Suzuki Gp125. 1990-1992.
Mine was black with a blue/white pin stripe. I bought it from a neighbour for £295 at the start of university and sold it two years later for £320.
It needed a lot of attention to keep it running well and a new spark plug every 3 to 6 months, but it served me faithfully, and would hit 75mph downhill with a following wind. Sometimes it would struggle to maintain 55mph uphill though. I de-coked the exhaust once and had to replace the piston after I ran out of fuel on my way to a job interview. The last drops of fuel made a very lean mix that detonated, blowing a hole in the top of the piston. It is a surprisingly easy job on a two stroke engine. It was an okay bike, but it turned me off two strokes because of the need for nearly constant attention, the smoke and the ringa-ding-ding-ding engine noise.
Dry weight: 101 kg (222 lbs.)
Engine type: Air-cooled 123 cc single cylinder 2-stroke, rotary valve.
Maximum power output: 14 hp/ 8.000 rpm
Maximum torque: 1,3 kpm/ 7.500 rpm
Bore x stroke: 56,0 x 50,0 mm
Compression ratio: 6.8 :1
Front tyre: 2.75-18
Rear tyre: 3.00-18
Yamaha XS400 1992-1994
I bought this 1980 sohc 392cc 38hp 185kg parallel twin for 400 quid from a very good friend at the end of university, and we had my all-time-best motorcycle journey on it heading from Nottingham to Glastonbury that summer. He had replaced the coffin shaped tank and boxy seat with a teardrop tank from a US bike and a modified two-step seat. I repainted it and fitted a better exhaust and electronic ignition. I had already worn a hole in the sole of my right boot kick starting it. It had a bad gearbox, an 85mph top speed, pogo suspension, hard tyres, and useless brakes but it was the first bike I felt cool on, and so it will always have a special place in my heart. I found out how crap it was when I had a go on a Suzuki RF600R, and that experience blew me away. I had to sell the XS and get a supersports ! I traded it in for 250 quid on a 4 grand Honda.
Original bike :
Honda CBR600FL 1994-1995
I went a bit out of character and bought a lurid CBR600fl in Benetton colours. I loved this bike. Everything worked flawlessly and I could even forgive the noisy gearbox because the top end rush was so addictive. Unfortunately, I let a friend take it for a spin and he flipped it over a roundabout, putting himself in hospital and writing it off. To be honest, if he hadn’t done it, I probably would have at some point. I was a lunatic on this thing, learning to wheelie and stoppie and rarely travelling at legal speeds. Young and dumb and having lots of fun. A great bike.
Suzuki GSX600 1995
£1800 for an ugly lump ? The gearbox was slick, except for the first to second change, but apart from that, it just felt like dating a fat guzzler after the hottie Honda. I bought it with the Honda’s salvage money and it was leaking oil and fuel less than a week a later. To cut a long story short, the garage ripped me off and wouldn’t honour the warranty so I had to get a lawyer and sue. The garage’s employee had quit by the time the case got listed so they had no defence, and had to settle to avoid the cost of going to court and losing even more. So, after a year of hassle, suddenly I had enough to make a fat deposit on a new bike. The GSX was a dog and I was glad to see the back of it for £600.
Yamaha FZR600R 1995-2002
Yamaha FZ400R 2002-2005
Honda VT250 Spada 2005-2006
Honda XL250 Degree 2006-2008
KTM 640 LC4 Supermoto Prestige 2007-2010
Honda XLR250R 2008-2014
Yamaha XT660R 2008-now
Kawasaki Ninja 650R 2010-now
Sym Citycom 300i 2014-now