With the price of popular donor motorcycles only ever increasing as their age does too, you have to ask yourself whether that forty-year-old bike really makes any sense. With each one of those years and hard extra miles comes more wear and tear, that you’ll have to fix when it comes time to build your bike. So knowing the custom game like the back of their hand, Australia’s Ellaspede had a suggestion for a client when he came calling; buy a new bike! And he did just that, paying for a brand new 2020 Suzuki DR650 and having it dropped straight at the Brisbane based workshop. There the gang worked their magic, producing EB1047, turning the adventure dual sport into a classically styled Scrambler that won’t leave you stranded.
The Suzuki makes a whole lot of sense, a well-proven motorcycle, that will go just about anywhere and can be had from your local dealer for less than $10,000. When you consider buying an older donor bike that will no doubt need repairs and perhaps even a mechanical overhaul, with almost certainly less capable suspension and braking, it’s easy to see why the guys at Ellaspede made the suggestion. With their client Al having just sold his Yamaha WR250, they knew that a motorcycle that couldn’t handle hard riding off-road wouldn’t be to his liking.
“Building a classic inspired scrambler usually means reaching for a simple road bike donor and converting it for some dusty backroad duties. But on the other side of the coin is sourcing a reliable enduro or adventure bike that already has the off-road requirements sorted and making it more classic looking.” The first part of the build focussed on getting the stance right and meant going for the 19/18 wheel look. So custom spokes lace Excel rims to the stock hubs with a 19×2.5 at the front and an 18×4.25 out back, both wrapped Shinko E804-805 tyres. While the suspension was dropped 1.5in front and rear.
“The key to a build like this is getting the right fuel tank, mounting it properly with the right alignment, then building the rest of the bike around it. We gave Al some pointers for what tanks would work best and he set about searching for the perfect tin. Previously being a Yamaha man, when the new old stock 1981 Yamaha SR400 tank popped up on eBay in California, he knew it was the right piece and soon had it making the trip down under.” To match the boys then fabricated a custom high mount front fender and the same for the rear, all finished out in that Yamaha factory colour to match the tank.
Now the rear subframe of the dual-sport machine stood out like a sore thumb, so the grinder was spun up, the frame cut back and hooped and all the unwanted tabs and brackets lopped off and smoothed out. “A battery box and seat pan were fabbed up next with particular attention being paid to hide all the bolts and mounting points for these items.” With the foam laid down, it was time for some covering and a mid tan was seen as the best match for the colour scheme. The tuck and roll stitching is done in dark grey, stopping before the rear to visually shorten the design.
The 644cc single-cylinder engine is a peach, strong and punchy it’ll cruise happily while having plenty of torque for off-road duty. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved and first up was a switch to a Mikuni TM42 flat slide carb that breathes through a custom snorkel with K&N filter at the end. The stock header pipe remains with a custom stainless mid-pipe and stainless muffler with a spun aluminium tip finishing out the system. With the oil filter cover sporting the Suzuki logo, “Al wanted to keep any hints to the original brand hidden so we filled and machined the cover flat before a matching lick of frame grey paint was applied”.
The fit out on the bike is all quality, starting at the front with a Koso Thunderbolt headlight mounted tight on a custom bracket. “A Daytona Velona 80 gauge now sits snugly upfront, accompanied by Biltwell Tracker high bars to control where things are pointing and underslung ‘Highsider’ mirrors watching dust disappear out the back.” Motogadget supplies the indicators with M.Blaze discs hidden in the handlebar ends and M.Blaze pin indicators flush mounted against the frame at the back. Ellaspede’s own Ninja Star licence plate holder takes care of hanging the rego for the Rozzers and a Koso tail light finishes out the function.
Before final assembly, a host of the usual parts and pieces were powder coated black and the solid B&B Off Road bash plate was ordered with a black polymer coating. The last step was to strap the bike to the dyno and ensure everything was running smoothly and a few extra ponies extracted thanks to the clever engine mods.
Finally, the call could be made to Al to come and collect his not so factory brand new Suzuki. With the keys handed over the boys just had one last question of their Ellaspede client, “we asked him what sort of riding he had in store for the DR, ‘Mostly wheels stands, some cruising through the hills and a getaway vehicle when needed’, doesn’t sound like a bad plan at all!” Nor to us or any other two-wheeled fanatic we’d hazard a guess.