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Bikes

George’s 1981 Suzuki GS1100EX

When you look at George your first thought might be “total surfer dude”. Contrary to this, he’s a die-hard motorcycle nut who has been racing most of his life. For the past decade, he has been a regular at Willow Springs International Raceway, taking out the title of vintage heavyweight champ in 2006. We got wind that George had a Suzuki GS1100EX with a story behind, so we had to go check it out.

“My father and I rode motorcycles all my life. It’s something we both bonded over and engaged in for years. It all began as an 8 year old kid, my father took me to a race track in Bridgehampton, NY to see the races. I was immediately drawn to them. The sounds and smells, it was like nothing I had ever experienced. I was addicted, it was like a drug. In 1973, my father then bought 2 Kawasaki Z1’s for himself and a Honda QA 50 for me. The day he brought the big bikes home, my sister cried saying that I got everything and she got nothing! From that day forward I never looked back.”

Throughout the years George has owned many bikes but this Suzuki GS1100EX holds a special place in George’s heart. Back in 1980, his father built a turbo charged Honda CBX and it was in need of constant repair.  That same year he bought this 1981 Suzuki GS1100EX while the Honda was in the shop. Like any motorcyclist that owns a bike for a little while, the desire to make it better came to the surface. The GS found it’s way into the shop. His father added a big bore kit, cams, racing carbs, dymag wheels, cal fab swing arm and more. The bike became a rocketship. In college, George became the guardian of the GS when his father became preoccupied with other life issues.

Passed on from father to son, this 1981 Suzuki GS1100EX was bought brand new and has known no other owners for almost 37 years.

To own a motorcycle with such a personal history makes one ultra connected with a machine. As George suits up to ride, he talked about how this bike makes him feel. He remarks that it’s the raw power, the sound, and connection to the analogue creates a unique connection. “It’s not something you really experience with a modern bike, there is so much about this bike that is pure,” George remarks. As far as handling, the GS1100EX is remarkably stable at high speed. It’s a planted machine. George employs a steering dampener which helps but he enjoys the raw feeling of the bike.

 

For a motorcycle that has gone everywhere with George, he jokes, “I’ll likely be buried with it.” When he returned to LA in 2002, the bike had sat idle and needed some professional love so in stepped friend, famed crew chief and engine builder, Carry Andrew, to bring it back to tip-top shape. After she was breathing again, George’s friend and fellow vintage racer, Ed Milich of EPM Engineering helped George modify and mount the modern front end from a 2007 Suzuki GSX-750 and also put on a swingarm from a 1987 GSX-750.  His buddy and fellow racer Rick Carmody did the Wes Cooley paint scheme. “The bike has always been a collaborative effort and I always try to seek out the best guys to help me. To date, there are so many people that have helped make this bike into what it is”  George laughs and says, “Man, so many people have touched this bike in one way or another.”

George’s Suzuki GS1100EX is an amazing machine that harmoniously blends the allure of classic motorcycling with accents of modernity.

On top of his obsession for riding bikes, George runs a boutique motorcycle rental and tourism business out of Santa Monica, CA. His goal is simple: To expose new and continuing riders from all over the world with a bike and access to the most amazing roads in southern California. His fleet is stocked with a handful of sport bikes and a set of adventure bikes being added to the fleet in 2017. You can learn more about his business and the experience at MotoCalifornia.com

Categories
Bikes

The Loco – Steve’s Honda Suzuki

Taking its namesake after the old streamline trains that sped across train tracks decades past, The Loco is a marriage of two motorcycles that had seen better days. With their powers combined, this new machine went on to take out 1st place in the 2016 Deus Bike Build Off.

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For this machine, life would start as two separate wrecks that were to be scrapped – Steve and his Grandson Riley had other plans however. “The bike is composed mainly of a Honda CB250 and a Suzuki GT250. The CB250 had been skidded down the road and sported cracked engine cases and a bent frame. The GT250 was left under a tree for years, but the motor still turned over. We decided to make the most of these neglected machines and combine them together.”

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Firstly, the CB frame had to be modified to support the head stem and motor from the GT250. “I used a bridge work design to strengthen the frame, and then followed through with the same design which you’ll find on the seat as well as the paint scheme” Fitting this donor engine into it’s new home would prove to be the biggest challenge for this ambitious build. “Getting the GT250 engine to line up with the rear sprocket and so that it would clear the swing arm would be a task and a half. We had to make a rear sprocket to get the height so that the chain didn’t drag too much on the swing arm. Thankfully, ZPower Australia had a box full of NOS sprockets that I went rummaging through until I found one with the correct wheel fitment. I found another that had 41 teeth, so I cut the centre out and welded the smaller centre in.”

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With the major task of the heart transplant done for the bike, Steve could now get to work on the more aesthetic side of this build. Steve’s son Richard had an old XJS tank floating around at his work. Deemed too ugly for anything worthwhile, it was soon to be trashed, but much like the rest of the bike Steve saved it from the bin and got to work seeing if it would be incorporated it into his Deus Build Off Bike submission.

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“Due to the size of the tank, my son suggested you could actually make a fairing out of it – and so we thought we’d give it a shot! I cut the XJS tank up, but it just didn’t suit the build, so it’s destiny was once more for the scrap heap. The CB250 bike came with a tank in good shape, so I decided to give it another go and cut it up – sure enough it fitted nicely. The fairing was a big task to try and keep the tank shape and still have some sort of turning circle, two nights before we had to load the bike onto trailer and head off, a couple of mates called around to help get the bike off the work bench. We soon found out there was nil turning circle! We all then spent hours trying to figure out how to get the handlebars to turn just a bit more in the faring, but it just wasn’t going to happen. The boys went home so I got to work and made another set of handle bars – all done and dusted by 2am!”

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One week before the big show, Steve got cracking with the paint work and the finishing touches to the motor. Four nights of painting later and the motor was alive. However there would be one slight hiccup, as the carbi kits that were initially put in were all the wrong size jets, needle and float. “I learned a good lesson – always check against old parts! We worked out these gremlins and the bike was now ready to made the trip for the bike show. We managed to take out 1st place, which made all the time in the shed definitely worthwhile! I love the engine and the long straight pipes on this bike, along with the hidden ignition switch under the gas cap on the fairing.”

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Categories
Bikes

Glen’s Budget Build Suzuki DR600

Earlier in the year, with the Deus Bike Build Off looming, Glen got to thinking about a build he could do himself after receiving a good dose of inspiration from old salt flat racers. Stripped back and low, this once very different 1984 Suzuki DR600 is now a rude little beast that was built on a no frills budget.

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With only the rough idea of the old salt flat racers in his mind, Glen otherwise wasn’t looking for anything particular with this build. The key perquisites were that it needed to be cheap to complete, and registered. “That’s how I ended up with this old 1984 Suzuki DR600, not exactly the best type of bike to start off with for my plan, but it being for the Build Off, it had to be a little bit crazy”.

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And so the crazy new project would get underway. This 32-year-old paddock basher was about to undergo a major facelift. “With a really rough plan in my mind, I got to work with a bunch of parts I had laying around. There wasn’t anything specific in mind, so I planned how the parts would work with my eye first. There was a lot of time spent standing back with a beer in hand, just staring at the machine and the parts. From memory, once I had the tank set up I made up 4 different rear subframes from complicated to the simple designs with the spanner you see here. Mostly it went together pretty well…”
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This build would be strictly done on a lean budget, which is where creativity and ideas can thrive – restrictions promote invention. “I had to use things I already had lying around the shed. Most of the parts I had picked up from swap meets or SCR guys over the years. I did have to buy a couple of new bits during the build like the clip-ons (they really hurt the budget), various bits of metal and the seat pan. But that was about it.” And that’s what a truly exciting, and challenging, aspect of motorcycle customisation is. Working with what you have to achieve your end goal is seen proudly throughout sheds and workspaces across the world. It’s what also gave birth to many of the bike styles we see today, in all their forms.

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“The thing I love most about this bike? Gotta say it’s the craziness that makes it awesome. Everywhere I go it makes people smile, or shake their heads haha! I had no intention to keep the bike after the Build Off but one hour after finishing it, a mate and me rode to Byron Bay (had to give it a reasonable shakedown run). It never missed a beat and from that trip I fell in love with it.  I now use it everyday to commute and go on SCR rides when I can.”

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Categories
Bikes

Cliff’s Suzuki Savage Cafe Racer

When looking for a bike to start a café racer build, the Suzuki LS650 Savage wouldn’t be at the top of most people’s lists. In fact, it probably wouldn’t be on anyone’s list, with most Australians having never heard of such a bike, and if they had, they wouldn’t think much of it. Objectively speaking, the stock LS650 Savage is an ugly set of wheels. Cliff saw beyond this however, and would embark on a journey to turn this ugly cruiser into a top café racer build.

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Cliff used to scoot about on the back of his Dad’s motorcycle back in the UK as a young lad, so it would only be a matter of time before he grabbed some wheels for himself. After coming across a Suzuki LS650 Café Racer build at the Sydney Motor show last year, some ideas popped into his head and the fires of a project bike were starting to burn.

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After picking up a brand new LS650 from Procycle Hornsby, Cliff had the bike sent off to Gasoline Motor Co. where work would begin. “I’m not a mechanic at all – I can work on a small amount of things but this project was beyond my skill level. I turned to Gasoline to get involved with this build early on after going to their garage a few times and looking at the awesome builds that they had done before and was always impressed.”

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Gasoline were no strangers to adding the café racer style to unsuspecting cruisers, so they were prepared for the road that lay ahead. When you think single cylinder café racer, images of Yamaha SR’s will instantly fill your mind. The 650cc, air-cooled, single cylinder engine of the LS650 with a belt drive rather than a chain would provide an attractive alternate to the ever-common SR. The LS650’s thumper engine is amongst the largest displacement single cylinder engines in production as of 2016, so this would be a thumper with extra ‘thump’. The first thing Gasoline got to work on would be to correct the frame’s geometry. This would be achieved through swapping out the standard factory wheels for something a bit smaller for the front, whilst going larger for the rear. The back end of the bike would then be raised after a bit of chopping, allowing the bike to accept some new suspension components. The engine was given more air to breath with a set of conjoined pod filters either side of the bike, adding a bonus element of symmetry to the look.

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Towards the end of the build, the Throttle Roll Street Party 2016 was around the corner and Cliff had just purchased his tickets. “I was super stoked for the show. I thought about entering the Savage to be part of the bike display, but was unsure if it would be ready in time. The very next day I spoke with Jason about tyres when he mentioned entering the bike to the show, so it was game on now to get the bike ready in time. I saw the bike a couple of times being worked on in the garage, but never the finished product until the big day at the show. It was epic seeing it up on the scaffolding alongside all the other amazing bikes people had built!”

It was also at the Throttle Roll 2016 Street Party that Cliff came across the Shannons display, who he has now insured the Savage with!
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Categories
Bikes

Dr Scram – Pat’s DR650

Normally broken bones are the result of bikes, one way or another. For Pat however, bikes would be the result from an injury, instead of the cause. Paging Dr Scram!

A fractured knee wasn’t the ideal momento Pat had wanted to take home after a trip to Canada 6 years ago, but ever the optimist it would be this injury that would give birth to a whole new world of fun – along with new ways to break bones in the future.

“It was in 2010 that I first started riding. I’d come home from Canada with a fractured knee and had a lot of spare time doing nothing. It was in this down time that I found out about the café racer culture, which resulted in me buying a 1974 CB550. I was completely hooked.” Year later would find Pat upgrading from his CB550 to a CB750, as he immersed himself with the growing café racer scene in Sydney as it would grow and thrive.

It was at this time that Pat also grabbed himself a Suzuki DR650, with the intention of building it up for dirt and dual sport riding, as well as being his daily commuter. Owning two bikes at this point in his life with a growing family would prove to be impractical however, and so the CB750 would be sold off so he could concentrate his misfit juices on turning this stock DR650 into the multi-purpose Scrambler he’d always envisioned.

“I used to do a lot of weekends away, 4-wheel driving with mates. The 4WD had to go when our first child came along; so being able to get out in the bush was something that came into consideration when I bought the DR650 initially. I don’t get to go out for my longer rides now as my wife and I have just had a baby boy, but this will change later on when we all get used to the new addition to the family.”

It would be a slow start piecing together all the ideas and inspiration for this build, as Pat trawled through all the popular scrambler and tracker builds that were coming out. Once the plans were settled, it was off to Darren at DNA Custom Cycles to get this bike Scrambling. “I didn’t have a garage or appropriate tools to take on this build, and with Darren’s knowledge and skills we ended up with a far better end result than I had first envisaged.”

Over at DNA, the bike was completely stripped down, with the frame being powder coated along with most of the other bolt on parts receiving some fresh paint. I had upgraded the wheels (Excel Takasago front 19×2.5 inch from 21×1.85 inch, rear 17×4.25 inch from 17×2.5inch) laced to standard hubs, suspension, fuel delivery (Mikuni TM40 Pumper) and bigger front brakes previously to improve the overall rideablity of the bike.

“It’s really just a great little all-rounder. Enough power for what I need, it can keep up with most bikes on the sealed twisty mountain roads, and it feels at home in the dirt too. The new and improved look is a huge bonus, I have already had a lot of good feedback from lots of people – some are confused whether it’s a Yamaha or something else.”

 

Categories
Bikes

Ross’ Suzuki RE5 M Rotary Bobber

The history of the Suzuki RE5 is an emotional rollercoaster. From claims that it was the best-handling Japanese bike at the time, to also being condemned as one of ‘The Top Ten Worst Motorcycles’ years later. This unique and misunderstood machine has found it’s home with Ross, and has been reincarnated as a low down, mean, rat bobber that you won’t see anywhere else.

Touted as the future of motorcycle engines upon its release in 1974, the Suzuki RE5 featured a Wankel rotary engine. This meant no pistons and no valves, and was a bold move for Suzuki to take. The seemingly straightforward rotary engine however ended up presenting more problems than expected. This bold new bike also required Suzuki to build an entirely new production line, with specially developed machinery. The bikes were only produced from 1974-76, and unfortunately were a hugely unsuccessful venture for Suzuki. With less than 7000 bikes sold worldwide, the company lost a huge deal of money, which almost sent them bankrupt. Rumour has it that Suzuki dumped all the tooling, machinery, and spares into the sea of Japan.

This pariah of a bike would not be forgotten, as Ross would enter the motorcycle world with intentions of doing something a bit different. After seeing so many bobbers he liked in magazines, Ross decided he wanted a bike to chop up himself. “I had a few old Vespas before this and I wanted to turn my attention to something Japanese. I’m a mechanic/fabricator by trade so the desire to build something cool was too strong to ignore. I didn’t even know what these bikes were. I was basically looking for a 70’s Japanese bike; but it had to be different. I’m not a fan of doing things like everybody else. I’ve also liked rotaries since I was a teenager and have been working on them for over 15 years, so when I found this bike I knew I was onto something good.”

Ross wanted to build something that was long, low, and ratty. It would have that “left in a shed” aesthetic that would only get better with age. “I didn’t really care how practical it would be, I just wanted something that I could take for a quick scoot with some mates on a Sunday. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money either and knew I had to do it all myself. I’m not into flashy paint or chrome, and I’m not into stuff that’s been done a million times. I also knew that any parts that I used had to be off other Suzuki’s – you can blame my OCD for that.”

The build started as a complete strip down, with Ross then cutting the whole back part of the frame off so he could make a hardtail section to suit. From there on, he got to work fabricating the parts he wanted to help achieve the look he was after. “The original tank was cactus so I made the first of many trips to the wreckers and found a Suzuki Marauder tank which l liked. A bit of mucking around with the mounts and it sat perfectly high up on the frame. The list of things that I had to make is endless but include the bars, seat pan, exhaust, suicide shifter, rear brake rod pivot, chain tensioner, number plate mount, the radiator and shroud, battery bracket, forward controls, indicator mounts, inlet manifold and the list goes on!”

The hardest part Ross found would be working out how to re-purpose parts from the bike to perform other functions, one example being the shifter handle was made out of one of the original rear footpegs, while also steering clear of anything that look too modern. I had to make a few parts a few times (the exhaust is the 4th) mainly due to me changing my mind or not having things work well (the fan shroud is the 2nd due to the factory fan not cooling enough). I rebuilt the engine, which required some special tools to be made, and I had a good friend help me with the wiring and another with the seat trim. I sourced the leather for the seat from a couch I found in the street, which really added to the ratty, weathered look of the bike. The trickiest part was putting the engine accessories together. I stripped it years ago and only took limited photos but my wife printed out the workshop manual for me, which was the most valuable thing that I had! Without it I never would have been able to put it back together.”

“I love the engine, it’s my favourite thing about this bike. It’s just so bulky in the frame, and in itself is a marvel of engineering. Coming in 2nd is the cylinder just in front of the rear wheel. I always get asked what it is. It’s the original rear taillight, which I hinged and turned into a tool/wallet compartment to fill that otherwise empty area.”

       

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Garage Sessions

Mad Mick’s Garage

If you cut Mick, we don’t doubt that he’d bleed oil. Bikes, racing, wrenching – he’s done it all and continues to do so. It’s a passion he shared with his son Josh, who the motorcycle community sadly lost in 2015, but the wheels still spin as Mick builds and rides in his honour.

Mick’s been riding since he was around 10 years old, after his father got him a Honda QA50 Mini bike to learn on. It was from here that Mick would also go to Castlereagh and Nepean short circuit tracks to watch his older cousin race. Mick naturally fell in love with motorbikes, and hanging off them sideways. “My Dad used to ride as well, he had a Matchless BSA and an Austin A7 single seat car – which I wish he bloody kept! He used to ride around with his brothers and army buddies.”

A skillful hand at just about everything he touches, Mick’s a traditional signwriter by trade, a house painter, and a spray painter. “I build bikes, spray furniture, bikes, cars and make dioramas. I fix all sorts of stuff; I’m a Dad, that’s our job! I’ve been doing shit in garages my whole life, and I’m 58 now.”

It would be only natural that the love for 2-wheels would be passed down to Mick’s Son, Josh. However in 2015 while on a ride with his Dad, we tragically lost Josh in an accident. This echoed throughout the Sydney motorcycle community, particularly the Café Racer scene which Josh had gotten Mick into. “Josh got me into the Café Racer scene back in 2013. Out first bike was his ’79 Kawasaki K500 which was a bike I also owned when I was young; and it was featured at Throttle Roll 2013. The next bike we built together was his Suzuki GSX750, we did that one like a Castrol 6hr bike. Another we’ve done is the little Kawasaki KZ400 ’75 model, The Green Wasp. I’m in the garage most days on an average 8-10 hours per day or night. It keeps me sane, and the house clean. My wife Joe has a Maltese background, which means she’s a Maltese cleaning freak! I love her and my daughter Ashleigh for letting me do all this.”

One of Mick’s current bikes he’s running is his Silver 1984 Suzuki Katana 750 GSXSE with the pop-up headlight, in pure 80’s fashion. He’d originally owned a white model some years back, but had a stack on it riding with mates for the Junee Poker Run. “The bike was in a bad way and needed some serious repairs, it’s currently sitting in my garage in various milk crates. My wife jumped online and found the silver one for me after researching spare fairings and parts on the net. Some guy up the north coast was selling it, and I absolutely loved it. Why? Because it still looks as good and tough as it did back when I first saw it at the 1983-84 bike show. I had to have one back then, but I got married and it was put on the back burner.”

It actually took Mick 15 years after getting married to get back into the bike game, but it was something he took to passionately and with ease. “I’d bought a 1968 Harley-Davidson Police Special, I’d done it up but was never happy with it. It was after I sold that when I bought my first Katana. I love the Katana, I like the way it fits me and I fit it. The way it goes, looks and the comments it gets. The burnouts it can do (I love that the best) it’s a tough engine. Josh wanted to put the bike in his lounge room one day. He loved how much I loved that bike.”

To contrast his 1980’s crotch-rocket, Mick’s also got a ’95 Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 he’s give a café dosage to. “I got the bike off a mate in exchange for painting his house! I changed it around with clip-ons, cut down and drilled the guards, pipe wrap to give it a more old-school look. It fits me nicely, is easy to ride and does great burnouts also! I gave it a custom paint job with some paint I was given by a mate, it’s the special great paint they use on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I love how it looks when the sun hits the tank. I love how simple a sporty can be.  It was the bike I wanted Josh to ride, to have a bit of fun on but he unfortunately never got to ride it. After Josh’s accident, I decided to get it registered as I found riding the Katana hard after what happened on the ride with Josh and I. The weirdest thing happened when I went to register the bike. The number plate I got handed to me was MYY88, which are my initials and Josh’s year of birth. It like was josh was giving me the thumbs up! I feel him riding with me all the time.”

Up on Mick’s bench sits a red Suzuki GSXR which he’d picked up about 7 years back, however somewhat accidentally. “I was bidding on a blue 83 GSX750. The day the bidding was ending I went for a ride to my mates place and told Jo to keep an eye on it on eBay. I told her not to bid more than $1k. When I got to my mates, Jo messaged saying we won the bike but she bid more on it. Her and Josh were bidding on it and got carried away, they won the bike for $1500! I was not impressed. When I got home Josh said to me “When can we paint out the black panels?” I said “Black?! I thought it was blue?” I was confused; turns out Jo had accidentally bid on the wrong bike, she bid on a 85 GSXR750 by accident. I took it for a ride it went like a rocket, so I was happy.”

From here the Gixxer would get pulled down and given a repaint, with the bike receiving a more race bike look with a big number 85 and checkered flags on it. “It was more in your face, the cops thought so too! I got booked a couple of times on it.” One night however Mick had a stack on the bike riding up at Mount White with his son’s best mate Craig. “I rode it home with a buckled front end and a broken left thumb. We got home around 2am that night, what a ride that was! Josh was living in London at the time, so he missed his Dad having a big one that night”

The now red Gixxer was in need of repair as it sat in Mick’s garage, awaiting for Josh’s return home to get it back on the road. “Josh had come home from London and asked if we could rebuild it for him. He owned the Z500 at the time, I said I will do up the ‘83 Suzuki GSX750ES I had for him for the road, and we will do the GSXR750 for the track and drag strip.” So Mick pulled the bike down again after a few years of it sitting in the corner of the garage. “Just last year Josh asked again “Can we rebuild it as our next project?” he wanted me to make it look like a Yoshi Suzuki, so he went about finding stuff for it. We had put the engine and front end in together; we were working on the swing arm with Darren from DNA the day before his accident.”

“Now the boys and girls from Sydney Café Racers have donated $5000 for me to finish the build and Josh’s other bikes, the Kawasaki Z400 and Z500. Since then I have started to rebuild it the way Josh wanted it. It’s hard to get the right motivation to do it now that Josh is not here to see it, but everyone has been really great, helping me out so much and I’m sure he’s right here in the garage with me at night, pushing me to keep going. You’ve all inspired me to do it in his and your honour! I probably would never have let him ride it anyway… it used to make me shit my pants.”

“Josh now builds and rides with me every day, he was and still is my inspiration. Thank you from Mad Mick, Josh, Jo and Ashleigh.”

        

Categories
Bikes

Lân’s Suzuki TU250X

When Lân was 5, he made his way around town tucked into the front of his grandfather’s Vespa back in Vietnam. From then on the times, wheels, and countries changed but not his love for two-wheels.

“I came from Vietnam, where the main means of transport were two-wheels. I remember my first experience riding around at the front of my grandfather’s scooter; the feeling of the wind on my face was amazing. I was never the same again after that!”

As Lân grew up a bit he jumped on his Dad’s 1967 Honda SS50, which he thrashed around, learning how to ride and stack. “I threw myself against the gravel a few times and would ride around unlicenced. Back then in ‘Nam at that stage, who needs a drivers licence when everyone could get their hands on an M16!” But as 1975 came around, the Communist North invaded South Vietnam, and Lân and his family found themselves acquiring the new status of “boat people” as they made their journey to Australia, where they landed in 1981.

It would be here in Sydney that Lân would continue his love for two-wheeled thrill machines throughout high school. “I finally got told I could legally ride and own a bike, so my first was a Yamaha Virago 250. From then on, a few other Japanese bikes would come through my door. I also own an American legend, a Harley-Davidson Nightster XL1200N”

One of Lân’s current bikes is a 1998 Suzuki TU250X that he picked up with strong intentions of making it a café racer. “I always wanted a café racer, but due to the lack of knowledge and time I sent it off Rene9ade and into the trusty hands of Kyle. We came up with the basic idea and shape of the bike, along with the help of Paul Stanner from Drifter Bikes

From here the engine would be stripped and painted black, along with the front and rear rims. The trademark TU tank was replaced with a slimmer Yamaha model and painted by Kyle at Smith Concepts, and a tidy battery compartment added under the seat. “Kyle got the seat made for me to go with the new modified frame, the bike is slimmer which helps suit my height and inseams; I then tweaked the carbi to get a bit more out of it. The rear end of the bike was cut and modified the way Paul like, which ended up looking great.”

 

Categories
Bikes

Kel’s Suzuki GR650 Tempter

It was only a matter of time for Kel to get his wheels, what with having so many riders in his family. This would prove to be an important decision in his life as it brought him closer to family, while also learning more about motorcycle customisation.

Both Kel’s uncle and father had always been into bikes for as long as he could remember, but it wasn’t until a chance exposure to Post-Modern Motorcycles that Kel would finally be inspired to pick up some wheels for himself and get chopping. “That style of bike seemed pretty easy to do, so I sussed out how to buy a Postie which I ended up grabbing from pickles auctions, and a few weeks later my brother and I were the proud new owners of what we hoped would become a sweet new custom ride! This was quite a few years ago now, and I’d only got as far as changing the rear cog on the bike, adding clubman bars, new indicators and some stickers.”

From here Kel found his way into Sydney Café Racers in the hopes of helping his custom bike work. “I had the Postie for a few years and attended a few SCR rides. I rode on the first Throttle Roll event as well, and got to lead the pack back from the ride into the Vic On The Park, which was really cool. It wasn’t long thought before I grew out of the limited power of the CT110, so I started my search for a new bike.”

The search for a new bike would inevitably lead Kel to a 1983 Suzuki GR650 which he had found sitting outside a mate’s girlfriend’s place. “I’d been looking at the bike for a while, and the guy who owned this bike had moved to Melbourne so I offered him $500 as the bike had been sitting there not running for almost a year. My mate knew I wanted the bike and ended up buying it before me, he then got to work on the bike and sold it to me with a blue slip a few days later.”

From here the work on the bike would be slow, as Kel himself admits he lacked the skills, tools and money to dive in headfirst. “I was getting more involved with the crew from SCR attending more rides and gaining advice along the way. Pretty much the first thing I did was strip the tank back to bare metal and added some new handlebars. I rode it like that for a while before I got sick of the look, so I painted the tank. I was going for a well-used patina look, and I’m pretty happy with the out come!”

After losing his licence for 9 months a few weeks after enjoying his GR650, Kel decided to make use of this time off the road and have a proper go at working on this machine. “I still lacked the tools and skills, but this time I had some money! I booked the bike in with Kyle at Rene9ade. The bike sat there for 2 months as I was away for work, but when I got back to Sydney I went straight over to chat with Kyle and show him what I had in mind for the bike. He was already booked up with other bikes so I asked if he minded me helping out, so from then on I was there most afternoons and weekends. It was perfect, as I had storage for the bike, and all the tools at my disposal. I also had the expertise from Kyle and also Paul Stanner from Drifter Bikes on had to help me out.”

Getting into motorcycles wasn’t just about grinding, customising and riding, as it ended up providing Kel with a much richer experience. “Motorbikes have given me something more to share with my family, I’m constantly on the phone to my old man asking him what to do here and there, and a lot of the time he’d just call uncle Chris! My Dad knows his stuff, but Chris just knows a little bit more. It’s been awesome getting to see my Dad, Chris and Auntie Karen and be involved in something they love, as well as meeting so many new people that I call my friends today. I’m really grateful as well for the time spent with Chris and Karen, to be honest if it wasn’t for motorbikes I probably would not of seen Karen as much as I did; sadly she passed away a few years back so that time spent together was something extra special for me.”

  

Categories
Bikes

Dave’s DRZ 400e Scrambler

For Dave’s second complete bike build, he was after a bike that could do just about anything and everything. Old school look and feel, but modern machining and performance. For Dave, a Suzuki DRZ 400e fit the bill just fine.

Christmas of 1983 marked the beginning of what would be an addiction to bikes. Dave and his brother had received a Honda Z50 from their Father. “I think it was more of an excuse for Dad to get a bike as well. Most of my life I’ve owned and ridden dirt bikes, apart from hoarding a couple of monkey bikes.”

Going for a complete custom motorbike that had everything Dave missed on his first build, Dave was looking for a bike that could tackle anything. “It needed to have that 70’s look, chrome guards and chunky tyres – but ride and have the power of a modern steed.”

“I love the build as much as the ride. I set myself the task of trying something new, with a mate’s TIG welder in hand I taught myself how to weld and build a new subframe, also knocking up a spray booth and 2 packing the tinwork.

The biggest headfuck was the cooling system, as the stock radiators fouled the tank and weren’t going to make the cut. The 75 turned out just like the picture I’d scribbled at my desk.”

“My favourite thing about this bike would have to be how fun it is to ride! It brings out your inner Hooligan. It’s great for around town, blasting tunnels with the local crew, hitting the twisties up in the hills or bashing fire trails and getting lost.”

Photography by Brenden Allen –  photo@brendenallen.com – @ba_photo

     

Categories
Bikes

Tori’s Suzuki TU250x

Harmony and balance play a big part in Tori’s life, both in her profession and her passion. Most of her time is split between being a professional violinist, and working on her motorbike. It’s a contrast that breaks stereotypes, defines Tori and inspires her.

Tori’s passion for bikes formed as a natural progression from bicycles. As a kid she was limited to just one bike, because as her parents said “one was enough” despite her desire to own as many as she could. This meant each bicycle was something special, “each bike meant a great deal to me and all of them felt like a best friend”. One Christmas, Tori was presented with a bright pink, girly bike when she was ten years old. This completely horrified her unfortunately, as it certainly wasn’t her style. “I felt super bad about hating it and hurting their feelings, but they could see the bike was not my soul mate and swapped it for a boy’s model so I could do mad bunny hops off the gutters around my local streets. I liked bikes because they were fast. Riding was where my brain was totally occupied by staying upright, and not distracted or quietly fighting with the slowness of the world around me. My bike could be flying as fast as my mind, and it was where I was peaceful.”

“As I got older, I kept buying push bikes or finding them on the street, until it got to a point where I was teaching myself to build a single speed on the living room floor in my apartment. After that, I totally dismantled and stripped the frame of a fairly expensive Giant road bike and had grand plans for customising it. That never happened. Motorbikes came into my life properly around then and the result of that is a handful of bicycles now hanging in my Mum’s shed or dismembered and in various boxes stored all over Sydney.

Tori’s current bike is a 2012 Suzuki TU250 that she has heavily customised to suit her own style and needs. “My bike doesn’t have a name, or a gender. It’s a machine. But we are good buddies.”

Working on motorcycles has become a fusion of things for Tori that has become remarkably therapeutic, and important to her. “I can be artistic, logical, creative and pragmatic, all at once. I used to paint artworks, I’ve made music in my own home studio set up, I played in bands for over a decade and I’m always excited about craft, but working on bikes is so different to those kinds of creativity. The hard rawness of working with metal, wires and power tools is good for me. I can’t be without music as it’s been my major purpose in life for 35 years, but there’s a bone-deep sense of catharsis and meditation around shed time that I crave after a day or two away from it.”

Finding the space to complete her work on bikes hasn’t been easy, however. For the first year or so, Tory had no garage, carport or driveway to act as her workspace. All she had was a one metre square spot of concrete at the front of her house, where she would work for hours and learned the fundamentals of work and customising her bike. “Because I was always sitting on the ground with tools and a semi-dismantled motorcycle spread across the public walkway, I got to know the neighbours quickly. That’s worked out well as I found we live near an ex-custom-Harley builder, a qualified mechanic who immaculately restored his own Mustang, an electrician, an extreme DIY-er who happily gives away awesome tools, a vintage BMW collector and two very welcoming brothers over the road with spare room in their double garage. Now I have a big square of flat, glorious concrete under foot to drop my washers on. It also has walls and a roof, plus a power point. Amazing.”

A key part on this bike is the mean looking exhaust, which looks as if it is the offspring from a machine gun. It also has a powerful noise to match. “The rough industrial style of it incorporates a sleeve of brass I found in my Dad’s stuff. He died eleven years ago but in his prime, was an engineer/fitter and turner/boilermaker, so I use a lot of his old tools, which are still good after fifty years. I feel like he’s sort of still around taking care of me with his top quality parts and tools while I modify an ADR compliant vehicle with cable ties and mismatching bolts, into something unique that I then ride at high speeds. But that muffler grunts like a boar at low revs and barks at clueless car drivers when they want to merge into me at 80kph. So I guess that muffler’s taking care of me as well.”