By Ross Sharp - 01 May 14
Yesterday I complained about the distinct lack of sunshine in the UK and turned a greenish hue whilst putting together the story of Drifter Bikes and their GB500TT. Wistfully daydreaming about sheds in hot, sunny backyards, stripping bikes outdoors and riding along the coast. As is often the case, the grass is greener on the other side. That's if you can see the grass. Sampo and this CB750 hail from Sweden and for many months of the year snow covers the ground and he probably daydreams about a thawing ice with visible tarmac beneath and a temperature figure without a minus in front. His previous sub-zero shed adventure featured a red CX500 that was completed during the bitter winter and is now ridden all-year-round. Keen for another flirt with frostbite and a challenge Sampo bought this CB750 to try and disprove those who think early 80's bikes are ugly. He also takes full advantage of the empty country roads and wanted something a bit faster but with wildlife dodging twin disc brakes. This hardy Swede would rather spend time riding than washing salt from ferrous spoke nipples so left the mag wheels in, painted them black and fitted vintage pattern Dunlops. The front end has been slammed in the yokes, top one is flipped upside-down, with progressive springs and thicker oil to deal with Sampo's hard riding. The mudguard was disguarded but the supporting brace kept as forks of this period tended to flex like a fishing rod with Shamu on the hook. The rear has also been lowered, suspended on a pair of Hagon Sport 340mm springs. In Sweden it's considered OK to get naked and steamy with your girlfriend's parents but not OK to run a bike without the appropriate instrumentation and warning lights so an all-in-one modern speedo unit was fitted to keep the Polisen happy. The ignition has been relocated under the seat to reduce clutter up front. The addition of clip-ons may look good and offer a more racy riding position but are a pain in the thumbs when you smash the tank on full lock. The slightly earlier '77 tank was persuaded with a hammer to accept its position on the new steed, with recesses for the knees and bars beaten in before being painted in 80s Indy racing Honda yellow. The quartet of CV carbs required a little tuning to run sweetly on more open cone filters and free flowing 4-into-1 anti-aircraft exhaust now offering a crisp response and better soundtrack. A new ignition system provides a reliable spark and satisfies the requirement for frequent visitations to the red line. There is a set of GSXR BST34mm carbs on Sampo's bench which might end up being fitted this summer. The seat cowl is fibreglass to minimise weight and provides a home for the aluminium battery box and chunkier parts of the wiring loom. To keep road grime and water out of the carbs an aluminium shield runs the length of the rear underside, handy when the asphalt ends and the gravel begins. Some parts have been polished, notably the side cases, whilst other components wear their patina well as Sampo prefers his bikes to look used and enjoyed. Sampo and his ride it like you stole it attitude has led him down the road, literally, to a new business venture which should launch in the next few days. If you're in the market for some Kevlar jeans have a look at the Superior Layer website (not quite live as of today) for more info.