Death of my Bandit 1250

Well my trusty Bandit 1250, which I’ve had since new for 15 years and has done over 122k miles, has finally died.

The engine went pop last Friday (leaving me stranded for 8 hours in Tooting before the RAC arrived, but that’s another story), and my Mechanic, the excellent Ollie from Premier Motorcycle Service & Repair came over today and confirmed something drastic had happened to the engine and there was no longer any compression in any of the cylinders.

So whilst it’s not quite true that Bandits last forever, I certainly feel I’ve got more than my £5.5k worth over the years. The incident was caught on helmet camera, youtube link here.

Now busy choosing my next bike…


All good things…

There’s not many motorcycles out there achieving that sort of mileage, probably past design best. If its lost compression on all four cylinders I’d suspect a timing chain failure, I think you can hear it snap at 11 seconds, although I’d have expected some metallic clatter too as the valves hammered the piston crowns.

As The 250’s mileage rises above 50,000 I wonder just how ‘bomb proof’ these de-tuned, low revving Japanese 4’s are.

Too true. I did think it might be the timing chain but Ollie disagreed as he thought it wouldn’t turn over as the chain would have jammed up, but you may be right, who knows. It’ll be going on Ebay tomorrow for “spares or repair”, if anyone’s interested in carrying out a post mortem!!

Depending where on the chain run it snaps it will either wind on the sprockets and jamb or wind off the sprockets and drop into the sump.

Sorry to hear that about a Bandit…and the eight hour wait.
Is it not worth fitting a replacement engine ?

It’d be worth finding out what’s gone. On my CB500 the big end bearing failed due to oil starvathon. It sounded a bit like yours but it ran for another 5 miles.

Ricky swapped the engine for about £600 and I sold it a few months later for a grand. Without a working engine I figured it was scrap so no real loss replacing the engine.

On that an engine swap on a Bandit can’t be that hard. If you can source a donor engine either to keep it or sell it on as a working bike.

Here is an example Suzuki GSF1250 Bandit 2007 Engine | eBay

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Thanks all for your helpful responses, especially to you Joby for finding that engine.

I have made a half hearted attempt today to see what went wrong by draining the oil (there was just under 3 litres in there so there was enough) and filtering it to see if there were any metallic bits in there, bits of chain etc but it was just oil. Won’t bother opening the sump as that entails removing the exhaust and other things, too much time/hassle.

I always do my own oil/filter changes and until recently I always used fully synthetic, however recently the clutch has become a bit noisy so a mechanic advised me to use semi instead which I did at the last change about two months ago, I wonder if that might be a factor in what happened.

Changing the engine isn’t really an option as that’s a lot of time and money to plough into an old bike with no guarantee as to the outcome. I had been looking to change the bike anyway as the gf’s been having issues with her knees and sciatica, so have been looking out for one with better position for the pillion. Had test ridden a couple over recent years but that was half hearted. Now I need to make a concerted effort…

It’s also a bunch of work into a chassis that’s done 122k too, other bits will be getting tired

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My K7 GSXR had 110k miles on it before I got knocked off on it
I sold it to a guy that got its running again

Maybe the cam chain tensioner that’s failed. If you’re in fettling mood remove and check the cam chain tensioner, three bolts, from there you should be able to determine if the cam chain remains in place by pressure against the cam chain guide.

Thanks NT. Unfortunately for me “fettling mood” is limited to oil and filter changes!!

Every cloud…

…motorcycle shopping, happy days

Damn, bad luck fella. Sure sounded like something went snap in there.

Congratulations on reaching a respectable mileage on your Bandit. I don’t believe 155k to be more than the engine was designed for, all my bikes since 1991 have gone over the 100k-mark, the last, a 1300 Pan was at 185k at the end. A contact of mine who works for Ford says that their standard design life is 250k, I can’t see the Japanese industry doing less than that.

Slim chance, but could it be a non-interference engine? I’m purely guessing.

I doubt it, not with a 16 valve 10.5:1 head.

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I doubt any Japanese engine is non interference
Even the C50 will wallop its valves

Out with the old, in with the new…


nice! but should have gotten a CB1000R :stuck_out_tongue:


It was a reluctant purchase. It has nothing like the luggage carrying capability, ruggedness or torque of the Bandit, and it doesn’t have a centre stand, however it was strongly recommended by a mechanic friend of mine, had done very few miles, very good price, had a lot of extras added to it, also the previous owner seemed very nice and I trust him. Not really keen on the looks, also it makes a lot of noise which I’m not keen about. But I’m getting used to the looks and it weighs a lot less than the Bandit, so I think I’m going to have a lot of fun with it. Also it came with a funky personalised number plate, a new experience for me :upside_down_face:

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