Who’d be a biker-another version.

Home Forums BikeMeet Cafe Who’d be a biker-another version.

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
  • Author
  • #12670

    Well all the excellent stuff from Born2beMild has got me thinking about my own biking life, its pretty standard stuff mostly, just keeps me busy for a while jotting it down here whilst the weather is too crappy to go and work in the shed on the bikes.

    I have been around bikes as long as i can remember my dad was a biker way before i was born and the day i was born went and gave himself a hernia whilst playing on his old CZ crosser in celebrtion :)

    As a lad i remember helping my dad build up his velocette and later on he had a miny 70’s BMW R80/7 too. My uncle rode bikes too first i remember was an LC and later on he had the original GPZ1100 unitrack, i went on the back of this one sometimes. Hes no longer with us unfortunatly.
    So enough why i liked bikes and onto my first one. On my 16th borthday dad took me to the garage and presented me with a Honda PA50 Camino moped. It was virtually brand new and shiny, but i was a little dissapointed, after all i really didnt think a shopping moped with pedals was the coolest thing on earth. Beggars cant be choosers so for a couple of months the little honda was my introduction to powered 2 wheelers. Amazingly enough it was quicker than a few supposedly cooler bikes, including TS50, yam BWS50 even one ar50. so it may be crappy to look at it but i was in front on the road :)
    After a bit of looking round a lad that worked in the local bike shop offered me an FS1 (the late 80’s reborn fizzie) the engine was in bits but the cycle parts were pretty good, i bought it and learnt how to build a 2 stroke motor with help from my dad. It got a 65cc kit as part of the rebuild and a ‘modified’ exhaust. which basically means we knocked out the restrictor washers. This was more like it, proper bike looks and it was pretty quick. The main thing this bike taught me was……….NEVER let your mates have a go on your bike, it came back with bits broken or worse seized engine every time. The worst of which left me a mile long push home up the steepest hill in the area on a scorching hot day. Even fizzies are heavy in this situation, especially when you are a 9 stone weakling of 16.
    By now the approaching of 17th birthday had me and dad searching out a 125. We found a 1982 CB125TDC superdream. Anyone remember how heavy and underpowered the superdream was in 250 form? Guess what honda made an equally crappy 125 version.
    It was bought from a breakers and needed full brake overhaul, swingarm bushes and the exhaust collector welding, duly done and i had a bike that seemed slower than my fizzie. (in reality it was capable of about 65mph but it just seemed slow) To be contined………….


    Nice read, mate. Bike mechanics was soemthing I wish I got into.


    Another budding author. Good stuff SW, looking forward to part 2!


    Well thanks for the encouragement, so i may as well go onto ……..part2.

    At this point I still have the 125 Superdream and have just left college and gone to work in a bike shop. Yes BMW main dealers and general used bike sales and service. I initially started as parts boy and worked up/sideways to parts manager, service manager and ocassional technician. (i think i was basically a dogsbody but i had plenty of perks – like getting to ride plenty of bikes)

    So anyway, it became obvious i was bored silly with the honda so i sold it to a local guy, he seemed happy with it, no accounting for taste, so with the money from that and the fizzie (which had been sitting in the garge for months) part exed at a local back street dealer i did a deal for a 1985 Mk1 RD125LC. This was where it was at, That first day I was shouting and whooping to myself in my lid everytime it hit the powerband, now i understand why 2 strokes are my first love, this bike just got to me so much. I only had it for under a year but that thing taught me how to get round corners with some lean and speed, it taught me how to rebuild a water cooled 2 stroke motor (about 3 times i think) the most dumb of these being the time i couldnt figure where the oil was dripping from shortly after a reabuil, then at about 60mph it seized its crank solid. Yes the oil was coming from the autolube pipe that had come away from the stub on the carb. DOH!!!! that was the last (and most expensive) rebuild. At this point i passed my test. It was a little weird as because i worked in the BMW dealership i knew the examiner i had as we serviced the DSA test vehicles all the time. The other weird thing is that about 2 minutes into the test the radio link between us failed, apparantly as we had started he was obliged to give me the option to continue, so i just had to watch his indicators and go where he pointed. Amazingly i passed :-) Time to buy a big bike then.
    I saw an advert for an FZ600 locally, it had full loctite BSB paintjob and the loudest vance and hines can i had ever heard. Consider it bought. I rode it home in the heaviest rainstorm i had ever encountered, well i stayed on and it kept going, good omesns both or so i thought, shame that when my mate at work looked it over he noticed the fact it was burning oil cos’ the valvestem seals were shot and also that a couple of the header studs were broken. BUM. So the day after i buy it its consigned to the workshop and into many parts whilst my mate fitted in the full engine teardown and rebuild between ‘proper’ jobs.
    Now the sensible thing to do would be wait until it was done right? No fun in that so i bought cash a 5 year old Yamaha TDR250 that we had just taken in part exchange. Must be good fun these i thought, like a twin cylinder 125LC right? Wrong, it was much more mental than that, much. This thing was a rip snorting hooligan machine. I gently rode it round the yard to get used to the controls then set off home, pulls up at some traffic lights, filters between cars as usual, Lights change and i give it a bit of stick, the tin box drivers wer etreated to the sight of a TDR250 on its back wheel with an barely in control and rather surprised me hanging on and hoping it all lands in a straight line, im here to type this so it must have done :-) A bit more respect and a little while to learn the thing and It becomes apparant that the TDR is A) Fast B) very good for making you ride like a fool and C) Thirsty, 75 miles to a tank sound good?
    I was quite pleased it took my mate 6 months to finish rebuilding the FZ600.
    When the FZ was done i took it for a shake down test ride, guess what, camchain tensioner gasket failed and pee’d oil on the back tire. Glad i wasnt going silly as i would have been on my ear, that sorted i used the TDR and FZ in equal measure for another month or so, when a new bandit 600 took my eye i chopped them both in against it. I think this will be boring you all enough by now so I will leave it at that, stay tuned for part 3, sometime/somehwere soon.


    More excellent stuff SW. I really wanted a RD125LC when I was 17, but could only run to a CB100N. I did get into two strokes later when I graduated to a RD250LC and then a RD350YPVS. What a pair of superb machines. Even now you can’t beat the kick a 2 stroke bike gives you. I still miss my last YPVS that I sold at the end of 2005 to hep raise the money for my XJR. I currently ride a FZ600 too, and I found it to be a well balanced, enjoyable machine. You are spot on about the TDR250. A supermoto long before anybody had coined the name for this particular market niche. Thumper had one until about 6 months ago and he was untouchable on B roads. I rode the TDR quite a few times and while I would rather have a RD it was loads of fun. Looking forward to part 3!





    Another excellent read mate.


    Great read, and as radar said I loved my TDR and would seriously consider another. I am two stroke fan too, I have an RD250, a RD350YPVS and then the TDR.


    Hi again people, thanks for the encouragement and to thumper, TDR’s are great, i got another about 18 months ago but sold it after less than a year, i was going to hurt myself on that one, it was a bit tuned and i found myself going everywhere literally flat out, and this time it would never manage more than 60 miles on a tank :) but back to the story…………….

    Yes a new 96 bandit was mine, for all of 6 months. I liked this a lot, it was like a cross between a modern bike and an older bike, and once i swapped the crappy bridgestone exedras for some proper sticky dunlop radials it handles like it should too. (same wheels as the RF600 so suzuki had no excuse for putting such rubbish bridgestone exedras on them from new) I ‘really’ learnt to ride on this one, hanging about with experianced bike trade people and other damn good riders like police motorcyclists meant you got some very good advice on where you were going wrong and how to be fast and smooth, which for a few years i was, fast and smooth, now im slow and crap, more of that later.
    The suzuki had to have new footrests at one point as i had worn them away enought for the rubber inserts to fall out :) But a month old 1997 VFR750FV came into the showroom and i had the opportunity to buy it at trade in price, well, would have been rude not too. The VFR was the first bike i got my knee down on, silly and un-needed on the road but at the time in the 90’s it was all PB went on about and all my mates could do it, so, what the heck, your only 18 with a VFR750 once :-)

    I put about 6000 miles on this in about 3 months and i loved it to bits, but again i decided i was getting a bit too fast on the roads with this, so i downgraded (depending how you look at it) to a VFR400 NC30 road bike and a husky WR250 enduro bike for green lane fun (which a work mate had introduced me to on a borrowed XR250) I carried on riding until i was 21 when i A)changed jobs B)moved in with my girlfriend C)Bought a house. I didnt own a bike again until i was 24, just couldnt afford it.

    The re-introduction was a grotty ex proddy race 350 YPVS F2. This was patched up, and MOT’d and i ventured out onto the roads again. It was a shock, a big shock.
    I remembered how to ride a bike obviously and traffic etc wasnt much different but i just didnt have the confidence or ability to start with, the ability came back over the next couple of months but the confidence was slower and its only really the last year or so (5 years later on) that im back to having proper confidence in the bike, tyres and myself to really get the best out of biking again. My lay off was only just 3 years and 24 is no age at all to start riding bikes again but i now understand how the supposedly ‘born again’ bikers must feel sometimes after a decade or even 2 lay off and coming back to modern bikes.

    Since i started riding again i’ve been through a few steeds, i guess its a throw back to the bike shop days of having a real variety of stuff to play on. So far the list reads…..350YPVS F2, TDR250, GS550e, RD125LC x 3, GS550e again, ZX6R. and i still have the gs550e which im modifying and also one of the 125LC’s and i think im about to but a VFR400 NC21 too, but watch this space. Have fun out there and most of all, ride safe.


    More entertaining stuff SW! The 600 Bandit is a superb machine and i think that in years to come the 96-99 models will become recognized as a classic. A real bike for real bikers! I have only ridden the pre single sided swinging arem VFR750 and the later VFR800. Both left me impressed but somehow underwhelmed. Now the little VFR400 NC30, what a cracking machine. I had a 20 mile blast on a brand new demonstratoe back in 1989 and came away totally smitten. 14,000 rpm and sweet responsive handling. A real giant killer of a bike. I ran a brand RD350F2 from June 89 until Nov 91:


    A great bike but lacking something when compared to the earlier, more edgy 1984 31K YPVS that I ran 85-87.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your biking years with us all, Look forward to seeing the GS when you have completed modifications!


    Radar, the F2 was and is a great bike and i do agree the earlier YPVS felt just that bit more special. Something to do with the ignition and the way it curved and peaked, yamaha wanted the F2 to be more reliable so lopped 500 rpm off its top revs and flattened the power curve just a little.

    Im glad some of you have enjoyed reading the stuff wot i did writ :) Its probably no more or less exciting than plenty of others biking life, i think i benefitted working in the trade as it were for 5 years, you do lots of silly things on lots of bikes when you get the chance to ride them every day.

    The VFR 750 did seem bland to start with but its one of those bikes you do 50 mmiles on and are pretty impressed with but do 250 and you will never really need anything else and the 96 on models until they became the 800 were best for hard riding as honda had lopped so much weight off.

    The 96-99 bandits really are the one to have, i find it amazing how magazines and journalists put the older models down as being a bit pedestrian as i still defy a good majority of riders to get anywhere near the old bandits limits let alont eh lastest sports tackle. If you can do 130mph, grind your pegs and have a big grin on your face, what extra do you need really?



    Originally posted by Stinkwheel

    I’m glad some of you have enjoyed reading the stuff wot i did writ :) Its probably no more or less exciting than plenty of others biking life, i think i benefitted working in the trade as it were for 5 years, you do lots of silly things on lots of bikes when you get the chance to ride them every day.

    The 96-99 bandits really are the one to have, i find it amazing how magazines and journalists put the older models down as being a bit pedestrian as i still defy a good majority of riders to get anywhere near the old bandits limits let alont eh lastest sports tackle. If you can do 130mph, grind your pegs and have a big grin on your face, what extra do you need really?

    Always good to read about other bikers progression through the ranks. Both you and Born2BMild have painted an excellent picture of how biking gets under your skin. But you have both kept it real and human, and this is welcome too.

    The oringinal bandits are super, the later ones are too flabby. A mate had a early 600 and he went really well on it.

    This is my biking story by the way:



    nice reading Stinkwheel! [;)]


    Good read SW, thanks for that. I’ve never tried the VFR750 but it’s on the list of bikes to try.


    Enjoyed the read, thanks SW.

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.