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Lot 448: 1978 Kosman Suzuki 1,260cc Competition Bike

Collectors' Motorcycles, Bonhams (16 October 2005)

Known as the ‘Suzuperbike’ or just ‘The Kosman’, this machine was originally purchased by Pip Higham in 1978 from Sandy Kosman’s workshop in San Francisco. This bike has seen lots of action at major international tracks ranging from Mantorp Park in Sweden to Monza, Le Mans and Santa Pod. In 1980 it ran an amazing 8.5 seconds at 166mph at Santa Pod; has been on children’s TV twice - on ‘Runaround’ and later ‘Motormouth’ - and had a cameo part on ‘Talking Bikes’. The Kosman has been featured in many European magazines, including SuperBike whose sponsorship package prompted the ‘Suzuperbike’ moniker. Pictures of it abound on the Internet.

In 1995 the Kosman had a major refit with new forks, wheels, hubs, rear axle mega-blocks and motor plate, all from Kosman’s catalogue. It also grew a larger rear tyre and was fitted with a Suzuki GSX 1,260cc engine. The motor features straight-cut primary gears and a five-speed transmission with an MRE lock up clutch and quick access clutch cover. It also has a one-off cylinder head with modification to the inlet ports giving all four injector trumpets an identical straight shot at the inlet valves. The fuel injection system uses re-spaced Suzuki GSXR throttle bodies and injectors, and a ‘DTA’ digital engine management and data acquisition system which enables the owner to modify engine characteristics in seconds by means of a laptop, just like in Formula 1! The exhaust system is a Gold Series spring-fit Pro-Pipe by Vance & Hines with billet aluminium anti-reversal exhaust spigots. Horsepower is enhanced with a TMC controlled progressive nitrous oxide kit with NOS fogger nozzles, VBS distribution blocks and NOS solenoids.

The 6-pot billet callipers and front and rear master cylinders are from ISR in Sweden and operate on one-off discs and carriers; the steering damper is a White Power adjustable unit. All fluid and breather lines and fittings are stainless steel or anodised aluminium by Goodridge UK.

In 2004 the bike ran a couple of easy 8-second passes at a chilly meeting at Elvington. It is offered for sale with the correct remote 24-volt starter assembly, a set of chrome-moly wheely bars, a correct new spare rear tyre and a laptop with serial cable and DTA manual (hard copy and CD) suitable for accessing the engine mapping detail.

In Pip’s own words: “Again, this is no museum piece, it starts on the button and runs like a dream… but with more decibels!”

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motorcycles
Bonhams, Classic & Motorcycle Mechanics Show, Stafford
TypeMotorcycle
Lot Number448
Estimate£6000-£9000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£6000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£6900
Year1978
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Mileage-
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Engine capacity (cc)
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