Highly modified, but still in keeping with the original

Oh yeah baby! Highly modified, but still in keeping with the original

The 33 year-old GSX1100E switchgear was somewhat crunchy...

The 33 year-old GSX1100E switchgear was somewhat crunchy…

...so it got a strip, clean and rebuild with silicone grease. The metal cases cleaned up with ultrasound

…so it got a strip, clean and rebuild with silicone grease. The metal cases cleaned up beautifully with ultrasound

This is probably the cause of the charging trouble: it's the main feed into the fuse box

This was probably the cause of the charging trouble: it was the main feed into the fuse box. Eek!

Sol’sĀ GSX-R1100 Katana

Simon Oliver, or Sol for short, is an ex club racer, lifelong rider and owner of this thoughtfully uprated Katana special. Over the years he’s braced the frame, added GSX-R wheels and forks, uprated the shocks to Ɩhlins, and bolted in a GSX-R1100M motor with a Harris pipe and some very tastyĀ flatslide Mikunis. Current output is 140bhp, but it’ll be tweaked soon to make it a bit livelier.

He’d got it running using a loom and switchgear from a GSX1100E, adapted for a Dyna adjustable ignition and coils, lithium battery and an M Lock instead of an ignition switch. But the bike was overcharging (more than 15 volts), and things electric were starting to look a little ropy.

There was quite a bit of prep to make sure the switchgear and clocks were OK. 1980s Japanese switchgear is brilliantly designed, and easy to rebuild. It’s amazing how slick it felt once it was stripped, cleaned and lubricated with silicone grease.

WeĀ also took the chance to move the ignition box to cover up holes from a previous install, and mount it on rubber anti-vibration bobbins. Next we sorted out the battery with a foam pad, hooks and retaining strap (you can get straps in various lengthsĀ from Petrolscooter). Once that was done the loom came together quite nicely. There’s lots of room on 1980s bikes, and anyway Sol hadĀ builtĀ that spacious electrics tray. With all new connections, and excellent earths, the charging problem went away: 14.1-14.2 volts is about right. The engine started very willingly too. New high capacity battery cables always help.

The plan now is to enjoy it for the summer, then strip it for finalĀ cosmetic sort-out in the autumn. You can follow Sol’s adventures with the bike on https://solcambs.wordpress.com

00 Underseat before

From this…

...to this

…to this

When you work on old bikes you have to fight your way through the inevitable

Entropy: when you work on old bikes you have to fight your way through the depredations of past owners

It's worth it though: Katana clocks are a classic design

It’s worth it though: Katana clocks are a classic design

You have to admit it looks right

Katanas look even better now than they did in 1981