Friday, 27 May 2011

Six months with a Dingbat

Next purchase was back to two wheels, and I bought a Japanese import Suzuki Bandit 400 Sling Shot from Morses Motorcycles in Weston-super-Mare.

Before the Bandit bloated out to 600 and 1200cc the 400 was the bike that really started the explosion in naked Jap bikes in the late 80s.
Real Motorcycle, ahoy!

Morses didn't seem to know what to do with it, and punted it out for £900, even though it had only done 10,000 miles and was shinier than a shiny thing. Because it was a Jap Import, rather than a UK spec one it was faster and had better goodies on it - mirrors and indicators and the like.

After years of cheap cars and the cool but stodgy rattlyness of my XS650, this bike re-kindled my love of Motorbiking.

The Bandit was an astoundingly fast machine for a 400, howled along at a hell of a rate of knots and the supension was so good and the engine was so smooth that you could barely feel the road – it was like riding one of those light cycles in Return of the Jedi.

I christened it the Dingbat and used it for six months, enjoying it immensely.

It was the first motorbike I took my kids - by then 9 and 11 - out on. The older one got off looking slighty shaken but grinning, and the younger one just shouted "Faster, dad! Go Faster!" in my ear as we rode along at a speed I had felt was entirely adequate.

The only trouble with it was the build quality – bolts would snap off if you showed them a spanner.

It was put to pretty unsuitable use commuting, howled into central Bristol to drop the Missus off and howled out again down to Clevedon on the coast, then flat out on the way home all along the motorway.
Not the gentlest of treatment for a little watch like 59bhp screamer.

Then I found I had to buy a new tyre after just a few thousand miles. It came as something of a shock, after years of chunky old tyres for chunky old customs to find that soft compound sports bike tyres  cost an absolute bloody fortune.

I also found that many dealers would only change tyres for sports bikes in pairs which was a fast route to bankruptcy  – so on the market it went and was sold to a kid from Reading, who I feel sure had loads of fun on it.

Not a very exciting tale, I know, but sometimes thats all there is. A very good motorcycle, that works very well, but you don't engage with it, and its gone.

No comments: