|1995 Suzuki GSXR 750|
| The first thing I should have done with this bike was left it alone. My plans were far too ambitious for a bike that probably doesn't deserve the effort I have put in it. Even though it ran great and was a strong bike mechanically, the 95 GSXR was a beater. Every piece of plastic was cracked, particularly the upper fairing. The tank was severely dented. The pipe was junky. Everything holding the headlight in place was broken and it just lay against the upper. Many important bolts and the rear brake pads were missing. The choke was operated with a long tie wrap. Lots of other little things were wrong with it and it was just plain ugly. Unfortunately, I needed a bike after selling the R6 and this was all that I could find in my price range in the middle of summer. The first thing I did with the bike was to remove the upper and lower fairings and to change the oil and filter. Next I installed Progrip grips and repolished the edges of the rims. I first wetsanded with 220, then 320 then 400 and followed the sanding with polishing using a Rotozip, a 3" wheel and red compound. I have learned some things about polishing since this time:
1. Rotozips are cheap junk to begin with and will not tolerate being used to polish anything, no matter what it might say on the box. It's dead now.
2. Polishing anything besides a frame or swingarm is not worth it. Powdercoating using "chrome" powdercoat produces nearly identical results that will never dull. Powdercoating is fairly cheap and definitely worth it in the long run. If you must do everything yourself, get a home powdercoating kit.
3. If you decide to polish anyway, strip the clearcoat with oven cleaner first, then sand with 220, then 400. Then use white compound and a real 6" polisher or a 10" stationary buffing wheel.
|Next, I installed some blue leds from Autozone over the front fender and the back tire. During the day they are invisible but at night they glow just enough to be noticeable. Next time I will use neon, though, because the leds are not bright enough for me. Next I got started on the bodywork. I used an epoxy from Bodyshop Supply in Janesville to fix the cracks and holes in much of the plastic. I wanted to purchase a new upper but finding a 94-95 GSXR upper seems to be impossible. Since the tank was dented beyond repair, I purchased another from an ebay seller for $25. The tank had only one dent in it that was pulled out by my friend Aric. After a lot of epoxying, sanding, and priming, my neighbor and I sprayed the bodywork a metallic burnt orange.|
|Although I like the color, I'm not sure it's appropriate for a sportbike. I don't think I really like it and I know no one else likes it. The color is just a little too much in the brown direction for everyone that sees it. I wish I would have gone with a metallic orange or paid for the exact color match to what I wanted. I had wanted the same color as the metallic burnt orange that is used on Pontiac Grand Ams, but I didn't want to use the PPG two stage paint and I didn't want to pay for custom matched paint in a single stage. So I picked a paint chip that looked right and it came out a little more brown than I expected. To be totally honest, it's the same copper color as a penny. Although it is unique, the color is not what I was going for.|
|95 GSXR in streetfighter mode.|
| I have done a few other things to try to improve the bike. One thing I hated about the bike was the purple passenger seat. I bought a spray can of gloss black vinyl dye and covered both seats. After a full summer of use they still look great and cannot be distinguished from seats that were originally black. I also got a pair of Lockhart-Philips clear flushmount turn signals for the front. Later, I went to the Bargain Barn, in Edgerton, and came up with some good deals. I got a chrome tank protector for $8, a RK chain and sprocket set for $75 and a set of L-P clear stalk turnsignals for the rear. Unfortunately, the signals were broken and could not be repaired. Next, I installed a race take off Pirelli Dragon Supercorsa on the rear and also installed new brake pads. I also had a matching Pirelli for the front but I was not been able to install it since I didn't have a balancer. Besides, the Dunlop was still looking good. The GSXR was really starting to shape up since I had also polished the frame and swingarm.
| I next bought a D&D full system for $100 through ebay. The seller was only an hour away so I even picked it up. The reason why a brand new exhaust went for $100 was because one of the headers was missing. I tried to make it work but I would have had to expand the stock headers to fit the D&D midpipe. I was sick of screwing around with things that were making this project difficult so I sold the D&D for $10 more than I bought it for and got the same Yoshimura slip on as I already had, only brand new, for $100. This pipe really made the bike look nicer, although it wasn't half as cool as the D&D. Even though this new Yoshimura looks nice, I now realize that I should have cut off the damaged inch of the original canister, repacked it, polished the can and repainted the midpipe. I would have had the same end result and saved a lot of money.
|Painted plastic with L-P signals.|
| Fatal error: my mild dislike for the new color of the bike and belief that the upper was not as nice as I wanted it to be led me to sell all of the plastic and the tank on ebay for the way too low price of $200. Believing that it would be easy to come up with another set of painter plastic made me realize something new: when I was through purchasing different plastic and another tank, I would spend much more than $200 not counting the labor or paint. Bad move. I should have learned to live with the color or at least repainted what I already had. Finding a 94-95 upper was still impossible, all of the parts I bought off ebay were much worse than described and by the time shipping was included, I wasn't getting a good deal on anything I bought.
Long story short, I now have all the plastic I need but it is really rough. I resorted to buying a 93 upper and headlight and I still don't know how I'm going to mount them to the frame because I'm not spending any more money on this bike. I'm in the process of doing body work on the new plastic now. In the end, I should have fixed this bike up mechanically and left its appearance alone from the very beginnning or, even better, made it into a really nice streetfighter. There are plenty of original and custom versions of these GSXRs around and none of them are anything particularly special. (1-30-04)
Update: The GSXR now has black paint with black wheels and a tinted windscreen. It was tricky to get the 93 upper to work with the 95 parts but with the help of my brother Chris we got it done. Everything is looking really good for a 10 year old bike. If I can't sell this bike over the winter I think I am going to lengthen the swingarm about 10 inches (I always wanted to learn to weld) and build some lowering links to drop the rear end. I will also move the forks up in the triples to get the front down. Then maybe I might look for a full system, jet kit and open element air filters. (11-11-04)
|The D&D. Very nice.|
|Original Yoshimura pipe.|