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Race bike, road tuner?


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#1 f1steveuk

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 13:05

Usual thing, bumped into an old school mate, got talking about the "old days" and he asked me if a] I still rode a bike, and b] what happend to my Rickman Kawasaki. This got me thinking, as at the time I was racing karts/cars, but only riding bikes on the road (I have never raced a bike, and don't think I will ever have the courage/stupidity too!!). Anyway there were quite a few "tuners/performance bolt goody" ad's in the magazines of the time, but how many did actually prove their products on the track?

I recall Sondel (Yamaha specialists), Read Titan (mainly Honda), Dunstall, Rickman, Piper (mainly exhausts as were Campbell Geometrics and Alspeed),Mick Grant (I had a set of his pipes chromed and stuck on a road bike!!!) Dyson and Gus Khan. There was also a Scottish guy Alastair Laurie that built some obscenely lightweight BSAa and Triumphs, all by hand (including hand beating the fairings) who also claimed to "race prove" his products, but how many actually did, and how many simply put a sticker on a bike fairing?

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#2 llmaurice

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 15:41

Usual thing, bumped into an old school mate, got talking about the "old days" and he asked me if a] I still rode a bike, and b] what happend to my Rickman Kawasaki. This got me thinking, as at the time I was racing karts/cars, but only riding bikes on the road (I have never raced a bike, and don't think I will ever have the courage/stupidity too!!). Anyway there were quite a few "tuners/performance bolt goody" ad's in the magazines of the time, but how many did actually prove their products on the track?

I recall Sondel (Yamaha specialists), Read Titan (mainly Honda), Dunstall, Rickman, Piper (mainly exhausts as were Campbell Geometrics and Alspeed),Mick Grant (I had a set of his pipes chromed and stuck on a road bike!!!) Dyson and Gus Khan. There was also a Scottish guy Alastair Laurie that built some obscenely lightweight BSAa and Triumphs, all by hand (including hand beating the fairings) who also claimed to "race prove" his products, but how many actually did, and how many simply put a sticker on a bike fairing?


Paul Dunstall had a lot to do with keeping the old F1 GS1000 motors going .When we ran one (ex-Manship)in F1 he was the only person that could supply the tiny cam shims and buckets as opposed to the great thick standard ones .Also he could supply rearsets ready to bolt straight on (wouldn't fit road bikes though because all non essential parts were cut off the frames )

#3 Simpson RX1

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 23:46

Usual thing, bumped into an old school mate, got talking about the "old days" and he asked me if a] I still rode a bike, and b] what happend to my Rickman Kawasaki. This got me thinking, as at the time I was racing karts/cars, but only riding bikes on the road (I have never raced a bike, and don't think I will ever have the courage/stupidity too!!). Anyway there were quite a few "tuners/performance bolt goody" ad's in the magazines of the time, but how many did actually prove their products on the track?

I recall Sondel (Yamaha specialists), Read Titan (mainly Honda), Dunstall, Rickman, Piper (mainly exhausts as were Campbell Geometrics and Alspeed),Mick Grant (I had a set of his pipes chromed and stuck on a road bike!!!) Dyson and Gus Khan. There was also a Scottish guy Alastair Laurie that built some obscenely lightweight BSAa and Triumphs, all by hand (including hand beating the fairings) who also claimed to "race prove" his products, but how many actually did, and how many simply put a sticker on a bike fairing?


I can remember seeing Rickman products on race bikes, if only Club racers; as I recall, they were most well known for their quite thick and rather heavy GRP bodywork and top boxes, although I was once chosen to test pilot a set of waterproofs they wanted to market, due to me being a courier at the time (comfortable and warm, but not waterproof for more than a few minutes, I don't think they made it to retail).

Allspeed pipes were the expansion chamber of choice for 350LC riders (Microns made a lot of noise, but not enough power) and Piper and Campbell exhausts were also more about noise than poke, the Harris F1 being the preferred 4-into-1 for the Jap big bangers.

Dyson, I think, were the company behind DyMag alloy wheels, a particularly distinctive 3 spoke design, that was ubiquitous amongst road and race bikes alike, for most of the 80s and, possibly, beyond.

I'm sure Dunstall were race proved (a particular connection with Norton and, later, Honda rings a bell) but I'm not so sure about Sondel (they still have an accessory shop in Highbury) or Gus Kuhn (pioneer speedway rider turned bike retailer in Camberwell) who I reckon were just headline sponsors.

A couple of names you might also remember are Stan Stevens (another ex speedway rider who turned his hand, very successfully, to 2-stroke tuning) and Marshall exhausts, whose "deep tone" pipes were another 'more mouth than trousers' product.

EDIT: just read llmaurice's post properly and it was, of course, Dunstall Suzukis, not Hondas.

Edited by Simpson RX1, 06 August 2009 - 23:48.


#4 picblanc

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 21:53

I can remember seeing Rickman products on race bikes, if only Club racers; as I recall, they were most well known for their quite thick and rather heavy GRP bodywork and top boxes, although I was once chosen to test pilot a set of waterproofs they wanted to market, due to me being a courier at the time (comfortable and warm, but not waterproof for more than a few minutes, I don't think they made it to retail).

Allspeed pipes were the expansion chamber of choice for 350LC riders (Microns made a lot of noise, but not enough power) and Piper and Campbell exhausts were also more about noise than poke, the Harris F1 being the preferred 4-into-1 for the Jap big bangers.

Dyson, I think, were the company behind DyMag alloy wheels, a particularly distinctive 3 spoke design, that was ubiquitous amongst road and race bikes alike, for most of the 80s and, possibly, beyond.

I'm sure Dunstall were race proved (a particular connection with Norton and, later, Honda rings a bell) but I'm not so sure about Sondel (they still have an accessory shop in Highbury) or Gus Kuhn (pioneer speedway rider turned bike retailer in Camberwell) who I reckon were just headline sponsors.

A couple of names you might also remember are Stan Stevens (another ex speedway rider who turned his hand, very successfully, to 2-stroke tuning) and Marshall exhausts, whose "deep tone" pipes were another 'more mouth than trousers' product.

EDIT: just read llmaurice's post properly and it was, of course, Dunstall Suzukis, not Hondas.

Stan Stevens also raced sidecars.