How many times do you scan the motorcycle listings on eBay, but everything you can afford just seems so plain, not something you would be proud to show off on bike night? We've all done it, you see a bike and know it has potential, but what you're looking at practically fades from view, there's nothing to catch your eye. This Suzuki GT500 should change the way you look at bikes, it's a perfect example of a transformation, from wallflower to center stage, and like the CB160 we just showed you, it, too, comes from Cycle Sports of Houston. You can do this, too, with a lot of time, patience and skill. Of course, if you come up short in any of those areas, you can always give Ken Fontenot a call, he'll be happy to build something for you, too.
After looking at the before and after photos here, you might want to take another run through those motorcycle for sale listings, you might see them in a whole new light.
Once again, here's Ken with all of the details on this beauty:
We have a customer, Mr Terry Shields that really likes nice vintage motorcycles. He bought a used Suzuki GT500 on eBay in really good condition, rode it around for a while and felt he wanted to convert it into a cafe racer. He brought it in to us and we came up with a few ideas on how to make it all happen.
We stripped the bike down to the bare frame, sandblasted it and started removing unneeded tabs and modifying it to make it fit the part. We put the frame up on a lift and started construction. Everything that was put back on was either refurbished, refinished or replaced. All specialty hardware & fasteners that we reused were replated to look new.
We found an appropriate fiberglass tank, tail/seat, and Manx style front fender from Legendary Motorcycles out of New York. We went about getting all the mounting brackets made and installed these components. We custom built a hinge to tilt the seat up. Engine was cleaned, painted and all covers sent to the chrome shop. We had Jemco Exhaust Systems here in Houston build a set of expansion chambers to fit and they, as usual, did a remarkable job! We also sent the pipes to the chromers as well as many other parts. We modified a set of Yamaha R1 foot controls and Moto-Bits pedals to make the rearsets, then more chroming. Wheels were stripped after which hubs and assorted hardware was chromed. New chrome rims and stainless spokes were acquired, relaced and Dunlop K71 retro tires were installed & balanced.
For instruments we installed a Koso unit with analog tach, digital speedo, tripmeters, idiot lights, and shift light. All hand controls and bar-end mirrors are from Joker Machine mounted to a set of superbike bars. We got a Dunstall 1/4 fairing from Air-tech and made custom mounts for it. All suspension components were rebuilt and slightly longer piggyback gas shocks were installed. We sent all the cables to Barnett and had them all rebuilt and shortened, came back looking like new. We rebuilt the carbs, painted them to match the engine, rejetted them to the pipes and installed a set of K&N air filters.
Frame, tank, fairing, tail piece and several brackets were painted with House of Color Ice Blue which really comes alive under bright lighting or sunlight. Side covers were painted satin black to enhance the straight line under tank & Tailpiece.
The bike runs great and handles very well, quite a bit lighter than the stock original and quite striking in appearance. Our thanks to all our vendors and friends that helped in the build!
Photography by: Michael Valdez
Link: Cycle Sports of Houston
Thanks Ken, for showing us this fantastic transformation that anyone would be proud to park in their garage. I think it's time to take another look at those eBay listings.