Fast Bikes - - LONGTERMERS -

THIS MONTH I HAVE MOSTLY BEEN… “Rue­ing hav­ing a child... (only jok­ing!)”

Best laid plans, eh? Months ago when I first re­ceived the Gixer, I also had an in­vi­ta­tion to a Suzuki track day at Sil­ver­stone, on the full beans big boy lay­out. I was look­ing for­ward to this so much as op­por­tu­ni­ties to get out on track af­ter SBOTY had been few and far be­tween. I was also su­per keen to give the brakes a heavy work­out fol­low­ing last month, when we fit­ted the Brembo Road & Track brake pads.

Ev­i­dence on the road dis­played an im­prove­ment for sure, but not the huge one I was look­ing for which means mak­ing an­other step soon, be that braided lines, or what­ever. Any­way, this Suzuki track day at the ‘stone – it was a right royal cock-up!

My lit­tle boy (as in my child), woke up at mid­night, a mere six hours be­fore I was due to leave, and was still wreck­ing the joint when I jumped in the van with the Gixer strapped in. This, added to the fact said fruit of loins had wo­ken up be­fore 5am the pre­vi­ous morn­ing. So off I went with not a sec­ond’s sleep in nigh on 24 hours! Upon ar­riv­ing at Sil­ver­stone, the heav­ens opened and it pissed down all morn­ing. With lit­tle to gain and much to lose, the Gixer stayed in the van.

By the time it dried out (though it was still wet in a lot of places), it was nearly 4pm and I was ut­terly hang­ing. To try and gee my­self up, I went out on a press GSX-R re­splen­dent in Mo­toGP colours, to see what was what and how I was feel­ing. Within four laps I was back in the pits…

When your eyes are droop­ing at 160mph down Hanger Straight, this tells you that to­day may not be your day. How­ever, my ex­haus­tion wasn’t the sole rea­son for pulling in – the brakes had all but gone within three laps! Just rid­ing this com­pletely stock ma­chine made me re­alise that the Brembo pads had done more than I thought they had, so while I still need ex­tra we’re def­i­nitely on the right track.

I re­turned to the van to think about pulling out the Gixer for the last ses­sion, just to get some photos. An hour and half later I woke up in the back of van and every­one was go­ing home – track day fail! Ah well, I’m hop­ing to get her out around Cas­tle Combe next week, so will give the pads a proper test then.

Since then though, it was time for some bling! Per­for­mance Parts Ltd had sent me a plethora of Yoshimura Gixer parts, so I zipped up to JHS to get some fit­ted, along with some awe­some ASV levers also sent by PP.

A stem nut, tank-pad, some swingarm axle clamps and some engine pugs were slot­ted on in no time. With the bike be­ing so black you have to look closely to see them, how­ever they have added a touch of flair al­ready, and there’s more still to come.

Then the ASV levers went on, and I must ad­mit I love these things. Many folk think a brake lever is just that, a lever. How­ever, how one is de­signed can dras­ti­cally al­ter feel, and the ASV items al­ways feel beau­ti­ful, al­most giv­ing an ex­tra am­pli­tude of feed­back to what your brakes are do­ing. And as a bonus by proxy, the abil­ity to tai­lor where the lever sits (well be­yond the stock six set­ting choices), has ac­tu­ally given me more of the brakes to use, too. So not only is feel up, but I’m able to en­joy some of the ex­tra power the Brembo pads al­low. That’s a win-win with the levers, and while not ‘cheap’ at £110 they are of the ‘un­break­able’ va­ri­ety and su­perb qual­ity. And any­way, I’ve seen enough hor­ror sto­ries re­gard­ing gen­uinely cheap levers to make me stay away for life! Lots more next month!

Bet­ter­ing the brak­ing means bet­ter­ing the lever too.

The clutch lever’s got a whole lot sex­ier.

A bit of oblig­a­tory Yoshi pimp­ing al­ways works a treat on Gix­ers.

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