Alan's Stray Dog GS550
By Anthony van Someren - 03 Jun 13
Alan works for City Motorcycles (soon to be re-launched into new premises as "The Pacific Motorcycle Co.") in Nelson, New Zealand, who build specials, cafe racers and trackers, along with classic Triumph and BSA restorations, but this GS550 build came out of Alan's shed, and he's decided to call it "Stray Dog Moto". She's a 1978 Suzuki GS550E, bought as a non-running semi basket case, and needed a lot of love to get her into the fine condition you see in these photos. Alan's original intention was to clean the bike up and use it as a runabout while he waited for his 'real' project, which was on its way from Maine in the USA, a 1977 XS650D, but he just couldn't wait, so nine months later this is how his runabout turned out. First the frame was modified and de-tabbed ready to accommodate a custom fabricated seat. The original forks were lowered internally by 50mm, Suzuki SV650 calipers and master cylinder with Venhill lines were grafted on to sort the chassis and braking. The rear end wears YSS rear shocks supporting rebuilt spoked wheels from 1977 GS550. The top end was rebuilt with fresh pistons and rings, with the new electrics taken care of with Dyna S electronic ignition and Dyna coils fed by a battery relocated to under the seat. A Supertrapp exhaust muffler and K&N filters take care of fueling and she's now kickstart only as the starter motor has been removed. The front and rear lamps are Bates units complimented by modified led indicators. Alan made the chainguard, numberplate bracket, headlight bracket and lots of other parts and brackets that couldn't be bought. The engine was repainted, while other parts were powder coated and polished. The handlbar is a Renthal road ultra low, and foot controls are modified GSX-R1100 rearsets. It took a few attempts to get the fueling correct but Alan tells us she rides and handles the twisties of the Nelson region beautifully; "its a pleasure to ride and sounds great without being offensive." "Its been called a 'Brat Tracker' but my intention was just to make her special, so that's what she is, this Stray Dog was definitely budget blown, but worth every penny. The XS650 is now here and is the next one on the bench, so I'll let you know when its done." Please do, Alan. If she's half as well put together as this stray dog we'd love to share her in the Bike Shed.