Classic Bike Guide
Are you convinced yet? Here’s what to look for...
It will be getting brittle now, so condition is important. Colours are either stickers or the plastic colour, not painted, so look for the best you can. Pre-1991 bikes are even scarcer. Look for damage around the fuel tap and rear light.
Tough. Issues will be bodged maintenance, or having stood with old petrol in. Carbs may need a clean (order some carb rubbers to make refitting easy) and pop some diesel down the bores a few days before starting up, using a syringe and some pipe to remove it before you fire up. Shouldn’t be any oil leaks, but expect corrosion and paint flaking off.
Original downpipes will have rusted away and the standard pipe will have been binned years ago, ironically for looks. Delkevic makes complete stainless systems for about £300-400.
Bridgestone BT45 always worked well for the earlier sizes, which have a 110 front and 130 rear. Later 1991-onwards have a 120/60 17 front; swap for a 120/70 17 for a better feel and more choice – it was a fad at the time. Yet don’t be tempted to go wider than the correct 160/60 17 rear – you get best handling with standard.
Early Jellymould bikes are fine. Later post-1991 bikes, check for flat spots from wheelies and condition, as replacements are popular with racers and with Fireblade owners to replace the 16in they get, so expensive. Rear wheels are 5in until 1995, then 5.5in afterwards.
The rear shock will have lost any damping years ago. Try YSS, Hagon or similar, or look out for Maxton or Öhlins second-hand and have rebuilt. Grease linkage. Make sure the forks are straight and change the fork oil.
Keep connectors clean and dry, and reg/recs do have a habit of frying themselves; all you can do is make sure they’re getting a flow of air.
Easy to maintain, but despite being to-pot sliding calipers, work a treat. All parts available. I use EBC pads and discs, which I cannot fault.
Lots came in from the US of A as grey imports, so just know what you’re buying for ease of ordering parts.