WHAT I DO
Steve Panter, carburettor guru at Allens Performance. This is what he gets up to and why
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
“WE HAVE MIKUNIS RANGING FROM THE TINY VM10 RIGHT UP TO THE MASSIVE HSR48 AND KEIHINS GOING FROM 2041MM – THERE ARE MANY OPTIONS”
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)