From Casey Anderson, who many of you have known and asked about over the years, on his Suzuki GS1100 chopper:
The other night I was sitting out back with a whiskey and a cigar thinking about motorcycles and women. For some strange reason these two topics have been a priority throughout my life. While sitting there, it dawned on me how certain times of your past can be remembered by the people you shared those times with. It is the same with motorcycles. We’ve all had or still have that bike that is full of memories. Some bikes, they hold more memories than others and his Suzuki is one of them.
This chopper started it’s life out as Suzuki GS1100 EZ. What beautiful bikes they are. Fantastic engineering and that engine, well, it is the Granddaddy of the all too famous GSX-R. For it’s day, this motorcycle was FAST and it still holds it’s own on the streets today. From the factory, these bikes brought 108hp and had a top speed of 140mph so, just imagine how this chopper is at a trimmed weight, a set of Mikuni Smoothbores and a shorty header. You can drift this bike in 4th gear just by cracking the throttle. To be honest, it is fast.. almost too fast. Lets not fool ourselves here, this is a rigid chopper, not a fully suspended sport bike with three rotors.
The Dirtbag Challenge is a chopper competition held in San Francisco and this competition is what brought this chopper to life. The rules are simple: one month time limit and a one thousand dollar budget limit, what can you build? I had had this bike on the side of my house for some time and it was in pretty rough shape. Just like the GSX-Rs of today, these bikes were not treated gently in their days. By the time I had enough time to devote to building a bike for this competition, I only had nine days left. Even with that short of time, I had it already built in my head and all of the parts ready.
Low overall stance, fat tires front and rear, minimalistic yet still be able to ride a passenger was the overall idea. Once I had the bike entirely stripped down, I went for my junk(gold) pile. The mags are both 16″ and both sporting 160/80-16 tires. The rear mag is from a mid 80’s Honda Nighthawk and the front mag and brake set-up is the rear wheel from a Kawasaki KZ1100. The front forks are off of a Honda CX500 and they are nothing special but they work. To mate the forks with the wide tire set-up, the stock triple trees were to narrow so I made my own out of 1/2″ steel plate.
The frame I built myself using the stock bottom motor mounts. There is a slight stretch in the rear and the neck has been lowered. One thing that always annoys me with rigid frames is the gap between the rear tire and fender. I like it nice and tight, it looks proper. That wide gap you get when the chain is all stretched out is non-desirable, at all……(no puns, seriously) So, I built an adjustable chain roller. This allows you to always have your desired tire/fender gap and to easily adjust your chain without moving your axle around. Not too mention, it takes the slap out of chains on bikes with stretched *** ends.
The tank is a King Sporty that came off one of my first chops. The tank, rear fender, and fairing were all chemically copper dipped and clear coated. One late night, after all of the mock-up was finished, I was having a few drinks and decided the bike looked too plain. That, is when the holes in the tank and fender came in. Yes, they are non-functional, add weight, and allow less fuel but, they’re style. When you mix style with something dangerous, that’s, when you get art!! …(some of you might get that reference)
Many late nights went into building this bike and two of the last days were done half blind due to a metal sliver founds itself in one of my eyes. This bike has seen many miles of this country’s roadways. It has been to many all night BBQs, it has seen Born Free, and it has experienced it’s fair share of being broke down on the side of the road. I have rode with many friends on this bike and a few different women have rode on this bike with me.
Now, this bike (named after the song, Above the Clouds, by Slightly Stoopid) sits in my living room. I do not know the fate of it. It sits here with my paintings and some other bikes that I have retired. I do not know why, it feels correct though. It is the same to me as someone hanging a picture in their living room to remind them of the past … Plus, it’s cool as ****.
Thanks for reading, now turn your computer off and go build something.
– Casey @livingapirateslife.
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