products, 9 Buxton Court, Manners Ind.Est., Ilkeston, Derbyshire DE7 8EF



I Chain Lubes I High Temp Matt Black I High Temp Gloss Black I High Temp Satin Black I High Temp Silver I Hard Gloss Black I Chain & Engine Cleaner I Electrical Contact Cleaner I ACS Anti Corrosion Spray I RRP £7.00 paints & lubes I Cleaners £6.00 I ACS £9.99

01522 791369


Vintage Honda parts specialis since 1986 PARTS




s 1000’s of NOS parts, many rare/ obsolete s Reproduction parts for your 60’s-90’s Honda s Searches conducted if not in stock ORDER ONLINE, OR CALL:

01728 833020

Kawasaki GPZ600R Kawasaki’s little screamer ushered in a new class of supersport 600s in the mid-’80s. Reason enough to own one now? These guys think so




GPZ900R is rightly remembered as a landmark machine in the development of the true sportsbike. In 1984 the 900 was certainly impressive but in many ways, the GPZ600R – launched the following year – was even more so. There’s little doubt that the middleweight GPZ spawned a new breed of machine. It can fairly lay claim to being the first of a new breed of genuine sports 600s, a class that’s still here today – and still ultra-competitive. Honda responded with the CBR600F and Yamaha’s FZ600 threw its hat in the ring too, but the GPZ600R was there first. With a 73bhp engine, compact steel perimeter frame and all the ’80s must-have techno gimmicks like anti-dive forks and an ultra quick-turning 16in front wheel, the GPZ600R was the natural successor to bikes like the RD350LC. Its 130mph speed potential allowed it to run with 750s and its nimbler handling gave it the edge in most situations.

Kawasaki were onto a good thing and the GPZ600R sold brilliantly. But it became a victim of its own success when Honda – anxious to grab a slice of the newly-created 600 sports class – released their outstanding CBR600F for 1987. A step ahead of the GPZ, Kawasaki responded with the GPX600R – though the old GPZ model stayed in the range until 1989. Though the GPX was arguably a better all-round machine, there’s a charm and character to the proto-supersports 600 that started it all.The performance is still exhilarating, there are plenty of spares around and, aside from the 16in front wheel limiting tyre choice, the GPZ remains a genuinely practical, er, sportsbike. After years in the doldrums, GPZ600R prices are on the up too. One sold at Bonhams’ Harrogate auction in November for over £4000. No wonder more owners are being tempted to bring their GPZ600Rs back to top condition. These four know they’re on to a good thing…

The bike that kicked off the new class of sports 600s


Dominick’s love affair with the GPZ is still going strong after 30 years

1986 GPZ600R Dominick Marzigliano, Hackettstown, New Jersey, USA “BACK IN 1986, I traded in my Kawasaki KZ400 for a new Ninja 600 (GPZ600Rs were called Ninjas in America). The handling and power was a completely new experience. My friend Glenn bought a brand new Ninja too and you can imagine the fun two 18-year-olds had. I managed to keep it shiny side up and only got one ticket for ‘racing on the highway’ – I still have the ticket today. Eventually, I traded it in for the next toy, but I never forgot that bike.

“In 2013, after several years of looking, I found another Ninja 600. I’d say it was in ‘riding’ condition, but far from perfect. I paid $1000 for it and bought another bike in the same colour as a parts donor. “Mechanically, the first bike wasn’t bad, though the carbs leaked. I sent them off to Rick West of in South Carolina. He stripped, ultrasonically cleaned and re-assembled all four carbs to better-than-new condition, replacing all of the Phillips head screws with stainless steel Allen head socket screws. Other than that, all the engine needed was the valve clearances adjusting and fresh oil and filters.

Restoration revealed Tim and the Kwak he’s owned since 1987

“GPZ600Rs haven’t attracted the following they deserve. They’re robust and reliable” 1985 GPZ600R Tim Hazell, Newbridge, Gwent, Wales

“A lot of OEM parts are still available from Kawasaki” “A lot of OEM replacement parts are still available from Kawasaki. I used and to source original parts. I replaced the fuel cap assembly, since the original was leaking gas through the keyhole – though I’ve re-used the original lock so the ignition key still fits. The rear inner fender on my bike was also cracked where the indicators attach, but the one from my parts bike was good. It’s been a good source of miscellaneous ‘whatevers’. “A guy called Gary Dietlmeier handled the repairs and

bodywork. He’s matched the original pearl white and metallic blue colours perfectly and has duplicated the original decals. I found NOS mirrors and a tinted Zero Gravity windshield on eBay and repainted the black inner fairing panels and indicator stems in satin black. “The hardest parts to find are good exhausts – mine are a combination of the best bits from the two bikes. I’ll have a go at making them look better over the winter but until then, I’ll ride it and trigger those memories from 29 years ago.”

“I’VE OWNED this bike since 1987 and it’s almost become one of the family. I’d had bikes since school and rode Motocross for a while, but I spotted this in the window of South Wales Superbikes when I was looking to trade in my Suzuki GSX250 for a 600. It just blew me away. I think it’s the first modern sportsbike and every year when I take the covers off it in Spring I think, ‘Wow!’ I stopped using it for a while when I had kids but when I got time to think about getting back on it, it was ready for a cosmetic restoration. “Amazingly, the engine was fine – despite not having been started for six years at one stage. I did drop oil down the bores when it was parked up, though. I dropped the engine out of the frame, stripped the carbs and got them ultrasonically cleaned at an aerospace engineering firm where I used to work. “I’ve tried to keep restoration costs down, so I rubbed the frame down by hand and painted it myself rather than

getting it powdercoated. I used Holts aerosols and just picked out a silver colour that was a good match to the original, and then clear-lacquered over the top. I did get the radiator grille blasted before painting it though – it would be just about impossible to rub that down by hand. The screen had got scratched and dull over the years, so I rubbed that down with 1500-grade wet and dry and polished it with a buffing wheel. You have to be careful not to build up too much heat if you’re doing this. “Parts are fairly easy to find, though some pattern parts aren’t great quality. I rebuilt my leaking fuel tap using pattern O-rings and it kept leaking. Use genuine Kawasaki parts if you can. Everything else I needed – apart from new Uni-Trak rear suspension linkage bearings – was bought used on eBay. There is some junk on there, but there are good deals too. I bought a good rear shock for £40, including postage. “I don’t think GPZ600Rs have attracted the following they deserve. They’ll never be worth a fortune, so don’t spend one on a restoration. But they’re robust, simple to work on and pretty reliable.”


You need patience, but the GPZ600R is prime for a resto

Restoration revealed 1986 GPZ600R Glenn Roggenkamp New Jersey, USA “THE KAWASAKI GPZ600R might not hold much historical significance, but sentimentally it means a lot to me. It was my first real street bike and I had to sell it way too soon, but I’ve always looked out for another the same year and model. Eventually, this one turned up. It was in bad shape, but a good resto candidate. “The first thing you need if you’re restoring a 600 Ninja is patience – the parts are out there, but you never find them as quickly as you want. Also, word of mouth is the best recommendation. I used the same painter as my pal Dom, although I did the outer engine covers myself.

“Luckily the engine ran pretty well, but if you’re not able to undertake major engine work yourself it can be difficult to find people to do it for you. One of the things to watch on these bikes is valve clearances closing up. If the bike is difficult to start, that’s the most likely cause. Set the valve clearances while you have the bike stripped – it’s easier. Once the bike is completed, you have to remove the tank, top coolant tube, ignition coils and pollution recycle tube to take off the cambox cover to adjust the clearances. “Lastly, don’t listen to people who say the GPZ isn’t worth the effort. I’ve taken the bike to lots of shows where people come up and say, ‘Great bike’ or ‘I remember these things, they were awesome.’ That’s a really great feeling.”

“Don’t listen to people who say the GPZ600R isn’t worth the effort of restoring”

“I didn’t need to touch the engine apart from giving it a service”

David shows what 10 months of fettling can do

1986 GPZ600R David Bant, Bathhurst, New South Wales, Australia “I’VE OWNED this bike for around 23 years and it was in good condition when I got it. I wasn’t particularly looking for a GPZ600R back then, but it’s grown on me. I also think it’s a special bike as it was the first of the genuine sports 600s. It looks good for a 30-year-old bike and it goes pretty well too. It had started to look a little tired, so I decided to restore it. It took about 10 months and I’m happy with the result. “The big issue with restoring one of these in Australia is finding the parts. I’m not sure a lot were sold over here, so I had to source most parts from the UK. I used eBay for most things and discovered that everything I wanted was available in the UK – at a price. You need to get hold of a genuine workshop manual and parts book too.


With the exchange rates, it did work out expensive. I think I spent around $3000 AUD (about £1400) on it in total. “Luckily, I didn’t need to touch the engine apart from giving it a good service. It’s things like the brake calipers, forks and all the bearings that need attention. I stripped and cleaned the calipers and replaced the seals. And I replaced the discs, head races

and fork seals. If you’re in doubt about anything, replace it. “Getting the cosmetics back up to scratch was my main challenge. If you want the bike to look special, you have to get the bodywork, frame, swingarm, forks, wheels and outer engine cases professionally painted. I sourced genuine decals, and the silver part of the paintwork is paint, not a sticker. I also had the seat refurbished.

“The fuel tank had rusted internally – a common problem with older bikes. To get the worst of it off, I filled the tank with a mixture of three parts white vinegar to one part of water and added two heaped tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda, before leaving it for 14 days. After that, I sealed it using POR-15. Take your time and follow the instructions to the letter – it’s good stuff.”




D U C AT I M900 MONSTER Damn-near perfect straight out of the box, the Monster saved Ducati’s financial bacon and became their best-selling bike ever

EW MACHINES changed motorcycling as much as the M900 – or ‘Monster’ as it became known. The bike not only saved Ducati from collapse before going on to rejuvenate the Italian firm, its success catalysed a whole new motorcycling category – performance roadsters.Without the Monster it’s possible that the ‘super naked’, as we know and love them today, wouldn’t even exist. Yet while it’s fair to say that the Monster effectively made Ducati what it is now, it very nearly didn’t make it into existence at all. In fact, production was actually postponed at one point as cash-strapped Ducati, assuming that they’d sell fewer new roadsters than 900SSs, prioritised payment for supersport components at the expense of Monster tanks and brake calipers. How wrong they were. Today, not only is the Monster the best-selling Ducati of all time, with over 275,000 sold of all types, it’s also the best selling Italian bike ever. Overall it’s impossible to overstate how important the Monster was to Ducati in the early 1990s. The 916 may have grabbed the headlines, but it was the Monster that rang the cash tills. Over 50 per cent of the company’s sales in the ’90s were Monsters, helping Ducati grow



from 10,000 machines a year in the early ’90s to 25,000 in 1995 and over 40,000 by 2001. Why was it such a hit? Three reasons. First, it was an ‘accessible’ Ducati.The simple, easily-manageable roadster style may have been quite unlike anything produced in Bologna before but it was still unquestionably a Ducati. The trellis frame, big V-twin and performance cycle parts such as USD forks and Brembo brakes couldn’t have been from any other manufacturer. Second, it was affordable. Before the Monster, Ducatis like the 888 were considered exotic, fickle, and above all, expensive.The M900, while not exactly cheap at £7500, was more affordable to a wider variety of riders. And third, it was a blast to ride. As a V-twin roadster it was at home around town, but with a Ducati performance edge it was also able to satisfy sport riders on the open road. All of that’s just as true today, which is why the now-third generation, liquid-cooled Monster lives on as a cornerstone of Ducati’s range. But it’s the 900 original that’s the daddy. Find a good one and you’ve a classic that’s exotic yet versatile enough to use every day. Better still, they’re not yet that expensive and almost certain to appreciate.

Ducati Monster The best-selling Italian bike ever made. Fact


Spurred by the growing popularity of ‘streetfighters’ (typically crash-damaged sportsbikes which owners machine that displayed strong turned into unfaired, Ducati heritage but was easy flat-’barred roadsters), to ride... and not a Galluzzi pressed on. sportsbike. “I was talking to “What does a motorcyclist Miguel and asked him to need to have fun?” Galluzzi design something like the bike asked later. “All a bike needs is a in the famous picture of Marlon Monster designer Miguel Galluzzi saddle, engine, two wheels, Brando in The Wild One,” Bordi handlebars and a tank to fill with fuel. The revealed later. “It was an iconic image of a road does the rest. That was the philosophy bike, with a large single headlight, and I behind the Ducati Monster.” asked Galluzzi to make a bike in this style Galluzzi’s first decision was to use the 888 – aggressive and sporty, but also naked. That’s superbike chassis as the base for the Monster. where the Monster came from.” Its rising-rate rear suspension (the alternative Bordi’s intent was two-fold. First, he was the SS family’s more rudimentary, wanted Ducati to enter the ‘cruiser’ or cantilever suspension frame) ensured the streetbike market with a machine that, while new bike would have the proper sports unmistakably produced by Ducati, was also credentials required, albeit calmed slightly ripe for modification in the same way Harleywith slower steering geometry. Davidson buyers festooned their bikes with Engine choice was less clear. Galluzzi a seemingly endless array of accessories. favoured the liquid-cooled, four-valve 851 Second, there was a plan to ‘recycle’ existing engine, but he was finally persuaded to use Ducati components to keep development the 904cc, air-cooled 900SS motor instead. costs to a minimum.

Mission accomplished FOR A machine that went on to become so significant for Ducati, the Monster had fairly humble and barren beginnings. The key player was Argentine designer Miguel Galluzzi who, after training in California and working for both Opel and then Honda’s car division, joined Ducati owners Cagiva in 1989. Back then, Ducati was very different. Although buoyed by the track success of technical director Massimo Bordi’s sophisticated, liquid-cooled, four-valve 851 superbike, its road bike range was small, focused on the unexciting, air-cooled SS sports series, with sales of under 10,000 machines a year. A new, cheap-to-produce, market-widening product was needed – fast. Galluzzi’s ride-to-work bike was an 888 he’d stripped and streetfightered and he’d been pestering Bordi with his ideas for a naked bike – ideas which Bordi duly honed into a concept. Bordi then came up with another challenge for Galluzzi: design a



‘Muscular’ tank designed by Galluzzi joined the minimalist side panels and seat cowl. Although a prototype was shown with extensive use of carbonfibre, on the production version only the side panels and exhaust heat shield survived, although still one of the first production bikes to feature it.

Although the handlebar switchgear was also identical to that of Ducati’s Supersport models, the Monster’s instrument binnacle was new and, again in keeping with the whole project’s minimalist philosophy, was fairly basic. It simply featured a classic, white-faced, analogue speedo, an assortment of warning lights and no tachometer at all.

Suspension Front forks were the same as Ducati’s 750 Supersport: non-adjustable, 41mm inverted Showa GD041 forks with 120mm of travel. However, to improve their action the oil quantity was increased by 30cc. At the rear was a German Boge shock offering 110mm of travel.

Cagiva or Ducati? During development, Massimo Bordi reportedly argued for the new bike to be a Ducati while Claudio Castiglioni, boss of Ducati’s parent company Cagiva, wanted it branded a Cagiva. Bordi won, but not before many of the components on early Monsters, like the fuel cap, were stamped with Cagiva logos…

Variations The Monster’s immediate popularity inspired a continuous flow of variants, including a M600 Monster in 1994 (along with Japan-only M400), a 750 (in 1996), lower spec Dark (1997) and higher spec S the following year. Ducati would ultimately offer as many as nine different Monster variations in any one year.


The Monster’s remit was to be sporty, aggressive and naked

The air-cooled unit had two advantages: first, it would satisfy the all-important need to keep any potential R&D costs down while second, without any ugly water-cooling pipes or bulky radiators, it also looked better in a ‘naked’ bike. The ‘parts-bin’ approach meant the new bike’s cycle parts were gleaned from other machines in Ducati’s range, too. So the Showa forks and Boge rear shock were from the 750SS while the three-spoke alloy wheels

Ducati Monster

and twin four-pot brakes (both by Brembo, incidentally) came from its bigger brother. Unique items were restricted to the bodywork, comprising an aggressively muscular hinged tank penned by Galluzzi himself, plus minimalist side panels, mudguard, tail piece and clocks.The latter were so minimalist that they actually did away with a tacho altogether. Instead, perhaps the biggest surprise is the bike’s name. ‘Ducati Monster’ may be one of

the most recognised names in motorcycling today, but just before its unveiling at the Cologne Show in October 1992 it looked set to be something entirely different. The name came, according to Galluzzi himself, when Bordi asked him for suggestions and he replied, in Italian, with ‘Monster’ – ‘Il Mostro’ – after the thenfashion for big kids’ toys. More surprising is that, late into the project, it was destined to be a Cagiva – only a lastminute swap before its unveiling saw it carry the Ducati badge. Until that point, cautious of the new bike’s sales prospects, Ducati had only planned to build 1000 examples; the phenomenal press and public reaction raised that order to 5000. Once the name had been Anglicised to ‘Monster’, Ducati’s fortunes had been well and truly sorted for the rest of the decade – backed up by some astonishing numbers. In 1992, Ducati made just 12,049 bikes; within three years that number had grown to 20,989, and half of those were Monsters. Ducati’s aim of building a bike to broaden their range without incurring huge costs had been well and truly achieved.

Frame Commonly thought to be that of the 888/851, complete with rising rate rear suspension (in place of the 900SS’s cantilever). In truth, although the lay-out was similar, the Monster’s was all-new. It shared the 888/851’s layout and 25mm chrome-moly frame tubes, but had different steering geometry.

Engine Ducati’s well-developed, air-cooled, belt-drive Desmodromic, two-valve, L-twin as lifted directly from the 900SS (early version above). There were a few changes: the Monster had different Mikuni BDST carbs with leaner jetting, the similar two-into-two exhaust was lower with reduced ground clearance, and it also had a lower final drive ratio.

Wheels/tyres/brakes Adhering to the ‘sporting’ approach, these were lifted from Ducati’s Supersports. Wheels were black-painted, three-spoke Brembo alloys (in 3.50 x 17in and 5.50 x 17in sizes), tyres were Michelin A/M89X while the brakes were 900 Supersportspec, twin Brembo 320mm discs (with a 245mm item at the rear), with four-piston calipers.


What to look out for Finish Crucial for two reasons – first, it’s an aspirational, exotic bike, so condition is even more important than usual, and second, it’s one of the Monster’s few weak spots.The finish on the engine in particular is pretty poor, with paint flaking off the cases being a common complaint. But there are also plenty of reports of it also coming off the fuel tank and footrest hangers. Originality Few early Monster 900s will be in the original factory spec for two reasons: first, the bike is now 20 years old and likely to have passed through more than a few owners’ hands, each liable to have ‘personalised’ the bike, and second, the naked Monster is the most ripe of all Ducatis for accessorising, with an ever-expanding range of factory and aftermarket parts to tempt owners. Some, particularly official Ducati accessories, are good – like flyscreens. Others, particularly if the original part is absent, are less so... Engine The air-cooled engine is solid if looked after, so a high-mileage bike with a good service history to prove that the oil and belts have been done regularly is a far safer bet than a low mileage machine with little or no history. Bikes that have been run through winter can suffer from rusty engine nuts and bolts due to the exposed nature of the motor, something that makes maintenance tricky – unseizing them can be hard work.

Spares prices Oil filter (HiFlo) £6 Air filter (pattern) £12 Spark plugs (per set) £5.96 Top end gasket (set) £69.20 Front disc (EBC) £149.94 Front brake lever (pattern) £7.10 Shock absorber (Hagon) £299.50 Steering head bearing set £44.84 (pattern) LH rear indicator unit (pattern) £9.95* LH mirror (pattern) £26.87* Regulator/rectifier (pattern) £90 Full service kit including belts, £129.94** plugs, filters, etc (genuine) Fuel tank (genuine, NOS) £895*** Pillion seat cover (genuine, NOS) £135*** All from wemoto except: * from ** from *** from Carrera Leathers, 07885 465599

Service history The Monster needs new cam belts every two years and valve clearances checked every 6000 miles. A minor (yearly) service will come to around £200 with a belt swap (every two years) – although it will cost you double that at a main dealer. Many Monster owners often do stuff such as oil and filters themselves, an easy job thanks to the air-cooled motor’s accessibility, but leave belt swaps to professionals.

Clutch The original Monster’s clutch is quite heavy, while the power delivery is rather abrupt. Many owners often upgrade their bike with an aftermarket slave cylinder, particularly if they do a fair bit of town riding that requires constant use of the clutch. This modification, using either Oberon or MPL cylinders, costs around £100. Sprag clutch Listen out for a slight screeching sound or slip when the starter is pushed that may indicate the sprag clutch is damaged. It’s an expensive fix so if in doubt, walk away. Headraces/fork seals Few bikes get wheelied as much as a Monster – it’s one of the things it was invented for, after all. But if it has spent a lot of its life with the front wheel in the air, it’s likely the headraces will have had a hard life. Check for slop and notchiness in the steering and, if so, budget for replacements. Sidestand cut-out On the whole, significant faults are pretty few and far between on the 900 Monster (if not the whole family), but the sidestand cut-out switch is a weak spot and often causes the bike not to start. Exhaust Again, with a Monster perhaps more so than most Ducatis, aftermarket cans are fairly commonplace. Some are good (like the Termignoni, particularly if the standard ones have been kept by the owner), but you might want to be a bit wary of others...

TIMELINE M900 Chromo




M900 Monster

Monster M900S/Cromo

M900ie Monster

Colours: 1993: red only (with black wheels, yellow suspension arm, black cam belt covers) 1994: red or black (with black wheels, bronze suspension arm) 1995: red, black or yellow (with gold wheels and frame) 1996: red, black or yellow 1997: red, black or yellow 1998: red, black or yellow (with new Ducati logo) O 1995 version received chamfered silencers, grey cam belt covers (from black) and silver clutch cover (from black). 1996 saw new crankcases (without kickstart boss), revised frame and adjustable Marzocchi forks. 1997 got handlebar fairing and detuned, smaller valve engine, while ’98 had adjustable Showa forks.

Colours: black (M900S), chrome (Cromo) O Launched in November 1997 as a ‘hotted up’ M900, with a more powerful engine (with the original larger valves), small fairing, carbonfibre mudguard and fully-floating Brembo discs. In December 1999 it received a gun-metal grey frame and wheels. Another variation that year was the Cromo, a standard M900 with chrome-plated tank, black frame and wheels, and carbon fibre mudguard, side panels and seat cover.

Colours: yellow, red or black O First major updates as the Monster became the M900ie with fuel injection, new swingarm, uprated suspension, small fairing, an aluminium clutch housing and new clocks. Following the success of the M600 Dark in 1998, the M900 Monster Dark – a version of the new fuel-injected 900 – was also released in 2002. It has no seat cover and cheaper matt black paint.


Ducati Monster The competition

Trellis frame: thing of beauty

Triumph Speed Triple 900 1994-’96

Boge rear shock came from the 750SS

885cc, 12v, dohc, inline-four Original Speedie was to be almost as pivotal for revived Triumph as the Monster was for Ducati, and set the British marque on the road to characterful triples. The Triple had style, durability and superb build quality, and is increasingly the most collectable early Hinckley machine. Value now: £2500-£4500 End cans still sounds the business

Honda CB1000 ‘Big One’ 1993-’96

Tyres A very popular choice among Monster owners these days is the Pirelli Diablo, a versatile tyre that offers good all-round grip and better-than-average durability. The Michelin Pilot Power 3 also tends to be very popular, with good grip – especially in the wet. If you’re looking for more extreme sports use, many Monster owners tend to go for the Pirelli Diablo Corsa.

998cc, 16v, dohc, inlinefour Oddball ‘superroadster’ developed with HRC-style fastidiousness from CBR1000F running gear, resulting in a classy 100bhp beast that was fun but pricey, and arguably before its time. Rare today and temptingly cheap too. Value now: £1750-£3500

Useful contacts • • •

BMW R1100R 1994-’99

Values Mint: £2600-£3250 Clean: £1900-£2500 Tatty: £1400-£1850 Hound: £1200-£1400

1085cc, 4v, highcam, boxer twin Roadster version of BMW’s all-new air/ oil-cooled boxer was far more lively, entertaining and versatile than its slightly drab, oddball looks suggest. Undervalued in the UK as a used buy, it’s a bulletproof snip compared to the more glamourous GS and RT variants. Value now: £1500-£3000

“The Monster is upright, natural and comfortable, with a slight flavour of sporting aggression”


Ducati Monster The Monster comes into its own on open roads

Right first time IT’S BEEN SAID before but a sure sign of a

Lack of bells and whistles mean the Monster is all about pure fun

classic is when it still seems fresh, modern and pure many, many years after its launch. The Monster 900 in front of me is 22 years old, but ‘old school’ Ducati logo aside (which I must admit I’ve always preferred) it could easily be less than a quarter of that. We’re spoilt, admittedly. Not only is this a very early, first-year example of Ducati’s game-changer (the giveaways being the yellow suspension strut, non-chamfered exhaust cans – the one on the right here is from a later model – and choke knob mounted between the frame tubes on the left-hand side), it’s also original – right down to the handlebar grips. Despite 17,000-odd miles, it’s near-as-dammit immaculate. It’s enough to evoke rich memories of my inaugural ride aboard the first Monster into the UK in 1993. Back then Ducati was a very different concern. The Monster wasn’t launched, as it would be today, in a blaze of fancy press junkets and glossy media campaigns. Instead, my example was borrowed from then-British importer Moto Cinelli and their quaint premises on a backstreet in Northampton, and taken to nearby Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome so I could do some wheelie pictures.We even borrowed a matching red jacket from Cinelli’s Malcolm Wheeler. How times have changed. The bike, however, hasn’t changed one bit. The Monster is a classic lesson is minimalism. Adhering to designer Miguel Galluzzi’s thesis of having a ‘saddle, engine, two wheels’ and not a lot else, the Monster has what it needs – and nothing more.The air-cooled V-twin is about as simple as it gets, while Ducati’s signature trellis frame is all on show. Even the clocks – just a speedo and a grid of idiots – are the bare minimum.There’s no excess.

But if all that sounds extreme, the ride is far less than you might expect. On board it’s upright, natural and comfortable, with a slight flavour of sporting aggression. The view forward to those minimal instruments and over that single headlamp, while grasping those simple tubular ’bars with the barest smattering of switchgear on either side, is as pure as can be. Despite the Monster name, the red Ducati is effortlessly light and slim (although the bulbous tank disguises it somewhat) and, yes, the 888-derived chassis means it’s stubby and short, too. But my ageing, oversize 6ft 3in bulk was comfy enough, even though I probably looked like a gorilla on a BMX. Nor are the Monster’s manners as crude and uncompromising as legend (or that name) suggests. The clutch is lighter and the throttle crisper than I remember, gears snicking home neatly. Sure, low down (and I’m not quite sure exactly how low down – there’s no tacho, remember?), the Bologna V-twin is as rough and clattery as a box of spanners. It’s a crescendo heightened by the chiming of the dry clutch, and out of the car park the drivetrain lurches and graunches as if straining at the leash. But they all do that. Once you’re out onto the open road, winding the wires of the twin Mikunis, sped up with a dab of clutch and fed gears as quickly as you like, you’re rewarded with a rhum-baaaaa that only a Ducati can deliver, and the Monster’s irresistible zest for fun and thrills. That’s when you remember why the Monster’s just so damn good. It doesn’t matter whether you’re squirting through the gridlock, blasting out of town, or tucking down and gearing up to thrash through the countryside, the Monster revels in it all.The sharp steering is light, bordering


Still a great ride after 22 years

on frisky, but that serves to make it more engaging.The ride, through the sports Showa forks and Boge rising rate rear, is smooth and firm without being harsh. The sports parentage definitely shines through. But it’s also comfortable, upright and nimble, with the power delivery flexible, fun and enough without being at all overpowering or imposing. Rarely has something so ‘right’ come from such a varied recipe. The Monster diced through city traffic, cruised comfortably around ring roads and

“The original Monster is one of those rare, rightfirst-time bikes” was a sharp, entertaining hoot down the twisties. It looked good, sounded great and wanted for nothing. Every time I stopped and soaked it up one more time I spotted extra delightful details (those innovative-at-thetime carbon side panels are gorgeous, as is the seat cover). It’s easy to fall in lust with the original Monster. And yet while the Italian firm may have got so much right with its new roadster, the Monster still has its fair share of old school Ducati foibles. The sidestand, for instance, although not the dreaded ‘springy’ type

typical of Ducatis of this era, is more than a little awkward to dig out from under the footpeg.The amount of steering lock available is so restricted it can make town centre manoeuvring or parking spacewiggling a heart-in-mouth affair. Elsewhere, those big Brembos up front (ours also benefitted from some HEL braided lines) were as dull to the lever as I recalled, despite their power.And though the minimalism appeals and the Monster genuinely wants for little (its suspension, brakes and so on are all classy), it’s also just a little bit basic.The forks are non-adjustable, the clocks are a bit sparse – but now I’m stretching it.The Monster isn’t that basic,

really. That comment was best reserved for the Dark versions that were to come out later. Instead, the original Monster is pretty much one of those rare, right-first-time machines – and that’s what impressed me most. It gels together brilliantly, is handsome and classy, impressively accessible and versatile and, more than anything else, just damn good fun.And all that with a Ducati badge, a tempting price tag and Italian exotica appeal? No wonder it was a huge hit and survived so long. I’m still tempted myself. Find a good one before prices climb too high (as they surely will) and you’ll have all that and an appreciating classic, too. Thanks to Paul Lang from Swindon

D I M E N S I O N S & S P E C I F I C AT I O N S Overall height 1170mm (46.1in) Fuel capacity 16.5litres (4.4gal)

Seat height 770mm (30.3in)

Rake angle 23°

Ground clearance 150mm (5.9in)

Wheelbase 1430mm (56.3in)

Dry weight 184kg (405lbs)

Overal width 750mm (29.5in)

Overall length 2030mm (79.9in)

Specification | 1993 Ducati M900 Monster ENGINE Type air-cooled, Desmodromic, 12v, 90° V-twin Capacity 904cc Bore x stroke 92 x 68mm Compression ratio 9.2:1 Ignition CDI Carburation 2 x 38mm Mikuni CV TRANSMISSION Primary/final drive gear/chain Clutch wet, multiplate Gearbox 6-speed CHASSIS Frame tubular steel trellis Front suspension 41mm inverted telescopic forks, non-adjustable Rear suspension rising rate monoshock, preload adjustable Front brake 2 x 320mm discs, 4-piston calipers Rear brake 1 x 220mm disc, twin-piston caliper Wheels 3-spoke cast aluminium Front tyre 120/70 ZR17 Rear tyre 170/60 ZR17 PERFORMANCE Top speed 125mph Power 73bhp@7000rpm Torque 59lb.ft@6000rpm Fuel consumption 39mpg Price new £7500


DIGITAL EDITIONS NOW AVAILABLE Available now for £3.99 an issue or subscribe for £2.75* an issue for 12 issues (£32.99 yea NOW AVAILABLE ON ANY ANDROID PHONE OR TABLET

Digita *£2.75 an issue on a 12 issue subscription

ilable to download now 69



ZEPHYR The Zephyr was more than just a retro bike – it packed a modded Z650 engine. That elevates it from pastiche to proper

The Zephyr: a ’90s bike with a ’70s heart



P&P Motorcy cles, Chichester 01243 574348


’M FEELING it. I’ll admit I’ve

been as ambivalent as the next cynic regarding the Zephyr but swinging through these Hampshire bends, the DNA of the Z is making itself felt. Ben Inamura, the man commonly linked to the design of the seminal Z1 and the Z650, is not understood to have had any input into this model. But seeing as Kawasaki took his 650 motor and in something of a cloning-comestem-cell-transplant-come-Frankenstein’smonster of an experiment, grew this new age (in 1991) traditional machine, the link is there – and you can feel it. By our unkindest of measures it’s been looked upon as the


motorcycle equivalent of Dolly the sheep, but actually it’s much better than that. And I can say that because the heart of the Zephyr is, in essence, the Z650 engine. It is the 1976 unit given just the barest of upgrades (the unit also having been adapted for Z750/GPz750 and GT750 duties) to become a legitimate 1990s power plant. We shouldn’t forget the Z650 had been a revelation in its day, being damn near as fast as the Z1 – it was lightning fast over the standing-quarter – while handling much better. The Zephyr upgrade takes that 64hp legend and by way of a bigger bore (+4mm) lifts the power from 64hp to 72hp (and 76hp in later examples). And with those CV


“The Z650 engine was adapted to become a genuine ’90s power plant”

Twin-cradle steel frame means decent handling


CV carbs help tame the engine

Calipers are ugly, but they work okay

carburettors and modern CDI ignition it kind of house-trains it, too.Again, it’s a tip of our hat to Inamura-san that with the barest of updates, his 1970s power plant felt so modern in 1991 –and it still does today. This is one smooth, silky performer. As with almost any motorcycle it is the motor that is the beating heart, and that which determines the character of the machine. And so the Zephyr – like this one from P&P Motorcycles in Chichester that’s up for £1995 – is so damn likeable because of its engine. The motor is a gem, pulling flawlessly, willingly – if not exactly powerfully – from bottom, through mid, to howling top-end, or at least it would howl given a suitable pipe. By appearances the carbs on this example have had a thorough ultrasonic clean and set-up, and this is helping the motor perform almost as new. There’s a fine mist of oil coming from the head gasket, which is an authentic 1970s trait, but otherwise this motor is suggesting at 27,000 miles that it’s only just run-in. It’s crisp. The handling very nearly matches up. The forks are 41mm units and while a touch soft, they have a sense of integrity. The original piggyback-style shocks have gone, replaced by a pair of anonymous aftermarket units which are contrastingly providing an


You can question the styling, but not the power plant

Desire Same colours as the Z1, but bulkier lines


1995 Kawasaki Zephyr 750 ENGINE Type

Engine architecture shows its roots

air-cooled, dohc, 8-valve, inline-four, Capacity 738cc Bore x stroke 66 x 54mm Compression ratio 9.5:1 Carburation 4 x Keihin CVK32 TRANSMISSION Primary/final drive gear/chain Clutch wet, multiplate Gearbox 5-speed CHASSIS Frame steel, twin-loop cradle Front suspension 40mm telescopic forks, 140mm travel Rear suspension twin shock, adjustable for preload, 115mm travel Front brake 2 x 300mm discs, 2-piston sliding calipers Rear brake 1 x 245mm disc, 1-piston sliding caliper Wheels 3-spoke cast aluminium Front tyre 120/70-17 Rear tyre 150/70-17 DIMENSIONS Dry weight 201kg (443lb) Wheelbase 1455mm (57.2in) Seat height 770mm (30.3in) Fuel capacity 17 litres (3.74 gal) PERFORMANCE Top speed 125mph Power 72bhp@9500rpm Torque 46lb.ft@7300rpm Fuel consumption 45mpg Price new £5200

The alternatives 1999 Honda CB750

“The Zephyr feels secure, turns in sweetly and sticks to its line well” over-firm ride, but at least there’s no sense of wallow.There’s a mismatch as it stands in this suspension set-up and yet the Zephyr handles well, so perhaps we should credit the twincradle steel frame for keeping the whole plot on track. The Zephyr feels secure, turns in sweetly and sticks to its line – just see-sawing a little when bumps come too thick, too fast. The brakes are alright too. They’ve seen some TLC at some time, as evidenced by the non-standard unpainted finish. The calipers are butt-ugly by modern standards, but the performance is perfectly satisfactory.And riding on 17in cast alloy wheels on fairly up-to-date 120/150 width tyres, we’ve got modern rubber and modern levels of grip. It all lends the Zephyr integrity and credibility. It is, though, a fact that the Zephyr is a small bike – for its capacity. Compared to the 750s and 1000s of the generation it’s meant to mimic, it feels low in the saddle and a little

short in length.And if I’m being critical, I think it would look better – more faithful – with slightly narrower 18in wheels.As it is, I’m put in mind of riding a 400, not a 750. Only no naked 400 I know performs quite like this, of course – so for some we’re probably talking a positive rather than a negative here, as shorter people will love its size.And I have to be honest, I didn’t feel cramped either, so even if it’s smaller than the norm, it still works. There will be bike purists who’ll laugh the Zephyr out of court, but life’s too short for such narrow-mindedness. I like the candy brown (root beer to the Yanks) and orange Z1 paint job, plus the polished round cam covers, and I enjoy the fact that the Zephyr actually delivers – not in a visceral rip-snorting way but as a genuine mid-range, mid-size roadster. In my own little fantasy world there’s a place in my garage for a Zephyr with a full-on Sanctuary make-over (titanium exhaust and all). I wouldn’t convert this one, though. Some may baulk at its £1995 price tag, but it’s in desirable colours, has been looked after and has plenty of life in it. Just quietly, you know, these Zephyrs are actually alright.

Honda’s 1992 response to the Zephyr, packing the ’80s CBX750 motor, was competent though not desperately exciting. Here’s a tidy later example, a 1999 with 31,000 miles for £1795 (Norman & Birch Bikes, 01782 202467).

1998 Suzuki Bandit GSF600S Suzuki really nailed the retro-naked theme with their stupidly cheap Bandit, which is still cheap today. Check this clean example with 24,000 miles for £1399 (Motorcycles & Scooters Southampton, 02381 781440).

Thanks to Andy at P&P Motorcycles in Chichester, West Sussex on 01243 574348



Fast Parts!!! Grand Prix Pedigree... Street Bike Prices!

s Highest quality available, widest range of chain & sprockets anywhere, from mopeds to superbikes...

We stock the lot!

s Road, Track & Race wheels

8A The Green, Upper Caldecote, Beds, SG18 9BX Tel: +44 (0) 1767 319191

s Improved braking efďŹ ciency s Abrasion & corrosion resistant s Quality, performance & reliability INDICATOR WARNING BUZZER WITH ADJUSTABLE DELAY BIS03








Sounds in time with indicators as soon they are turned on. This acts as an audiable warning that indicators are on. Comes with everything that is required to ďŹ t (excluding tools). Very simple installation. Connect 1 red wire to left indicator, connect other red wire to right indicator, connect black to any earth point on bike. 90Db high pitch buzz at 12V ÂŁ7.50


s Forged Aluminium – up to 33% lighter than stock s Forged Magnesium – up to 45% lighter than stock

High Performance Italian Exhausts with Quality, Character & Style


This unit has the beneďŹ t of having the 90dB audio sound along with the Ultra Bright L.E.D. The buzzer sounds and the Ultra Brigh L.E.D. sounds/ ashes in time with indicators as soon they are turned on. This acts as an extra audibble and visable warning that indicators are on. The L.E.D. can be seen in direct sun light. Comes with everything that is required to ďŹ t (excluding tools). Very simple installation. Connect 1 red wire to left indicator, connect other red wire to right indicator, connect black to any earth point on bike. Every thing that is needed to ďŹ t (except tools) comes with this unit. The viewing angle of the L.E.D. is quite large so the position can be adjusted to enusre that ÂŁ8.50 you notice it while riding.



Suzuki GSX 11 ES

Renowned for his ‘thriftiness’, Simon Francis has made a superb special out of skill, ingenuity... and minimal use of his wallet


WHEELS Wanting the 2003 R6 wheels gold, Simon got them down to bare metal before putting a spindle through the wheel, spinning them next to a heater, and spraying them with etch primer and a £3 can of gold spray paint. “From five feet they look like Marchesinis,” he smiles. “Then you get up close and realise the Northern Miser has struck again…”

ENGINE/ EXHAUST The 1100 engine fitted straight in thanks to the mounts Simon had fitted previously. As far as the exhaust goes, Simon went to a lot of effort to have no mounts showing. He made a sleeve to fit inside the can, TIG-welded it inside and then TIG-welded the outside of the link pipe and ground it all back. This Yoshimura can won’t be drooping.

CHASSIS Simon decided early on that he was going to keep the red paintwork, so he started looking for parts that would match the bike. “I got a brand new GSX-R1000 K1 shock with a red spring which suited the bike. I thought the spring rate wouldn’t be a million miles off because it’s designed for a bike that’s roughly the same weight. With a couple of spacers and a bit of adjustment, it all got sorted.”

Special brew

TOP YOKES/’BARS Fitting Renthal Superbike ’bars gave Simon another challenge. The risers were wider at the base than the upper surface of the GSX-R600 K1 top yoke, plus the Suzuki badge was in the way, so Simon milled slots in the top to remove the badge recess and flushfit the risers to the yoke. Without this, the risers would have hung over the raised section.

IMON FRANCIS has a self-approved nickname: the Northern Miser.“Well, I am a bit of a tightwad,” laughs the penny-pinching skinflint.Yet although Simon’s reluctance to part with cash might be legendary, when fused with his bike modifying talents the results mean seriously impressive machines for modest money. If you want proof, look no further than this GSX 7/11 ES – a serious street-sleeper put together for under £1400. Simon had originally worked on this 1983 GSX750ES at his business, SF Services, when a customer brought it in with a remit to “funk it up a bit”. Simon fitted some GSX-R wheels, 1100 forks and a GSX750F engine, but after that bike sat in the bloke’s garage for two years doing nothing, Simon ended up buying it back for £500, minus all the GSX-R gubbins. “I think these bikes have a reputation for being a bit dowdy and unloved but the body design is beautiful,” he says. “They’re just let down by the skinny wheels and lousy brakes. I started again from scratch with the bare chassis, but this time I decided that there wouldn’t be a weedy 750 engine powering it.” Simon soon found himself driving from Bridlington to Manchester to pick up a ’92 GSX1100F Powerscreen engine that he’d seen on a forum. “I didn’t know if it ran – I just went for it.” Simon opened his wallet for the first time since 1998, delving past the mothballs and cobwebs to retrieve £250. Blowing the dust off the notes, he reluctantly handed over the cash and set about getting the engine fitted. “It’s still the most expensive thing I’ve bought for the bike,” he admits. Handily, the prior work he’d done in fitting the alternative 750 engine paid dividends. “Everything’s interchangeable on these bikes from a 600 right the way through to the 1200



When Simon first fitted the stock GSX750 sidestand, it was fouling against the gear lever. He ended up getting a spare one and chopping a section out of it.


Special brew Bandit, so all I had to do was put the engine in – the mounts I’d made previously lined up a treat,” says Simon. “The only downside was that when I came to assemble the bike, the engine was a bit taller than I thought. So I had to alter the front mounts and lift them up by 15mm, and make two mounts for the back of the tank to jack that up by 25mm.” The downside to this was that the side panels had to be moved up to meet the tank, and the seat needed altering as well. “That’s building a special – you just chase problems around half the time,” laughs Simon. “But at the end of the day I wanted a comfortable bike that would be great for mid-range grunt. That’s the reason I chose the engine.Well, that and the fact it was cheap.” Everywhere you look on this bike, Simon’s been sorting issues with hard graft rather than unnecessary expenditure. Binning a rusty GSX-R1000 K3 shock and linkages and going for a K1 shock instead, he found that the new one didn’t fit. “I chopped all the old suspension linkages off and fabricated new ones – while I was at it I added a few braces to stiffen the frame, which I thought would be beneficial given the 1100 engine.” The 600 Bandit swingarm also needed attention. “I had to make some mild steel top hats to fit the 600 Bandit bearings, and then a pair of spacers because the Bandit swingarm was slightly narrower than the 750 frame.” Fitting the GSX-R600 forks was another area of major surgery, requiring Simon to put a sleeve on the bottom of the GSX750ES stem.The next thing was getting the R6 wheels – sprayed gold with Simon’s fair hand



“My mate said these aluminium plates were too agricultural!” laughs Simon. “That was the look I was going for – something a ’70s racer would’ve made in his garage.”

Such is Simon’s dedication to microscopic details that all of the M8 bolts on the bike have been chamfered at 45 degrees before being deburred and polished.

using etch primer and a £3 rattle can of gold paint – to fit.“I had to knock up two great big spacers, because the spindle that came with the R6 wheel didn’t go with the 600 forks. I welded in an extra section on the end of the spindle and it all slotted into place.” Loads of other details were sorted too, including homemade rear sets, a rear caliper mount, and a tacho for a car off eBay for a whopping £26.All in all, the £1370 and 10 months of hard work that Simon’s put into it paid dividends when someone offered him £8000 for the bike… but, astonishingly, he

turned it down.That’s a 484 per cent increase in profit, Simon – what are you playing at? “I built a Schwantz GSX-R7/11 that was on the cover of PS in 2011 (Issue 13), and selling it was the worst thing I ever did,” he says ruefully.“I wanted to build something so that anywhere I go I can say to people,‘This is what I do’. If I sell it now I’m wasting a year of work. So much has gone into the bike but not many people look at it, which I find a compliment. I don’t want it to look like someone’s just got their chequebook out.” Getting the chequebook out? That’s certainly not something the Northern Miser will be doing again any time soon.Well, not unless the museum lets him have it back.

No wonder he’s smiling – he got the T-shirt free


1983 Suzuki GSX 7/11 ES ENGINE 1992 GSX1100F, air/oil-cooled 1135cc, dohc, 16v, inline four, standard 34mm Mikuni carbs, modified Micron 4-2-1 headers and link pipe – internally sleeved to allow Yoshimura end can to fit without mounts, SF Services carburettor shield, 5-degree ignition advancer, SF Services blasted and lacquered engine cases, Pro Bolt cam cover bolts, standard GSX oil-cooler, Type R 5in tacho and shift light, all M8 socket caps chamfered at 45 degrees before being deburred and polished. CHASSIS New shock and rocker mounts added to accept GSX-R1000 K1 shock, 600 Bandit rocker and SF Services tie-bars, 600 Bandit swingarm with added JMC-style deep brace, modified fairing bracket, new lock stops to accept GSX-R forks, cut ’n’ shut sidestand, GSX-R600 K1 forks, GSX-R1000 K8 mudguard trimmed to fit forks, 2003 Yamaha R6 wheels, Renthal Superbike ’bars, R6 Brembo mastercylinder, Renthal sprockets, 520 race chain, Suzuki AP50 caliper mounted on bespoke caliper hanger. If you fancy getting some decent stuff made for your bike, call SF Services on 07879 991592.



Simon had an official Schwantz replica heatshield a while ago but didn’t rate it. He ended up getting hold of a heavy duty plastic barrel, cutting the side out and making the heatshield from that. Thanks to a mate with the patterns, Simon can make you a heatshield for most old Suzukis.



The rear caliper mount is Simon’s favourite bit. “The slots I’ve milled into them follow the lines of the deep brace on the swingarm. It’s got a stainless steel torque arm, plus some tiny aluminium top hat spacers.”

To fit this rev counter, bought from a company called Type R, Simon fitted two brackets off the bottom of it and welded it to the fairing bracket. “It’s for a car so it doesn’t work that well,” says Simon. “It looks cool though.”







Pace use innovative design and technical excellence to produce the highest quality cooling products for water, air and oil. Our cooling range includes radiators, intercoolers and charge coolers. Pace specialise in manufacturing bespoke alloy water radiators to a customer’s specific sample or drawings. With our fully equipped fabrication and machine workshop, we can manufacture almost any specification or style of radiator. Furthermore Pace are one of the very few companies able to manufacturer curved and tapered cores allowing for even the tightest of packaging constraints. Pace can also provide custom dry sump oil pumps and oil tanks designed and manufactured to exact requirements, so whatever you need. Pace deliver ‘The Ultimate in Fluid Technology’. PACE PRODUCTS LTD. Homefield Road Ind. Est., Haverhill, Suffolk CB9 8QP. +44 (0)1440 760960



Adjustable Rebuildable Affordable

standard and GP replica body kits for these models Honda NC30/35 CBR400 NC23/29 NSR250 MC18/21/28 RGV 250 VJ21/22 CBR250 MC22 ZXR250 Aprilia RS250

Carbon Parts G Yamaha

R1 from £45.00 R6 from £54.00 G Yamaha V-Max from £79.00 G Honda CBR600RR From £45.00 G Honda CBR1000RR from £79.00 G GSXR 600 / 700 from £45.00 G GSXR 1000 K5 onwards from £45.00 G Kawasaki ER6 from £89.00 G Kawasaki ZX6R from £89.00 ZX10R from £89.00 G BMW S1000RR from £89.00 G Aprilia RSV4 from £89.00 Many other models also available NC35, NC30, NC29, NSR250, RGV250, RS250 etc G Yamaha

Two Stroke Exhausts Aprilia RS125 from £199.00 with can Aprilia RS250 from £430.00 with cans Suzuki RGV250 VJ22 from £430.00 with cans Honda NSR250 MC21/28 from £430.00 with cans Honda NSR125/150 from £189.00 with can two stroke end cans from £45.00 - £110.00 other models available please contact us for more info

Four Stroke Exhausts Honda NC30/35 full race systems from £650.00 Honda CBR125 from £179.00 Kawasaki ZX250R Ninja from £275.00 Kawasaki ER6 from £249.00 other models available please contact us for more info

Many other models catered for, please see our website for more models and our package details

Call Gavin on tel: 01616 136600 Mob: 07919 404 734 email:

01926 430562

What you need to know to get your ride right FETTLING




82 How to: fix powervalves Sorting the temperamental ’80s Yam parts

84 What’s the problem? Rattling FireBlades and problematic tyres

87 Project 851 At last, the beast is in one big piece…

90 How it works: airboxes More than just somewhere for air filters

93 Project VFR750F The clock’s already ticking to get it done

98 How to: fit a headlamp relay Get your grey import’s lights shining brightly Spot the man who’s glad this resto is as good as complete...

93 82

With the state of this bike, we’re not sure why Alan’s laughing

Getting to grips with powervalves


BUYING Potential projects and unpolishable turds

102 Honda NS125F/R buyers’ guide Up for a spot of Japanese/Italian fusion?

Well, you can never have too many…

Honda NS125F/R buyers’ guide

90 Prepare for an airbox masterclass

100 Project Hunter

108 Bikes for sale


The fiddly world of the headlamp relay

This will ring a bell if you’re a Powervalve owner


Fix powervalves Iffy build quality can mean pricey solutions when it comes to sorting an ’80s Yam, but here’s a temporary yet cheap way to lengthen valve life WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY ALAN SEELEY UR FONDNESS at Practical Sportsbikes for the two-stroke is no secret, and Yamaha’s powervalve-equipped bikes are among our favourites. They’re not without their faults however, and many of those are caused by Yamaha’s rather patchy 1980s build quality. To be fair to Yamaha they probably expected us to have grown out of them by now, and they were certainly never intended to still be in service 30 years on. A couple of years of teen hooning was probably about it. The powervalves themselves are susceptible to wear, particularly on twins where the left cylinder’s valve wears on its inside pivot. The valves are constantly turning to raise and lower the exhaust port height from low to high speed-running, and they’re doing this in the hellish blast of hot exhaust gasses. The aluminium valves run in phospor bronze bushes. Problems arise not just through heat – carbon and crud gets




HOW LONG? A couple of hours to do the work and a good 24 hours to let the liquid metal harden fully.

COST? JB Weld costs a fiver, likewise a can of brake or carb cleaner. JB Weld claims to be able to withstand petrol and oil and is good for temperatures up to 300°C, so should do alright here.

between the bushes and valve pivots but worst of all, the bridging piece that joins the left and right valves can’t support both of them adequately. The inside pivot of the left valve, the one driven by the pulley, comes off worst. The valve and bush fret and inevitably the aluminium pivot wears most.

New replacements are expensive at around £80, and in short supply. The last one I bought had to come from Japan. Kenny Gubbins at Two-stroke Addicts ( suggests a cheeky fix involving liquid metal and aluminium filings. “It won’t last forever,” he says, “but it will get you out of a hole.”

Tools for the job File. Brake or carb cleaner. Micrometer. JB Weld. Abrasive pad. Wire wool.



Damage done


Fine filings


Time to turn

The worn area of the powervalve pivot is easily visible. Over a millimetre of the aluminium has just disappeared, which will be a familiar sight to Yamaha Powervalve owners. The wear pattern is always the same but the pulley end is usually relatively unscathed.

Kenny Gubbins recommends adding some aluminium filings to the liquid metal to give it some body and slow the wear of the epoxy repair. Five minutes with a file and a new piece of aluminium yields you a neat little pile like this.

Usually you’d turn aluminium at high speed but instead, echoing the claim of JB Weld to set like steel, I opted for a slow setting so the liquid metal didn’t shatter when it met the lathe cutting tool. It does cut quickly and nicely.


The clean-up


Mix and match


Ready to refit

A baked-on mix of carbon and two-stroke oil is tenacious stuff. The trick is getting it off without actually removing any more of the aluminium underneath. Soften the deposits with carb or brake cleaner and work gently with a fine abrasive pad or wire wool.

Make up enough JB Weld to allow for a generous application to the worn valve, mixing in the aluminium filings throughly. Apply the mixture to the worn area, overlapping the edges and ensuring that there’s enough height to turn back to dimension once it’s set.

Here’s the repaired valve. The silver flecks of aluminium filings can be seen in the liquid metal. Looking at it here I could have used a higher ratio of aluminium to liquid metal but for now I will run the valve in my TDR and see how the repair fares. The parts in the next step will help things.


Measure up


Dial right



You need to know what the unworn dimension should be, so use a micrometer or decent vernier calipers to find that figure on a good part of the pivot. Note it down for later in case you wind up with some liquid metal on the unworn area.

To ensure the repaired pivot is on the same axis as the one on the other half of the valve, I put the whole assembly in the lathe then used the dial test indicator on an unworn area to ensure it was turning true.

These aftermarket parts will slow powervalve wear. The beefed-up bridging piece (top, £29.99, will support the valves more effectively. Thicker, stainless thrust plates (, £3) locate the bushes better and prevent the assembly from moving fore and aft.



WHAT’S THE PROBLEM? Bike not running right? Our experts have the answers to the toughest questions

If you’ve got a problem with your bike, write to What’s the Problem? Practical Sportsbikes, Bauer Media, Media House, Lynch Wood, Peterborough, PE2 6EA, or email If you have any relevant pictures, be sure to send/attach those too to assist our boffins in their enquiries

OUR EXPERTS Alan Seeley Practical Sportsbikes’ Production Editor, and past and present owner of countless Japanese, Italian and Brit bikes. Loves a challenge and it’s just as well. Gary Hurd PS’s technical guru has been in the bike trade for three decades so it’s safe to assume he’s learned a thing or two. He’s happy to share his wisdom as well. Chris Tombleson Former Straightline Racing man Chris knows pretty much everything about how to make big Kawasakis go very fast – and stop broken ones going slow. Saul Towers Saul is the pillar of knowledge at Yamaha specialists Flitwick Motorcycles (01525 712197), with an answer for everything. If your Yam is troubling you, he’s your man.

These welded headers are due some paint


Baked on black I’ve just got my Kawasaki ZZ-R exhaust back from the welder. The pics don’t do the quality justice but 90 per cent of what is new was fresh air before. My question is, what’s the best high temperature paint to use? Online opinion ranges from BBQ paint to PF1. I’m thinking... sand the exhaust smooth, de-grease, a few coats of the paint

you suggest and let it bake on the bike... Michael Aiken, PS Facebook Group Alan Seeley says: I’ve used Techcote black exhaust paint with some success but

PRIZE PROBLEM Every month our Prize Problem entrant will receive a complete Motorex Premium Care package of products worth £65 to keep their bike(s) looking tip-top. The prize haul will include Moto Clean (360°) cleaner, Moto Protect maintenance spray, Quick Cleaner (360°), Moto Shine and Helmet Care.

TYRES Paul Fairclough With more than 20 years in the industry, Phil at SMD Tyres (01942 604511) is never happier than when the sun is shining and we’re outside wearing out our tyres.

Send us your pictures Let us see your bike’s problem by supplying us with a picture


good prep and following the instructions are key. Get the pipes rust and grease-free, heat them up with a hot air gun, apply the paint and then go for a couple of heat cycles on the bike – it bakes tough. It’s £7 a can from B&C Express (

Wet woes My tyres keep deflating after I’ve ridden them in the wet, but in dry weather they’re normal. I tested it by leaving my bike in the shed for a week and they held air. Then I took it out to soak it in plenty of water, put it back in shed, and they were flat the next day. Odd. Billy Alton Wood, PS Facebook Group

Conditions that are giving one PS reader serious grief

Paul Fairclough says: ‘Odd’ is correct. It’s not uncommon for people to experience more punctures in the wet as foreign objects can stick to the tread easier, but I’ve never heard of anything like this. The causes for a tyre losing air in the wet are the same as those in the dry. All I can suggest is to check that the rim wells are clean and free of corrosion and that the tyres are properly seated.


Yam issue My Yamaha Diversion 600 has sat for eight years. The air slides were stuck so I cleaned the carbs and replaced the O-rings, but only cylinders three and four fire. The tacho jumps to 2000rpm when the ignition is on as well. Phil Matthews, PS Facebook Group Saul Towers says: This sounds like poor earthing somewhere. I’d be delving into the wiring and earths to check that all is as it should be.


EXUP grease me up In the near future I’ll be recommissioning my 1988 Yamaha FZR400, which hasn’t been ridden for a while. The bike runs okay, but needs a good carb clean and the usual service items. One thing I’m not experienced with is the Yamaha EXUP valve in the exhaust. What should I be looking for and how do I ensure it’s clean, lubricated as needed (with with what?) and adjusted correctly? James Pickard, PS Facebook Group

on the end plate and, worse still, a locked-solid valve might be issues if maintenance has been sparse. Every grease you can think of will burn off the valve but the ceramic type lasts longer than most. Regular regreasing is the key. Adjust the cables as per the manual. The EXUP valve needs constant regreasing

Saul Towers says: Practical Sportsbikes covered this in issue 18 of the mag. Seized fasteners



Rattling ’Blade My ’98 Honda FireBlade has done 28,000 miles. At all engine and road speeds there’s a loud tapping noise from the front of the engine at quarter throttle, even though it runs well. There’s no noise at idle and I’ve changed the camchain tensioner, done an oil service and so on. I had a listen to the bike with a long screwdriver and all is very quiet apart from the carbs, where at the exact same throttle position the same noise can be heard through the screwdriver. It’s louder on carb number four but can be heard on all of them. Thinking it must be a Definitely a rattling noise coming from this picture

noisy slide I stripped carbs and all is spot on. I’m now thinking it’s a tapping noise from inside the head being amplified by the carbs. I’m not sure what to do next? Matt Jones, PS Facebook Group Gary Hurd says: Ah, the FireBlade death rattle, only it isn’t that at all. We had loads of these bikes brought back when new because of a mystery rattle and there was never any identifiable defect. The noise is probably down to the slides rattling in the carbs but it doesn’t mean they’re worn or that there’s an issue.

Reject injectors I have a set of 1980something Kawasaki GPz1100 throttle bodies and I need to replace the injectors. Any idea which ones might fit? John Skelson, PS Facebook Group

The GPz throttle body

Chris Tombleson says: Here’s one of the reasons many of these early injected Kawasakis were converted to carbs – often Z1000J or Suzuki GSX1100 ones. Of course going down that route means a fuel tap and revised plumbing, so try and stick with what you’ve got unless you’re getting into tuning. Find someone who knows how to ultrasonically clean injectors properly, as new parts are in very short supply.



40 years o the Z1

Check out our website today for the full range Unit 4 Victoria Street Industrial Estate, Leigh, Lancashire WN7 5SE, England Email: Tel +44 (0)1942 262864 Fax +44 (0)1942 670816 MAJOR CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED

25 years of


WANT A RUST & STREAK FREE BIKE? Cut drying time by 80%! Quickly and safely blasts moisture out of every nook and cranny leaving water with no place to hide! Completely ** safe for all paint and chrome ďŹ nishes. 240 Volts. CE Approved.Watch video on website. FROM ÂŁ99 *Peak ** Shown with optional dolly.



USA made



ZZZZHVWPHUFLDUDGLDWRUVFRXN Total feel and response for the confidence you need, on Road or Track Eliminate that ‘spongy’ feeling often found with rubber hoses Fully approved for Road and Race use, HPS complete brake line kits are produced for us by HEL to give a more direct lever feel, for better brake control. And, where other kits may include only the bare minimum, our stainless steel kits include absolutely everything you need and have a Lifetime Guarantee! • Highest Grade Stainless Steel Lines with Protective Sheathing in clear or choice of colours • Stainless Steel Banjos and Bolts with Copper Sealing Washers included • Special Grommets to mount using your bike’s original guide brackets - where applicable • Installation, Bleeding & Troubleshooting Guide • Highest quality Motul Brake Fluid included • Lifetime Guarantee

Order yours online now...



ÂŁ69 ÂŁ89




01773 831122

HPS • Derwent House • Alfreton • Derbyshire • DE55 7BP • UK Price excludes delivery. Calls may be recorded for training/security purposes. E&OE

5 yr warranty.

TEL: +44 (0)20 8445 6811


His missus was unimpressed with the new garden furniture


End days for Duke With all the major work done, Project 851/888 will return to the shed to have those niggling details sorted that hamper the special builder WORDS ALAN SEELEY PHOTOGRAPHY JASON CRITCHELL OOKS THE PART, doesn’t it? My mate Jason Macdonald of Ace Finish brought his considerable skills to bear applying paint from Bike Colours and decals from Image Works to Project 851/888’s panels. While all that was happening my intention was to finish off everything else. In that, I must confess I have failed for the moment. All the big stuff is done but there are loads of niggly details to be addressed which for now, particularly given the urgency of Project VFR (see page 93), will have to wait. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from Project 851/888 was one I’d somehow forgotten. It’s one thing restoring a standard bike – building a special is quite another. In the first case, provided you have the right OE parts or even decent pattern components, the whole thing will bolt together with minimal fuss. When it comes to building a special, all bets are off. Things you think should fit don’t, while other


The story so far We’ve bought an unloved example of Ducati’s ST4 sports-tourer, a bike that struggles to deliver on either half of that promise. We’ve done this because we know the ST4 has a highly evolved version of Ducati’s 109bhp engine, Brembo Goldline brakes and other good stuff. They’re also cheap as chips, making them the ideal donor for an 851/888 replica. We plan to deliver an amazing motorcycle for under £3500.

solutions come from unexpected quarters. Add in a refusal to let a bodge go and an aspiration to meet the high standards set and expected by specials-building PS readers and it becomes a labour of love. And I have enjoyed it, to the extent that I’m not sure what to do next. A VFR maybe?

If it looks good, it’s little to do with him



He was smiling until he saw there were no end-cans

Screen trim – three tips for a neat job


Cut to length

Apply the rubber trim dry to the screen and figure out what length you need for a symmetrical finish at each end. Cut the rubber bead to length. Ensure the screen is clean and grease-free where you want the trim to stick.



Stick it

Run a thin bead of adhesive all along the inner channel of the rubber trim. Be sparing, as any excess will only need to be cleaned off the screen. We’re using Tiger Bond here, a particularly tenacious adhesive.


Get it taped

Carefully apply the trim to the edge of the screen, ensuring the lip of the perspex is right in the groove. Clean any excess glue that oozes out before it dries. Low-tack masking tape will hold it in position while the glue goes off.

In the meantime, here’s what’s happened since you last saw Project 851/888. I believed I’d resolved the issue of being unable to fit the ST4 airbox between the 851 frame rails by sourcing an old 888 airbox from Steve Bailey at BBB Fabrications. The injector bellmouth spacings are the same and when I popped my old 851 tank on top everything was lovely. However when I came to try the same trick with fuel lines fitted, it refused to go on. Damn. So I’ll need to take a bit off the back of the airbox. As well as that there’s still some tidying of the wiring to be done – many components are now much closer together than they were on the ST4 and hence the wires are too long. I could just fold and cable tie them but that smacks of bodge. Then there are some exhaust brackets and link pipes to be sourced and bought with the diminishing funds from the sale of the unwanted ST4 parts.

Nitron shock nestles by modded header

“It’s been a slog but the lessons learned have been invaluable to me” For now we can celebrate what has been achieved. Having decided to finish the bike in the style of a 1992/3 888 SP4, I first contacted Image Works to enquire whether, just maybe, they’d be able to knock up some decals if I sent them some pics. Stupid question. Image Works have a massive database of decals (100,000+) for just about every significant motorcycle ever. Within two days they were on my desk, gigantic number ‘1’s for the fairing lowers and all. They were supplied unlaminated so they could be lacquered in for longevity. Bike Colours are similarly knowledgeable and were able to advise that there is more than one Ducati red – who knew? – and duly supplied a litre of the correct shade. Wholly confident in my inability to apply either of these, I turned as previously mentioned to my buddy Jason Macdonald of Ace Finish. Mac was the man who painted Project VFR400 last year. What an amazing job he’s done on Project 851/888. As a special treat I bought a carbon mudguard from Carbon King. It’s an ST4 fitment but absolutely looks the part. There’s no denying it’s been a slog to get this far but the lessons learned on the way have been invaluable to me. If I were doing another it would be done in half the time because I now know the pitfalls. Done a restoration? Why not build a special?


Independent Ducati Specialist s 3ERVICE s 2ESTORATION s 4UNING s %NGINE "UILDING 2OAD  2ACE s !LL -AKES AND -ODELS

Ohlins, K-Tech, Penske Dealers s 3ALES s 3ERVICE s 3ET UP 2OAD  2ACE

Contacts • Ace Finish, Jason Macdonald 07896 530051 • Bike Colours • Carbon King • Image Works


ERS Racing

01383 841 752

Units 1 – 3

Knockhill Racing Circuit

KY12 9TF

Find us on Facebook


Butchered by many owners but rarely understood, the humble airbox hides a host of clever tricks that belie its reputation as simply somewhere to store an air filter WORDS ALAN SEELEY PHOTOGRAPHY SUZUKI, KAWASAKI, BAUER ARCHIVE

What is it? Hacked about, chopped up and often simply discarded, the airbox is one of the least understood and also most underappreciated assemblies on a motorcycle. It’s right in the front line and ripe for attack by the amateur ‘tuner’, whose efforts usually involve butchery at best and disposal at worst. At their most basic, airboxes are little more than somewhere to keep the air filter. But as bike designs have evolved to deliver greater all-round efficiency through better performance, less noise and reduced emissions, the airbox has had an increasingly sophisticated role to play as an integral part of the air/fuel system and

even to aid crankcase breathing. It’s also still somewhere to keep the air filter.

How it works

The primary purpose of the airbox is to provide the fuel system with clean air in sufficient quantity for the incoming charge. Engines don’t like dirty air, so the filter element prevents the ingress of abrasive airborne particles. An engine also prefers to have a reasonably constant supply of air. To this end, airboxes have been increasingly designed to act as a plenum chamber, providing still air at a fairly constant pressure whether the bike is travelling slowly or quickly. This means that fuelling can be consistently The airbox innards of maintained; something the Kawasaki ZZ-R1100 that’s certainly desirable for a four-stroke and absolutely essential for a mixture-strengthsensitive two-stroke. That’s because a four-stroke pulls the fuel/air mix into the

combustion chamber in a far more positive way that the crankcase-induction twostroke does. If the airbox wasn’t acting as a plenum chamber, mixture strength would suffer as air speed and pressure around the engine fluctuate. For decades, conventional practice was to have a vertical or near-vertical airbox hanging off the similarly oriented carbs, feeding horizontal or near-horizontal inlets. This relied on a combination of basic atmospheric pressure, plus the pull of engine induction to supply the air. This, of course, put the carb and airbox in the hot spot behind the engine, out of the way of the oncoming air the bike was carving through. Suzuki saw a way to make something from a lost opportunity with their early Ram-Air system, as seen on the two-stroke GT series of the early 1970s, but rather than pressurising the airbox, the head-mounted shrouds caught and directed more cool air to the area behind the engine where the carbs and airbox resided. The shape of the shroud meant that the air pressure would be equalised to an extent as speed increased.

Kawasaki ZZ-R1100 If you’ve designed a bike with a hollow aluminium beam frame wrapped around the engine, it might as well further earn its keep by helping to get a decent volume of air to the airbox. More air arrives as speed increases, maintaining density. The small pipes equalise air pressure between the carbs and airbox.


FETTLING Suzuki’s 2-for-1 SRAD airbox In order to meet the varying requirements for air at different speeds, Suzuki came up with the cunning ploy of a valve actuated by a rod connected to a diaphragm linked to a vacuum take-off on the intake manifold. A solenoid linked to the ECU controls the amount of vacuum. The valve opens as the engines needs for air increases.

Increasingly inclined engines and downdraught carbs saw airboxes begin to move towards the top of the engine until they assumed the position under the tank we’re familiar with now. This orientation makes the forward-facing intake an obvious move. Systems incorporating ducts and scoops and even using the frame – for example, Kawasaki’s ZZ-R1100 – as part of the air induction system emerged. These made it possible to reliably deliver higher pressure within the airbox. Suzuki’s SRAD series provides an example of further sophistication. These models had a flap in the airbox to influence flow in accordance with engine speed. This remained closed until engine speed increased significantly, when it would be opened by a rod attached to a diaphragm that was connected to a vacuum take-off on the inlet manifold. The amount of vacuum exerted on the diaphragm was dictated by an ECU-controlled solenoid valve. It’s all a long way from a plastic or steel box with a foam filter inside. The system offered the promise of more accurate control of air speed and pressure, dependent on the demands of the engine. Many PS-era bikes also use the airbox to take care of crankcase emissions. These are created by the changing pressure within

the crankcases, created by the pistons travelling up and down as well as gasses blowing by the piston rings. Therefore crankcase emissions are mainly comprised of oily air and unburnt fuel. Larger oil particles are intercepted by baffles in the crankcase but the rest of the contaminated

gasses are sent via a crankcase breather to the airbox by way of an oil/air separator, which may be discrete or part of the airbox. Some of the oil from the mist goes into a catch tank; the remainder is recirculated via the airbox into the combustion chamber.

In practice

Crankcase emissions and the airbox The combustion process creates blow-by gasses as depicted by the arrows. These travel via crankcase baffles to the airbox where they mix with fresh incoming air to be returned to the combustion chambers.

The more sophisticated the airbox, the more susceptible it is to the ill effects of meddling. At one time if you fancied fitting a freer-flowing filter, it was a relatively simple matter to rejet the carbs to compensate. Ever higher-revving and more powerful engines are highly sensitive to departures from factory spec, although there are still advantages to be gained if you know what you’re doing; go to a good dyno operator or make sacrifices in return for gains elsewhere in the rev range. It’s also a fact that the drive towards lower emissions and noise often led to unwelcome compromises in power delivery. If you really think you do need to deviate from the stock factory settings we’d seriously suggest a visit to the dyno to quantify the gains you think you’re making. Whatever you do, ripping off the airbox and fitting pods is no longer really an option – if it ever was. • Next Month Hub centre steering


For most ‘Z’, ‘GPZ’, ‘GS’, ‘GSX’ ‘XJ’ and ‘CB’ Series


Tel: 024 7644 2054 WWW.EXACTREP.CO.UK Fax: 024 7665 9865 INFO@EXACTREP.COM (Also V-Max Specialists) Tel: 01564 775522 We are the distributor in the UK for Koso and Daytona gauges and authorised dealers for Motogadget and Smiths.

Digital Speedos


Spares Direct Ltd 861 Harrow Road, London NW10 5NH

Grins and grimaces from our not-so intrepid duo

We’ll just dip this in diesel shall we?


Reality hits home With less than two months to go until our Honda VFR750 is due to line up at Snetterton, all we have is a mouldering wreck and a plan WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY ALAN SEELEY venerable VFR is actually more of a ruined O WE’RE RACING this bike antiquity. If it weren’t for our faith in the when? Realisation dawns like Honda’s V4 engine and the certainty it will the last morning of a start and run fine, we’d probably have condemned man when we abandoned the plan by now. We’ll hold notice that we have just less than two that thought and keep it for comfort in the months to deliver on our low-budget yet dark workshop nights to come. Indeed extravagant promises for Project VFR. you might be wondering why we Those – you might recall if you There’s bodge haven’t simply changed the stretch your mind back to last under bodge fluids, hooked up a battery month or avert your eyes to and fired it up. That would the panel on the left – begin be because we’ve with returning the bike to the temporarily misplaced the road in standard trim, then ignition key. converting it into a race bike. Looking elsewhere, the I’ve started on the first part extent of the neglect and of the deal with my able corrosion is confounding and assistant and part-time race hampering our attempts to strip mechanic, Jordan Challis from the the bike down. In nearly a decade of using PS ad department, and I’m starting to them, I had yet to break any of Halfords’s think we might have to switch straight into most excellent Advanced series of tools. endurance race mode, bypassing the The VFR changed that as I snapped a cheap back-to-the-road refresh. socket drive Allen bit trying to undo a If we failed to labour the point hard swingarm pinchbolt. Suppose I should enough last month, this ancient and


but largely complete 19 VFR750FG and have formulated a twostage plan for it. First up we will return it to the road on a budget so tight that it squeaks louder than the corroded rear suspension linkages. With that done we’ll then convert our V4 into a race bike that will take Team PS to the startline of the Endurance Legends 4-Hour Classic Motorcycle Race at Snetterton on 17/18 October.


FETTLING Jordan muscles in on the back-end

Jordan says “So begins the work on project VFR and as I thought, this is going to be a challenge. Didn’t think it would be this much of a challenge but I was still looking forward to getting stuck in. “First off we removed the bodywork and tank, and on taking off the tank we discovered the airbox top is missing. Some kind PS readers have offered support from their own parts stashes and this is one more thing to add to the list. “The back wheel came out easily but as we moved forward to the shock linkage, things got tougher until we found some stuff that wouldn’t budge at all. So we’ve doused it in Plus-Gas to return another day. Not that we have time to waste...”

This is the shock linkage. It’s a little bit seized

be grateful that the fastener didn’t round out. For now the Allen screw is receiving regular applications of Plus-Gas, ahead of another attempt once we’ve sourced a new shock and some better exhaust headers. The ones on there look like they could blow out at any point. When we have those front pipes they can be joined to the Laser K1 can and link-pipe

These could let go at any time

kindly donated by reader Stuart Warner, so we’re making progress of sorts – and so is the passage of time. Editor Jim was making noises about CBR600 wheels front and rear to give us 17-inchers fore and aft, allowing us to ditch the stock 16in front and 18in rear. Our choices for sticky rubber will be considerably increased. I’d like to go a step further and fit a complete CBR600

Caliper overhaul – three top tips


Right tool

You should be able to get caliper pistons most of the way out by pumping the brakes before disconnecting the system. Sometimes they won’t budge. That’s where a proper brake-piston puller comes in handy.



Seal cull

Carefully remove the old seals using an engineers pick. Clean the grooves out to remove corrosion, some of which you can see as white deposits on the old seals.


All change

On the right you can see the new seals in position with a smear of rubber grease all round. Slide in the new pistons as per the one on the left. Give the caliper’s sliding pins a clean and grease while you’re at it.

Nice new filter but where’s the lid?

front-end, allowing us to bin the TRAC anti-dive nonsense and even upgrade the calipers from the two-piston sliding units currently partially seized onto some rather careworn discs. My first choice of replacement would be a CBR600RR set-up from 2003-2004. That bike’s front-end is about as good as stock rwu forks ever got and it features some tasty Nissin fourpiston calipers too. First we need to check with the endurance race rule-makers. In the meantime I’d started in on overhauling the stock calipers (see below left). The pistons were just as corroded as the rest of the bike suggested they might be. Possibly a waste of workshop time but if nothing else, Austin can have the serviced units for his 1997 FV model and we’ll say no more about it. Before we even get to the as-yet mainly unsourced new stuff, we have to finish the stripdown. Every painful step of that reveals another fresh horror, compounded by little mysteries left by previous owners. The one that both Jordan and I couldn’t get our heads around came when we lifted the tank. Underneath a pristine air filter nestled in the airbox, which had somehow lost its lid. One more job to sort. Add that to the list, Jordan, and cancel all leave ahead of Snetterton. For every hour of the endurance race, I see at least 20 required in the workshop.

NEW IN Engine Oil Seal Kits

Handmade performance exhausts for the old aircooled superbikes Z900/1000/Z1R/J/R/GPZ, GS1000/ GSX1000/1100 EFE Katana, CB900/1100

Importer of: NRP Carbs and Diaphragms 7 Park Street Off Cheetham Hill Road Manchester, ENGLAND, M3-1EU

+31 (0)6-253 495 32


Midlife Classics

Sky Team Ace 125 fantastic retro cafe racer , brand new, choice of colours ...... £1799 Skyteam Mini 50 & 125, great little Honda Monkey replica, brand new from only..£879 Skyteam Skymax 50 & 125, lovely Honda Dax replica, brand new from only........ £999 Suzuki TS100 1979 finished in blue...A lovely 70’s Trail Bike one owner for last 10 years..........................£999 Garelli Rekord RSL Sports Moped 1977, our unique Stafford Show Cafe Racer! ........................................ £POA Fantic TX125 Trials 1979, fantastic restored condition, Twin shock classic...............................................£1295 Royal Enfield Electra, 2009, finished in Red/Chrome spec too much to list, great example......................£2995 Skyteam T-Rex 125, fantastic RV125 replica, brand new, only....................................................................£1499 Skyteam V-Raptor 125 & 250, great Van Van replica but brand new from only .........................................£1699



Visit our website for exclusive bike art by Kerryann Hartley 07791 021675/01905 384266

NC30 Club UNIT 30 BRITANNIA ENTERPRISE CENTRE WATERWORKS ROAD, HASTINGS TN34 1RT M O B : 07 9 71 9 67 2 07 T E L : 014 24 4 2 6 3 8 3

t. 01633 270299 m. 07886436099 m. 07984687271 We specialise in safe and secure transportation of your Bike, Scooter and Moped. We’re a well-established business with a great reputation throughout the UK and Europe.

DAVE COOPER TRAILERS (CB), Unit 7, Pettings Court Farm, Hodsoll St, Wrotham, Kent, TN15 7LH Tel/Fax: 01732-820082 Mobile: 078607 02112

CLIP-ON ADJUSTABLE BIKE RACKS £69.50 JUNIOR RACKS 50cc-80cc SENIOR RACKS 100cc-600cc Fits any vehicle with British Standard Towbar and you can still tow with the rack in use. Made from 4mm British Steel tubing. Finished in protective enamel, light boards, tie down straps and double racks also available.


SINGLE BIKE – £289 DOUBLE BIKE – £349 TREBLE BIKE – £389 SIDECAR – £365 (All prices inc VAT). Delivery service available. Spare Wheel £28.50 extra

Trailers come complete with independent suspension, clip-on loading ramp, tie down loops, wheel support clamps, security locking facility, removable light board and six enamel colours. “New” wall mounting brackets – to hang trailer on your garage wall £15.00 pair.


Prices include light board and ramp.

HILL SHIPPING • WORLDWIDE SHIPPING of Bike and bike parts • Marine Insurance • Complete Professional Package See the very latest shipments

Motorbikes over 30 years old NO duty and just 5% VAT

Tel: 01795 876000 Fax: 01795 875000

ACK IN the 1990s, UK riders snapped up secondhand Japanese-market 250s and 400s. Most differences were simple to sort and the headlight aim was fine, because the Japanese drive on the left. But they had some funny ideas about headlamp power. Where a UK-spec ZXR400, for example, used two 60/55W bulbs, its Japanese market equivalent was equipped with two 60/35W. If you think that sounds dim on dip, you’d be right. The UK bike also runs separate high and low beam relays. These allow the battery to light the bulbs without the necessary 10 amps passing through the delicate handlebar switch contacts. The grey import version has a high beam relay only. To convert to UK spec you need a relay and associated wiring for the low beam circuit. Also, Japanese bulbs are a different fit to 60/55W H4 halogens, so you need to modify the bulb housing.


If only the Japanese liked brighter headlamps, eh?


Parts used

Convert a grey import to UK headlight spec Thought it was just a matter of fitting a new bulb? Wrong. A few fiddly mods are needed to get your Japanese lights shining brightly

We got our bits from Vehicle Wiring Products: 4 x 3m of 28/0.30mm thinwall cable (rated at 16.5amps continuous)* • 3m vinyl sleeving to take four wires • roll of cloth tape • inline mini blade fuse holder and fuse 15A • relay R20B including latched blade terminals • 2 x H4 headlamp plugs • 3 x Japanese bullet 2-1 plus insulators • 6 x Japanese bullet male plus insulators • 3 x 6mm ring terminal double crimp plus male Jap bullet insulators • solder and 4mm heat shrink *We chose colours that contrast with Kawasaki’s, but you can use theirs if you like: red/white (hi beam feed), red/yellow (lo beam feed), black/yellow (earth)


High current out 60w Hi

Hi beam relay

60w Hi

High current in

Hi beam warn

Pass switch

Hi Dip switch Lo

+ 12v from battery (fused) 20A

+ 12v from ignition switch + 12v from lights on switch Hi

35w Lo

Dip switch

Lo 35w Lo

Switching current in High current out 35w Lo 35w Lo

High current in

Hi beam relay + 12v from battery (fused)

Out with the old, in with the new The standard Japanese market set-up (small red outline) is dead simple, but to handle the higher current we need to replace it with the arrangement in the pale yellow box. This is a Japan-spec ZXR400 loom, but it’s likely to be the same as other 400 models.



HOW LONG? Give yourself a day.

COST? About £40.



The basic idea


Fix your relay


Plumb in the relay

We’re going to intercept the current flowing from the dip switch to the low beam bulbs and use it to drive a relay, which is just a heavy duty switch. The relay will protect the dip switch contacts by using current direct from the battery to light the new 55W dip filaments.

VWP’s R20B relay has four blades that slide into a base, which fixes with a self tapper. It can go anywhere out of the weather. We’ve found a space on the rear mudguard just behind the positive battery terminal. The cables can follow the main loom on the left side.

Follow the instructions carefully: the R20B relay needs the right polarity for its switching terminals. Add the inline fuse (the thick orange cable in this pic) for the heavy current supply side. Cloth tape will keep everything neat.


Take your time


Plumb in new plugs


Make the bulb fit

Take as long as you need to work out exactly which wires in the low beam circuit do what. A Japanese market ZXR400 wiring diagram is hard to find but a bit of rooting around online, plus tests with a multimeter, do the trick. Red/yellow is low beam feed, red/black is high.

Choose colours for low beam switch to relay, relay to earth, battery to relay, and relay to bulbs. Plumb in the two new headlight plugs using 2-1 bullet crimps, and add a new earth cable. Seal off old feed cables with double heat shrink. Wrap it all neatly with cloth tape.

A UK spec 60/55W bulb has different tabs to those on the Japanese 60/35W. Use a Dremel and cutting disc to open up the slots suitably. Pack the headlight to keep swarf out, and be sure to blow all debris away afterwards.


Get the pens out


Solder perfection



A good principle with all wiring work is to draw what you’re starting with, and what you’re aiming for (see diagram on opposite page). That way, when you’re knee-deep in cables and crimps, you don’t have to think too hard. But turn the phone off anyway.

These 2-1 bullets were designed for older, thicker cable strands so are best soldered as well as crimped, or the wire strands can slip out. Remember to fit the insulator first or you’ll curse. Screw the new earth directly to a well-filed part of the chassis or direct to the battery.

Double check every step of your work. Tape or zip tie the new cables and sleeve so that they are stable and cannot rub on anything, or stress the terminals. Test to check everything works. Breathe huge sigh of relief and put the kettle on.



PROJECT Scrapyard gold, small ad delights and internet auction follies. Find the best and worst here

1985 Yamaha FJ1100 This is a real punt. Sold as spares or repair, its classified ad doesn’t reveal much – but as it’s an FJ that’s no reason to run for the hills. The motors could survive a nuclear blast, so after a service it’s a fair bet it’ll run. The rest is shabby but near complete – minus a set of winkers and a couple of minor fairing panels it’s all there. The seller wants £995, but negotiate. If you’re

smart it could be crushing continents for under £1500.

UP FOR £995

Gary says: It’s 90 per cent complete, which is good. I can see a race bike or cheap tourer project there. The side panels are a mismatch and you’d want to check the tank for rot, but the front discs and hoses have been upgraded. I’d offer £750 and see what happens.

1970s Benelli 500 Quattro

1986 Suzuki GP100


Gary, or Grumpy to his mates, is a mechanic, restorer, breaker, Suzuki GSX fanatic and serial bike buyer. In more than 20 years in the bike trade he’s managed to develop the twin virtues of restraint and the ability to look beneath the surface when appraising a bike. We value his advice even if we don’t always heed it. So what we got this month, Big G?

Could be a cheap race bike if you’re lucky

Suzuki 100 in need of a mechanical GP

The GP100 was a popular choice for 17-year-old, cashstrapped speed junkies back in the ’80s. Easy to convert to 125cc and tune, these little air-cooled singles kickstarted many a two-wheeled obsession. This one’s stood since 1996 and has taken a beating from the elements, but the motor still has compression and the pipe is claimed to be solid under minor surface rust. The Pro-Am fairing is a nice period aftermarket touch as


UP FOR £375

well. The £375 asking price could do with a trim, though. Gary says: These were great little things, and quick for a 100 too. If you can find new tinware it’s a worthwhile project, because rechroming isn’t cheap – wheel rebuilds can be costly, too. GT125 alloys would fit. It’d be great for short runs and zipping about on, but I’d uprate the front brake to a disc. Those drums were crap even when they were new.

Half-finished projects can be more of a headache to take on than a full-on basketcase, because you need to work out exactly which half has been done. This 500 Benelli has had some work put into it – the rear Borrani-rimmed wheel is said to be rebuilt, but the front doesn’t match, being an Akront. There are a lot of parts missing, too, including forks, calipers, exhausts, fairing, tank and seat – plus

UP FOR £2500

there’s no V5 and he wants £2500. A good, clean 500 can be had for £4500…

Gary says: Avoid. Those Benellis are nice things, even if they are based on a sohc Honda, but this thing is nowhere near complete and he’s having a laugh at that asking price. Buying all the missing bits is going to give you very little change from £1500. By then you may as well have bought a runner. Walk away from the Benelli. We repeat, walk away…

UP FOR £700

Wrong on so many levels

1989 Honda CBR1000F Advertised somewhat optimistically on Gumtree as an ‘unfinished streetfighter project’, we can only speculate as to what the previous owner had in mind as the finished article. A boat anchor, maybe? Despite looking like something you might find at the scene of an accident it is, underneath the garish paint and scrapyard styling, a Honda CBR1000. Quite where you’d start with this project remains something of a mystery too – and that’s after the seller’s robbed you of 700 quid.

Gary says: Just don’t, that’s what I say. I wouldn’t even buy that with your money. Homemade subframes always fill me with dread and given that the rest of the bike is so poorly executed I’d have little faith in the ‘engineering’. It’s not even worth breaking. Avoid like the plague.

£550? We’ll have a bit of that

1979 Kawasaki Z650 If you’re looking for a cheap big Zed project you’ll soon run out of options. Even basketcase Z1s make saucy money now. Luckily the mid-sized 650 remains something of a catch, and a mere £360 found this unloved old timer a new home. The engine looks past it but the seller claims it turns over. The outer layer of dust on both bike and motor is actually a good thing – it’s been stored somewhere dry. Make no mistake, there’s a mountain of

work there – but a good Z650 is a wonderful thing. Parts are fairly easily come by, too. Gary says: I’m not a Kawasaki man, but there’s no denying that the 650 is a cracking bike. The motors are strong and there are loads of specialists out there doing parts, so restoration is as straightforward as it gets. A dusty barn find is a good thing – corrosion will be minimal. In fact the more I look, the more I like it. You got his number?

Ignore the dust – this could be a great buy


UP FOR £550

1991 Yamaha FZR400R 3TJ This has got the potential to be a great sleeper. It’s minus an engine, so is ripe for having an FZR600 lump squeezed between its frame spars – the seller’s flogging it as such, too. The 400 loom’s still there, but it wouldn’t be hard to swap for a 600 item. Precise handling is what these little FZRs do, and with a potential 100bhp on tap it’ll absolutely fly as well. The Dream Machine V&M paint is scuffed in places, but the whole thing is only up for £550. Get yourself a 600 motor for £200 and you’re quids in.

“This is ripe for having an FZR600 lump squeezed between its frame spars”

Gary says: That’s got the makings of a lot of fun. A complete 3TJ in that condition is going to cost you over a grand anyway, so if you can source all the 600 parts for a few hundred quid – and there’s no reason why you couldn’t – that’ll be a very cheap, very fast bike.








Mostly Japanese and generally very good. Switchgear plastic fades and goes brittle through age and UV exposure.

Having been merely threatened with the paint gun at the factory, corrosion – at the welds in particular – can be an issue.

A piston and rings should be good for 10,000 miles, again subject to quality of oil and adequate warm-up time – things you can’t be sure a previous owner has paid much attention to.


“If you must have an Italian 125, this is the one to get” 4



2 7 9










Rear brake



Exhaust system



Maintenance needs to be attended to. If the braking surface of the drum becomes too scored, there isn’t enough metal to machine back.

The rear sidepanel mounting lugs crack and the small cowl that bridges them at the back has a tendency to disappear. Likewise, the oil tank cowls at the headstock.

The simple original emulsion damper will be shot by now. There are many decent replicas available from the likes of Wemoto.

Original spannie is very thick and heavy so tends to last. Don’t be tempted to polish what appears to be a stainless silencer shroud – it’s actually lacquered steel.

Likes fresh oil every 2000 miles. Go mineral or semi-synth to avoid issues of incompatibility with what’s been in there before.

Reckon to replace the main bearing every 20,000 miles – sooner if cheap two-stroke oil has been used.




Fuel tank Not overly prone to internal rusting but the paint on the outside was not applied to the most exacting of standards.

Honda NS125F R

A Honda built in Italy made the NS125 a fusion of Japanese and European flavours. Judging by the full-power version, it was a happy merger WORDS ALAN SEELEY PHOTOGRAPHY BAUER ARCHIVE & HONDA

HE NS125F is a machine to ruin the punchlines of Italian bike jokes: a Honda built in Atessa on the Adriatric coast rather than in Hamamatsu. It made sense in December 1984 when the two-stroke single was launched, going on sale in Italy in April 1985. The official line from Honda at the time was that by building the bike in Italy they could combine Japanese technology with European styling. In addition, preferential exchange rates would allow them to be more attractively priced in other European countries, like the UK. The real reasons were more prosaic. Protectionist Italian policies did not permit sub-350cc bikes to be imported into the country, meaning Honda was missing out on a huge potential market of bike-mad Italian youths. Build them in Italy and everyone would be happy. So it proved. The NS125F did deliver on its promise of Japanese thinking with the best of European execution. The only disappointment for us Brits when the NS finally made it here as an official import in 1985 was the little single hobbling from 21bhp down to 12bhp to comply with our learner restriction. With an engine based on that of the MBX125 which the NS was designed to replace, the single-cylinder, reed-valve, liquid-cooled two-stroke had less compression and different gear ratios, but was still intended to peak at the same power in restricted form. This was achieved on both engines by removing the guts of the Automatic Torque Amplification Chamber (ATAC) powervalve system of the full-power version and welding a washer in the top of the expansion chamber. However the actual power the Honda made was a few tenths of a bhp below the permitted level, putting it at a slight disadvantage to the competition – crucial to a 17-year-old. The result of all this was that UK bikes would not rev beyond 8700rpm, way below the 10,500rpm in red on the rev counter. Top speed was around 70mph. Derestriction could be achieved by


11 12




Front brake

Look for pitted or bent stanchions and leaking seals. You may even find all three at once.

Grimeca calipers actually tend to weather better than the Nissins you might expect to find on a Honda. Mastercylinder seals might be on their way by now, though.

blanking off the empty ATAC chamber and removing the washer from the exhaust but full power was achieved at the expense of any notion of staged delivery in the absence of the ATAC system. A restricted engine always throws handling into sharper relief and in this area the NS125F offered some redemption. No one would be fooled into thinking the steel frame and swingarm were aluminium, but they did what they needed to. The Italians were involved in the NS, after all, so other than occasionally erring on the side of stiffness, they know what they’re doing with suspension. So it was with the Honda. Marzocchi forks and shock in a Pro-Link monoshock rear suspension set-up provided compliance and stability. The 16in front wheel made for quick steering, too. Braking also benefitted from European influence. The Grimeca front caliper was more than up to the weight of the NS and its power, even in unrestricted form. By contrast the rear drum looked like an afterthought. It still did its bit, though. One area where Italian influence did appear to have played a part with near comedic effect was the headlight. The outgoing MBX’s 55/60W unit was downgraded to a derisory 35/35W. A triumph of style over most of its contemporaries, with a front fendermounted alloy spoiler directing air at the radiator, and available in an HRC livery or a less inspiring grey and red, the NS125F had its work cut out performance-wise against RDs and ARs, and even the MBX. However, get a full power ATAC-equipped one and you’ll see what Honda really had in mind. Two years after the NS125F came the NS125R, although whether the VFR750esque full fairing and styling were worth the extra 20kg is another matter, especially in the context of restricted bikes. If you’re looking to buy one, go for the full power model. The expense and hassle of adding ATAC for proper derestriction is just too high a price to pay.


WORKSHOP RATINGS 20 Gearbox oil change


Use a good semi-synth 10w40 motorcycle or gearbox oil and change it every 2000 miles. If you use semi-synth there will be no issue regardless of whether mineral or fully synth has been used before. Neat dials nestle behind the F’s bikini cowl

4 Top-end rebuild


White-faced R clocks offer more class still


Treat your NS to a new piston and rings every 10,000 miles and all will be well, provided you warm the bike thoroughly before thrashing and use good quality two-stroke oil.


Engine rebuild


Equip yourself with a flywheel puller, clutch holding tool and, crucially, some proper crankcase separators. Crank rebuilds are really a specialist craft.

20 Sparkplug change


Might take a little longer on the R as there’s a fairing to get past before you can get to the plug.


1986/87 NS125FG/FH

1987 NS125RH

1987 NS125R2H rep

1987 NS125R2H

Colours: red/white/ blue, grey/red Two-stroke sports single. Rectangular headlight, with a bikini fairing and bellypan. Disk front brake and rear drum.

Colours: white, red, red/white/black Fully-faired model, single front disc, rear drum brake. Rear disc offered as an option in Italy. Red and white colours only in UK.

Colours: Rothmans Exactly the same mechanically as the R2H except for the Rothmans rep paint and CBR-style front fender. Non-UK. Full power only.

Colours: R Italia Adriatica rep Twin front disc model, with full fairing. Built for France, Japan, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland.

“You want to get a non-UK bike with the full ATAC system”

Carb strip and clean


The little Dell’Orto carb is well supported in terms of spares. Age-hardened carb rubbers are the only hurdle to overcome.


Replacing the fork oil


No drain holes so it’s legs out, which is what you’d want to do if you’re minded to do the job right.

40 Brake pads/shoes


Allow a little extra time for brake maintenance if the rear drum’s shoes need replacing too. Most fettling job are fairly easy on the NS

Proof the Japanese and Italians should collaborate more often


The Italians ensured the NS’s handling was spot-on

Marzocchi forks, Gremica brake and wheels

Swingarm pivot Cushion arm


Con rod

Needle roller bearing

VPro-Link rear suspension aids stability

PRICE GUIDE Mint £2000-£2500 Good £1200-£1900 Ratty £800-£1100 Basketcase up to £750



Dave Hagen PDI’d NS125s when they were new. Now the ace tuner and restorer has an immaculate NS125F of his own, a wedding present from a friend and customer of his Isle of Man-based Evomoto business (01624 819212, “If you must have an Italian 125, this is the one to get. As great as Cagivas and Aprilias are, this one benefits from being a Honda. If you do everything by the book it will work, which isn’t always true of the others. “Restricted bikes last longer engine-wise, but you want to get a non-UK bike with the full ATAC system. The ultimate is perhaps the twin front disc R2H model, which the French, Finns, Swedes, Japanese and Swiss got. This is one bike where it really pays to buy the best you can get from the outset.”

All prices for genuine spares from David Silver Spares (01728 833020, unless indicated Air filter discontinued Sparkplugs (NGK BR9ECS) £8.56 Piston and rings £90.95 to order Front brake pads £42.22 to order Clutch plates (friction) £27.50 (plain) £36.48 Cylinder head gasket £16.20 Regulator/rectifier £127.03 to order Fork oil/dust seals £18/£21.02 Steering head bearings £35.46 Chain and sprockets (pattern) £42.65 to order Indicators (each, pattern) £12.48 to order Fairing discontinued Front brake lever £12.60 Mirrors (pair, pattern) £24.82 to order Silencer £90

USEFUL LINKS forum with sections dedicated to Honda spares and advice whether it’s John McGuinness with his TT bike or you with an NS125, Dave Hagen can help

SERIAL NUMBERS 1986 NS125FG 1987 NS125FH 1987 NS125RH • UK • Finland • Sweden • Spain • Switzerland 1987 NS125R2H • France • Finland • Sweden • Switzerland

Not available Not available Frame numbers TC01-25001-on TC01-550001-on TC01-45001-on TC01-15001-on TC01-35001-on Frame numbers TC01-65001-on TC01-55001-on TC01-45001-on TC01-35001-on


1986 Honda NS125F-G ENGINE Type Capacity Bore x stroke Carburation Clutch/gearbox CHASSIS Frame Front suspension Rear suspension Front brake Rear brake Tyres DIMENSIONS Dry weight Wheelbase Fuel capacity PERFORMANCE Top speed Standing 1/4-mile Fuel consumption Price new

liquid-cooled, reed-valve, two-stroke single 124.5cc 56 x 50.6mm 1 x 26mm Dell’Orto wet, multiplate/6-speed tubular steel cradle 35mm Marzocchi telescopic forks Pro-Link with Marzocchi monoshock, adjustable preload 1 x 254mm disc, two-piston sliding caliper 1 x 86.4mm sls drum 3.20 x 16in front, 3.50 x 18in rear 109kg (240lb) 1350mm (53.15in) 14.5 litres (3.19 gallons) 73.4mph (restricted) 20s@63.4mph 60mpg £1129



IN Adverts for privately-owned bikes registered before 2000 are FREE in PS. Ads for post1999 bikes start from £20. To make sure you see the adverts first, take out a subscription to Practical Sportsbikes. See page 36 for details.

Adverts for privately-owned bikes registered before 2000 are free (bikes registered after 2000 cost £20; super double-column adverts cost £30)


Please fill in the form below, specifying the type of advert (’70s, ’80 & ’90s, Autojumble, Bikes for Sale, Bikes Wanted, Parts Wanted). Include Make, Model, Year, Price, Tel Number and Area, also up to 25 words of text. Please include your name and address (not published). Then post to: PS Reader Ads, Practical Sportsbikes, Media House, Lynchwood, Peterborough, Camb, PE2 6EA. Photographs (we regret that we cannot return these) should be of a good quality, with your name and address on the back.


Send your advert details to: Please include your surname and postcode in the subject line. Include Make, Model, Year, Price, Tel Number and Area, also up to 25 words of text. Please include your name and address (not published). Include your photo as an attachment, named accordingly, preferably as a jpeg. If payment is required we’ll call you for your card details.


We do not take advertisements over the phone. Should you have a query regarding a private advert, please call 01733 366340. For trade advertising, call Farah Bell on 01736 755508.

Your advertisement will automatically be placed in the next two available issues of Practical Sportsbikes – please state if only one issue is required. Due to high demand, we can only accept a maximum of three adverts per customer per issue. You may photocopy the coupon below if necessary


Please tick the advert you want...


’70s, ’80s & ’90s FREE


Single column picture ads for privately-owned sportsbikes registered before 2000


2 3

Name ...................................................................................................................

BIKES WANTED FREE Ads for motorcycles you’re looking to buy


Single column picture ads for privately-owned classic bikes registered in or after 2000

Bike details... Make

Ads for spares and miscellaneous items

PARTS WANTED FREE Need something to finish your rebuild? Ask here


Single column picture ads for trade sales

Double-column, high impact picture ads including Make, Model, Year, Price, Phone Number and Area, also up to 200 characters

Please include Make, Model, Year, Price, Tel No./Area, also up to 25 words of text. Super ads: up to 200 characters and submit separately.



Address ..........................................................................................................

.......................................................................................................................... .......................................................................................................................... Postcode ........................................................................................................ Daytime tel no ..............................................................................................


CHECKLIST: 1. Please use block capitals and start your advert with the make and model. 2. Specify the type of advert. 3. Don’t forget your phone number. Advertisements submitted by email must contain a name, daytime phone number and full postal address. 4. Have you included a cheque made payable to Bauer Automotive? Or alternatively we will call you for your card details 5. You may photocopy this form if you have more than one bike to sell. 6. Due to demand, we can accept a maximum of three adverts per customer per issue. 7. We do not accept trade adverts without prior agreement. All trade advertisements should have (T) at the end of the advert copy.

Conditions of Acceptance: For private advertisers only and for trade by prior agreement. No correspondence can be entered into. Unfortunately we cannot guarantee that your advertisement will appear in a particular issue. Bauer Media does not accept responsibility for any errors or mistakes in adverts. All advertisements are subject to approval of the publisher, who reserves the right to amend, refuse, withdraw or otherwise deal with copy submitted and who will have no obligation to provide you with any reason for so doing. Bauer Publishing reserves the right to publish your advert in our other magazines that we deem relevant. If you do not wish it to appear in our other titles, please make us aware.

Your advert will appear in the next two available issues.






Laverda Jota restoration


Suzuki TL1000S

All you need to know about Suzuki’s crazy V-twin Donington Classic + Yamaha FZS600 Fazer Buyers’ Guide EDITORIAL Jim Moore Editor Austin Smith Art Editor Jonathan Bentman Features Writer Alan Seeley Technical Editor Hans Seeberg Production Editor Colleen Dixon Editorial Assistant CONTRIBUTORS Gez Kane, Rupert Paul, Ronnie Weir


ADVERTISING (call 01733 36 + extension): Commercial Director Gareth Ashman (8118) Commercial Manager Gina Knighton (6311) Account Manager Dan Chapman (6312) Classified Sales Farah Bell (01736 755508) MARKETING Marketing Manager Sarah Norman Product Manager Angela Saidler Head of Newstrade Marketing Leon Benoiton Newstrade Marketing Manager Jon Freeman PRODUCTION Print Production Rebecca Stone Advertising Production Nicholas Greenwood Printed by Polestar Bicester

PUBLISHING Managing Director Motorcycling Rob Aherne Editorial Director June Smith-Sheppard Group Managing Director Rob Munro-Hall CEO Paul Keenan SUBSCRIPTIONS AND BACK ISSUES To ensure that you don’t miss an issue and for the best subscription offers visit For subscription or back issue queries please contact CDS Global on Phone from the UK on 01858 438884 Phone from overseas on +44 (0)1858 438884 © Bauer 2015. Bauer Automotive Registered Office: 21 Holborn Viaduct, London EC1A 2DY. ISSN 2043-0620

Practical Sportsbikes magazine is published 12 times a year by Bauer Consumer Media Ltd, registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, PE1 2RF. Registered number 01176085. No part of the magazine maybe reproduced in any form in whole or in part, without prior permission of the publisher. All material published remains the copyright of Bauer Consumer Media Ltd. We reserve the right to edit letters, copy or images submitted to the magazine without further consent. The submission of material to Bauer Media whether unsolicited or requested, is taken as permission to publish in the magazine, including any licensed editions throughout the world. Any fees paid in the UK include remuneration for any use in any other licensed editions. We cannot accept any responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, images or materials lost or damaged in the post. Whilst every reasonable care is taken to ensure accuracy, the publisher is not responsible for any errors or omissions nor do we accept any liability for any loss or damage, howsoever caused, resulting from the use of the magazine.



Classifieds Bikes for sale



Classifieds Autojumble

Bikes Wanted

Parts Wanted





The invaluable What Bike? new bike listings

■ 2015’s HOTTEST NEW BIKES All the latest new metal ridden and rated


Essential products in which we trust


Grab the bike of your dreams – for less


32 great bargains you can’t afford to miss





Ignition stator repairs for vintage and modern road & off road bikes. Rewound to heavier duty. Regulators supplied. Fast, friendly service.

Fine Limit Cleaning and Finishing Specialists Unit 6 & 7 Kingstons Farm, Matching Green, Harlow, Essex CM17 ORB

Also Welding, Stove Enamel & Powder Coating


Office: 01895 263890 HEATHROW, MIDDLESEX

POWDER COATING VULCAN SHOT Shot Blasting & BLASTING All Metal Work & POWDER Powder Coated COATING LTD 6 Cranes Close, Basildon, Essex SS14 3JB Tel: 01268 282662 One of the largest independent product finishers in Essex. Over 20 years experience in applying specialist colour and protective finishes to your classic, sports or vintage motorcycle.

Tel: 01279 731172

01773 530200/ 07971 655659 Morton Industrial Coatings Unit 6 Brook Court, Amber Drive, Langley Mill, Nottingham, NG16 4BE








THE ULTIMATE PAINTWORK Specialising in British, Italian, American and Japanese Tank & bodywork repairs Custom & helmet paintwork

Tel: 01270 669339 Mob: 07752 008698 email:


Call: 01483 275258

SPARES & PARTS Slip it in quicker with a Sigma! Tel: 01892 538802

Please mention


when contacting advertisers 07900362809 MAKE THIS YOUR FIRST CALL!

Racks & racks of good used spares for 4 stroke models 400cc plus, 1976 to present day! GS550/650/750/850/1000/110, GSXR750/1100, GSX600/750/1100, Katana 550/650/110, RF600/900, Bandit 400/600/1200 Dyna ignitions & coils, performance engine components in stock. Calls by appointment or fast mail order

Genuine Suzuki parts at discount prices. We have a huge range of classic & modern Suzuki parts available for immediate dispatch from stock.

Genuine Suzuki Parts

Suzuki parts -

SFMoto-Brakes are suppliers of DP Brakes™ Sintered brake pads. Designed and developed to improve your Practical Sportsbike’s braking - the simple performance upgrade for your brakes The Easy, Fast, Secure and Convenient way to buy your brake pads.

To advertise in the PSB Web Directory please call Farah on

01736 755508 or email

We are a company specialising in the sale of factory matched automotive paint aimed purely for the motorcycle refinishing market. Being motorcycle painters ourselves for the past 30 years has enabled us to structure a vast database of motorcycle colour formulations.


07800 564047

Pay as you restore available! Example – Frame and Swingarm powder coated from £90!

Brake Re-Builds Cylinder Reboring Crank/Engine Re-Builds Blasting & Coatings

07800 564047

To place your ad call sales on 01736 755508


Send us the Bikes of Your Life

As soon as Adam Wibberley was old enough he was trying out bikes. It’s a two-wheeled love affair that’s still going strong over 30 years later ADAM WIBBERLEY

couldn’t wait to get on a bike when he was younger, and he’s rarely been off them since. “I’d always loved them and was lucky to get to ride farm bikes while my younger sister rode horses. It bugs me that we have to wait until 16 to get on the road,” says the 46-year-old house husband. Eventually the long wait was over and a new world beckoned. “Once I had my MB50 that was it: freedom, socialising with likeminded nutters, mostly on similar MBs/MTs, all racing along Margate seafront.” Adam’s passion soon became his life. “I got a Saturday job at my local Yamaha dealership, and then left my job in a bank to work there full-time.We had fantastic rideouts with a great bunch of bike lovers. “We were lucky enough to have things like Terry Rymer’s OW01 in the showroom for a while.Also we helped out a young fella called Michael Neeves with his FZR600. He’s a journo at MCN now but back then he was a fairly convincing Rob Lowe lookalike.” In the early 2000s Adam ended up working in a BMW dealership, but the world had changed. “It was great to be able to ride regularly, but the vibe of the old days had pretty much disappeared.” Now he wants to find an old XT or YPVS project to work on when he gets the time. “I can offer prospective vendors an old TDM,” he says hopefully. Denim hotpants: all the rage in 1986



Road legal at last


“I’d ridden a couple of farm bikes before, then my dad got himself a 1978 Vespa 90 as a cheap commuter. When he was out I’d do wheelies in the back garden or sneak around the block. Then I had two 1981 Honda MB50s – a red one and a black one with a fairing that I built up from boxes. I sold the black one to fund a 65cc Autisa big bore/pattern unrestricted exhaust and Malossi carb for the red one, in the search for more speed. I got quite good at rebuilding the top end very quickly – very often.” Still having a blast, even with the L-plates


Dreaming of doing 140mph at the TT. Probably

Getting the DTs “I used to ride this 1981 Yamaha DT80MX around my cousin’s farm and always loved it. I managed to persuade her to sell it to me when I was 17. I used to put 50 stickers on it to pretend it was a really fast moped.”

The wheelying phase “This red 1980 Yamaha RD350LC was built up from a box of bits and converted from a 250. I loved it. I spent most of my time wheelying it around everywhere with my mate on his yellow and white one.”

The first tour “Even though this 1980 Yamaha XJ650 was a pretty good bike, I made a few upgrades to the suspension. My girlfriend and I took it on a big trip down to Spain, two-up on our own. I was a real numpty and thought it would be fine to ride 1000 miles non-stop. I ended up falling asleep on service station floors and it took us absolutely ages to get there. We didn’t even take waterproofs with us – we used bin liners. This picture is of me about to wash the bike at a campsite.”


Who needs two wheels when one will do?

The position in which Adam spent most of the ’80s

Bikes of my life

Still wheelying… “This 1981 Yamaha XT250 was an old farm bike I managed to put back on the road. It was a great second bike to the LC and could hold its own on the twisty bits. It was often used as a loaner to mates when their bikes were off the road. It actually got stolen. A friend managed to find out who nicked it, but after a ‘physical’ chat he only managed to retrieve the exhaust. I’ve no idea where the rest went.”


This wasn’t part of Adam’s life for long


Ill-fated project

Lent in good faith, never seen again

The worst one... “What an old dog of a bike this Kawasaki KH250 was. The looks, handling and engine were awful! It left a wall of smoke for miles and the middle carb always fell off.”

“This 1984 Yamaha 350 YPVS was a bit of a project, but to be fair it was never a patch on my original one. It didn’t handle very well and the engine was a little too worn out. Rather than trying to fix all of it I just decided to move it on.”




Some friend… “I didn’t have this 1990 Yamaha XT350 for long. It was a lovely little bike but I lent it to a friend who dispatched for a ‘couple of weeks’ and I never saw it again. I eventually got some money out of him six months later but never found out what happened to it.”

The best one... “I loved this 1984 Yamaha 350 YPVS. It’s the newest bike I’ve ever owned. The engine was a peach and it handled perfectly. I sold it to buy an XJ650, but wish I still had it.”


Bonding issues “For some reason I never really bonded with this 1980 Yamaha RD250LC. It was a nice, standard little LC, but after the 350s it just didn’t feel right.”



The one that got away... Stopgap LC “Even despite my failure to gel with my previous one, I bought another 1980 Yamaha RD250LC cheap for a project and used that for a while. It eventually gave way to an FZ750.” Matt black LC didn’t shine

“This 1981 Yamaha XT250 was a great little bike. It cornered fantastically. It was quite literally the one that got away as it was stolen – I’ve no clue what happened to it.”



The keeper (nearly) “I remember this 1990 Suzuki GSX-R750L a bit like the girl who had gone out with your mates and you wanted her too. A couple of friends had owned it, and then I managed to buy it. I kept it for the longest of all my bikes. In the end it had to go, so it’s now back home with its original owner.”

The current one... A dodgy back meant Adam had to part with the GSX-R

“I’d always liked these, and this 1990 Yamaha TDM850 popped up for sale. I’ll probably have it for a while, unless someone wants to swap it for an old XT or a YPVS project!”



ke Bi tiul aM

O y SAUP T 43 polic £2

on Included with your bike policy


WE cover your mate’s bike when YOU ride it - FREE of charge on us!**

Carole Nash, a name you can trust

    Low Excess

Free agreed value^^ UK & European breakdown and accident recovery, including Homestart assistance worth over £100

Up to £100,000 legal expenses cover in the event of an accident which is not your fault

RIDER COVER** - FREE accidental damage cover when riding other bikes FREE DNA+ protection system worth £30^


Based on reviews from January 2015 – June 2015

of customers would recommend Carole Nash







Opening hours: Mon - Fri 8am - 8pm, Sat 9am - 5pm, Sun 10am - 4pm. ^DNA+ protection system, terms and conditions apply - ^^Subject to satisfying underwriting conditions. *Based on an average customer saving of £243. Saving compared to buying two separate Carole Nash policies. Average customer = 48 year old male with 7 years NCB, riding a Honda 900RR Fireblade and a BMW R1200 GS. **Rider Cover: Both bikes must have comprehensive cover, terms and conditions apply - Carole Nash Insurance Consultants Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, firm reference no. 307243. Carole Nash is a trading style of Carole Nash Insurance Consultants Ltd, registered in England and Wales no. 2600841.



55 Years Experience

Carburrettor Balancer Special Offer £109.98 VS209

Narrow Screwdrivers £4.98 SD62

Long Screwdrivers £10.98 909067

Wire and Nylon Brushes Carburretor Jet tools CTJ02 1.5mm-3mm £10.98 £15.98 CHT741 CTJ01 0.45mm-1.5mm £10.98

Smart Auto Darkening Whitworth Sealey Whitworth Sealey Combination Spanner Socket Set £15.98 Welding Helmet 9 Piece. / / . ½” drive. Lithium b Set Manufactured from hardened 1

8 Piece. 1/8 - 9/16. Hardened, tempered and nickel chrome plated sizes classi enthu



T Bar hex key set £9.98 323710

Please see page 7 for more information on selected tools or see our website for more information

Clarke 10 piece 1/2" Clarke 8 piece 1/4" Multi Drive Socket Set Deep Multi Drive High quality, tough chrome anadium steel. 10 x metric sockets; Socket Set

Clarke 8 piece 3/8" Deep Multi Drive Socket Set

quality, tough chrome 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 & High vanadium steel. 8 x metric sockets; 19mm. Lifetime guarantee. 5, 6, 7,8, 9, 10, 12 & 13mm. Lifetime guarantee.

High quality, tough chrome vanadium steel. 8 x metric sockets; 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17 & 19mm. Lifetime guarantee.








powered Solar AK2677 assisted for longe life. 2 year warrant

and tempered chrome vanadium steel.

7 Piece 3/8 drive also available.



£11.98 £29.98



All prices including VAT

Tel: 01424 717453 Email: Fax: 01424 719553 Thorcraft Ltd, Unit 4, Haywood Way, Ivy House Industrial Park, Hastings, Sussex TN35 4PL Our Sales Department and showroom are open 8.30am-5.15pm Mon-Sat Payment: Send cheques or quote credit card number. CARRIAGE: Orders under £50 add £3.98 p&p (UK mainland). Carriage up to £300 add £6.98. Over £300 add £10.98 (UK mainland). Prices are inclusive of VAT. Prices correct at time of going to press. E&OE


CONTROL WITH FRANDO Frando radial master cyclinders make light work of controlling your motorcycle. Choose from brake master cylinders with 15, 17 or 19mm pistons. You can even convert some cable clutches to hydraulic with Frando.









Suspect carbs. Get them on the bench

Contents 04 Clean and rebuild CV carbs

10 Restore carburettor rubbers

If your bike isn’t running right, then dirty carbs can often be to blame. Here’s how to sort them out in just over two hours

It’s costly if you want to replace your inlet and airbox rubbers. Why not spend £30 and do it yourself, like this…

07 Tools for the job

12 Electrolytic tank de-rust

You’ll be needing some Allen T bars, pliers, vacuum gauges, brushes… and a pair of tweezers out of the bathroom cabinet

Rust in a fuel tank is a disaster, but if you nip it in the bud early it can be sorted for little more than a fiver

09 Fuel tap rebuild

14 Balance carburettors

Seals can perish, leak or corrode over time, so tightness is the key if you want to avoid an MoT failure

Carb imbalance leads to rough running, vibration and even engine damage. Find out how to use a set of vacuum gauges


GIVEN A QUID for each fuel-related question we receive every month, I could run the thirstiest of two-strokes for a year, even at today’s inflated pump prices. It’s no wonder that fuel systems cause so much consternation, given the age of our bikes. Not only that, the petrol available to us now is a rather different concoction to that our fuel systems were designed for. Clogged jets, rusted tanks and perished, hardened rubber and plastic parts are just some of the problems we face. Luckily, we have the means to put them right as you’ll find in this, the latest of our Workshop Wisdom supplements. You can also get a PS binder for £3.99 to keep them all in. Call 0800 665438 to order yours. Alan Seeley, Technical editor


Banish fuel tap drips at a stroke

Rigid rubbers? We have the fix

Editor Jim Moore Art Editor Austin Smith Production Editor Hans Seeberg Contributors Rupert Paul, Alan Seeley, Rob Hoyles, Jon Pearson © Bauer 2015. Bauer Automotive. Registered Office: 21 Holborn Viaduct, London EC1A 2DY. ISSN 2043-0620

Workshop wisdom | Practical Sportsbikes 3




HE MAJORITY OF noninjected Japanese sportsbikes run constant velocity carbs. As efficient and effective as they are under usual circumstances, their delicate internals don’t take kindly to neglect. The biggest problem, particularly on bikes left standing for long periods, is fuel evaporating inside the carb bodies into a solidified mess. That gunk, along with dirt collected over time in the carb float bowls, can stop your bike from running properly. Even if you’re careful to drain the fuel before storage, perished or cracked diaphragms can stop your carbs from working. The Yamaha FZ750 we used for this came partly dismantled – the carbs thrown in a box of assorted detritus. Their internal condition is unknown, although they look ripe to be stripped and thoroughly cleaned. If your carbs are in situ, remove them. Disconnect and remove the tank, the airbox, throttle and possibly choke cables (depending on the bike). Drain the carbs and check no dirt has collected around the bell-mouths connecting the bank of carbs to the cylinder head, before loosening with a long screwdriver and pulling them free.

T Clean and rebuild

CV carbs Few things are more annoying than a badly

running bike. Dirty carbs are often the culprit, particularly on bikes that have been standing. Strip, clean and rebuild them in a morning… WORDS JON PEARSON PHOTOGRAPHY BAUER ARCHIVE Two-and-a-half hours well spent


HOW LONG? 2.5 hours.

COST? Potentially free unless you decide to buy an ultrasonic cleaner.

Tools for the job Screwdrivers (both flat and crosshead), spanners, Allen T-bars, pliers, tweezers, bath for cleaning, cleaning solution or paraffin, paintbrushes, toothbrush, penetrating oil, ultrasonic cleaner (optional).

If your carburettors are in a grotcovered state then clean them first in a bath with cleaning solution, using a paintbrush or a toothbrush. Wipe or blow them dry with an airline afterwards.


4 Practical Sportsbikes | Workshop wisdom

Remove the tops or covers one at a time, bearing in mind the spring located on the underside. Check at this point that the diaphragms are seated properly on the carb rims. If not, it may point to a problem.


Peel the diaphragms from the carb carefully, checking that they’re not dry, cracked or perished. As long as they’re not they should be serviceable after the application of rubber grease. If they are damaged they’ll need replacing.

Remove the needle and holder with a screwdriver or long-nose pliers. This varies depending on carb brand and type. Some needles will just push out. Be careful not to dislodge the washer at the top.

Check the needle for wear at this stage. You’re looking for grooving or anything that isn’t uniform. Then repeat steps three and four for each carb body.

Unscrew the mixture screw, making a note of how many turns out each one is (some have both fuel and air screws). They’re often recessed so ensure the screw head is clean and you have the correct-size screwdriver, as they can be slightly seized.

Again, check the screw for wear and (in this case) the small spring is operating smoothly. Pay close attention to the tip, which can be bent or broken off if previously over-tightened.

Bottoms up next to remove the float bowl. Be prepared to find sediment and dried-up fuel residue inside. Check the float bowl gasket is seating correctly and that it hasn’t perished.

Remove the floats by pulling the retaining pins out with a pair of tweezers. The needle valve locates on the float arm so lift the float away gently. Again, check valve, valve tip and spring for wear.

10 holders first before the holder itself.






Remove the main jets from their

Look out for washers and O-rings (depending on manufacturer) and pick them out if necessary.



Dismantle each carburettor separately to prevent mixing components. Once done, collect and store them separately to further avoid confusion when you come to rebuild them. Continues over the page


Workshop wisdom | Practical Sportsbikes 5




Remove the emulsion tubes and marry them up with their needles to check for wear or scoring. Some tubes have tiny holes which need close inspection.


Thoroughly clean the carb bodies in a bath with cleaning solution and a range of brushes. You can use a professional bath like this or make your own. Repeat the process with every metal part of the carbs, before cleaning and drying thoroughly.

Next we used an ultrasonic cleaner to dislodge hard-to-budge crud and corrosion. Follow the instructions with your cleaner. We submerged the carbs and metal parts (in a separate container) in the solution for half an hour.


While that’s ‘cooking’ use a toothbrush to clean the floats in the bath and the diaphragms with a clean cloth and some light oil. Carb internals are easily damaged, so don’t be too vigourous with the brush – let gradual pressure remove the dirt.

When everything is clean and dry give it a thorough spray with a rustinhibiting, penetrating oil – taking care to lubricate the throttle mechanism shaft. If jets, O-rings, needles or valves show signs of wear or damage, invest in new ones.

With the jets back in, locate the needle valves on the float before pushing the pin through. Hold the carbs up and do a visual check on the float levels. You may need to tweak the float arms gently in line.

Use a thin smear of rubber grease on the diaphragms before re-seating each in the groove on the carb. Diaphragms only locate one way. Replace the needle and holder as removed.

Keep the diaphragms seated and springs located on the underside of the cap. Before final tightening, check each piston moves freely inside. Replace mixture screws (and O-rings), setting the screws to the correct number of turns out.


6 Practical Sportsbikes | Workshop wisdom





There – that’s a bit better, isn’t it?



Tools for the job Working on fuel systems can be a fiddly and finicky business. Equip yourself correctly and things become a whole lot easier 1 Carburettor balancer Bank of four gauges with lockable valves supplied with long and short carb adaptors. Sealey carburettor synchroniser VS209.v2 £118.98 toolsbypost. com 01424 717453

2 Plastic jug Ideal for soaking small parts in fuel or other solvents, or just keeping bits safe in. No smoking, mind. Jug 1 litre £7.99 toolsbypost. com 01424 717453

3 Storage box It’s important to return the same jets and so on to the same carb. A plastic divider box makes this easier to do. Plastic divider storage box £6.98 toolsbypost. com 01424 717453

4 Long screwdrivers Reach into the deepest recesses of your engine with long screwdrivers. Essential for fitting and adjustment. Long screwdrivers £10.98 toolsbypost. com 01424 717453

5 Valvoline carb cleaner Watch the crud dissolve and wash away, leaving no deposits with a few blasts from this aerosol. Carb cleaner £8.59 500ml can. Car and bike parts shops and online


6 Narrow screwdrivers Snug-fitting narrow screwdrivers get those tiny jets and screws undone. Narrow screwdrivers £4.98 toolsbypost. com 01424 717453



7 Nitrile gloves Petrol and the solvents you use to clean fuel systems are best kept off your skin. Wear gloves at all times. Box of 100 nitrile gloves £7.98 toolsbypost. com 01424 717453

8 Wire and nylon brushes Leave the steel brushes in the set for carb work but the nylon ones are most useful. Clarke 20-piece wire brush set £15.98 toolsbypost. com 01424 717453



8 3 4 10


12 15



14 13 9 Auxiliary fuel tank Better than chocking up the fuel tank on the frame while you balance carbs. Motorcycle portable fuel tank 1-litre Sealey MS029 £22.61 justoffbase.

10 Air duster gun fitting If you have a compressor, this air duster attachment is ideal for blowing through jets and drillings. Air duster £4.98 toolsbypost. com 01424 717453

11 Carburettor jet tools Use these to clean and size jets. One covers 0.451.5mm jets, the other 1.5-3mm. 20pc and 16pc folding carburettor jet tools £10.98 each toolsbypost. com 01424 717453

12 Tweezers Never underestimate how fiddly carb components can be. Get yourself a pair of these. Tweezers £3.98 toolsbypost. com 01424 717453

13 Needle nose pliers Where fingers and even tweezers can’t get a grip, these needle nose mini pliers will. Needle nose mini pliers £3.98 toolsbypost. com 01424 717453

14 Air duster aerosol If you don’t have a compressor, get yourself some cans of air instead. Fellows air duster spray 350ml £3.75

15 T-bar hex key set Carb tops and float bowls are easily undone using these 2-10mm hex keys. A most useful set. T-bar hex keys £9.98 toolsbypost. com 01424 717453

16 Illuminated magnifier Even if your eyesight is spot on you’ll still need help to read carb jet sizes. Illuminated magnifier £4.98 toolsbypost. com 01424 717453

Workshop wisdom | Practical Sportsbikes 7

Bullet Polish Spray Carnauba Bike Wax Bullets spray wax is 100% Carnauba Wax & so easy to use. Use Bullet Spray Carnauba Wax on: s!LLTYPESOF 0AINTWORK 6INTAGE  -ODERN s#HROME s0LASTICS s,EATHER NO PTFE or Chemicals s'LASS0LEXI 'LASS s3TAINLESS 3TEEL

100% Silicone Free

In fact all your bikes surfaces (pipes & seat included) without the white residues, smears or disappointments associated with other brands. IT IS SO EASY TO APPLY JUST SPRAY ON AND BUFF LIGHTLY We have Polymer Sealants and Colour Restoration polishes too.

100% Money Back Guarantee on all our products

+SPECIAL OFFER+ Use code BIKE10 when ordering from our store. Receive 10% off all products and FREE P&P when you order over £40.00 worth of products.

Zed-Parts Ltd Unit 64 Sugarbrook Road Ultrasonic Carb Cleaning Aston Fields Bakingsoda Blasting - Engine Cleaning Bromsgrove Motorcycle Renovation- Japanese Classics Worcestershire email Tel 01527 878237 B60 3ND

Our testimonials will tell you how good it is.

The only limit is your imagination!

Carbon Fibre Specialist

Phone James on 01886 821330

TEL: 01778 422 722

01670 898402 CO UK

ACE 7659

Update your sportsbike speedometer & rev counter





Rebuild a fuel tap Leaky fuel taps can be both stinky and

Tools for the job Old toothbrush. Screwdrivers. Engineers pick. Carb cleaner.

dangerous, but they’re easily sorted


NUSUALLY strong smell of petrol in the garage? Could be a leaking fuel tap. The issues caused by tired fuel tap internals can go beyond an anti-social whiff in the shed, because as well as being an MoT failure, fuel flowing where it shouldn’t can be downright dangerous. A lot of PS-era bikes have a manual fuel tap that’s often augmented by vacuum operation; some are vacuum only, and all

have rubber seals and/or diaphragms. Although these are highly fuel resistant, many will be getting past their service date as well as having to resist the additives in modern fuel. They could be forgiven for leaking by now. Luckily rebuild kits are widely available for pretty much the same price as a tank of petrol. It’s a very quick and easy job, as demonstrated for you here on a Yamaha TDR250 fuel tap.


Having first cleaned the outside of the tap, we’ll deal with the diaphragm side first. Using a snug fitting screwdriver, undo the screws evenly, holding the castings together to prevent small components flying everywhere.

The new diaphragm is two rubber sheets joined in the middle by metal washers and a spigot. One sheet has to be fed through a hole in the plastic separator, ensuring the orientation of the old diaphragm is copied.

A spray of carb cleaner and a good brush out of the body are wise moves before refitting the diaphragm. Ensure it’s correctly located on the separator piece – this one has moulded pips. Be careful getting the spring in too.

Now it’s the manual tap side. Again using a snug fitting screwdriver, undo the indicator plate holding the tap in. Be careful as there is a spring wave washer under the plate. Next, pull the rotating mechanism out of the tap body.

Here’s the new seal seated in the freshly cleaned-out housing. As you can see, two of the four holes locate on the casting. The rotating part of the tap has a seal running around its diameter – replace that as well.

Picking out the old tap-to-tank seal. Its channel was a major cack-fest and took some vigorous applications of toothbrush and carb cleaner to sort. Once clean, fit the new large O-ring into the slot and you can put your feet up.






HOW LONG? Allow about an hour once you’ve got the tap on the bench. Take care and be safe draining the tank of fuel before detaching the tap.

COST? Around £20 for a rebuild kit. The one we bought for a TDR250 cost £17.71 from Wemoto ( Plus it’s about a fiver for a can of carb cleaner.



Workshop wisdom | Practical Sportsbikes 9


UEL SYSTEMS GUIDE What brittle rubbers need, believe it or not, is wintergreen – a plant oil that flavours root beer


Restore carburettor rubbers The bill to replace inlet and airbox rubbers that have gone hard can be steep. Restore your originals for less than £30 instead WORDS CHRIS NEWBIGGING PHOTOGRAPHY BAUER ARCHIVE IVEN THE EVER-OLDER bikes we own and tinker with, it’s inevitable that we’ll have problems with hardened inlet or airbox rubbers at some point. All bikes fall victim to the ageing process that renders once-supple carb rubbers useless. Heat, fuel and age conspire to harden the material. Most riders first become aware of this when refitting carbs to the airbox – undue force and struggling is usually needed to persuade components to fit back in to the embrittled rubbers. Air leaks can result – without their natural elasticity, rubbers can fail to seal tightly around carb stubs. This can cause your bike to run lean – poor running or even overheating and seizures can occur, especially on two-strokes. The easy option is replacing with new. But for a GPZ900R, for example, the bill for airbox and inlet rubbers is over £120 for genuine parts, which themselves will soon start to harden in time.


10 Practical Sportsbikes | Workshop wisdom

We heard of a homebrew method to refresh rubbers using nothing more than a few basic items you probably have knocking around – and a bottle of aromatherapy oil. No, really – bear with us. So we decided to give it a go on some XJ600 Diversion airbox rubbers which

were so hard they were fit only for the bin. We carried out the smelly process outside on a camping stove, and used a chip pan and basket as a means of keeping the rubbers away from the bottom of the pan.

Tools for the job Camping stove and gas, chip pan, wintergreen oil (methyl salicylate), measuring jug, matches.


HOW LONG? 2 hours. Or even less depending on just how far gone the rubbers are.

COST? £20 for a litre of wintergreen oil (which was far too much, but will allow us to restore rubbers for years to come). £8 for a cheap chip pan.

Remove any clips or retainers from the rubbers to allow the solution to reach the whole part. Give them a clean with carb cleaner to remove any dirt and contaminants so that the solution can penetrate the rubber fully during the next few steps.


Put your rubbers in the pan. We used a chip pan with a basket, to keep the rubber away from the pan base. Then measure out enough water to cover the parts, and make a note of how much you put in – this is important to get the next step right. We used 2.5 litres.


Next, measure out enough wintergreen oil to give a 50:1 ratio, water to oil – we needed 50ml. Doesn’t seem a lot, but it’s potent stuff. For our first attempt we used 100ml, giving a 25:1 ratio – it was too much oil and softened the rubbers too quickly.


What we learnt

Add the oil to the pan. Now you can light the stove – don’t crank it up too high. A medium heat is enough – you’re looking to get the liquid almost to boiling point without the flame directly heating (and melting) the rubbers, so make sure you warm it up slowly.

Keep an eye on the pan, and when it’s near boiling, back the heat down to a low setting that just keeps the water simmering close to boiling, without actually boiling. Gently shake the basket to stop them settling in one place and potentially becoming misshapen.

Keep checking the rubbers at 10-minute intervals and move them around a bit to spread the heat. You’ll need to leave them in there until they’re soft. Once they’re supple enough, remove them from the pan.

Wash them thoroughly in cold water and clean them with a cloth – ideally something that doesn’t cover them in fluff like the duster we used. Leave them to air somewhere you don’t mind getting stinky, because it will. Job done.





Our treatment was successful, but it was a bit of an experiment too, so there are some things we’d do differently to make the process more controlled. Firstly, we’d separate the rubbers a little more from the direct heat at the bottom of the pan by suspending the basket slightly higher. This would allow us to control the heat a little better. A previous owner had cut slits in our rubbers, probably to help force them into place, but the thin moulded lip started to crinkle with the heat – it didn’t affect the important areas, but indicated that they’d got hot. For this reason, we would bring them up to heat more slowly too. We also used a bit too much wintergreen to start with, and a follow-up attempt worked better: that time we heated them for longer with less oil (50ml instead of 100ml, so 50:1 instead of 25:1). The key is patience – too much heat or oil and trying to rush results in the changes we saw to the rubber’s surface. It’s not enough to affect the function of these hidden airbox rubbers, but you don’t want to be doing it to any exposed rubbers. Take your time.

Workshop wisdom | Practical Sportsbikes 11




What a difference two days and some washing soda makes


Electrolytic tank de-rust Once rust gets hold of a steel tank it’s the beginning of the end – unless you nip it in the bud. Here’s how to do the cheapest and most miraculous of rescue jobs WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY RUPERT PAUL OU GET TWO kinds of rust in fuel tanks. One is caused by water in the fuel – more common these days due to modern petrol’s five per cent ethanol content and its hygroscopic tendencies. It���s a fiendish problem because you can’t actually see it: the rust only happens in the furthest recesses, and the first you know is a faint fuel leak. The other rust problem comes from damp storage. In this case the rust is uniformly distributed all over the inside of the tank.


The cure in both cases is to use the bike, so that the fuel and the tank interior never get a chance to sit for months. Or, if you can’t use it, drain the tank (and carburettor float bowls), and store them somewhere fairly dry. Or use lawnmower fuel stabliser. Back in the real world, we have a fundamentally sound Honda VF400 tank with light rust – enough to block fuel filters and wreak havoc in carbs, but nowhere near enough to warrant scrapping. We especially didn’t want to get rid of it as it was destined to grace Project VF400R. Here’s how we got rid of the rust and refurbed the tank to useable condition – and without a fancy chemical or tank sealant in sight.

Tools for the job

Here’s what we got out of the VF tank

12 Practical Sportsbikes | Workshop wisdom

Wooden blocks, drip tray (not shown), battery and charger, mini jump leads, wooden batten, iron or mild steel rod, electrical heater (not shown), teaspoon, takeaway tray, watering can (not shown), mixing jug, thinners or meths.


HOW LONG? 2 days. It takes some time for the magic to work.

COST? £0.10 electricity (estimate), £1.35 washing soda, £4 paint thinners (optional).

Remove everything from the dried tank – fuel level sender, tap, pump, whatever. Plug the resulting holes with clamped rubber washers, PTFE tape round threads or just Blu-Tac (pictured).

Block up the tank so that it’s stable and the filler cap is the highest point. You don’t want trapped air when it’s full. A big drip tray underneath keeps things tidy if the electrolysis reaction gets a bit fizzy.

Mix a tablespoon per gallon of washing soda and warm water and fill the tank to the brim. Tip the tank gently to ensure it’s properly full. The reaction only works if the tank interior is in contact with the solution.

Fix the iron anode to the wooden batten so that it projects vertically downwards into the solution but doesn’t touch the tank. Don’t use stainless or plated steel; mild steel or iron is your man for the task at hand here.

Hook up the jump leads and battery. The negative terminal connects to an unpainted part of the tank; the positive terminal connects to the anode. Add a battery charger to proceedings to keep the battery topped up.

The solution will immediately fizz. The bubbles are hydrogen, so no flames or ciggies – remember the Hindenberg. Soon, green or brown scum will form. Disconnect and spoon it away every so often. Wipe the anode too.

As the reaction tails off after a day or so, the fizzing fades. When even a clean anode doesn’t fizz, empty the tank onto your gravel drive. Add hot water and detergent, and shake.

Now dry the tank as quickly as possible. Unblock all the holes, drain and chase the water out with thinners. Sit it on a portable radiator. No flames, no heat guns – don’t forget that there’s still petrol residue in there.

The treated rust looks mottled black. It’s a good key for tank sealers (I’ve used POR15 without trouble) but unless there was a leak I’d just refit the tank and ride. Use a fuel filter for a couple of months until it runs clean.










Workshop wisdom | Practical Sportsbikes 13



Balanced carbs are the key to a happy bike


Balance carburettors An unresponsive throttle, loss of performance, lumpy idle and an increased thirst for fuel: not what you want from your sportsbike. Out-of-balance carbs could be to blame – here’s how to sort them WORDS ROB HOYLES PHOTOGRAPHY BAUER ARCHIVE OST OLD bikes use carbs rather than fuel injection to feed petrol and air into their engines, and those with multi-cylinder motors use individual carbs for each cylinder. Keeping those carburettors working in harmony is key, not only for an engine to consistently deliver peak performance but also to maximise throttle response and fuel efficiency. But over time, carbs can easily slip out of balance with each other. You’ll know when this is the case because the throttle will start to feel woolly and the bike won’t idle as easily or evenly as when it’s properly and correctly set up. Despite being of equal capacity, the requirements of a multi’s cylinders will be different. Add several thousand miles of use into the mix and the differences between the fuel/air requirements of each cylinder can be greater still, making balancing all the more important. Fortunately, ‘balancing’ the carbs on a multi-cylinder bike is easy, requiring just a couple of hours, a set of vacuum gauges, a couple of screwdrivers and a steady hand.


14 Practical Sportsbikes | Workshop wisdom

We spent a morning transforming a lumpy running Kawasaki GPz550 into a silky-smooth dream. Most sportsbikes from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s are fuelled by carburettors rather than fuel injection. There are two common types of carburettor, the difference being whether the slide is lifted mechanically or by a vacuum above the slide. The mechanical type are referred to as slide carbs, while the vacuum type are called ‘constant velocity’ or CV carbs.


HOW LONG? 1-2 hours

COST? A set of good quality gauges (like Davida’s, for a fourcylinder bike will cost £100-£110. A set of gauges for a four can also be used on a twin or a triple, making them a more versatile buy. Unless you intend to get a CBX, of course.

On CVs the bike’s throttle cable operates a butterfly valve in the throat of each carb. This controls the speed and pressure of gas flow through the carb, which in turn raises or lowers the slide. When these butterfly valves open unevenly, CVs go out of balance, throttle response and performance suffer, idle is lumpy and fuel consumption increases. On a conventional carb it is the relationship of the slides that affect carburettor balance. Of the two types of carburettor, CV units are the most common. Slide carbs are favoured for racing and performance. The principles for balancing CVs and slide carbs are the same, the difference being the location of the adjustment screws. On slide carbs the screw is often mounted on the side of the carb. Vacuum gauges, like we’re using here, measure the air pressure (in bar) across each carb’s inlet just behind each butterfly, and adjustment is made on the butterflies. Here’s how to get some balance in your life.

Tools for the job Set of vacuum gauges, deep socket, long thin screwdriver, cable ties and strap.

The first thing to do is to remove the bike’s fuel tank to gain access to the carbs. You might want to ask a friend to help you with this, because holding the tank and removing the associated pipes and cables at the same time can be tricky. This GPz tank has the fuel feed, a vacuum pipe and the wiring for the fuel gauge to detach before it can be removed.

Now the fuel tank has been removed, you’ll need to supply the carbs with fuel. You can buy ‘slave’ tanks designed for this purpose, but it’s not worth lightening your wallet for something you’re going to use only occasionally. An easier, far cheaper option is to position the fuel tank on the seat, secure it with a strap and use a longer pipe to connect to the carbs.

Next you’ll need to rig up your vacuum gauges. You want to be able to hang them where the dials are easy to read and the tubes won’t get kinked. Damper valves are there to dampen out any fluctuations in the readings caused by the pulsing of the engine. Our gauges have manually adjustable dampers; to start with these need to be in the open position.

Locate and remove the vacuum pipes and/or blanking plugs on the carbs and attach the tubes from the gauges. The GPz is easy to work on as it has protruding brass sleeves that make attachment of the tubes a doddle. Some carbs have threaded holes instead – most decent gauge sets come with brass inserts and T-pieces to get round this potential problem.

With the fuel feed sorted, the gauges in easy view and everything connected, start the engine and let it tick over. The gauges will flutter for a few seconds. Let them settle down; if they don’t, adjust the damper knobs. If the readings fluctuate wildly this could show a bigger problem – incorrect valve clearances, loss of compression or an air leak.

Locate and slacken off the locknuts on the adjuster screws. These should only be nipped up. You can buy a specific carb adjustment tool for this, but we used a deep 8mm socket to reach in and undo them along with a thin-bladed screwdriver to adjust the screws. Run the screwdriver through the socket and the screw can be held while the locknut is nipped back up.

The adjuster screws alter the positions of the shafts that hold the butterflies. We took the carbs off to let you see them. On these Keihins there are three screws: one to balance cylinders 1 and 2, one for 3 and 4, and one for the two pairs. Harmonise the readings of the pairs, then the pairs together. Once the gauges read equally, hold the screw and tighten the locknut.

Run the engine again once you’ve made all adjustments. If they’re still inconsistent, check the pilot jet settings. On these CV30s the base setting is two-and-ahalf turns out, but on a high-miler you may need to adjust more. Once you’re happy with the readings and all the locknuts are tight, remove the gauges and refit the vacuum hoses.

Before refitting the tank, reset the idle. On the GPz it’s 1000/1100rpm. Refit the fuel tank, being careful not to trap any wires or pipes. Run the engine for a while and check for any fuel leaks. Take the bike for a quick run and marvel at how much smoother it is…










Workshop wisdom | Practical Sportsbikes 15



London’s First Fully Equipped Rentable Motorcycle Workshop. At OMC you can rent everything you need to restore, maintain & service your own motorcycle for £24 p/hr. We have advice & experience on hand when needed. Learn as you go & cut the cost of servicing.



TEL: 01522 595975

A Well Maintained Bike Is Not Only A Happy Bike But A Safe Bike! “This place does exactly what it says on the tin. It is an open workshop, has all the tools you need and makes light of any job you need. I wheeled the bike in there for an hour and changed my steering damper, OK should have been a 20 min job, but the environment lends itself to tinkering. I rode in with no tools, and rode out with no tools. £24 well spent in my opinion.”


Practical sportsbikes september 2015 uk