I always love finding out what people do for a living. Most people find their chosen occupation boring as bat poo, mainly because they have to do it for nearly every day of the week for 10 hours a day (or more). But sometimes, from an outsiders perspective some jobs just sound so friggin’ cool. Take Mark Wolf for example, he is the owner and builder of this fine Suzuki T500 cafe racer. I asked him the question I ask most people whose bike we are about to feature: “Tell us a little about yourself” in which he replied “Nothing remarkable about me. By day I’m just a licensed aircraft mechanic who builds turbine jet engines for Rolls-Royce.” What? Just an aircraft mechanic who builds jet engines for Rolls Royce? Is it just me, or does that sound awesome? But then again, I’m not the one doing it everyday. It is safe to say that when it comes to rebuilding motorcycle engines, we think Mark can probably do a pretty solid job. “I’ve rebuilt a few wrecked sportbikes over the years but the T500 is my first attempt at any sort of vintage or cafe project” says Mark.
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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.
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When Wolfgang Baetz sold his personal ride there was only one thing he could do. Build a better bike. You see, Wolfgang is the owner of Custom Wolf in Bavaria and has been building bikes for over 20 years. His personal ride was a show stopping GSXR called Golden Brown Rough – which he only sold because someone made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Although building a better bike was never going to be easy. Then he came across something special. An original Moto Martin frame in the far north of Germany to use with Suzuki GSX engines. He knew it was the perfect find for his latest project.
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This all alloy beauty was built by Tim Hart and Paul Courbot from Titan Performance in the U.K. Titan specialize in building Suzuki 2-stroke café racers and café racers parts. This 1977 GT500 features a polished alloy TZ tank, polished alloy race seat, Titan Performance polished alloy ‘S’ logo rearsets and Titan polished stainless steel expansion chambers. The motor is basically stock apart from a little tidy up in the ports, 120 mains jets, cone filters and of course the pipes, which look they make a sublime sound. Tim told us the bike isn’t quite finished yet. “As with all cafés it’s undergoing constant mods and will soon have a smaller, neater polished alloy oil tank/battery box so we can do away with the huge standard one” Tim said.
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The Suzuki EN125 is a relatively unknown commuter bike thats only real benefit to most people is its great fuel economy. Definitely not the kind of bike you would imagine to be a decent donor bike – unless you are Douglas Paijo from Indonesia. After many years of owning the bike he had an unfortunate accident and thought his dreams of turning it into a ‘Brat Style’ custom were ruined. “I had a terrible accident on the bike last year” Douglas told us. “An old man with a Honda Supercub hit me from the left side at an intersection. It was almost midnight, and he had no lights. My bike was damaged badly, I lost my gas tank and the left side was completely broken. Fortunately, the frame was OK. My friends suggested I sell the bike, but i had so many beautiful memories with it. I have no car so when my wife gave birth to my first son, we rode the bike to the nearby hospital. It was unforgettable. So, i decide to customized it”.
This Suzuki Rat Bobber was built by Seattle based Greg Simanson who has a love of all custom motorcycles. When Greg decided to build a bike he wanted to create something a little different. “I turned the 1978 Suzuki GS750 into a hardtail” said Greg. “Shortened the front end, added new handlebars, controls, headlight, new exhaust and powder coated the wheels black”. If you are wondering what the Japanese writing on the side of the tank means, it’s actually an old Japanese license plate that Greg modified and added for decoration. You can view more shots of this rough and ready rat bobber on Gregs blog Shadowlight Customs.
This 1978 Suzuki GS550 was picked up by Jason from Vintage Customs in Florida for $500. It wasn’t running but some simple tuning plus a rebuild of the carbs and he got this classic back to life. “The frame was cleaned up, all of the extraneous stuff removed, and painted in a metallic charcoal” Jason explains. “I found a new-old-stock 4 into 1 header which really sounded nice. I kept the stock tank and the rear fairing, built a seatpan out of aluminum which held the rear fairing piece and upholstered it in a black vinyl” he says.
As far as donor bikes go, the humble Suzuki S40 Savage probably isn’t on top of many peoples list. Casey Stevenson had trouble finding a suitable bike for his Café Racer project but eventually stumbled upon the S40 and decided to turn this ‘ugly duckling’ into a very sexy swan. “I was in the market for a new motorcycle and wanted a lightweight thumper to get around the streets of L.A. I quickly discovered the lack of available options, so I started working on a new design. I was imagining a motorcycle with a Japanese engine and classic cafe styling, but more sleek and modern than the single cylinder customs based on old bikes that are popular at the moment.
This custom bike was built by Ben Rumbelow from Crap Chicken. We don’t know which name is better, Rum Below or Crap Chicken, but usually they both end up making us sick. When we say Ben built this bike, we mean he built it in photoshop. You see Ben is an artist, photographer and designer who also has a love of motorcycles. This creation is named the Nortozuki, obviously by combining a 1962 Norton Manx and a Suzuki together plus many other motorcycle parts. Some other features include a KTM690 stunt running gear, Ohlins rear shocks, Kawasaki Z750 engine from a wrenchmonkees bike and mounted using bolts from a Confederate P120. If you want to see more of Ben’s motorcycle mashups visit his unique gallery.
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This 1979 Suzuki GS1000S sat in a backyard in Washington USA for six years until Larry Pearson got his greasy hands on it. Larry is no stranger to motorbikes. He has been custom painting and restoring bikes for years (having 8 amazing bikes in his possession). About 14 months ago he started his dream of turning this GS into a tribute to Wes Cooley’s Superbike. It all started with a beautiful original Yoshimura racing pipe. The engine only had 17K miles on it, and ran like new. He did a complete front end rebuild, all new seals, bearings. Same for the swing arm, and the entire brake system with the addition of stainless lines. Continental “Cont-Blyz” tires, ’80 Suzuki rotors, “83 Honda CB1100F rear shocks and front fender. Tarozzi rear sets. He cut two inches off a 1980 GS seat foam bottom, and had it professionally upholstered. He wanted to build this bike for 30 years after seeing Wes Cooley, Eddy Lawson, and Freddie Spencer race Superbikes. Well, we think it was worth waiting for and we take our helmets off to you mate. Larry is about to embark on restoring and painting bikes for a living, so if you want him to build you a masterpiece contact us and we will give you his email. (We will post some more of Larry’s creations in the following weeks).
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