For many years I had fancied getting back into biking but financial constraints during a recession put a block on that. Worst of it was that all my mates had started with little learner bikes, gained full licenses (I had had mine since 1968) and gone on to ride Suzuki GSXR1100’rs, Yamaha YZF1000’s and such like.
Me I had to console myself with a weekly read of MCN (Motorcycle News) and various other bike mags.
All I could was dream.
Then the UK economy started top pick up and I managed to save up enough money to buy a Japanese ‘grey import’ Honda 400 Gullwing that had been involved in an accident.
Theory was that I would get myself a decent little bike for a song. Didn’t quite work out that way as it cost a bloody fortune to repair. Bad idea!
Next idea was to buy a cheap Kawasaki Z650 / z750 Streetfighter that had been up-rated with a Z750 engine and the twin shock rear suspension converted to mono-shock.
Another bad idea!
Then I hit the jackpot and won the works Car Draw but took the cash instead, a nice tidy £9,500
By now I had the hots for a 1200 Suzuki Bandit and a new bike was duly purchased for the bargain price of £5500, a snip at the time. Having been an avid reader of Streetfighters magazine I had come across a beautiful B12 that had been tricked up by Frank Barrow using the front end of a Peugeot Speedfighter as a fairing. My mind was made up and within three weeks of owning it, it was stripped down ready for painting. At the time my ‘second’ job was spraying cars, I had a low bake oven so all the facilities were available to me.
Two weeks later the bike was finished and on the road. I now had myself a Suzuki B12 Bandit Speedfighter.
Around that time I had also discovered an internet newsgroup called tongue in cheek, SUKBOG – The Suzuki UK Bandit Owners Group. Turned out a few lived in Essex but most lived down Surrey way and over the next few months we got together at the Mucky Duck, Ockham, Surry and in Essex, at The Dog & Partridge, Bulphan & The Dick Turpin at Wickford.
We also enjoyed some great BBQ weekends at Patmans in Farnborough, at Muppets in Weybridge, Surrey, plus attended a few rallys including the 2000 Bulldog Bash
A good time was had by all.
Unfortunately around that time my local biker friends had been hooning around like loonies for the previous year or so, and a major accident was waiting to happen. The decision was taken by all to sell the bikes before someone got seriously hurt and so I ended up the only one in my crowd owning a bike. Runs down to Surrey became less and less (although we still friends till this day), the weather became more and more unsettled, and ride outs became less and less. And so after 3 years of ownership, I sold her on for what I paid for her.