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1979 Suzuki GS1000

Posted on May 23, 2011 by Scott in Brat. 58 comments

Ask yourself this question: Would your wife or girlfriend let you use her designer leather handbag to make a seat from? Well, Filip Bardy, the Slovakian owner and builder of this sweet GS1000 managed to convince his girlfriend to donate her handbag for a “higher purpose”. You see, there aren’t a lot of motorcycles or bike parts in downtown Slovakia. So Filip had to be resourceful, and if that meant chopping up his misses’ 2010 spring/summer collection, then that’s what he had to do. To be honest, black leather was soooo last season, anyway.

Filip only decided to build his first bike 6 months ago after getting badly bitten by the bike bug. Here’s how he describes the build in the former communist country:

“The whole process started half a year ago when I finally couldn’t resist the idea of having a bike. Especially when I saw old bikes such as pre-war BMWs, Triumps, BSAs. Although there are very few of those bikes in my country, therefore they are insanely expensive. Importing them from other countries such as Germany is difficult and getting vintage import bikes on paper is almost impossible. I planned to ride it not look at it. Also, the deeper I was looking into the subject, the more I realised that what i actually wanted was to build my own bike. At this point Pipeburn was great inspiration for me. I realised that under all that disturbing plastic of Japanese bikes from the seventies, great potential is hidden. That I can build a bike that will look vintage and at the same time will have the dynamics and size of modern bikes.

But again there was a problem with the source. In the seventies, my country was under communist regime and the market was strictly closed to most imports. So the only bikes from that era you can get are Jawas, MZ’s and so on. They might be good bikes but too small and too weak for what I wanted. In the end, my choice was narrowed down to four Japanese bikes for sale that somehow ended up in Slovakia and had valid papers. So i choose the biggest one 1979 Suzuki GS1000 even though it wasnt running. I also ended up buying a GSX 500 as a possible donor, mainly because I liked the owners comment in the ad: “if not sold within 2 weeks I will burn it in a junkyard.”

Filip had no past experience with bikes and was learning everthing as he went. “I didn’t even have a drivers permit for motorcycles so did my tests while i was working on my bike” he says. The whole build process took Filip about 400 hours. Again, for the third time resources were a problem in Slovakia. “I had to order many parts from abroad and I also travelled to some Austrian shops.” A lot of the parts were handmade by Filip and his Father and brother, including rear fender, license plate holder, rear turn lights in the frames tubes, exhaust and muffler, electric part holder, and that beautiful red gas tank from a gsx 500 which was heavily modified.

So what you see before you is the result of two months hard work by a first time builder, in an unheated garage during a very cold Slovakian winter. Pretty impressive stuff. As for the photos, Filip took them on his Canon 20D a few days ago in the same garage where the GS1000 was built.

  • Dean Valentino

    Fuckin beautiful! Now that is what building your own bike is all about. I would love to see some better shots of the 'designer' seat though.

  • Jeff

    Gorgeous, but anyone else worried about the extremely lowered front end?

  • It's beautiful, but I hope you've upgraded the springs in those front forks, as well as went with something thicker than 15wt fork oil. There is quite a bit of travel in those forks, and I'm concerned they'd bottom out if those items are still OEM.

  • Ha! Jeff and I must have been posting at exactly the same moment. Good eye, sir.

  • seat? what seat? all I see a leather envelope
    very nice looking tank with that paint job. low is the way to go

    what part of a gs(x)500 tank did he use?
    cant see any resemblance.. 😮

  • bob

    Now thats just a waste!
    the bike cant be ridden with that front end at all.
    and the seat and the rear end look like a quick after thought.
    im sure the hipsters at the coffee shop will love it thoguh.

  • Filip

    Fucking beautiful… haha, thanks Dean for great first post

    Thanks guys also for the technical comments.

    Regarding forks, i used slightly higher pressure and diferent oil. No complications occured during test rides yet. If something occures i'll use your advice.

    As to the gas tank we used the upper part of the tank with final volume around 9 litres, there was no production tag on the bike anymore, in text i used bike model name under which the previous owner advertised it.

  • This doesn't look amateurish at all. What does Filip do as his day job?

  • Oh, I'm happy, that somebody made a real unusual bike in Slovakia. I'm citizen of that country, but never seen there this style before. Congrats Filip, I like it.

  • I do enjoy it when a builder responds…..

    I'm glad it's working out for you, because it looks pretty intimidating in that stance. If your test rides have not included an emergency stop, I'd encourage you to give it a try just to make sure. That could really add to a bad situation. Thank you for sharing the bike and responding.

  • revdub

    That seat should be called "The Devil Rides Prada". I like the low and mean stance. Nice bike!

  • @revdub – Genius.

  • psbero

    That is a brilliiant looking bike! Filip, you definately have some great skills in the workshop!

  • Filip

    thanks again todd

    if it is neccesary, i dont mind raising the front end for a couple of centimeters. the bike is visually long enough to still keep "a low profile" look which i am aiming for.

  • Chris Mc

    I agree, nice bike. 'The haemorrhoid 1000' might be a more appropriate name though. ouch

  • Jason

    Brilliant. Love that tank.

  • switchum

    I liked the chopped tank. I don't see that everywhere. Though, I wish they raised the rear bunch more; look like you would slip off of the bike from acceleration. Other than that, I truly admiring the looks of the bike. Hahaha Keep em coming boys…

  • mrl1000l

    more photos!

    • @6307e860c28ea54e4ce1a237fa237692:disqus what year of gsx500 gas tank did u use? im in love with that tank?

  • Matthew

    LOVE IT. Nice job, Filip. You give much hope to those with little resources.

  • MC_Kloppedie

    Nice build

  • Ash in Bali

    I particularly like the tank and the overall look of the bike, Flip. The rear mud guard not so much… With the forks set up that way and that little seat, maybe you'll need a good chiropractor.

  • steve

    Hey Filip, awesome bike. What is that tank color? Do you have a name or code for it?

  • Maros

    So nice bike, especially I like the seat. " Popici stroj"

  • Popici – a.k.a. odabasz.

  • Sri

    I think it would look even more awesome if the space between tank and engine and triangular space below the seat is covered with white colored metallic cover

  • Filip

    thanks guys for overall positive comments, i really appreciate it.

    to be honest, i had similar thoughts regarding the seat but surpricingly it works quite well, no pain or chiropractor needed after a couple of rides. Certainly more comfortable than my bicycle seat. 🙂

    as to my job, i am a designer and developer of product placement material.

    as to color used for the tank, its a combination of really bright red (which i planned to use primarily but tank was too dominant) and darker red. so no particular specs for this color.

    popici stroj, dobry koment, haha,dakujem chalani !

  • Well, I really don't know if you lowered too much the front end, I don't know if the seat is unconfortable, I don't know many things, but i know I liked it at first sight and I HAD to reblog your pics (forgive me if I did but i couldn't help it). Thank you for sharing.

  • Daniel

    Filip thats a great job you did, Im from Slovakia and live in USA and Im proud of someone like you , that can build such a bike in Slovakia. Not that is not posible, but becouse is posible!!

  • Mattro

    the more i look at it, the more i like it. an awesome home-spun effort. the tank, alone, is enough to make this one a winner.

  • @Filip – Apart from everything else that has been said, I'd also like to add that the shots of the bike are really nice as well. It really looks like you're a card-carrying member of the school of photography. Viva fluorescent lights and dirty cement floors!

  • rafe03

    Ya! That's great photography. Capturing an image is one of those ethereal jobs that anyone can do but few can do well. Probably a good skill to have in your job.
    Any chance for a thread on photographing bikes? Just bikes? Or is that like asking for a welding course no more than 1 day long?
    Beauty bike Filip! I hope that you are really proud of your build!

  • D.

    Between the tank and the seat that bike will take a rider dozens of miles a day!

  • baddad

    Scary, rough, beautiful! Pure rock and roll!

  • fajas colombianas

    I feel like the engine part of the bike is too low and it may hit on high speedbumbs. Aside from that, this bike is beautiful.

  • reverend

    čotijebe jaký masaker 😀

    popiči mašina.

  • Filip

    Thanks Andrew, photography is one of my many hobbies. First idea for shooting scene was the old town centre with hand made stone roads but then i realised that dirty concrete and dark environment suits bike's dynamic, aggresive character much more.

  • mike q

    love the bike! love the seat! rough and beatiful, just the way it's meant to be! but hey, my girlfriend would freak out if i couldn't take her for a ride… guess you're have to make your's a new bike in exchange for that awesome seat filip…

  • Sam

    Filip… wow. what a beauty. and good photography

    That seat looks familiar… did you tear up your girl's Chanel?! respect.

    If i did that to my girl's I'd be dead in a second! haha

  • Brent

    Cool ride brother. I do only low budget, currently '76 KZ750 B1 Twin cafe racer using KZ650 Four C1 as donor also building an '83 Honda CM250C Bobber for my daughter. I tinker with old Jap bikes as parts are cheap and plentiful, also I use found junk from other vehicles, sports equipment, industrial equipment, etc. for custom parts. This is because I cannot bear to modify my '73 BMW R75/5 beyond custom pipes, upgraded electrics, etc.

    How do the local Polizie like your bike? 🙂

    rider75 aka Brent
    in Peace River, Alberta, Canada

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  • RC

    Great job on the Suzuki. My comment however is on the great photographs. If this photo was taken in a garage, this man should spend more time shooting AND riding that awesome bike. He has a good handle on exposure and lighting. Even if the damn thing was shot with available light from a skylight, it still looks like he took the time to install a softbox above the bike. The best photographers, I think, are ones who use existing light to photograph with.
    Great job!

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  • Smp

    anyone thought about the trail?  and whether the motorcycle is actually functional?  In that, it could be ridden reliably without going into a tankslapper and crashing?  No, probably not… it’s more fun to build a bike that “looks” real badass but can’t actually be ridden, if you could ride it, it would probably have to be well thought out and crafted, and where’s the fun in that

    • Filip

      Bike is running fine, front has been lifted after test rides in summer.

  • Dfrgt

    nobody likes neg comments, but the sad truth is, in a sudden stop, your face is eating a whole lot of fork protrusion

  • Greg Hall

    Have you got the old seat to sell mine is rusted out and I cant buy one anywhere.

  • riticcardo

    many compliments!!!!! your bike is FANTASTIC!!!!
    i’m buying a GS 1000 to trasforme in a special. your creation is really great!!!
    good works

  • Sarim Khan

    i like to build a suzuki gsx 400 e 1983…wot u suggest me to dO or waY to wOrk

  • Sarim Khan

    its lyke in 0 condition right nOw….caN i fIt gs500 tank on it or

  • stew

    really nice bike,but the seat is a little thin for me.

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  • joe abou jaoude

    the Rocky of motorcycles…

  • HolyRoller

    I would really like to know what tank that is and whether the frame and/or tank were modified in any way to make it fit. Any help?
    Other than that, I think the bike looks pretty sweet. I am sure the seat is fine for urban rides around town, but would be really nasty over long hauls.
    Additionally, it has the original foot pegs but highly altered bars, which tells me that this thing would NOT be comfortable to ride.
    I do love how the engine seems to draw all the attention. Nice.

  • man i think im in love


    wheres the battery