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1977 Suzuki GS750 – ‘Rusty Bitch’


Posted on November 4th, by Scott in Café Racer. 23 comments

Owning a motorcycle near the beach in Sydney only has one drawback. The salt from the nearby sea ends up travelling around the streets searching for anything made of metal to slowly destroy – and it doesn’t discriminate. If you don’t wash your bike regularly, this salty air quickly corrodes the parts on your bike that aren’t made of plastic or aluminium. To most people, the prospect of having rust on their shiny pride and joy is probably the worst thing imaginable. Not to Lorenzo Rapparini from Bologna Italy. He loves rust. He loves the color and the organic nature of it – so much so that he decided to use it as a feature on his GS750, appropriately named ‘Rusty Bitch’.

Over to Lorenzo to explain this Rusty Bitch build… “I’ve always been passionate about mechanics and motorcycling. I‘m unable to hold my hands. Three quarters of the things I make are totally useless, but I love them and I think that ultimately it’s all worth the effort. When you have a child, however, you have little time left and so my adventure began in the mode “I’m more in the garage than in the woods with my bike.” Yes, because I am one that ‘with your bike you should be able to go anywhere!’. I’ve ridden enduro-cross bikes and nothing else in my life, I love mud. To complicate my life, though, I decided to explore the world of cafe racers.”

“I found this 1977 GS 750, first model with the double disc brake, for the modest sum of 800 Euro by a crazy Dutch, one of those who run on wet country roads in winter. In fact the bike was really in bad conditions. During the last long winter, the one with more than a meter of snow, I began to think of a theme to give to the bike. Due to its poor condition, I gave it the name of Rusty Bitch.” 

“Here, purchased items are very little: cables, spark plugs, gaskets and little else. I personally handmade the rest, or it has been handmade by friends: stripping, painting, construction of parts, welds. I spent many hours on it, as the ideas came along the way: I have not drawn or planned anything in advance. I started working, and what it was… was.”

“The making of a tail I liked was very difficult: I have done three of them. The painting was another issue: finding a paint that simulates the rust, in fact, has been neither easy nor cheap, but I made it. And then the vintage effect was handmade piece by piece, thanks to the advice of my friend Matthew “Phantom”, I think it’s a blast – isn’t it?

“The engine remained the original one with new spare parts only: gaskets, filters, oil and polishing. Here I must thank my friend “John” lifelong repairer and the great “Pièr”, who found for me the rare Suzuki Genuine Spare Parts; my friend Rino who found for me the bearings and explained how to use the lathe, and “Giotreb” who gave me the scraps of metal of his workshop, because I am a poor guy and that’s what I got to do.” 

“The leather parts jumped out from evenings spent in the cellar of a friend of mine’s sandwich bar: my best friend “Bear” has the hobby of making leather bags and wallets, and they are very cool. I cannot list all the people who worked-helped-searched-spent their time on Rusty, but I can say that this bike is not just a bike: in a difficult moment of my life, it gave me the way of meeting new people and to appreciate strengths and weaknesses of those who already knew. In short, so many hands touched my Bitch, but after all, it’s a bitch, my bitch.

Special thanks to Lorenzo for shooting these photographs especially for Pipeburn. Grazie tanto!






  • http://www.pipeburn.com Andrew@Pipeburn

    [Insert joke about ex-girlfriend and name of this bike here…]

  • Teddy Donobauer

    This is the sheer equivalent of the best kind of pornography… Teasing elevating and stimulating..

    • Davidabl2

      Neo-SteamPunk?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Stark/100003079960619 Tony Stark

        Please, not the steampunk thing again…

        • lorenzo

          don’t worry, i repeat, it’s only a bike with a strange kind of style :)

      • lorenzo

        no it’s not a steampunk or neo stmpk, it’s only a bike, a rusty bike :)

    • http://www.pipeburn.com Andrew@Pipeburn

      Okaaaay…

  • http://ridedualsport.com/ Manxman

    For some unexplainable reason I love this kind of bike. Maybe because I admire the fortitude that it takes to build something for one’s self and not to please the crowd. Good for you, Lorenzo.

    • durp

      Thats pretty much what I was going to say. I love it. Hard to explain why. Its querky and unique. An extension of the designers personality.

    • Oldnbroken

      Agree.

      Jim

  • Oldnbroken

    I like the Spartan Helmet thing you have going on with the front guard. I think I would have gone with Rusty Beach though as it has quite a masculine look about it.

    Jim

  • Ugh

    It looks like an old man, wearing braces to keep his high waisted pants up to his armpits.

    • http://ridedualsport.com/ Manxman

      You mean like Clint Eastwood? ;^}

  • arnold

    Interesting little dodads and knicknacks. Even I don’t any see styling continuity with this hound dog. I must note, however, the license plate holder is doing its job in a unique way. Okay for a daily beater, and much more than that, maybe his circle of friends adore it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Stark/100003079960619 Tony Stark

    I do like this thing. I don’t mind seeing holes where things used to be (keep your minds outta the gutter.) Two things I’d like to point out that I don’t like. One is the digital display seems completely wrong. Second, some areas (like the front fender) seem a little less “I planned it that way” and a little more “that’s good enough.”

    So since I had two constructive criticisms, let me mention two things I like. One is how the leather is handled. A bike can be “rough” without being slipshod. The second is the bump fender. It would have been easy (and lazy) to just make the back end all seat and call it a day (it’s been done MANY times.) I appreciate how they did the metal work and made the back look finished.

    • lorenzo

      i agree whit you about digital display, maybe we would have been better an old speedometer, but in italy we have a strict laws for on road use.

  • Bultaco Metrella

    Reminds me of the time I rode a Ducati 860GTS. That bike made me believe that the Italians had ways of making plastic rust.

  • .: Chris

    Seems like seats are just over rated these days. Past the fact that riding this would be torture for more than an hour, it just looks wrong to me. I like a thinner seat I suppose, but can someone explain why this ‘nothing’ look is appealing? It’s like you took off the seat and tossed it…looks like a mistake, not a design choice.

    • lorenzo

      i drove for hours whit that kind of saddle and it wasn’t a torture for me and my ass.
      it’s a stylistic choice mine, far be it from me to copy the courrent european’s style seen and seen of wrenchm. and similar.

  • lorenzo

    if some one would view other pics to “understand” better the mood of my bike, and my stylistic’s choice look here
    https://picasaweb.google.com/105313083465756165206/RustyBitch
    here the pahases of construction
    http://www.facebook.com/L.Rapparini (in folder – Progetto Suzuki Gs 750 ’77 “The Rusty Bitch”)

    many thanks to scott and pipeburn’s staff
    but exspecially for those who criticize me or support me, trought you i’ll can always improve.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Stark/100003079960619 Tony Stark

      It’s a cool bike with what you wanted. Nothing wrong with that. One thing that makes it a million times better than my bike; IT ACTUALLY RUNS. (and is in one piece. OK two things.)

  • Yves Trabac

    Psycho bike, schizo guy, trying to put together all what please him, me, just as I would have done, not better, surely worse, same player shoot again please

  • olderty

    its awesome! how can anyone tell him he shouldn’t have done the Digital gauge, or front fender. he didn’t build it to suit you…great job and enjoy!