Steve Pan­ter, car­bu­ret­tor guru at Al­lens Per­for­mance. This is what he gets up to and why

Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - Contents - Words: Alan See­ley Pic­tures: Ja­son Critchell

We’re all about the car­bu­ret­tors on

Prac­ti­cal Sports­bikes. Noth­ing fu­els like a prop­erly set up carbed bike. We mostly un­der­stand carbs and it’s no co­in­ci­dence that the bikes the mag­a­zine fo­cuses on were built be­fore fuel in­jec­tion be­came ubiq­ui­tous.

One man gets carbs bet­ter than most and that’s Steve Pan­ter of Al­lens Per­for­mance. He ac­quired the spe­cial­ist carb com­pany at the start of 2007. Mikuni and Kei­hin are at the core and Al­lens serve both road and race rid­ers.

“We’re get­ting an in­creas­ing num­ber of re­quests for spares for older road bikes and find that we are able to source and sup­ply spares that the mo­tor­cy­cle deal­ers them­selves strug­gle to find. Yamaha YZF-R1 carbs are a good ex­am­ple of this; we have nee­dle jets and the like that Yamaha deal­ers them­selves no longer list,” says Steve.

How­ever don’t as­sume that just be­cause your OE carbs are branded Kei­hin or Mikuni that all spares are avail­able from a spe­cial­ist in those brands. “Of­ten a road bike’s carbs were spec­i­fied for that par­tic­u­lar ma­chine and spares, even when they were of­fered back then, were spe­cific to that carb and hence to the deal­ers in that mo­tor­cy­cle,” says Steve.

“Not that we don’t find crossovers and as our data­base grows we’re able to pro­vide spares to suit.” Cur­rently un­der­go­ing an IT over­haul, that data­base fea­tures over 7000 items and count­ing, from O-rings to com­plete carbs.

Steve and his team are all too aware of the fuel system prob­lems many of us face with our older bikes, es­pe­cially the ones that have been stand­ing for ex­tended pe­ri­ods. “It’s bizarre,” he says, “carbs


seems to range from lightly gummed up to ru­ined – I’ve seen float bowls com­pletely rot­ted out.” No wor­ries if your carbs are com­pletely shot, there will be re­place­ments to suit in Al­lens’ ex­ten­sive range. “We have Miku­nis rang­ing from the tiny VM10 right up to the mas­sive HSR48 and Keihins go­ing from 20-41mm,” says Steve. So per­for­mance up­grades are def­i­nitely an op­tion when your old carbs crap out. My own 1993 Du­cati 900SS pre­sented a dilemma when the orig­i­nal Mikuni CVS proved to be worn out. When the parts re­quired to sort them got past half the price of a pair of Kei­hin FCRS, I took the plunge.

In be­tween spares and com­plete carbs is Steve’s em­ployee, Mick Rad­ford. Mick’s re­mit is ser­vic­ing carbs and he’s to be found in his own lit­tle area in the rafters of Al­lens Per­for­mance’s Not­ting­hamshire premises work­ing his craft. Mean­while, down in the ma­chine room, Steve’s grand­fa­ther John Plowright pulls beau­ti­fully turned jewels from lumps of ally and steel. A big part of what Al­lens Per­for­mance do is carb kits, which come with the man­i­folds and ca­bles to fit.

Steve de­rives end­less sat­is­fac­tion from his busi­ness: “We’re here to help any­one get to where they want to be with their bike.”

Con­tact Al­lens Per­for­mance 01949 836733, al­lensper­for­mance.co.uk

Ro­tax tan­dem twin race bike on the bench

The shop win­dow of a mas­ter car­bu­ret­tor sup­plier (beats look­ing at any­thing on the High Street)

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