Monday, 10 September 2012
"SWISS FAMILY THUMPER", THE BIG 4 STROKE THAT SAW THE REBIRTH OF THE SUPER SINGLE . . . . THE YAMMY XT, TT AND SR 500's REALLY PROVED JUST HOW TOUGH A FOUR STROKE THUMPER COULD BE . . . . SURE, HONDA HAD HAD A CRACK BUT THESE THINGS WERE THE DUCK'S NUTS AND THE PUBLIC GRABBED EM BY THE BALLS . . . . TOTALLY DESERVING OF THEIR LEGEND STATUS . . . . WHEELIES, FUCK YEAH !!!!
A TRIO OF COOLER, TOUGHER, MORE INFLUENTIAL BIKES YOU COULDN'T ASK FOR, IN 1976 WHEN THE 'C' MODEL XT AND TT 500 CAME ONTO THE SCENE, NOBODY TOOK BIG SINGLE POT FOUR STROKERS SERIOUSLY, UNLESS YOU OWNED A MANX, AJS, BEEZER AND THE LIKE . . . . THEY WERE CONSIGNED TO THE DINOSAUR BIN OF MOTORSICKLE HISTORY, NO-ONE COULD'VE FORSEEN HOW INFLUENTIAL THESE TWO RELEASES FROM THE HOUSE OF THE CROSSED TUNING FORKS WOULD BE . . . . BY THE TIME THE 'SR' ROAD GOING VERSION WITH BIGGER HEAD AND VALVES AND OTHER MODS WAS BROUGHT OUT, THE MOULD WAS CAST AND THE RESURGENCE OF THE 4 STROKE CHOOK CHASER WAS WELL UNDER WAY.
The mere fact these critters are now super sought after 30 plus years later is testament to just how fucking good they were, until they changed the motor format in the early eighties, you couldn't kill the bastards, the only thing that invariably failed were the mufflers when they rotted out with metal worm, but as long as you changed the oil and filter, did your valves, tensioned the cam chain and kept air in the tyres, Bob was your mother's brother . . . . the use of the SR donk in a TT frame with modest head work, biggish, [well, huge] cam, open megaphone, 38mm [?] Mikuni, steering damper, Suzi quad leader front brake, good shocks and slicks was enough to get John Stamnas the lap record for a single 500 at Lakeside back in 1993 or thereabouts, even the KTM's and Husky Super-Retards couldn't get past the old Classic Bike Tune #7, at one point all of us in the shop had a hybrid thumper on the road, it was Yamathumper madness.
Seriously, without the advent of these killer, one lung, four stroke stump pullers, two strokes would still be the only class in motocross and Poms would be hogging all the glory and fame in the world of big singles, at least now they have to share the spotlight with the ball tearing Yamaha trio of the XT, TT and SR 500.