The year 2000 Suzuki Bandit 1200 has looks that only a mother could love. Since it was wheeled into the workshop it has been one of those projects that requires a lot of time spent staring at the various lines and angles. To say that it is visually challenging is an undeserved kindness.
The electrical routing is a mess. The frame is hideous. The swingarm uninspired. And other components just shouldn’t be looked at too closely for fear of being turned to stone.
The owner wanted to remove the previous work done on the bike and pursue a cleaner, café racer aesthetic. A chunky, 230kg inline four is not the obvious starting point for that type of remit but we reasoned that the existing bike could only be improved upon.
After many hours of design work we reached a consensus around a black core with gold elements up front and out back. Detailing in the bodywork would provide the visual connection between the wheels.
After stripping off clocks, bodywork and other bits of plastic that would never to return, the wheels and forks were also junked. The goal was to bring handling into the 21st century so ZX-10R forks and triple trees brought in and a set of R1 wheels popped on to reduce unsprung mass whilst tidying up the moving parts.
Next the angle grinder was brought to bear on the rear. The original integrated subframe has a mass of conflicting lines that cannot really be reconciled in the direction of a café racer. Removing surplus brackets as well as some of the surplus bracing on the back of the main frame helped to improve the visual framing around the engine. Meanwhile a new subframe was made that flattened the base line of the bike and helped to compact the silhouette by ending above the rear axle.
The only way to lesson the visual impact of the frame and the swingarm was to powder coat them black, the engine received the same treatment. Rerouting the rats nest of wiring and replacing the worn rubber was a further excuse for clearing things up under the seat and creating more space for the frame to breathe.
A drag-style twin exit exhaust was part of the original design spec so an R6 TOSE system was procured, brackets modified and the orignal pipework cut back.