16 Sep 2013

Suzuki café racer, aka number 16, aka "Silver Bullet"

I have always admired the massive, sculptural quality of the oil-cooled Suzuki engines, whether in their 750, 1100 or other formats. I acquired this bike in June 2013 from the modified and collector Suzuki GSX specialist in the Paris area, KMP (http://www.kmp.fr). 
This KMP Suzuki GSXR thus became the 16th machine I have owned at various points in time, hence the number 16 in the title.

It has since returned to KMP for some minor modifications, including carburetors and a different rev-counter/speedometer, which is now sheltered behind a small headlamp cowling that probably still needs a small cut-out to be made to improve visibility of the dial when riding as I am sat a bit further forward when ensconced in the machine than this photo shows. Anyway, progress being made in this project that started when I saw a picture of this machine in a slightly different state in the excellent French magazine Café Racer.

So I gave this silver bullet a spin yesterday and am beginning to like it. It feels business-like, solid and chunky. It looks good for sure, makes all the right noises (quite a lot of noise actually and I will need earplugs for longer trips for sure), but it will take a while for me to adjust to the crouched riding position, the energy required to lean it over when cornering (even with the right pressure in the tyres it takes quite an effort to make it turn) and the very full but linear delivery of the engine, which has a 1340cc capacity, Yoshimura cams, and just seems to go and go without any gap in the power-band. I am not used to four-cylinder bikes and keep finding myself searching for an inexistent 6th gear as the pitch of the engine rises!

So here are the full specs:

The basis is a 1990 GSX-R (frame and engine)
Front fork is from a more recent GSX-R (I think)
Engine, initially of 1100cc capacity, is now of 1340cc and has Yoshimura cams fitted
Carbs are from a Suzuki Bandit 1200
Wheels and discs are from a Ducati 1000
Rear brake is Brembo
Front brakes use Ducati discs, Billet calipers and a Nissin master-cylinder

Tyes are Metzeler
The swinging arm is a reinforced piece from Formula and the rear shock is by Fournalès
Crank-case covers are Vance and Hines
The aluminium exhaust and twin silencers are from Hindle
The all-in-one rev-counter, speedo, trip and indicators is from MotoGadget
Plastic bits are mostly produced by KMP, as are the small cylinders on the bars for clutch and front brake, and the rear-sets.
The fibre-glass tank has a transparent slot in it to show fuel level 
The seat can be converted to take a passenger but there are no passenger foot-pegs as yet and may not ever be! I have an alternative single seat as well.
The rear-view mirrors, wherever they come from, are not too great and are hard to adjust.

That's about it. Good to be back on this blog of mine and please forgive me for a long absence. The call of summer was too strong. More about that soon folks!