You might remember that when I recently purchased the 916 that I was actually looking for a Fireblade. The whole team has been talking about ‘blades a lot, and we all really want one. In a past life I had a 94 Foxeye that has always remained high up my list of all-time favourite bikes. When I put a bid on this 1992 Mk1 I didn’t think there would be much chance of me winning it. Wrong. It turns out that auctions that end mid-afternoon on a Thursday might pass someone people by.
Either that or nobody else fancied the 45,000 miles on the bike.
I figured it would need work. Or sound like a bunch of jackhammers on max before going bang. Or the left side would be horrendous (all the pictures were of the right-hand side). Wrong again. Sure, it’s a 27 year old 45,000 mile motorcycle. But not that far off being a good one. Not far off at all in fact.
So what’s wrong? There’s a fairing fastener missing. It has horrible mini indicators, and the engine cases could do with a refinish. The mudguard has some chips, as do the wheels. But on our first ride it all felt pretty healthy. The 16-inch front wheel made its presence felt in the first few yards, coupled with some head bearings that might need a bit of a tweak, or a visit to the bin. The steering felt heavy, and slow. As we picked up momentum things came together. Suspension that has been recently refurbed joined the party, and a motor that has obviously been well-serviced by the previous eight owners had all of the original drive. It’s good. Really good. As good as I remember the Foxeye being.
I started to mull over the idea of a full restoration. Yes, even ditching the early 90s M&P pink bar ends. More miles into the trip and I swung the other way. It’s a survivor. A real bike that has been used but maintained. Do I want to mess with that? I don’t know. Looking under the fairing of the 916 makes me think I have plenty to keep me occupied on the stripping and cleaning front, so for now a new set of indicators and some fairing fasteners are on order. Otherwise I think it looks kind of cool as it is. Maybe more miles will tell. There’s only one way to find out!