Current Bikes

Suzuki GSX1400 - Purchased 2002 - First new bike I've ever owned. I thought the GSX-R was mad but this thing is a monster. Not as quick at the top end but the torque is unbelievable - it really does want to rip your arms off. Comfort is like an arm chair compared with the R and wind blast only really gets to be a problem over a ton (or so I've been told officer). I've fitted a small smoked fly screen since this shot and wind blast has virtually gone.

When it came to selling the GSX-R I was looking for something that could keep up with the sports bike boys but had a better riding position. The two candidates where the 1200 Bandit or the XJR1300.

The Bandit had a good reputation as a wheelie monster but looked like a dog so I was leaning towards the XJR. Then my local Suzuki agent showed me a picture of the 1400 and that was it. It looks great and pulls like a train.

It feels quicker than the GSX-R and could easily stay with my mate Richard's new Fireblade (although that might be more to do with him than the blade) and I don't feel like I've broken my spine every time I get off it. Richard has since bought a Kawasaki ZX1200 - which is the same style as this and he loves it. On paper the kwak is quicker but on the road there isn't much in it. The only drawback so far is the amount of chrome. If it gets wet (and salty) it's a good three hours to get it back to showroom clean and if it's left then the chrome is so thin it will start to rust, unlike the stainless on the R. Pity they don't make chrome plated stainless exhausts!

Yamaha Fazer 1000 - Purchased 2013. Having enjoyed the old Fazer so much I decided to get another one. The newer model has a pretty much standard R1 motor so is a lot quicker. The seat is not quite as comfy as the old model and the riding position is very slightly more racey but still much better than a sports bike. It's very light and out performs the old model considerably. This is a 57 plate so 5 years newer than the old one I had. It only had 3,500 mile on it when I got it and was like new, and not much more than the old 02 bike would have cost to replace like for like. It still has a stainless exhaust so will be my all year ride.
As I said the new Fazer is my 'all year ride' and when I say all year I mean all year. We didn't get snow after I got the new one but 2011 and 2012 were particularily bad. Still, you can't beat riding on ice with 130+ PS and only a couple of inches of rubber to keep you upright.

Previous Bikes

Yamaha Fazer 1000 - Purchased 2007 - written off in 2013. I bought this 02 example as a replacement for the KTM as my every day bike. The 1400 stays in the dry during the winter (still looking mint) and the novelty of KTM was starting to wear off. Great fun but not as reliable as a Jap bike and I missed a 4 cylinder motors smoothness. While I was having a new rear tyre fitted on the KTM I got chatting to the owner of this Fazer. I asked what he thought of them and he said he loved it and was just about to get a new one so I asked how much he wanted for it. It had done 58,000 miles so was really cheap, it also had a nasty rattle. I bought it and got the bargain of my life - the rattle was the exup valve and was easily fixed. It's just hit 60K and runs beautifully, having been fully serviced every three months since new.

I was knocked off the bike in 2013, by a reversing driver in a car park. This broke the fairing, and damaged the exhaust, and the insurance company wrote it off. Luckily I was not hurt, other than a few bruises.

KTM 640 LC4 SuperMoto - Purchased 2005 - what can I say. I wanted something that was fun and could take getting dirty and I'd fancied one of these since I had the XT (see below). This model has an electric start and so when I heard a friend of a friend was selling it I jumped at the chance. It goes like stink and looks the dogs. Most of it is easy to keep nice but the polished aluminium wheels might keep me busy when they get salty.

The only down side is vibration - it's a 625cc single and I don't think the Austrians know what rubber mounts are so it's a bit like riding a high powered road drill !

Still, I'm having so much fun while riding it I don't even notice when my ankles go numb :-)

Sold it on Ebay and bought the Fazer as my every day bike. I was right about the wheels !

Suzuki GSX600F - I had the GSX as a dog bike for the wet and wintery days before I got the KTM, so I didn't need to get the 1400 wet at all - saves on cleaning it - and in weather like this the last thing I want is all that power.
It was reliable but looked pig ugly.

I bought it cheap as it has done 56,000 miles and I sold it when I bought the KTM.

Suzuki GSX-R 750 - great fun. 0 to 60 in something like 4 seconds with a top speed aproaching 160 mph.

I had the Gixer for 6 years and loved it, but a couple of very long trips (Cambridge to Devon and back in a day) took their toll on my love of the bike and the pain in my neck and legs got me thinking about a change.

Don't worry about the tyre, I'm not that mad as to waste good rubber. This particular tyre got a large nail in it after only a couple of months. Being Z rated you can't get them repaired and I was dammed if I was going to waste 150 quid without having some fun with it before I threw it away. It still had enough tread on it to get me to the tyre shop, although I got some strange looks when I got there.

The guy who came to buy it took one look and said he wanted it before he'd even had a ride. The pictures don't show how good it looked even though it was eight years old. The smile on his face said it all after the road test and he loved the growl from the Devil race can. I think he was a bit of a nutter as he rang me later and said he had managed to break the chain - too much heavy handed clutch dumping to get the front up had snapped a link. I've never heard of this happening on a bike before.

Yamaha XT 600. Great for commuting as it pulls well around town, it gets away from lights with the best of them (if you can keep the front wheel down) and still gives pretty good mpg.

The only draw back was the kick start - and no electric alternative. Kicking a 600 single over every day is not something I enjoy or recommend, especially if it's damp or flooded. If it kicks back it almost breaks your leg and my right knee started to show signs that it really wasn't happy about it.

As the XT was my everyday bike it meant that I had to use the GSX-R everyday when I sold it. Lots of polishing and washing was required. Sold to my mate Richard (before he got an old blade, crashed it, broke lots of bones then got a new blade, then a Kwak - see GSX1400)

Honda 250 Superdream. Don't laugh. I had one of these on my 17th birthday and kept it about 5 years. It was so reliable I bought another one when I came back to bikes after a break. I had it 10 years and used it almost everyday without any major work and only an oil change every year. It never failed to start if there was charge in the battery, even after being dug out of a snow drift ! I kept it when I got the GSX-R so I could keep the R in the garage in bad weather. When I got the XT I sold it to my mate Steve for 200 quid (150 less than I paid for it 10 years earlier), he hammered it for two years, crashed it on ice twice and only stopped using it when it virtually fell to bits through lack of maintenance.
He replaced it with a 400 Superdream (a convert after taking the piss for years) only to have the engine blow on it. Guess what engine is in the 400 now - yes the original out of the 250, pretty gutless but fits straight in the frame. If you ever need a reliable commuter look no further than the Honda Superdream. I'd have another one tomorrow. Update: Steve just bought himself another 400 Superdream - this one has only done 3500 miles and is almost mint - pity he'll run it into the ground during a couple of winters.
He should have kept it - they are going for good money now.

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