November 28, 2013

A 1973 Suzuki TS185 on the horizont

I've been looking for another bike to add to my Yamaha SR400. I wanted something classic, powerful, agile, badass ad of course within a reasonable budget.

It came down to basically a few bikes: the Suzuki A100, the Yamaha DT100 and the Suzuki TS125.

After a few weeks of research I came across an ad for a very nice Suzuki TS185, year 1973. That makes it 1 year older than me, but she seems to age much better...

Thankfully, the owner speaks English well enough, so off I went to check out the bike in Bangkok. As was to be expected, it had a few age related blemishes. The thread on the speedo was bad and wouldn't connect to the cable, the tank lid wouldn't lock 100% and there was some clear oil dripping from the carb (I think). The last one was my biggest worry, so I asked the seller to fix that and contact me again once done.

The test ride was quite surprising. For such an old lady she still "paekks a punch" (as Rossi would say). The 2-stroker is supposed to have around 18hp. Rather refreshing after the efficient but unexciting Suzuki Shogun Axelo, our family bike.
Brakes were so-so, but handling was great. All in all I really liked it and I can't wait to get it. :-)

Kamen Rider on the 250cc version of the TS

From Wikipedia: The Suzuki TS series is a family of two-strokedual-sport motorcycles produced by Suzuki Motors from 1969 to 2005 and sold in several different countries. Most of the TS line had an air-cooled engine and most models were introduced alongside the closely related TM (Motocross) or TC (Trail) models, also the DS (for Dirt Sport, which had no turn signals, and simplified lighting) which in most cases shared engine and chassis designs. Suzuki's first motocross bike, the TM250, was introduced in 1972 and was based on the TS-250 that first hit the market in 1969. The TS series were the first Suzuki trail bikes sold on the mass market. They were robust, reliable and performed well. They were best suited to unsealed roads or off road in dry conditions-the limit being the lack of tyre grip with the standard tyre. Possibly the pick of the models was the TS185 which had the weight of the 125 and nearly the power of the 250 but with a much more free reving motor.The larger Ts series, 125 and over had piston port engines while the smaller TS serier-90 and 100 had rotary valve induction. A factory race kit was available for the TS90 which consisted of an expansion chamber,light piston and rings,carburetor and harder(colder range) plug and head which increased the size to 100cc. Different gearing was available for most models.

Here's a very nice review plus specs:

Link to the Suzuki TS forum with tons of diagrams, owner's book and service manuals:

November 18, 2013

New Arrival: LED Vincent/ Miller STOP light

I'm proud to introduce these top quality LED Vincent/Miller replica stop lights. 

The stop light's outer shell is pressed mild steel and is powder coated black for extreme durability. No cheap plastic here.

The "STOP" light cover is stamped polished 304 stainless steel, looks like chrome, but won't rust!
This is an LED taillight with E4 E mark for ADR compliance.

Features a 12volt LED stop-tail and number plate illumination. 
The lens is bright red plastic with a clear number plate light in the base of the cover.

Suitable for any 12V running motorcycle, car or ATV.

November 16, 2013

Elders Helmets are BACK!

After relocating and expanding their production site and stocking up on helmets, ELDERS HELMETS are not only back, but they are stronger than ever.
They come with a range of new products, including cool t-shirts and most importantly 2 new helmets!
More pictures and details coming soon.

So, if you've been waiting to get your hands on an Elders helmet, hop over to my website and choose yours.

An ode to simplicity

Ok. Let's take a step back and have a quick look at the global motorcycle trends from the 60's until the present. Let's also switch off our hearts as far as possible, to get a clearer picture of where we are coming from and where we are going, trend-wise.

Post war motorcycles, namely the English and Italian where highly desirable dreams on two wheels, but suffered from a lack of reliability. Riders had to know their machines inside and out, because they knew that they could be left on the side of the road at any moment and if they didn't help themselves, they were in trouble.
Triumph Bonneville T120 63.jpg (640×364)
1962 Triumph Bonneville represents the might of English motorcycles

This is where our Japanese friends came in. They took the popular designs of European motorcycles and after a period of "running in" the industry, they started producing their first amazing and reliable machines. The Big Four began a race to produce bigger, faster and more powerful bikes in an effort to eclipse each other's creations.

Honda CB750K2 72.jpg (781×600)
The very successful Honda CB750 meant trouble for the European motorcycle industry 
Of course European manufacturers didn't want to lag behind and joined the race. Magnificent accomplishments were the result: very practical ones like BMW's ABS system, not so practical ones like Honda's oval pistons and stylistic marvels like the recent MV Agusta F3 and Ducati Panigale (among many others).
MV Agusta F3 Serie Oro 2.jpg (1280×783)
The oh so beautiful MV Agusta F3

Most modern motorcycles have now well above 100hp on the wheel. Each new model must at least have a few hp more and a few grams less than its predecessor or it will be dismissed as a failure by the demanding . They now feature electronic wizardry with acronyms I can't remember if my life depended on it, without which you would have a hard time controlling those wild horses under your bum.

Granted, modern bikes are more reliable than ever, but they're not infallible. What happens then, when your space age superbike starts to act up due to a faulty electrical connection? Are you going to get your tools out and spend a few months trying to find the needle in the haystack? Do you have a laptop that you can connect to your bike that can do the job for you?
Probably not. And herein lies in my opinion not only a very practical problem, but a real philosophical dilemma, too. A problem that ignited a new desire in many motorcyclists all over the world. A desire that stands in stark contrast to what motorcycle manufacturers have been pumping out until recently.

It's a desire to return to mechanical and aesthetic simplicity, which has been the driving force behind the huge revival in custom made cafe racers, bobbers, choppers, trackers and scramblers of recent years. People have increasingly been trying to reconnect to their machines, to find that which has been lost behind full plastic fairings and circuit boards.

honda-cb750.jpg (625×400)
simple and purposeful, Cafe Racer Dreams' with their Honda CB750 (via BikeEXIF)

It's the simple elegance of an air-cooled engine in full view, supported by a frame that acts like the frame of a beautiful painting. It's the minimalism of the accessories that are beautiful because first of all they serve a practical purpose. Most importantly though, it's the feeling that such a motorcycle gives us. It's the confidence that we get, knowing that the bike holds no secrets and that we have all the tools (intellectual and material) to get it back on it's "feet", should it need assistance.
Maybe we could even talk about a new 'religion'. The word religion comes from the latin 'religio', and literally means to reconnect to that which is the Highest. Some might call it God, but I prefer to call it Truth, Goodness and Beauty and I find all three of them in my bike. But I'm digressing a bit and should keep this subject for another, dedicated post.

Anyways...., it took the big motorcycle manufacturers a while to recognize this need, but then they started delighting us with bikes that reflect this sentiment. Triumph, Ducati, BMW, Guzzi, Yamaha, Royal Enfield, just to name a few, jumped on the retro wagon. Ok, some manufacturers always had retro bikes in their line up, but were a niche segment of the market.

Royal-Enfield-Continental-GT-Side.jpg (1024×768)
Royal Enfield's Continental GT, one of the new breed of factory cafe racers
Personally, I can't but welcome this trend inversion, because it reflects my personal experience. I've rediscovered my love for motorcycles with the humble Yamaha SR400 and a new world has opened for me. I found the Truth in its inner workings. Its many parts, perfectly working together, produce a symphony of glorious actions. I rediscovered Goodness, which for me is the freedom and happiness I feel when I'm out riding through the rice fields in Thailand. And not to forget the Goodness I found in the motorcycle community. The people that are just as passionate as I am and are always ready to help each other out. Finally, I rejoice at the Beauty of the timeless lines of my SR and my heart beats faster when I see the setting sun reflecting on her tank.

This then, is my ode to simplicity.

As with all worldly things, this trend too shall rise, peak and come to pass one day. But until then, I wish all of you to find the Truth, Goodness and Beauty in whatever motorcycle you're riding.

*I'm not a journalist and not very good with words, but I hope that I was able to get my point across.

November 6, 2013

New 2013 Yamaha SR400 FI in Europe

How could I not write a blog post about what probably is the biggest news coming from the EICMA in Milan.
The new Ducati Monster...? yeah, nice
a naked BMW with "only" 160hp....? not bad
Kawa Z1000,... Yamaha MT09, ...MV Rivale.....? sure, cool


Which bike has been going for 35 years, almost unchanged, with a huge following, a darling in the customizing scene, be it cafe racer, bobber, tracker and every style in between?

Yes, you guessed it! It's the undying Yamaha SR400!!

She's back. This time with fuel injection to conform to the stringent European emission laws, but she still retains all that's been holy to countless SR lovers: the timeless design, the sweet low-tech engineering, the unfaltering reliability, as well as a smorgasbord of aftermarket parts for every taste.

The only downside I could find was the price: 6.000Euro seems rather steep.

She will be available in 2 rather understated colors: matte grey and black

Remember, if your getting one, Omega Racer is the place to come if you're looking for the coolest parts! ;-)

4-Takt, OHC, Luftgekühlt, 2 Ventile
399 ccm
8.5 : 1
17,1 kW (23,2PS) bei 6,500 /min
27,4 Nm (2,8 mkp) bei 3,000 /min
sequentielles Getriebe, 5-Gang
Ölbad, Mehrscheiben
Elektronische Benzineinspritzung
Bohrung x Hub
87,0 mm x 67,2 mm


Federung vorn
Federweg vorn
150 mm
Federung hinten
Zwei Federbeine
Federweg hinten
125 mm
111 mm
Bremse vorn
1 Scheibe, Ø 298 mm
Bremse hinten
Trommel mm
Reifen vorn
90/100-18M/C 54S (Tube type)
Reifen hinten
110/90-18M/C 61S (Tube type)


2.4 Liter
12 Liter
785 mm
1,410 mm
130 mm
2,085 mm
750 mm
1,095 mm
Gewicht, fahrfertig, vollgetankt
174 kg
And to give you a creative input for your next custom build, just have a look at what our friends at Wrenchmonkees came up with...