Friday, 3 December 2010

The older we get, the faster we were

This is me, c1979. Moved into a flat, started an evening course, needed money. Sold a GS750, bought another Honda 400/4 and realised I was never going to keep up with home-boy mates still on 750s. So every spare penny went into the 400/4, because insuring it cost a third of a 750's premium, and tyres lasted twice as long.

This was its final incarnation. Built in a second floor flat, getting it back down the stairs was challenging...but worth it. 458cc Yoshimura pistons, R/T cam, 4-1 Yoshi pipe, lowered gearing, S+W fork springs, the list went on. Would ride round bigger bikes in corners, just about hang onto their coat tails in a straight line. Seem to remember the brakes were a bit iffy.

The Dixon racing catalogue recommended ignoring Soichiro's 8,500 redline and waiting until 11k+ for max power. Had a hell of an appetite for oil pressure switches, which I could change on the dealers forecourt in 10 minutes.

College done, I got a proper job and was back on a GS750 in no time. But I'd been cured of keeping bikes stock for good.


  1. What's with that big pipe coming up in front of the right hand grip? Some old fairing mount?
    And I spy a nice GS450 behind you. I bought one of those new in 1982 after my KH400 was totaled. Was a really sweet bike, even if it didn't have the engine to keep up with my buddy's GPz 550.

  2. The bike had had a Rickman half fairing, but it was set up for ace bars, so when I substituted clip-ons it had to go. I'd read somewhere that having the instruments and headlight mounted off the forks helped steering, so I left the frame on to support those. And I'd dropped the forks in the yokes - too much reading Racer Road and figuring I was the next Phil or Cook...

    Yup, younger brother's brand new GS450 in the background; I'll try and find and post some pics of him learning to wheelie on it; I think it'd done 40 or 50 miles from new, so we figured it was run-in...

  3. I don't remember the GS having enough oomph to get that front wheel off the ground. You guys must have thrashed a couple clutches working that exercise!