An imaginary conversation, set in a powder coating establishment in Amsterdam:
Character #1 “Is this right? It says black for the frame and rear wheel, front wheel in bubblegum blue and candy floss pink for the bars and rear brake?”
Character #2 (knowingly) “Ah, that must be for Michel Szozda from Cool Kid Customs…”
Michel does indeed have a way with applying colour and is never one to fear straying from the expected. For his skateboard clad XS650 he chose flashes of lime green to adorn the rust brown frame, so we should have been expecting such outlandish choices, but they cannot help but raise a wry smile. This Suzuki GS450L is Michel’s third build on the Bikeshed and we have to agree with him, it is his best yet.
“This time a girl asked me to build her a bike, it had to be low to the ground and not to girly. Immediately idea’s popped into my head of how the bike was going to be.” He chose the Suzuki for its size and familiarity (see his first build) and set to work transforming the machine. First up was stripping the bike to the bone and looping the rear frame before dropping the whole thing down roughly 8cm to aid manoeuvrability, Michel also altered the lie of the gas tank at this point so it sat just right on the modified frame. According to Michel the little Suzuki’s original wheels were the ugliest thing on the bike, they were binned in favour of Kawasaki items, he shod these new wheels with a vintage tread 5.00/16 tyre at the back and 3.00/19 at the front.
Sidepanels were removed and pod filters fitted, the electrics were tidied away and a battery box fabricated beneath the modified seat pan which bears a thin brown leather seat. Next Michel could get absorbed in the details. A square headlight was found and fitted for its “Badass Look” with a small speedo riding above it. The bars started life as moped items that Michel extended before adding them to the powder coating pile. The brake and clutch levers were painstakingly drilled with “Speedholes” which, as the name suggests, vastly improve the ultimate top speed of the bike due to the drastic weight saving…
The tank was carefully sanded back by the machines future owner but once fitted, despite its splendour, the bare metal felt a touch understated, even boring. Michel reached for his paintbrushes and the baby blue hues to deploy his sign writing skills, the message – Bring the noise – with a few lightening strikes thrown in for good measure (we love a lightening strike). With the threat of boredom banished, attention turned to the exhaust which now had the bold slogan on the tank to live up to, “We came up with a 2 into 1 stainless steel GP style exhaust with an open muffler to piss off the neighbours.” Slogan satisfied, bike complete.
With its rider in situ the proportions and styling of the machine come together perfectly, it is a bike that reminds us of the sheer bloody fun to be had on two wheels. Check out the Cool Kids Customs Facebook page to keep up with Michel’s technicolour fantasies and we will be sure to share whatever he challenges the powder coaters with next.