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bearing in mind that as i get older it's becoming more apparent that i need a brain cell rebuild kit:

sounds like one side is getting hot?

i'd check two things right off the bat, ignition timing and cylinder compression. stick yer finger in the pipes and see if theres any oiley goob there as well. also check the valve clearances. usually valve probs will make the motor miss and pop even at idle.

i had a similiar situation once when the ring in one of my cylinders broke. it worked it's way to the top of the piston and hammered the poop out of the head.

a really burnt valve will do that as well. squirting oil in the cylinder will usually bring the compression up if it's rings going but won't affect a really burnt valve.

a really lean or partially blocked mainjet will ping like crazy and if undetected will burn the top out of your piston. the plugs should have a weird greyish deposit if so.

pretty sure the rest of the gang can come up with more horror stories.
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