Motorcycle Flashback.

What I've got to say about the bikes I have owned

If you'd prefer to read about Bandit parts compatibility, then click here.

Honda CD 175

'K' reg 1972. This bike was a real money sink.

Honda CD 175 - the first of many...
Honda CD 175 - the first of many bikes...

Click for larger image.

What I wish my bike looked like!

Honda CD 175: This bike had: 4 gears, a 6 volt battery and a single carburettor.
I bought this for £50 when I was an apprentice electrician (late 70's), as a rough runner. As I didn't know what I was doing, I paid some rip-off artist 'friend' to repair it for me. I only ever got to ride on this bike once (as a pillion passenger as I had no licence - I was only just 16) when the 'mechanic' had repaired it and was taking me + bike home.
We had covered about a quarter of way homeward when the bike suddenly lost power and we came to a halt. After a brief inspection, I heard the verdict: 'The bob weight's sheared off the counter-shaft', followed by 'Na, it's a gonner'. Ah well... You live and learn.

Honda CB 125

'L' reg. I Actually made money this time!

Honda CB 125
Honda CB 125 single.

Clickable image - bike is similar to my one.

Honda CB 125: Cheap to insure and run, and could actually reach a purported 60 MPH - down Euston underpass anyway! (Oops! I meant to say 29 MPH officer). I rented this out to friends to have a 'burn up' - poodle 'round the flats - more like. I eventually sold it to one of my older brothers (Alvin), who crashed it shortly afterwards, could this have something to do with the minor shunt I had on the bike a few weeks previously when coming down Euston underpass? (a favoute haunt, obviously) I proceeded to wind it up to max warp when - Ho, what's this? A sea of brake lights! I clapped the pathetic (drum) brakes on (you really had to use engine braking to slow down effectively) but no time - WHACK. I hit the rear bumper of a stationary car with the front fender (mudguard). While the rear wheel did actually leave the ground, no real damage was done EXCEPT to the mudguard fixings, these were (mostly) sheared off. It was my roadside 'repair' of this damage that led to Alvin's crash, (sorry Alv!) Months later, having transferred ownership to him, he was proceeding (slowly thank God) along Charlton Street right in front of me. The front mudguard decided to part company from it's inadequate fixings - and revolved right round the front wheel. Things got interesting when it got round to the road of course...Luckily he wasn't hurt. Alvin gave the bike back to me shortly afterwards! I sold the bike for a tidy profit. (caveat emptor!!!!)
Note to Alvin - Please don't hit me when you read this, it was 20 odd years ago ..all right?.cringe, cringe.

Alvin, just before I told him and when I still had arms!

Alvin - Big Bruv
Alvin - Big Bruv.

Yamaha XS 250
Yamaha XS 250
Yamaha XS 250.

My first new bike. 1979 - T reg.

Yamaha XS 250: In an attempt to make my motorcycling a happier experience, I visited a dealers: Pride and Clarke, Stockwell and was soon enamoured of a Yamaha. I probably owe my continued presence on this earth down to the fact that I passed up on the much more powerful RD (Race Developed) 250 model (on the grounds that I knew the plugs get oiled up, being a 2-stroke!) and instead plumped for the cumbersome XS (eXtra Slow? The RD could go at least 20 MPH faster). At the time 250cc was the largest bike a Learner could ride. It would red-line at about 9000 RPM, which was where I kept it most of the time. Before it had had it's first service (I circled Hyde Park repeatedly to more rapidly run it in) Alvin (riding the under-braked CB125) punctured one of the twin exhausts with the lower extremity of his bike's front-forks (sob). During the service the hole was plugged with some gun-gum, which I regarded as an unsightly addition so proceeded to buy an after-market zorst (Frank Dunstall Power-pipes). So, ignoring the minor inconvenience of getting nicked for 'defective exhausts' (which I was) I proceeded to roar around town. Thank heaven I didn't know about re-jetting the bike, improving the air-flow etc. or I may have actually released some extra ponies at the rear wheel! I passed my test while I had this bike: notice I didn't say on this bike, its pipes ruled that out - would have been an instant fail. I borrowed a friend's Kawasaki Z250 (much better than mine all 'round) and luckily passed first time. I presuaded my pal to let me ride his bike to the test centre as I had never ridden his bike before. My pal rode with me to the test centre on my bike and had trouble keeping up! The Yamaha rapidly fell into decline, and eventually I couldn't start it. As mechanics seemed to charge more per hour than consultant surgeons did, it rested a while. I eventually sold it for about a tenth what I paid for it. Before it expired I attended an evening class for motorcycle maintenance in Kentish town the instructor - Maurice Stelling- passed on the venerable 'how to set your timing using just a cigarette paper' rite, which comes in handy if you haven't got a bulb, battery and wire - providing your bike has points of course.

Yamaha RD 400
Yamaha RD 400
Yamaha RD 400.

Wheelie mad!

Yamaha RD 400: I bought this off a bloke leaving the country, he accepted a string of post-dated 50 pound cheques too. The best bike I had owned up to then. I actually wheelied out of his driveway. Real power at last. Plenty of torque being a 400 but still nice and simple, being a stroker. Changed the plugs, and final drive chains while I had this bike. It had a nice broad powerband not a bit like some of my mate's tuned RD250s: powerband as thin as a razor's edge, and you got your arms wrenched out of their sockets as it cut in. Traded it in for a Z650 at Powerhouse motorcycles, Kentish town, long since closed down.

Kawasaki Z650
Kawasaki Z650
Kawasaki Z650.

x 2 Had two in succession they were that good

Kawasaki Z650: I really liked these 4 cylinder 4 strokes. Bit anoying that one of them didn't have a full main stand - I remember the fun and games I had trying to change the front wheel, with the bike leant right over on the side stand! Did loads of miles on them - just never failed to start. One got nicked, but was recovered - 100 pounds for a new ignition, oh - and a rear puncture. 'least I got the bike back

Suzuki X7 250
Suzuki X7 250
Suzuki X7 250.

Amazingly cheap two stroke

Suzuki X7 250: This was quite a contrast after the Z650s, but a mostly enjoyable return to light-weight two-stroke fun - the bike was so light, it could go like a rocket. At one time this bike was sought after as it was the fastest 250 on the road (105mph?). Very cheap to run too. It got nicked - that's Brixton for you.

Kawasaki GT 550
Kawasaki GT 550
Kawasaki GT 550.

Kawasaki GT 550 Excellent Kwak four-stroke

Kawasaki GT 550: I did 2000 miles on this - then it got nicked too - but the insurance Co. wouldn't pay out. Wriggled out saying I hadn't declared some inconsequential detail. It pays to keep copies of all proposal forms submitted - unless you have a very good memory.

Kawasaki Z650
Kawasaki Z650
This picture shows a bike similar to mine. Sensible upright posture, plenty of go.

Kawasaki Z650: (yet another) Err, oh yeah, I had three of 'em

Suzuki GT 500
Suzuki GT 500
This picture shows a Suzuki GT 500 similar to mine. Absolutely mental two-stroke.

Suzuki GT 500: (2-stroke) Mental two-stroke with box-section rear tyre. Great bike if you don't go around corners much, or alternatively, were happy to corner at less than 10 MPH.

Kawasaki GPz 600R
Pic to follow.

Kawasaki GPz 600R: Real nice sports bike. Back straining posture though.

Pic to follow.
Honda 400/4

Honda 400/4: Always fancied one of these, so I got one!

Pic to follow.
Suzuki Bandit 600

Suzuki Bandit 600: This was my commuter - clocked up 30 odd thousand miles before boredom set in. I made the mistake of trying out the Bandit 1200 - the 600 had to go!. I advertised it on eBay and 2 potential buyers contacted me:
The first guy was a new motorcyclist and had sensibly brought a 'knowledgeable' friend. This friend thought that the header pipes - which were pristine, being made of stainless steel and shined up for the sale - were replacement parts and warned his mate not to buy 'as it had probably been in a crash' and subsequently repaired! Grr, what a plankton.
The second guy was also a new motorcyclist, so new in fact that he had not passed his test yet. This 17 year old told me he lived about 150 miles away and would have to hire a van - Oh yeah, I thought. Like that is going to happen. Surprise, surprise: it did!. He turned up in a hired van with his mum and kid sister, wheeled it up one of my planks (he had forgotten that he would need one) and went off with the bike. He did send me an email saying he was very pleased with the bike and that he was surprised how powerful the bike was...

Pic to follow.
Electric Kawasaki 550

*Electric* Kawasaki GPz550: My first petrol - electric conversion

electric GPz Electric GPz

Suzuki Bandit GSF 1200
Bandit 12
Garaged Suzuki Bandit GSF 1200.
Bandit 12#2
My Suzuki Bandit GSF 1200.

Suzuki Bandit GSF 1200: This was a 1997 Bandit 1200s in Black with 15k miles clocked up. Various after market frippery fitted: half fairing, Art can, KN hi-flo air filter, red renthal bars, Powerbronze undertray, had newish AFAM chain & sprockets fitted, BT020 tyres front & rear, Black tint flip up screen, carbon hugger, carbon bar ends, mini indicators, tank protector, sports rack.
I read up about these bikes and discovered that the engine fitted was the GSXR 1100 engine with a reprofiled cam-shaft so it wasn't so peaky - in fact the 1200 developed maximum torque at 4000 RPM - nice. These develop about 100 ponies stock. I ordered a 'Holeshot Racing Jet Kit' from Dale (owner of Holeshot Racing USA). This kit came with three sets of jets. I fitted the kit and replaced the 102.5 (Stock) main jets for the 127.5 jets, and the needles too of course. Now developed 122 BHP and good fuel economy too. Brutal acceleration. Popped the occasional unintentional wheelie too.
Eventually sold for £2,200.00 in August 2005 to Tom, a cool guy from Exeter in Devon.

Honda VFR 750
Honda V4
Honda VFR 750 This pic is the eBay Advert I put up when I sold it - tip: you can edit the text on a linked-to image and eBay can't stop you.
Honda V4
Honda VFR 750 Sports Tourer
Great alrounder!

Honda VFR 750 Sports Tourer: Bought this for £200 as a non-runner (category C insurance write-off) - fixed it up, needed: fork seals, battery, head-race bearings, left clip-on, exhaust can and a few fairing repairs. The front brake rotors/discs were knackered too... as the Honda price was £260 a pair, a friend (Jim Lugsden) and I made a pair out of stainless steel plates. The SS plates (2 Off - 300 x 300 x 5mm thick grade 304 cut plate - £17 each) worked a treat and aren't likely to rust are they? After fixing it up, it was my daily commuter for a year. It had a V-4 engine with gear driven cams - amazing torque from the get-go, so could beat more powerful bikes away at the traffic-lights, used carbs, not injection on this model. Sold it at profit - rare achievement!.
I fitted a very nice sounding Scorpion end-can (a pink one off a CBR600)

Vectrix Electric Scooter
Vectrix Electric Scooter
Vectrix full-size electric scooter
Vectrix Electric Scooter
Vectrix full-size electric scooter

Vectrix:Capable of rapidly accelerating to 60 MPH. A firmware patch was release in 2011 that allows a top speed of 70 MPH - shorter range though. Stock range is ~40 miles. This bike was manufactured in May 2008 on an 'H' Reg plate. I bought this on 14th December 2008 as an Ex Demo bike with 2340 miles on the clock. I ran out of battery power once, it was minus 2 degrees centigrade at the time which affected the nickle-metal hydride battery adversely. At work I mentioned I'd like to plug in to recharge and was told I certainly could do that. At one office site there was no 13amp socket suitable, they fitted one for my use! While very nice to ride, I personally found the feet-first position you are forced into pretty irritating: you can't get your feet directly under you which makes for a jarring crash going over pot-holes (on a normal motorcycle you use your legs as extra suspension by putting some weight on the pegs) - but a scooter ride would probably be oblivious to this irksome aspect of scootering about on Vectrix...
As the batteries cost £2000 a pop, I got a bit twitchy as it came near the end of the warranty period, so I sold it. Odometer showed 4542 miles at time of sale, so I did 2202 miles on the thing...

Triumph Sprint ST 955i
Triumph Sprint ST 955i
Triumph Sprint ST 955i - Prior to my fairing repair.
Triumph Sprint ST 955i - Repaired fairing less decal
Triumph Sprint ST 955i - Repaired fairing less decal.
Triumph Sprint ST 955i
Triumph Sprint ST 955i - Cleaned up real nice.
Triumph Sprint ST 955i Right-hand side
Triumph Sprint ST 955i - Right-hand side again.
Triumph Sprint ST 955i Right front
Triumph Sprint ST 955i - Right front.
Triumph Sprint ST 955i Left front
Triumph Sprint ST 955i - Left front.
Triumph Sprint ST 955i - Clocks
Triumph Sprint ST 955i - Clocks.

Triumph Sprint: Big red triple, mile-eating monster. Fuel injected, bullet-proof engine. Real ''man's bike'' -Took quite a heave to get it on the main-stand. I bought it in May 2010 with 30k miles as a repairable Cat-D cheapie (had fairing damage). I got myself insured, took the train to Roxton, Bedfordshire (met the seller at the station) and rode the bike home. Before setting off I gave the bike a quick once over and spotted the oil was very low - the seller added a litre - or a bit less - and I was good to go. It had bags of torque and a particular 'thrum' - and while it felt a bit heavy in traffic - loved the motorway.
It turned out to be a nice bike. I guess I was lucky with this one - What my initial once-over hadn't picked up was that parts of the damaged fairing (right at the top, front) was millimeters away from obstructing the steering! - only spotted that when I got home with it. It didn't have a valid MOT so I had booked it in locally. I took it round and it passed with no work. I repaired the fairing no trouble - my first fibreglass repair actually. I sold it 4 Months later towards the end of August 2010.

Yamaha FZ600
FZ6 Motorcycle
Bike as purchased + tank-bag.
FZ6 Motorcycle
Note the older picture of the same bike with original forks (and tank-bag fitted) in the inset at the top-right.
FZ6 Motorcycle
Picture of the front-end of my bike.

This Yamaha FZ600 was my 'older' commuter - now since sold.
This is Yamaha's "Fazer replacement" motorcycle. I actually bought this bike on the 25th Aug, 2008 - before the Triumph. Mine is the 2005 model. I'd heard lots about the original Fazer over the years, but ignored them really - the Honda Hornet 600 and the Suzuki Bandit 600 seemed better. but in 2004 the then current Fazer failed its emissions & noise tests, so Yamaha made a 'new' bike - took the engine out of the R6, put the cams out of the old Fazer (thundercat based) engine in it and 'created' the FZ6, a new Fazer with 98 BHP, FI and underseat exhausts - grin! It doesn't really have a frame at all - just a couple of (quite nice looking) die-cast aluminium 'spars' bolted to the head-stock and engine. Has fuel-injection as standard. Stock exhausts look nice but really choke the thing - was transformed when I fitted some Scorpions. (pic is pre-fitment) I would have fitted them earlier except I didn't like the £399 price tag, Bought a good set off fleaBay. Hi-Flo air filter and hand-guards (new, originally for a V-Strom) fitted too plus tank cover/bag, heated grips and a Scottoiler slipperblock.
The worst part of this bike (my one anyway) was the oversoft front forks. I sourced and fitted a set of R6 forks - they have preload, rebound, and compression adjustment - fitted blue-spot front calipers too - All much better than stock. Fitted a main stand to allow rear-wheel repairs. Fitted 2 "Power-taps" - both via fuses to the battery (tucked away under the front of the tank) one to power my Sat-Nav, the other to allow my battery minder to be connected. I will only fit dual compound Michelin Pilots (Sport or Road) as they are REAL grippy in the wet - amazing traction actually.

BMW F800 ST Motorcycle
Picture of my BMW F800 ST Twin cylinder motorcycle in graphitan grey.
BMW F800 ST Motorcycle
Another picture of my BMW F800 Sports Touring motorcycle.
BMW F800 ST Motorcycle
Being a twin, has quite a narrow profile - great for filtering through traffic.

This BMW F800 ST Motorcycle has been sold. It was my '2nd' or spare bike.
I bought this 2nd hand from Churchill Motorcycles in Potterspury, near Milton Keynes (I received fantastic 'old-fashioned' customer-centric service and can heartily recommend them. Such a nice change from the usual uncaring and expensive experience I have come to expect at most of the larger dealerships)
I actually bought this bike on the 16th Dec, 2011 - I'm still keeping the FZ6 fazer though. Mine is an Oct 2007 model.
Bike has:
   Two-channel ABS
   Heated Handlebar Grips
   Main Centre Stand
   On-Board Computer
   TPC (Tyre Pressure Control)
   White Indicator Lenses
   Belt Drive
Churchill M/Cs Supplied a years MOT and a tank of petrol - gratis. I asked for a years tax to be put on the bike which they kindly did so I could just ride it home.
Looks like I have the rear hub problem that has been reported on the forums quite a bit - Pity BMW won't recall the faulty/soft hubs as mine has 'eroded' - this was spotted before I left the shop and a temporary fix applied by way of new bearings and a spacer inserted. I intend to fit Brisk spark plugs and a K&N air filter - then just ride the thing - which I did. Tyres are Continentals: RoadAttack and seem great. Front is fine, rear is 'just' beginning to square off. Even though my FZ 600 develops 20 more BHP, the torque produced makes it seem more powerful... Changed tyres to Michelin dual compound Roads - fantastic grip in the wet.
Sold this bike 20/08/2013.

2010 Honda VFR 1200 FD-A Dual Clutch ABS
Honda VFR 1200F-DA Motorcycle
Picture of my Honda VFR 1200F-DA motorcycle in silver.
Honda VFR 1200 Exhaust (stock)
Another picture of my VFR Sports Touring motorcycle.
Honda VFR 1200F-DA Motorcycle, rear view
Being a V4 powered bike, great for powering along.
Honda VFR 1200F Front Wheel
Being a V4 powered bike, great for powering along.

This Honda VFR 1200F-DA Motorcycle is my main bike.
I bought this nearly new as a private sale
I actually bought this bike on the 23rd July, 2013 I'm still keeping the VFR800 as a 2nd bike though (see below). Mine is a 2010 model, Shaft drive, 1237 cc.
Bike has:
    - ABS
    - Heated Handlebar Grips
    - Main Centre Stand
    - 'Tip-tronic' gears with manual, sport and auto modes
    - Tyre pressure indicator valves - these showed Green whatever the pressure, so removed 'em.
    - Honda GPS Sat NAV (rebadged Garmin 550 Zumo)
    - Honda top box
    - Low profile and standard seats
    - Rear tyre hugger
    - Genuine honda touring screen extension
    - Optimate 3+ battery charger/battery minder
170 BHP at the crank, 144 at the wheel. the shaft drive consumes 24 ponies!
0 - 60 in 3.something seconds.

I never did book a test ride - If I test rode it I'd probably find it has too much power or something
-is that even possible???
It is typical VFR though - semi-sports positioning - I would not have liked a Hayabusa posture - full-on, flat out race style isn't for me.
It is a hundred pounds heavier than the Bandit 1200 I had and 150lb heavier than my BMW, so I'm gonna notice that - and I do but only a v. slow speeds. rolling it is fantastic Definitely not a 'first big bike' though, oh no.

I was actually looking at 3 bikes:
Honda VFR 1200 - petrol
Brammo inertia R - electric - £12,000
Mission-R - electric - £20,000
I realised that for the price of the Mission-R electric bike, I could buy THREE VFR1200s!!!!! So....!

Fantastic handling and plenty of low down power. You can't chuck it around like a 600 though.

Update: When I had owned the bike a week, I decided to sort the iffy (wet weather) handling. One evening after work I took off the Dunlop Road-not-so-smarts (not smart to ride in the wet with these - due to them having a distict aversion to maintaining straight-line travel if there is any drains or manhole covers underwheel ) and fitted a pair of Michelein Road 3's
Handling transformed! - now happy in the wet!
It was quite tiring to take the Dunlops off, then immediately fit the Road 3's - and even though I have a main-stand, I had to wedge the front up, but the calipers came off easily - good design - and I used an air gun to remove the rear lug nuts, no sweat - used levers to remove and fit the tyres as I couldn't use my tyre bar.
Worth the effort or what! - the same evening I took it for a (supposedly) sedate spin to wear off the tyre mould release agent new tyres are coated with - incase it rained the next day - which it did!
Pin-sharp handling and superlative cornering. I'm afraid the speed crept up a little...
I'm dead chuffed. I owned my Honda VFR 1200 for 3 years

2003 Honda VFR 800 VTEC
Honda VFR 800 Motorcycle damaged
Picture of my Honda VFR 800 motorcycle in black.
Honda VFR 800 Damaged
Another picture of my VFR Sports Touring motorcycle.
Honda VFR 800 motorcycle
Forks removed.
Honda VFR 800
Now Repaired
Honda VFR 800
Now Repaired
Honda VFR 800
Now Repaired

This Honda VFR 800 Motorcycle was my secondary bike.
I bought this crash damaged (but unrecorded) as a private sale
I actually bought this bike on the 22nd August, 2013 As a 'Fixer-Upper ' still keeping the 1200 though. Mine is a 2003 model VTEC, 782cc (RC46).
While the bike pretty obviously needed some repairs, It did have less than 15k miles on the clock, 6 month tax and 11 months MOT
Here is what needed (repair or replacement):

ALL fairings/plastics - generally smashed/bashed one or two good panels. Front fender or mud guard
Front forks - left upper stanchion bend and left leg leaking. Right stanchion snapped! - I bought forks off a 2005 bike from the States.
Bottom yoke - one clamp was oval - and it must have sustained quite a whack.
Steering stem bearings - will do these while I'm at it. Upgraded from ball to taper roller. Germany was cheapest - odd that. (steering head bearings in German is, quite literally: Lenkkopflager - and make sure you are buying both top and bottoms, taper roller bearings of course)
Gear lever - busted.
Clutch lever - end snapped off.
Left clip-on bent.
Spark plugs need renewing (or as my Italian neighbour says: Sparkling plugs):
Bought and fitted some Silver Brisk plugs for it - they are lower resistance than copper and will last - ~20k miles.
Iridium last very well, but are higher resistance - a lot higher, see below:

Spark plug electrode comparison:
Silver: best
Copper: 9% less conductive than silver
Aluminium is 10% less conductive than copper
Gold: 24% less conductive than copper (but doesn't tarnish or corrode)
Brass is somewhere here.
Rhodium: 74% less conductive than copper
Iridium: 77% less conductive than copper
Platinum: 84% less conductive than copper
Titanium: Over 99% less conductive than copper

The fairing frame (the metal tubular frame that the fairing bolts up to at the front of the bike) was a bit bent and required straightening - this was quite a task and required several iterations.
Clocks required minor repair (tacho needle was sticking a little and the 3 plastic mounts were broken. I pried the revolving analogue tachometer dial into 'neutral alignment' and drilled and used self tappers.
Chain was VERY slack. On tightening it, I notices some flat spots, so couldn't do a proper job. I just took the worst of the slack out. (later replaced sprockets - rear was aluminium, and the cause of the tight spots) Scottoiler fitted.
When I changed the (Iridium) plugs for 'Brisk' silver plugs ones (as mentioned above) and put a K&N hi-flo air filter on it - the original air filter was quite dirty – on starting it, I had to turn down the idle, as it had gone up to 2200 rpm!
Did an oil and filter change. Full Syn, 5W35 oil and K&N oil filter

Took it over 90 MPH a few times - nice and stable. Popped a small (unintentional) power wheelie once!
Heated grips to be fitted soon - not honda ones though, as they are obviously aware of the relatively high resistance of platinum as - judging by the price - that's what they have made them out of.
Anyway loving the bike. Because of the V4 engine, seems amazingly powerful for an 800.
I had read on the internet that it sounds like half a V8 - which I took with a pinch of salt - but it actually does! At idle it's nothing special, but under load, sounds great.
When I sold the FZ600 I kept the Scorpion underseat exhaust cans. I have since fabricated adaptors using my lathe and welded them on to the stock pipes - wow sounds fantastic now!
I actually spotted some stock (stainless) exhaust local to me on eBay - Ad title said:
'Honda VFR 800 vtech exchaust' (sic) which explains why no-one else bid on it.
The trick was to butcher... I mean 'with surgical precision' graft on some 50mm pipe onto the (soon to be chopped up) stock VFR800 exhaust, then just clamp on the sports cans off the FZ600 - easy eh?.
Well worth the effort. I see that these are currently £559 here
After fitting them on, when I started it, I had to turn down the idle again, as it had gone up to 2100 rpm or so being more free breathing.
Sold it July 2017. I owned my Honda VFR 800 VTEC for 3 years, 11 months.

2008 Vectrix
Picture of my Vectrix scooter in white.

Download Resurrected Vectrix article