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My Bike's History

Bought the bike in Oct 1998

In a fit of naive lust and an attempt to get an old girlfriend back by impressing her with a new bike I bought a 1996 SP. It looked brand new and was going for £2500. Cheap at the time.

After a couple of weeks a bloke at a bike shop told me the bike had been in a big crash and was knackered. The front wheel was off some other bike and was the wrong size. The forks were bent, the plastics had been resprayed and the frame had been rewelded but the rake for the forks was wrong.

I took the bike back and the seller sent it off to have corrective work done. The frame was realigned and I carried on riding it through the British winter.

Then in January 1999. On a weekend trip to Cardiff from Portsmouth I turned the key to hear a click from under the seat and the bike wouldn't start. A fuse had blown. I changed it and rode off, but now smoke was billowing from the left exhaust.

I chose to ignore it and drove back to Portsmouth not looking in my mirrors. When I neared Portsmouth the bike siezed. I had to push the bike 6 miles back to the house. It may be a light bike but it didn't feel like at the time.

I booked the bike in to a local bike shop in Portsmouth

I bought a gasket set new left hand piston kit from Bat Motorcycles who give good service (It's a shame they've closed down now) but you have to wait a month for the parts. Bike Business changed the seized piston and said they'd cured the problem with the smokey pipe. Smoke billowed out of the left pipe again. I took it back and the bloke said 2 strokes always billow smoke. So I rode it around a while but no, something was seriously wrong! I parked waiting at a set of traffic lights and smoke was filling the whole street like a smoke grenade or something. Took it back and they worked out one of the oil solenoids was broken. Salt water from british roads had taken their toll on an electric connection causing a short, a fuse to blow and the 2 stroke to flow unlimited till it ran out and the bike seized.

I later found the short must've broken the CDI as well

The replacement was about £90. (Pictured)

After getting the bike back together I rode it only to seized it several times more, got fed up with Bike Business and decided to fix it myself.

Autumn 1999

Fitted Goodridge kevlar brake hoses to the front brakes. Didn't notice much difference, but they were blue and looked good.

Fitted a Renthal sprocket and chain kit which probably saved about half a kilo. The rear sprocket lasted about 8,000 miles too.

Fitted Metzeler MEZ1 which were pretty good. Miles better than the factory fitted tyres. The tyre fitter said the front wheel spindle was bent so I replaced it.

Spring 2000

I tried fixing a siezure in the back garden and when it decided to rain non stop for a week, I thought my trusty canvas cover would stop it from getting wet. The only trouble was water went straight through the cover and as I'd left the top of the air box off, water filled up the bottom of the airbox went through the carbs and filled the engine with water!

I also did a volt meter test on the CDI and found one of the connections showed no reading. I now know it must've happened when the fuse popped and the oil solenoids broke.

Off it went to Crescent Suzuki in Poole, Dorset for about 6 months. They could'nt get parts for grey imports so I had to get in touch with Keith Powell in Japan and buy a new piston kit, gasket set and nearly a whole crank. Cost about £600.

When it was all together and had to collect the bike the work cost £1000! and the bloke said it had started to seize when they test drove it. I asked him again if he'd checked the CDI to confirm my worries about the reading I'd done. He said he hadn't.

I drove it away and it felt in a pretty sorry state. The tickover was very weak and it was difficult to start.

I can't say I was too impressed with Crescent Suzuki.

Spring 2001

I bought a second hand restricted CDI from Stu Jones at Jones Racing and drove the bike from then on without ever seizing the bike. I also needed to get it through the MOT. So Stu Jones arranged for me to have a Dymag front wheel made. I had to exchange the front wheel spindle with one he had machined to fit and now I had a white magnesium wheel which weighed nothing.

Bought Nology Hotwires from Stu Jones. I didn't notice any difference to performance but then a dyno run may tell a different story.

A few months later Stu managed to source a pair of second hand Sugaya race pipes for £450 and a de restricted CDI for £650.

When I put the Sugayas on I noticed a massive difference. The bike felt like it went berzerk. Then I fitted the de restricted CDI and didn't notice any difference over the Sugaya's but I think what it does is raise the rev limit to the red line. Which now happened really easily. I could keep up with my mates Ducati 916, GSXR1000 and GSX1300 no problem.

I sent my forks to Maxton Engineering, who do fork tuning for the Manx TT. I told them my weight and that I'd like the forks to be a lot harder, as the standard set up felt really soggy. They phoned me back to say 3 of the fork tube pieces were bent and needed renewing. Something I'd suspected for a while. They must've been just legal enough to get through the MOT but it explains why the fork seals would pop all the time. When I got the forks back fitted and tested the bike I couldn't believe how much better the bike felt. I could take corners much faster. I still couldn't get my knee down though.

Stu Jones came to the rescue with the fork tubes and got the three tubes within a week from Japan for £300. I was later told that just one fork tube piece for an officially imported GSXR600 would cost £300 so it shows how much people get ripped off in Britain.

Fitted an aluminium tank filler cap. it weighed 130grammes which was half the weight of the standard item. It was £30 from but the postage was £20. Then again, I notice the same part for sale in Britain for £80 so it was still a bargain.

Fitted Michelin Pilot Race which were amazing! I had a little slide in the dry from the rear a couple of times within a minute of riding but this was because they hadn't warmed up yet. When they're warm though they stick like snot.

Rode the bike all 2001 and 2 with no problems at all, although it was always a bit difficult starting.

January 2003

Dicided to check the pistons. Looked at the left piston and noticed it was partially melted. This was probably from the slight seizure Crescent Suzuki mentioned, and I'd been riding it for 2 years on it. I changed the piston and test drove it for 15 miles. A mate with a Ducati said, "If I could keep up with his Duke even with a melted piston he's gonna get a faster bike!" :)

Summer 2003

After leaving the bike in a friends garage for 6 months I picked it up with the view to riding it to my brothers. The battery was flat. So we thought we'd use some jump leads and get it started with my brothers car. Bad idea! It burnt out the relay and partially melted the connector block. Won't be trying that again. Then we tried bump starting the bike. Something went pop and water poured over the road. We came back the following day put it in a van and it sat in my brothers garage for a year.

Autumn 2004

Spent 2 months doing an engine rebuilt and cleaning the whole bike. Found a little water near the crank and the rear piston had rusted into the barrel. The crank was fine though. The thing that went pop was the inner head gasket on the left cylinder. The left cylinder seems to be the achilles heel of this bike, but then it seems the rear most cylinders seems to be the achilles of most bikes.

Work for the future.

I'd like to get the head and barrels sent to Stan Stephens to have a bit of work on to release some more power. Other work I'd like to do is completely replace all steel fasteners with titanium ones. I've been slowly replacing the nuts and bolts with titanium for several years and they're not only stronger but they never get corrroded, so they're always shiny.

April 2005

Bought some spares direct from Japan. I tried in vain to fix the starter motor but finally gave in and bought one. It cost about 100 quid! I put a load of polish on it before fitting and made sure the screw holes had copper grease in them to hopefully prevent seized bolts in the future.

Here's also a picture of the side plastic I bought. It cost about 200quid but came with all the stickers fitted. I didnt realise this so I have 60 quids worth of spare stickers.

Winter 2007

After moving into a new house with no space in the garage for my Austin Mini and a VJ23 the bike has come indoors to the dining room. My girlfriend is not very pleased but I think it looks brilliant and my mates think so too. :)

2007 in Britain was a bit of a washout. It rained constantly throughout the summer and Worcestershire suffered some pretty bad flooding. I did manage to ride about five times but had to be brought home on a truck once because the bike ran out of fuel. My theory is I don't have a derestricted airbox lid. Where the pipe fits to the airbox lid and to the carb to equalise the pressures.(Thanks to Chuck Bernard for telling me how important it is) I have a theory the pressure from the airbox pushed the fuel out of the overflow. I have wondered over the last couple of years why the fuel consumption was so high.

2008 I've had some nice rides out in the Worcestershire countryside in July but the rains have come back. I'm hoping the last 2 weeks of August and throughout September are going to be sunny or this year is going to be a washout like 2007. =(