Name: Stuart David Halley From: Midlothian Riding for: 20+ years
Price paid for the bike: £1200 in October 2008 from a private seller in Edinburgh
What type of riding do you do: Daily commuting. Fast long-weekend trips around Scotland. Day trips to East Lothian, Borders, Northumberland and Fife Coast
Tell us about the engine: This is not a bike for slow, stop/start riding. Unless the engine is above 3000 rpm, town riding isn’t smooth, so I’m constantly changing between 1st, 2nd and 3rd. OK, stick it in 2nd and make do… Chug,Chug. 1st gear and rev it higher… everyone thinks you’re an idiot and the throttle response is way too sensitive. The answer is to find a traffic free-route and ride at 35/40mph.
The open road is where the engine really comes to life: In any gear at 3000rpm the first power band kicks in and at 8000rpm the acceleration is really addictive.
The engine is a GSXR 750 lump with smaller carbs (36mm v 39mm) but apart from the 131mph top speed of my bike being a lot less than the gixxer, it’s hard to think that the mid-range acceleration is affected.
What’s the chassis like? It’s a tubular section frame with non-adjustable front forks and twin rear shocks.
The bike feels heavy at slow speeds but I’ve never had any problem manouvering in and out of traffic. At high speeds I find it inch perfect and easy to lean, even with an adult pillion and luggage. Braking whilst leant over in bends that I’ve entered too fast doesn’t cause any upset and I find the chassis solid and forgiving.
What’s it like to ride? When I first bought the bike I spent a lot of money and time erradicating starting and front brake problems. After months of filling up at the fuel station, pushing the bike to the side and waiting ten minutes before starting it again, I discovered that the tank was rotting from the inside out!
A new tank from Suzuki is £450 primed. A Black second-hand tank from eBay was £80: A lucky find so I bought the ebay one. The Bike was originally silver so I sent all the plastics off to be resprayed gloss black.
The front brake problem was sponginess. Bleeding the brakes didn’t work so I replaced the brake hoses for braided… no difference. New pads… small difference but not happy. Master cylinder repair kit… no difference. Both Calipers dismantled and seals replaced… no difference. New discs… hooray!! A costly lesson in fault finding, but this set the scene for my ownership of the bike. Spares are a really difficult thing to source at reasonable prices.
The bike is similar to a Bandit, but a lot of parts aren’t the same. Some are virtually impossible to get from anywhere other than the dealer, which make some repairs just too expensive to do right away (or at all). For example, I recently had the pipe from the oil cooler to the sump start to leak – eBay £20 for both hoses (engine to cooler + cooler to sump), so I bought them, but the one I needed was leaking. I tried the dealer (thinking maybe £40-50)… £103! Luckily another became available on ebay for £10 and it didn’t leak.
The bike needs constant attention especially to keep clean. Everything is exposed so it needs cleaning near enough every day. The chain needs adjusting every couple of weeks but that could be because I use it evey day and the acceleration is so addictive.
I’ve learned a lot about bike maintenance through owning this bike and all in all, it’s been worth it. The repairs have been fairly simple and easy to do and I change the oil every 3000 miles.
I’m 6’2″ so it’s a bit small, and after 50-60 miles riding, I have to stop and get off for five minutes to get rid of numb bum
Give us three good points: The acceleration through all gears on an open road is so addictive; Bike looks good when cleaned and polished; The Swona exhaust I fitted makes it sound awesome when accelerating hard – the over/run burbling and popping when easing off is unlike anything else i’ve heard
And three bad ones: Availability of parts; Cost of parts; Constant attention needed to keep it good
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