1) Year, Make and Model
1996 Suzuki Katana 600
2)Why this bike?
I chose this bike after doing research and finding out it was the "reject" of its class. I found that a 600 was simply a sleeved 750 engine which intrigued me. With specific modifications, this bike could roll with the big boys. I was looking for the "comeback kid". It was also described as a bike for beginners to grow with. That's what I wanted. I had a friend who was selling one that was down before. I saw that as my opportunity. The rest was history.
3) What is your riding experience?
When I started this project, I was a beginner. I had ridden on bikes that belonged to friends but only short distances. I took the MSF course right after I committed to this bike. I'm rolling on to my 1.5 years riding mark in November.
4) A list of modifications and how long did the build take?
The bike was completely stripped to the frame. Body modifications included complete custom paint job, added an extended windscreen, grips and bar ends were added to match the paint, and the stock seat was cut in half, restored, and custom fabricated. The paint job itself is so detailed and intricate that it was the most time consuming and difficult to complete. All in all the paint alone took about a month and a half. This is partially due to receiving the wrong color and this being my first big paint job. (My friend Bob, who sold me the bike, mentored me this entire project.) The frame was also altered slightly to add extra space where the new battery and tender would fit snuggly. The gauge panel was leather wrapped and cleaned. Powder coating was applied to the wheel, gear shifter, rear brake control, kickstand, and other knick knacks. I took out the stock front turn signals and integrated them with the new mirrors. I painted chrome meshed and added that to all the open spaces in the side fairings. The final touch to the body was green and white led strips were added. The mechanical aspect was less detailed. Seeing that I was a beginner, I did not want to overwhelm myself. I did know that I wanted a little more power, so I had the carbs jetted while they were out getting cleaned. The rest of the engine and mechanical work was the general "bought a used bike" work. Changed the oil and filter, brake pads and fluids, new clutch and front lever, new tires, chain adjusted, etc. All together the whole project took 4 months.
5) How do you like the finished product?
I love the finished product. I have such a deep connection with my bike and I believe that's solely because of the amount of time and effort I put into it. I appreciate what I ride like a proud parent.
6) If you were to do it again, what would you do differently or the same?
A couple of things I would have done differently would be adding a slip on exhaust (it's never too late for that) and attempting to modify the headlight (its a tad bit outdated). What I would not change for any reason is the paint job. Not only because of its awesome, sick, incredible look but for the experience that it created for me. I mean when else would I be able to just fling paint around.
7) What's your dream bike?
My dream bike has recently changed. It was in the Ducati class previously, but since I saw the Kawasaki H2 pics that's looking pretty promising
8) What's your next bike?
My next bike will probably be a CBR600RR. I really like its sportier look and feel. On the more casual side, Harley Sportster 1200. It was one of the bikes I learned on and I love how comfortable it is
9) What advice would you give to someone thinking about building a custom bike?
The biggest and best advice I can give to anyone building a custom bike is to let your originality show. This bike is your creation. It represents you. So let you show. Don't let people steer you away from your creativity. People knocked me down about my color choice (why are you using a kawi green on a Suzuki?), or why are you doing all this stuff to your first bike...you know you're gonna drop it. Don't let it stop you.
10) What's your favorite thing about motorcycles and riding?
My absolute favorite thing about riding would be the community. I love the feeling and control you get when riding, but the community makes it that much better. Riding with others, talking about adventures, learning new things, hearing stories about spills. You get so much from the riding community. Of course, there are those riders who are grumps but mostly no matter what you ride, other riders have your back. The looks you get from kids and cagers, while riding is so rewarding. They see you as a daredevil. They live vicariously through you. You are a badass. And who the heck wouldn't wanna be a badass?
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