28 year old ‘Hobie’ from Orange County, California, has a pretty ironic way of paying the bills. He makes prosthetic limbs, so predictably once a month he’ll be knocking up a leg or an arm for one of us lot. But this hasn’t deterred him from pursuing his life long love of riding and now building motorcycles. In fact, it doesn’t put the patients off either, most of them are keen to get back on two wheels as soon as possible – if it’s in the blood…
This Suzuki GN400 is his first custom build, and after getting some great feedback from friends in the industry and people on our forum, he decided to come out of the shadows and show the world his creation. We’re glad he did.
Being from Southern California, everything Hobie had built in the past revolved around off road desert racing, motocross and Baja style race cars, so he wanted to build something designed to stay clean for once. The bike started out as a non running, stock 1981 Suzuki GN400 found on craigslist, but after a simple carb clean and valve adjustment she was up and running. Hobie rode it stock for two weeks to get a feel for what he wanted (always a good idea) before then tearing into it.
He stripped the bike and cut the back half of the frame off. When rebuilding the subframe, he took some of the rake out of the rear shocks and detabbed the entire frame for a clean look. The rear was raised a few inches and the front forks were lowered 4 inches to get the right stance. Everything was then sent away for coating and paint.
After aesthetics came the engine. It was treated to a new top end and a valve job before being painted, polished and dropped back in. The stock rims were powdercoated and wrapped in Bridgestone Trail Wing TW40’s (120/90r16)(130/80r17). A custom seat pan and seat were also done to finish off the bike, and all the electronics are tucked away between the seat pan and a vanity plate. The rear end has two small integrated brake lights and a small taillight. The battery was removed so it’s kickstart only – as if a bike like this should be started any other way!
Hobie tried to keep the bike as light and simple as possible, as a result there really isn’t much to it, but what there is looks just right. He says this bike is also a right laugh to ride. In the two weeks since he finished it it, Hobie has been on several rides up and down the Pacific Coast Highway, he’s slid up some dirt roads in the Ortegas, and has even hit a few of his local bicycle jumps (see above). Hang on, thought you said this one was built to stay clean mate?