Tornado Developments A Yamaha Story

This Yamaha R1 started life in S A as one of the very first R1 s sold by Linex Yamaha to Wennie Bester a long-time friend and client of ours, the bike was then sold to Sal, who together with his son Louis on a GSXR, David van der Merwe on another GSXR and TG on TL racebike or his trusted bandit used to terrorise the Sabie Hazyview area in Eastern Transvaal every 6 weeks, Sal had an accident and wanted to sell the R1. TG said to him, “Oom Sal when we have rebuilt it I promise you you will ride it again”.  The R1 was rebuilt based loosely around the V&M 
Yamaha that David Jefferies used to beat the works Honda of Joey Dunlop at Isle of Man. It features Dymag magnesium wheels, Andreani front suspension, Ohlins rear shock, rear sets, Yoshimura duplex full system, big radiator and a huge list of trick parts, Painted by phantom graphix. 
 
Sal rode it again as TG promised, eventually TG bought the bike from Sal and used it as his instruction bike at Michelin Superbike school, it then got sold to Alistair who took it to the U K with him, a few years later Allister got promoted to the U S A and TG bought it back and used it at Superbike school again. TG then had a racing accident and became wheelchair bound. An old friend Johan Grove helped us greatly in the business during this time. TG gave him the bike as a token of appreciation. At the end of 2013 Johan tragically passed away. He left the bike to his friend TG in his will. We got it back a few weeks ago.
Here is the V&M replica at Kyalami, enjoying all that a classic circuit can throw at it. (Above)
 
Here it is in its’ natural habitat, the famous 22 East of Sabie. (Right and below)
 
 

 

On Loan to the Museum from:
Tornado Developments
3 Micron Industrial Park, Weyers St, Alrode South.
(011) 900 1781 or 083 968 1401

It's a GSXR
Yellow is not a colour that goes well with a five star hangover. Black or grey maybe , but definitely not yellow , especially bright yellow in even brighter sunlight.The previous day the colour had seemed appropriate. It is loud , but so is the bike. If a BMW M3 , Lotus Esprit Turbo or a Ferrari can carry if off, then so too can this time warping Suzuki. The colour however ,is not the most interesting thing about the bodywork. Poking through the banana skin atvarious aesthetically pleasing points is some finely polished carbon fibre. This is no carbon decal job either because the whole bodykit , save the front mudguard, is the real stuff and its worth a weigh saving  kg over the original. Most of this reduction was found by removing the rear subframe and replacing it with a carbon fibre version , on which hangs a single seat tailpiece. The silhouette of the bike remains virtually unchanged the only major cosmetic surgery being found at the front end where a tiny spotlight replaces the previous weighty double headlight set-up.
 
What Nice Figures You Have
 
Less weight as we all know , is a good thing , especially on a Sportster . We all know too that more power equals more fun, so a combination of the two should prove irresistible . The 1100 GSXR is no slouch in standard form, but in this guise it makes nough power to pull just over 300 km/hr on the clock. The power needed to do this? 156 bhp at the back wheel .All these extra horses are delivered courtesy of an 1140cc big bore kit, flowed cylinder head , Yoshimura cams , modified airbox and a Yoshi 4:2:1 exhaust. Connecting all this output to the ground is a 180/55 rear Michelin HiSport that provides plenty of a lean angle, but whose life can probably be measured in metres rather than kilometres. Give the throttle plenty as you leave the robots and you can feel the super soft rubber squirming , biting down on the tar and eating into your bank balance. Ah well , such is the price of owning a low flying UFO.
 
Straight Down The Line
 
The trip down to the biggest rally of the year proved that straight roads can be fun. Cruising between 220 and 240 km/hr was easy . There is plenty of protection from the wind , thanks in part to the effective screen, but mostly to the lowered clip-on hich pull you out of th air flow. Stability is exemplarary but unsuprising  given the lengthy wheelbase.Even with a dyno curve that feels more like a vertical line the front end refused to rise on the throttle alone. Wheelspin is the order of the day unless you dip the clutch . Once  in top forget about the gears until you need to get off . Although using th box and clutch is the usual Suzuki pleasure dome , there is a slight glitch when changing from 1st to 2nd under full load as it will refuse to engage without a seriously firm prod on the lever.
 
Stopping the tellow peril is achieved via sixpot calipers and a set of PFM discs. There's no arguing they work , but as with other similar systems there seem to be a lack of feel. Its not serious and is i would think ,just a matter of getting used to the different forces involved . Softer pads would be a starting point , but with all that speed and all they heavy braking associated with you'd end up changing paads as ofter as rear tyrea.
 
Taming The Rhino
 
Once at the Orkney Vaal site i respectfully obeyed TG's wishes about not doughnutting the bike , but couldnt resist running it on Piet Spoeds mobile dyno. I felt a little guilty but T.G. had already said there were 156 horses in the Suzuki's paddock so i put his claim to test in front of an inquisitive crowd. My gut feeling was that it was probably up there , but id expected a big top end rush and not this civilisd if rapid climb through the revs, so i wasfar from certain . The best that had been seen on Mr Van Zyls very busy dyno had been about 140 bhp from a big bore ZX-9R , and the general consensus was that this would stand for the whole weekend. Once strapped down the big banana was caned through the gears and two runs later i had the printed evidence.
 
T.G.'s personal plaything (R65.000might persuade him otherwise) had recorded a 154 bhp back wheel bonanza.Even though i was only borrowing it the buzz of riding the most powerful bike among the thousands there that weekend filled me with the urge to celebrate, I did , and so did everyone else. With so many hangovers in one place i expected Sunday morning to be a quiet place. Oh no. There were plenty more tyres to burn out yet.
 
Desperately Seeking Corners
 
The journey home was not the stomach churning affair id anticipated . a 200+ km/hr breeze soon blew away most of the alcoholic haze. Unfortunately the weekend passed by without the opportunity to put the Suzuki through a few twists and turns, but there's no doubt the race tech kitted suspension is better than standard. Turn in is crisp and decisive and the level of feedback from the front end is more 750 than 1100. Quick changes of direction elicated a little shuffle from the rear , but this is possibly due to tyre profile or a rear damping problem , both of which can be sorted out.
 
If it all seems just a bit too good to be true , then im sorry because it is , except .... the Banzai Banana likes oil and a regular top up of Motul is necessary. The carbon mirrors are more fashion than function , or put more crudely they dont work. The spotlight is the same , although powerful its spread of beam is poor. Thats it through , all the nits picked.
 
Live Long And Prosper
 
This bike begs to be noticed, and once it has your attention it does not fail to deliver.As a combination package of power, speed relative agility and style it will take some beating. If this bike coud=ld talk it would surely shout "Im yellow and im Proud"
 
Second Opinion
 
On the surface Tony is a loving , considerate husband , good computing job, nice home, two dogs and a talnt for music.Its all a sad mask. Come race day his a 100% foaming at the mouth lunatic with a tuned Fireblade that should be called flipper. His been racing for under a year  and is already winning races, and running out of petrol on warm-up laps. He rode the gentle one eyed monster with big horse and had this to say.....
 
Its a miracle......telepathy with machinery. At somewhere between 300 and 305 kph a mental picture of TG's bi frame uerringly guiding his first to occupy the same physical space as my face  made the yellow GSXR drop speed instantly. Crashing at this speed is not conducive to good health , even if you survive.
 
When i saw the yellow peril for the first time I thought that it was a race bike. It looks very much the endurance racer with the one eye staring at you and enough carbon peeping out of the yellowness ao that you know that the body kit is a honeycombed job. No mental sub-frsme , just carbon. Mmmmm delicious. The steering damper is unobtrusibely mounted between the forks. 
 
Although i spent very little time on the bike (or is that "bark") it was easy to come to terms with. You immediately feel comfortable and because im a short arse ( thats vertically challenged to you ) the high footpegs on their beautifully made rearsets, were perfect. A bit of choke , a jab on the button and a jab on the button and a raspy sort of burble or is that a burbly sort of rasp is produced. The slightly lmpy idle easily soothes out when you are on the move . As i rode out of the neighbourhood i was struck by the light , quick steering. "Its probably nervous at high speed, look how far the yokes are dropped" I thought. Not so. At an indicated 300 and small change with one hand on the throttle , chin on the tank and the other on the fairing bracket , the  bike ran arrow straight and was dead stable. The GSXR is deceptively fast. It accelerates smoothly with no discernible steps in the power curve. This is a fill-the-cops-coffers type of machine and before you know it you are doing 180+. A slight crouch , im out of the wind  and 240 is history. The motor has a solid feel to it; like i can cruise at 240 all day . There is no wailing from this Yoshi , at six to seven thousand revs it seems to emit sound in solid blocks. For me it was rather addictive to keep the revs in this region through all the gears , the sound was almost tangible . The downside , of course, is that you are already doing hyper velocities when you hit top gear. As i mentioned before, the steering is quick and light yet it has high speed stability . How is this achieved ; maybe the dropped yokez and a lenghened wheel based or more rake? Who knows? I dont. The one eye is easy to guide through a corner and high speed sweeps are worth looking for. As with most modern bikes it doesnt want harsh input on the bars as it feels like the front  wants to tuck in. One must rather use the pegs to set it up and then use gentle , firm pressure on the bars and the GSXR will go exactly where you point it. If it hits bump midcorner it will shake its head . Not to tar slapping proportions but just an unsettling quiver then it settles down without becoming too alarming. What about the breaks? They arent the on/off switches found on some bikes and require a fair amount of lever pressureto do the business but they are wll up to their task. Nothing wrong there. So i have come to the conclusion that this is in facet a cruiser that is cunningly disquised as a sportster. Yeah right.... if you like cruising at  230kph . Cheers

TG - Article - ZX7 Project - Suspension Mods - A Mountain road Tornado


El Bandido - Suzuki Bandit 1200


Pocket Rocket

  


Yoshi Tornado Specs for 1987-9 GSXR's

This project came about because TG was concerned that with the large taxes added to the ZX9, ZZR 1100, GSXR 1100 superbikes.

He felt the motorcycle market may slump. The idea was to build our own custom bikes that customers could modify and bring to us for service and keep the business going. We eventually build 14 Tornado's so the idea worked quite well.


Carbon Boulevard

 

 

Click to view bigger picture

Carbon Boulevard – Modification List

  • Tornado Wave disks
  • Tornado Carbon Fibre mudguard, tank and Tail piece
  • Single rider seat
  • Cone air filters
  • Custom footrests – brings footrest 25mm closer to the rider
  • Tornado 2 into 1 pipe with heat wrap
  • Braided hoses – front and rear
  • No Speedo on tank or Rev counter on Risers
  • Custom tank cap – tank modified to improve shape
  • Custom head light
  • Polished front callipers
  • 280 rear wheel conversion
  • Custom indicators in handle bar ends
  • Custom mirrors
  • Custom sprayed wheels
  • Bike only runs on GPS to see what speed you are doing
  • Tornado Side Number plate bracket with Tail light on
  • Tornado One piece radiator covers with scoop