Any fan of the evergreen Suzuki GSX-R has their favourite mannequin. Some are drawn to the nostalgic enchantment of the older ‘slabside’ and ‘slingshot’ GSX-Rs, whereas others desire the refinement and efficiency of the newer Gixxers. Marc Bell performs on each side of the fence.
His newest venture proves it. It’s based mostly on a 2009 Suzuki GSX-R1000 K9, nevertheless it’s been handled to a retro-fabulous makeover, with new bodywork and a retina-searing livery. He calls it the ‘Slabshot.’
Each day, Marc works as a fabricator underneath the moniker HAXCH, specializing in high-end metallic work for designers, architects and artists. However a part of his workshop is put aside to construct customized bikes and prep his race machines. It helps that he has a lathe, milling machine and welding setup readily available always.
The thought for the Slabshot was conceived after final 12 months’s Bike Shed customized motorbike present. Marc had introduced his recently-completed customized Nineteen Eighties slabby to the present, and the eye it garnered bought him considering.
“The thought got here to me to mix the aesthetics of the gorgeous old-fashioned bikes with the superior efficiency of recent equipment,” he tells us. “Driving trendy sports activities bikes is an incredible expertise on observe—they’re so planted, flip fantastically and have insane energy. However they’re horribly ugly!”
Marc crunched the numbers, and figured that the Suzuki GSX-R1000 K9 would give him the efficiency he needed and nonetheless keep inside price range. He snatched up an acceptable donor, and took it and his slabside construct to the Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk, England, to match them.
“The distinction was unbelievable,” he studies. “There’s 20 years of improvement between the 2, and you’ll really feel it immediately. I’m used to using basic bikes on observe and highway, so it was an enormous shock to me how simple it was to journey and nook with—it’s so planted, and the facility’s simply superb all through the rev vary.”
With that, Marc was offered on the idea—however he wasn’t fairly positive how it might translate in the actual world. So he stripped the GSX-R1000 down, and crudely connected some Yoshimura-style fairings that he needed to it (with cable ties, no much less).
Subsequent, he hacked open an outdated slingshot gasoline tank to suit it over the bike’s airbox, and began mocking up a tail part in cardboard. Issues have been coming collectively—however Marc may see potential to take the idea additional.
“I needed to progress issues alongside from the slabside fashion,” he tells us, “so I began trying on the early slingshot endurance bikes. They appeared like a extra pure match, barely extra aerodynamic and a pure evolution from final 12 months’s construct. With this transition got here the title of the construct—a homage to each iconic bikes.”
With a closing route set, Marc ordered a Suzuki Endurance Racing Group-style entrance fairing, and a Yoshimura-style tail part, from a store that focuses on basic racing bodywork. Getting the fairing to take a seat proper meant fabricating not solely a brand new fairing mount, but in addition a brand new aluminum sprint plate to relocate the inventory speedo. Then got here the arduous activity of massaging the tail part and tank to harmonize.
Marc took the slingshot tank that he’d been utilizing for the mockup, then modified it on the again to vary its angle. Subsequent, he reduce the entrance open, stuffed the void in with polyurethane foam, and formed it into the profile he was after. A number of hours of fiberglass work later, and the ultimate tank and tail now stream seamlessly into one another—as if it rolled out of the manufacturing facility like this again within the 90s.
As soon as the bodywork was sorted, Marc stripped the bike down once more, and despatched the body and swingarm off for soda blasting. With the OEM black paint stripped, the elements have been sanded and brushed repeatedly, till they’d the identical naked aluminum look discovered on 90s sport bikes. “This was a key element within the construct to get that 90s aesthetic,” says Marc.
One other nod to older race bikes is the brand new CNC-machined high yoke. Marc stored it blocky and fundamental, with reduce outs beneath to avoid wasting weight. The ignition mount is gone now too; the bike’s been rewired with a keyless system.
Upgrades embody new clip-ons, a fast motion throttle, race-style switches, braided traces, Brembo M4 calipers and a Nitron rear shock. Marc additionally milled out new rear-sets for the bike, emulating retro Yoshimura race bike designs. The general vibe is pared-back and practical… till you get to the paint job, after all.
A wonderful tribute to the neon-drenched extra of the 90s, the Slabshot’s livery was a results of hours spent in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, layering potential designs over a photograph of the bike carrying its clean fairings.
“There have been a lot of 90s font packages examined, and plenty of inspiration drawn from my favourite 90s bikes,” Marc tells us. “I believe a number of it filtered in subconsciously; the drop shadow emblem font is barely like an early Fireblade, the pink tank line and emblem a bit YZF750, and the zig zag pink and purple comes straight from my present highway bike, just a little 1992 GSX-R400.”
As a closing element, Marc slipped an LED headlight into the fairing’s entrance air vent, and changed the air field with a customized system that mimics the ‘Hoover tubes’ you’ll discover on many 90s sportbikes.
So what’s subsequent for HAXCH and the Slabshot? Marc’s planning a observe day with it, after which he’s taking it to this 12 months’s Bike Shed present in Might—the place it has the honour of being one of many bikes on the present’s official poster.
After that, it’ll be on the market. events, please kind an orderly queue.