Spondon Bandit Turbo by Dave Solomon

Spondon Turbo

“Problem I have is, at 6k, that wheel is heading skywards in EVERY gear…”

If you know anything about the streetfighter scene of the 1980s and 1990s, you know the name Spondon. Their aftermarket frames have attained a near-legendary status, and some even posit that their engineering prowess made the Japanese take chassis development more seriously in the 1980s.

Spondon Turbo

Enter our favorite mad Englishman, Dave Solomon of Butchered Classics — a man who’s earned an “evil reputation” for “butchering” classic Kawasakis, swapping in giant Suzuki engines and the like, sending purists stark raving mad to the loony bin. In 2016, we featured Dave’s Spondon streetfighter, powered by an air-cooled Bandit 1200 engine. Said Dave after the initial build:

“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.”

Spondon Turbo

Well, Dave would only enjoy these fruits of his labor for so long. On a visit to the Isle of Man, the Spondon was challenged to a duel of sorts:

“Well, a few years back whilst enjoying the Isle of Man, just minding my own business, obeying all the Manx traffic laws, a very rude young man on his very fast R1 came past me like I was stood still…”

Spondon Turbo

Unfortunately, within 30 seconds the Yamaha had pulled out of sight. At that point, Dave knew it was “turbo time.” Below, we get the details on this turbocharged Spondon streetfighter from the man himself!

Turbocharged Spondon Streetfighter: In the Builder’s Words

Spondon Turbo

So it’s been on here before, just another Spondon-framed Bandit-powered motorcycle. Well, a few years back whilst enjoying the Isle of Man, just minding my own business, obeying all the Manx traffic laws, a very rude young man on his very fast R1 came past me like I was stood still… Challenge accepted, I dropped a gear, then another, but that Yamaha was very, very quick and within 30 seconds or so he was out of sight. Now something stirred inside ‘cuz all I could think about was how to make the Spondon quicker. The frames are good for 500-plus bhp so the decision was made… It was “turbo time.”

Spondon Turbo

Now I ain’t one for spending just for the sake of it, so rebuilding the motor was not a financially viable option. So, I ventured out and purchased a complete turbocharged 1200 Bandit. A quick (3-week) engine swap and a few small fabricating issues to make the right bits fit into the right frame possible and we were done.

Spondon Turbo

So what now, surely the bike’s really quick now and will beat anything on the street with its ultra strong frame and ultra quick engine. Well not quite — if anything, it’s actually slower to ride fast as every time that tacho needle hits 6k the turbo starts spinning and the front wheel is heading skywards… Now some people will say it was a complete waste of time then? Problem I have is at 6k that wheel is heading skywards in EVERY gear… It’s bloody addictive I tells ya and sounds awesome!

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  1. Since when is a Bandit 1200 engine air cooled? I’ve had two of them, and I can’t remember any air cooling going on! Looks like someone doesn’t know their bollocks from their eyeballs!

    • Captain gsxr

      bandit 1200 has always been oil/air cooled, the bandit 1250 is water cooled. go grab yourself a haynes manual sunshine and do some reading up before making yourself look like a tool. but to your original miffed response all suzuki engines use air cooling weather its over fins on barrells and heads, fins in an oil cooler or fins on a coolant filled radiator.
      before you say there is no air cooling going on what hits you in the face whilst you ride along ……

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