Gandhi was a patient man. His commitment to non-violence saw him wait almost 50 years for freedom only to die less than 6 months after India was finally granted independence from British rule. Buddha is said to have once meditated under a bodhi tree for 49 straight days until he claimed to have attained enlightenment. And the Bible’s Job refused to give up even after his family and life was taken away from him. Then there’s the story of one David Ottesen, a man who’s patience makes Job look like Russell Crowe. See dear readers, I promised good David a post on Pipeburn very soon after I shot the beautiful bike you see before you last Christmas. And I promised, and I promised… Soon, summer became Autumn, and the leaves fell from the trees, but did I do anything? Oh no, still I procrastinated and never made good on my empty words. But David never gave up. He persisted until the sheer weight of guilt began to crush me like a millstone. Then, and only then he told me that he planned to sell the bike. And the guilt became too much to bare. David, I’m truly sorry; anyone wanna buy a bike?
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Consider if you will this mental image. Pipeburn, instead of being the super amazing blog that it currently is, is magically transformed into a warehouse. And not just any warehouse, but one that contains each and every bike that we have ever featured in these here virtual pages in the iron. Now place yourself at the open doors of this warehouse with the world’s biggest baddest, most power gun. Let’s say, for argument’s sake, it’s a phased plasma rifle in the 40 Watt range. You let rip, and almost instantly the brute power of the gun begins to tear the bikes to shreds. Firestones by the ton are ripped from arsehole to breakfast time. The pipewrap flies up into the air like streamers at a Macy’s Day parade. But you know the one bike bit you’d see nary hide nor hair of in all this supersonic chaos? The one major component that features heavily on a vast majority of bikes built since the early 80s but is rare as hen’s teeth around these parts? For those of you shouting “beam frames” at the top of you exhaust-infected lungs, congrats. You’ve just won yourselves a case of beer. Off the top of my head the only other bike in recent memory that featured a beam frame was Tyler Mill’s Honda VTR. Unfortunately the prize beer is make-believe, just like the warehouse and the gun. But that shouldn’t bother someone with an imagination as powerful as yours so sit down, crack open an invisible cold one, and enjoy the beam-framed splendor of Ellaspede’s superb Suzuki GS500.
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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.