Three times a winner
We do not see a tremendous amount of Suzuki’s being rebuilt into memorable machines unfortunately.
So when IJsselstein (near Utrecht – the Netherlands) based Walter van Elk came to us to have his 1978 Suzuki GS750 featured we happily obliged.
Walter really took his time to finish this project. He spent no less than 7 years in his shed to create his ‘piece the resistance’.
This might have had a lot to do with him having a hard time to make up his mind which direction to take.
No, we are not talking about finding his way home while travelling, but setting a creative course for this build.
He acquired the bike at a very friendly price as it was an unfinished project started by someone who never managed to really find the time or the energy to finish it off. As the previous owner had a caféracer style build in mind, the protagonist of this story continued on that path initially.
Well on his way into the project, Walter decided he did not like what he saw and decided to go for a more tracker styled Suzuki. However, this did not create a very warm feeling either. When he saw he was dealt the Monopoly card “second prize in a Beauty Contest’ he threw the dice once again and got the ‘Advance token to the nearest Utility’.
Back in the shed the decision was made to go for a “classic racer style” keeping a good distance from what Walter describes as “caféracers that basically look the same”.
His goal was to stick to the Suzuki origins of bike as much as he could by primarily using original Suzuki parts from other models creating his dream project.
Even though there are parts from other major brands sprinkled across the Suzuki, Walter has managed to mostly stick to his original game plan.
Inspiration came from a Ducati 750ss owned by a friend’s father.
As he describes it: “I have been in love with that design and the sound of the bike ever since I laid eyes on it. It was exactly that kind of feeling I wanted to achieve without producing a simple replica. It had to be my lovechild! A classic racer with contemporary touches.”
As it had been an itch for no less than seven years BikeBrewers inquired on the budget spent on the GS750. The Dutchman replies: “for the kind of money I spent, I could probably have bought a brand new bike!” he laughs out loud. Continuing: “At the outset I wanted to keep track of costs by jotting down on a piece of paper the prices of stuff I bought. Halfway through the project the paper format I used proved to be insufficient to list all the figures.
By the time I reached the finish line, I had lost both the paper and count. My best guess would be anywhere between € 6K – € 10K. I sincerely hope my wife does not read this post.”
A mechanic by trade, Walter wanted to do as much of the work by himself. He describes his biggest challenge as forcing himself to outperform in most of the tasks at hand. To create the true classic racer look and feel and stay true to the origin of his inspiration, the front fairing came from a … Ducati 750ss. However to get things right, some major surgery was required.
The angle of the fiberglass pane did not match the line our builder had in mind. It was more or less up straight. Enter angle grinder, lots of patience and sweat. The result speaks for itself.
Smaller hurdles to be taken were the caps on the dynamo and ignition cases. He made them from original GS750’s oil pans as decent replacements were unavailable. Another technical stumbling block was to mount a GS850 cylinder and cylinder head on to the GS750’s case, including carbs and carbs settings.
Know your limits
Even though there is a BikeBrewers article on how to lace your own wheels, Walter decided it was better to outsource this part of the build. After all it does require specific skills and you want to get it right the first time.
The same applied to the paint job. We have seen enough examples of decent build being spoilt by awful paint jobs. This one however came out as it should.
Initially wrapping foil was used for the striping. This was later replaced using masking tape and paint. No plastic can beat that.
No bolt was left unturned on this project. “Rather than listing the modifications it would be easier to list what has not been changed!” the Dutchman says with an ear to ear grin.
Continuing: “I have left the chassis almost as it was, but installed the front of a Suzuki GSXR750-W, the petrol tank of a Suzuki GSX750, the rear shocks of a Suzuki GS1000.
The aluminium rims (both 18″ with stainless spokes) and the aluminium rear suspension originate from a Suzuki GSX750. I have included an aluminium Raask gear shifter and brake pedal. As mentioned earlier the cylinders and cylinder head of a Suzuki GS850,and rear seat from a English type of bike with leather upholstery, exhaust system made by myself all linked together with balance pipes with 4 universal silencers.
The brake light is made of stainless steel with LED strips as there was not enough space for a regular type of break light. The headlight is LED aftermarket and covered with a piece of my helmet visor!”
• 18″ Morad aluminium rims with stainless steel spokes
• front fork Suzuki GSXR750W
• swing arm aluminium Suzuki GSX750
• petrol tank Suzuki GSX750
• top half fairing Ducati 750SS modified
• seat glass fiber universal English type of bike with new leather upholstery
• clip-ons Triumph Thruxton
• Raask shift and brake pedals set
• universal aftermarket silencers
• license plate bracket home made
• headlight aftermarket LED
• rear brake light home made from stainless steel wit LED strip
• Suzuki GS850cc cylinders and head kit
• paintjob ivory white and orange and black, pinstripes are all sprayed
Famous last words by the builder himself
“I like the way the caps on the site of the camshafts came out. They have cool ribs on them. It took forever to find them. Ultimately they come from the garage of someone just around the corner from me and were brand new. I just had to get those!
Riding this bike with all the mods is an experience. The Suzuki is definitely not everybody’s darling. But if you take the time you will get used to it. Even better, it is quite addictive. The sound is a prime element in the fun of riding this.
If you feel lonely, try a ride on this Suzuki. Lots of positive reactions at traffic lights, gas stations or just on the road. That is very rewarding.”
A special mention this time; all pictures by Leonoor Kinkel.
Check out her Instagram page.