It all started in the last ten minutes of a Saturday afternoon showing of Little Fauss and big Halsy. The sound of a 2-stroke road bike and that bubbly vintage road race fairing. Then a quick glance at Airtech streamlining for some more inspiration. Yes. A well-timed search on Craigslist and there it was; a rough 1975 Suzuki T500. At first it was going to be a fun little bike build, and then I would sell it for a couple of bucks. But the deeper it got, the more I realized I was building my dream vintage road race bike. The Enginethusiast ‘No.7.’
Words by Martin Hodgson.
Martin is the newest member to the Pipeburn team. When Martin isn’t writing for numerous motorcycle and automotive magazines, he can be found either running his auto parts import business or in his workshop building café racers from bikes that usually have one wheel well and truly in the grave.
It was the era of the wild 2-strokes, from the mid-Sixties to the mid-Seventies; if speed was your thing then you couldn’t beat a screaming oil burner. But Suzuki took a slightly different approach, they combined what they’d learnt at the race track and produced a bike that was bullet fast but also reliable, the perfect street 2-stroke motorcycle, the classic Suzuki T500 Titan. Ralph Spencer had himself a gorgeous original example and motorcycle nirvana was his until…
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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We love discovering custom shops in our own backyard. These guys are called Speer Motorcycles and are based in Melbourne, Australia. They do a mixture of servicing, restoring and customizing of vintage, unique and performance bikes. Here’s two of their latest projects, the first is a Suzuki T500 cafe racer. The second is a BSA B31 250cc hard tail. Both look like they were built to ride. Check out Speers Blog if you want to see more from this shop. [Thanks to MC Trader for finding this one]
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