Anyone who knows me will be aware of my respect for this UJM - Universal Japanese Motorcycle. About seven years ago, my then boss, the late, great, Martin Nurton, turned up at work on one. As he rode it into the raining school car park where I worked, I saw the reg was AF52 SHZ - and Shaz was born. He let me - nay - insisted - I use it when taking a lesson that afternoon, and after that short ride I was hooked. Performing U-turns on the bike for my students, I was nervous as hell; I'd only had it for half an hour, it was the boss's bike and my students were watching. It went round in the street a piece of cake. I wanted that bike.
It was a few months later that he told me he was selling it; I'd prised it from his grasp on a couple of occasions and knew that we were meant to be together; it was fast, sports bike fast, handled like a dream, was comfy as could be, and looked like 150mpg resting on its side stand. The asking price was high, but not unreasonable. I had to have it. Shaz became mine and I adored her. She had 30K miles on her when I got her, and I abused her daily in every way possible. She taught me to wheelie too. Bad girl.
I blew the gearbox at around 70K miles, the cheapest option was another engine off ebay from a crashed bike. The gearbox blew again at 97K and I finally pulled the plug, selling her for £800 rather than mess about. I tried a few bikes in between, yet another Bandit, Aprilia Falco, two VFR's, but none of them could cut it like Shaz. Finally I gave in, saw one advertised locally with low miles and went & bought it. Tyke was born. We've covered around 10K miles since I bought it last year, and it is great.
I do sometimes long for something different, for a change. Something that is challenging to ride, that doesn't sweep majestically around corners so easily, doesn't brake perfectly, doesn't win every traffic light GP, isn't perfectly balanced, something that occasionally requires more than just general servicing... But after these thought take hold, a long ride for a day round some twisty roads out through the Cotswolds and into Wales puts these mad ideas behind me.
What do you get for your money? 1000cc of D.O.H.C Yamaha power developed from the very first 80’s Genesis and EXUP engines, refined over many years' research, in a four-cylinder package with Carbs & EXUP valve, 0-60 in under four seconds, top speed around 160 (only off road & under the clinical supervision of a doctor) best mpg of 52 ridden like Miss Daisy, normally 38-40ish. Fit Bridgestone Tyres T30's for excellent grip, always fit the best upgrade-upgrade chain & sprockets, EBC sintered pads, genuine filters and semi-synthetic top quality oil. Rear shock will need a rebuild or replacement at around 30K. Short rider? No problem, my wife has one, lowered back & front - 5' 3&1/2" and has no problem with it and it's roughly 210KG weight.
I actually ran two Fazers side by side for a while, one for work, the other for play / back up bike but rarely needed it and sold it.
Now, you know how it is, you see other bikes and think Ooh I’d Like One of Them… done it a few times… But once again, after being led astray by a couple of others, I have once again bought… Another Gen1 Fazer. And, it’s the mutt’s nuts. I’m home, no more messing about, I’m not bothering with anything else.
It's the best UJM you'll find, out of all of them, the Z1000, Bandit 12 / 1250, CB1000, it's the best package of most power, lightest weight and best-looking. Buy one with confidence, ride with aplomb!
Life is a series of ever-faster bike journeys - as time begins to run out. But, I'm not finished yet...