Today we have another creation by our favorite mad Englishman, Dave Solomon of Butchered Classics. This time, it’s a Bandit 1200-powered Spondon streetfighter. If you know anything about the UK streetfighter scene of the late 80s and 1990s, you’ve heard of Spondon Engineering. Spondon frames have attained near legendary status, and the name is whispered with awe and veneration in certain circles.
We’ll let Dave explain the rest with his patented style!
Spondon Frame, Bandit Power: In the Builder’s Words
Spondon…a town in Derbyshire, England, located ‘roughly’ between Nottingham and Derby on the Nottingham Road. The town used to stand as a mecca, known to all us budding streetfighter builders of the late 80’s, because of Spondon Engineering–not a huge building, in fact it wasn’t very imposing at all. If you blinked as you passed it…you’d miss it!
I paid my first visit there in 1997, when I ordered my frame, and my final visit 9 months later when the said frame was completed. That bike was completed in under three months, as most of the engineering work was complete and all I had to do was mount my own (GSXR) front end and rear wheel, slot my motor in, get the whole lot painted, and there you had it…a ready-made potential “show stopping” motorcycle.
We jump a decade and a half, and the Spondon Busa arrived, made with all the best components money could buy and featured on Bikebound last year. As amazing as it was, and perfect in every way to look at, riding it was a disappointment. I was worried that every car was gonna pull out on me, or every blind bend had someone broken down around the corner. As much as I wanted to ride it hard, I just couldn’t…then this arrived!
I was told of a Spondon big tube frame covered in dust at the rear of a car body repair shop in Bristol (40 miles from me). I drove there and under an inch of overspray and what felt like tonnes of car panels, I discovered a complete bike. The owner had left it there with intentions of getting work done, but his health wasn’t good and after being laid up for nearly three years, his partner asked the shop to put the word out.
A deal was done. The very eighties-looking bike was brought home and stripped, frame sent off to be brought back to life by Tony’s Perfect Polishing, and a donor low mileage 1200 Bandit was purchased to supply the engine and loom. Mikuni Rs36s supply the grunt, whilst some Dyna coils deliver the spark. A Delkevic set of header pipes was ordered and a second hand end can from ebay, too.
The only disappointment was an ongoing project got shelved, so I could use the Aprilia front end and rear wheel, but it was well worth it….gotta break a few eggs to make a cake!
Mark Eavers of Burlow Engineering fame spent months designing and fabricating the top yoke and it does the bike proud. Paint was left in charge of Chris Davison and his garden shed to supply the colour. Andy Barnett was there on hand to help fit the R6 track subframe, which in turn got kitted out with genuine plastics. Finally the seat got a recover by the upholstering guru Tim Dudley who made some minor alterations and recovered the whole lot with a carbon effect vinyl.
I now have a Spondon that I can ride hard and throw into corners without a care. She handles superbly and pulls effortlessly without a care…plans for the future? Well she’s definitely a keeper, and there just happens to be a Turbo GSXR engine sitting in my kitchen that the wife wants gone–I now know just where to put it during the winter refresh!