The mere mention of a Yamaha FS1E to a Kid in the late 70s /early 80s would have made them more excited than a sugar fix.
This Moped has always had a cult following, It was built by Yamaha to resemble a proper motorbike, the old peds used to look like something your gran scooted around on.
It still had peddles because that made it unrestricted and did not fall into the nanny state 3hp law.
The later Fizzies (as these were commonly known to the youff) did away with this and became a lot slower, So if you had an early purple model with drum brakes you knew you were going to be the dogs bollox in the play ground.
This is how I got my first Fizzy, Being me It wasn't as easy as going to a bike shop and riding away on one.
Nope after a few years of riding bikes and old mopeds up the woods my mum thought that for my own well being I would be safer in a metal box with a wheel at each corner.
I cant blame her though because i spent most the time crashing, I wasn't a bad rider, just a bit too fast for my own good.
I was 15 and out mooching a few miles from home,
There were not as many housing estates as there are now and quite a few old barns and out houses scattered around farms.
On this occasion I stumbled across a rusty old Standard ten car from the mid 50s, just sitting there in the long grass surrounded by cow shit, I knocked on the door and asked the miserable weathered farmer if he wanted to sell it,
"That be yours for £50" he shouted at me. Not the best sales pitch but it worked,
I skipped home like a young lamb thinking this unloved motor will be my passion wagon, Big engine, bright red and velour interior with a set of fluffy dice.....The absolute nuts
When I got home full of excitement and told my mum she was well chuffed that her eldest son will hopefully be on this planet for a few more years by driving around in a steel box, Rather than sliding up the road in a pair of wellies and an old tank suit hanging onto a set of handle bars for grim death.
After much discussing about the finer points of borrowing £50 and paying it back with my pocket money over many weeks and doing the washing up etc etc we eventually came to a conclusion, I had to get a job....Fuck best start looking
I applied for a few jobs , Chatham dock yard, Unigate dairy and the National bus company
Weeks flew by and interview after interview came and went until I received a letter from Maidstone and District bus company that i had got an apprenticeship as a coach builder at their Luton Chatham depot ( now a housing estate )
This was it, I can now buy my wagon , rebuild it , tune it up and cruise around with my homies scouting for the fairer sex in Chatham.....Thinking back now that was never going to happen.
A trip to farmer Giles was called for to see if he still had that beast lurking in the cow shit.
Yep it was at least 6 months since I had last seen it and it was still there
With my dads pocket £50 lighter and the old farmer rubbing his hands with joy the old banger was dragged to ours on the back of his tractor and then pushed down our garden where sadly it stayed slowly sinking into the ground until there wasn't much left of it except a rusty roof .... After many years of being a blot on the landscape I folded it up and put it in a skip...Restoration complete.
Fuck....went off track a little there
FIZZY .... That is where I saw the dream machine,
Tucked away in the corner of one the farmers barns covered in straw was the holy grail to a 16 year old kid
A 1975 YAMAHA FS1E
I had just turned 16 and the idea of waiting until I was 17 to drive a car just didn't cut the mustard.
The walk to work was nearly 3 miles and took me 20 minutes, If i cycled it took about 6 minutes,
Down hill all the way but a bloody long slog on the way home after a days graft being an apprentice coach builder.
That old Fizzy kept spinning up in my mind, It was about 6 months earlier that I had seen it stuffed away in the old farm yard shed under heaps of straw, Wonder if it was still there.
That would make my life easier and now ive been at work for a few weeks ive got a couple of quid saved up as well
When the week end came I took a stroll up to the old farm to see if the dream machine was still there,
I took a sneaky look in the shed and there it was, still there and I could hear it shout SAVE ME
" Oi what the fuck do you think you are doing " came the bellowing voice from that big old farmer as i stood there day dreaming
"only looking" I said trying not to show that i had nearly shit myself.
"Its you the one that brought the old car" he replied and then carried on with
" Thats my lads bike and he wont be needing it anymore, You want to buy it "
Those were the words that I had been waiting for
How much was this grumpy old farmer wanting for the dream machine, I would have paid anything however I only took home £26 a week and had saved up £55 so far.
" do you want it....Oi wake up....do you want it for £50 "
FUCK YEAH and a fiver left for petrol,
We dragged the Fizzy out of its resting place and it did look a sorry state, distressed matt white paint, broken throttle cable, torn seat, rusty wheels and a broken back light...This had been through the wars but it was mine now and i could not wait to ride it home
Sadly I had no licence, no crash hat and no insurance.
The farmer turned out to be a jolly decent bloke and said he would keep it until i was able to pick up it with the documents needed to ride this beast, I paid him the £50 and run home as fast as i could to tell my mates that i had just brought a Fizzy, a un-restricted model and it had a 60cc big bore kit WOW
In secret I sent off for my provisional licence and got a cheap insurance deal that I could pay each month at our local insurance broker, No super-go-compare back then, It was a case of pop into an insurance broker on the high street answer a few questions and get given what they had...job done.
Like a dog with two dicks i was on cloud nine and could not wait for the weekend to collect my ride,
One of the old boys at work gave me his 1960s battered skid lid, a bit on the large size but nether the less it was a vital part of my motorcycling hard ware, along with some work gloves and old doctor martins I was kitted out.
Saturday morning took bloody ages to come and at the crack of dawn I was up and out to get my steed,
Fucking hell that trek to the farm yard in motorbike gear and crash hat was a long trudge, It took ages and I just hoped that the farmer was true to his word and kept the bike safe for me,
It had been two weeks since I brought it and these were the days of padlocks on the house phone and no mobiles so i could not stay in touch.
I arrived at the farm and was greeted by the Fizzy sitting there all cleaned up and rearing to go go
The old farmer had done a good job but the throttle was still broken and the back light was held on with wire, It looked a million dollars.
With my motorcycling skills finely tuned i kicked the 60cc rocket into life and with the throttle cable wrapped around a clothes peg for better grip I smoked my way up the dirt track hanging onto the bars with only my left hand navigating the troughs and cow shit until I reached the main road.
There it was ... wet cold tarmac, January is not the best time to start riding a motorcycle but it certainly makes you learn fast.
I stamped the bike into first gear and gave the clothes peg throttle a quick tug and let out the clutch ... with an almighty leap forward it wheelied into the air chucking me off the back of the seat and all i could do was watch as my new ride was sent skidding down the fucking road with sparks flying off the peddles and racing exhaust pipe.
With an abrupt stop, thanks to a curb I picked the bike up and remounted , This throttle action and moody clutch did not help with my now very shaken body...Again i tried to pull away slowly and again the bike wanted to kill me,
I persevered and eventually got the bike out of first gear, then second, then third and at 40mph top gear.
We were flying, one handed and dressed like a scarecrow I was grinning from ear to ear.
What i did not take into account was the fact that the over size crash hat was now hanging around my neck like a wind sock and restricting my air flow to my lungs, I had to slow down and re-arrange my self
You can imagine the look of horror on my mums face when she saw the state of me and what i had brought home,
But I did not care, I was 16 and now the proud owner of my own funky moped.
I had fuck all money left in my pockets, my post office account or my piggy bank after buying the old dream machine,
An apprentices wage back in the early 80s was a pittance working for the National bus company so the huge ideas i had of rebuilding my ride to factory race spec and tuning the engine were never going to happen.
It was January 1983 and bloody freezing, The Fizzy was in pieces on the damp shed floor, Its dark and the rain was pissing down out side,
I had a collection of ill fitting spanners, whitworth and imperial, why have so many different types of bolts and the Yamaha was metric,
The only universal tool I had was a lump hammer and an old wooden handled screw driver.
The shed dimly lit by an old lead lamp with a 40 watt bulb leaked so I had to sit on a selection of breeze blocks to stay out the puddles.
My fingers would go numb due to the cold and I found it difficult to pick anything up, the solution for this was hug the light bulb for a few seconds before it burnt you....worked a treat and kept me from getting frost bite
I was there with my Moped making it great again and nothing was going to piss me off......Except every one of the fucking engine bolts had decided to weld them selves to the aluminium casings making it extremely difficult to remove anything.
The idea of restoring this bike came and went with-in a few hours of me skinning my knuckles on the pedals for the umpteenth time
It was put back together and a few rattle cans of blue paint was slung at it, The throttle cable fixed and the seat bolted back in place.....Job done....It looked cosmic and I couldn't wait to ride it to work the next day.
As an apprentice you never did overtime however the yard was open 24/7, It was a bus depot after all and because I didn't sleep that night due to being frozen to my bones and excited about riding to work I was up early and dressed by 6am
It sounded unusually quiet outside as I crept down the stairs, every stair creaking and my water proof jacket rustling like a bloody carrier bag full of tin foil,
I opened the back door to the garden and was greeted by a good 4 inches of that white stuff Santa loves and im not on about cocaine
Bollox, its too late now to back down, Vic verses mother nature.
The night sky was tinted yellow and although it was silly o'clock in the morning it seemed brighter than normal, this was a bonus as those moped lights were shit at best
I scraped the snow away from the shed door and with frosted breath pushed the ped up the path out on to the street.
Snow was covering everything, there were no tyre tracks left by other vehicles, there was no one around and it felt spooky,
I put the old wind sock on my nogging and wrapped a scarf around my mouth to stop my lungs freezing.
The choke lever was pushed to full and with a quick jab on the kick start the little two stroke engine fired into life, smoking and coughing it sat there with the wheels buried in the snow covering the tyres.
I jumped on board and very slowly with legs astride acting like skis we crawled along the road, leaving a squeaky line behind us,
It was only a short distance to the main road, this had a lot less snow covering it as it was a major bus route from Chatham to Maidstone.
I had ridden the bike a few times but never to work, I knew the route well and it was mostly down hill, This was going to be like a bob sleigh ride and I started to feel my arse hole tighten as the front wheel skidded into a rut made by a larger motor.
With all my 16 year old strength i heaved it back into line and proceeded to navigate the ice rink that was becoming more treacherous the further i went down hill.
My boots were covered in snow and ice, my fingers were frozen into my wet gloves, my nose and lips felt like they had been replaced with ice cubes but i still felt on top of the world.
Speed was not top of my priorities this morning, self preservation was and I kept on plodding down hill towards work, The little engine was keeping my legs warm and i was so happy with life.
Every now and then I would get a little cocky and rev the engine allowing the back wheel to spin up and kick the rear end out causing a plume of snow..this was wicked fun to a teenager and i started to do it more and more
I gave the throttle an over exuberant rev and all of a sudden the bike started to slide, It was one of those slides that you knew would not end well
NOOOOOOO....that was it, the old Fizzy was sent sliding down the road as if in slow motion with me under it ,still pulling the brake lever as hard as i could to try and stop it hitting a parked van .
With an almighty thump the bike and myself ended up being squeezed under the old blue transit van, My wind sock crash hat was full of snow, I was stuck and the exhaust was now starting to burn my leg, I had both arms on the out side of the van trying to pull me out from beneath the chassis when I heard a voice ask if I was ok
"What do you fucking think" I said
The bloke bent down and within an inch of my frozen face said
"your under my fucking van"
He then started to laugh and dragged me out from my ice cave like a drowned rat.
No damage was done and after I gathered my nerves I carried onward to work, Now later than if I had chosen to walk..
As for the funky moped the handle bars were a little bent and we had both survived to fight another day