DEFMoto's GSX550 Cafe Racer
By Anthony van Someren - 05 Sep 13
We came across DEFMoto because the Dutchess was looking to buy a scrambler and we saw a funky green Honda Dominator based tracker on eBayUK which we thought looked epic. Digging a little deeper into where it came from - and why it had pro photos on an ebay ad - we discovered this UK-based workshop had been beavering away under our radar for a while. This 1984 GXS550 EF was DEF's first build, so we thought we'd start with this bike and continue cataloging their work from here onwards. Here is the story in Paul's own words. "My background is in Motorsport as a fabricator. I worked in the industry for over 12 years before moving on and working in the fabrication industry eventually working my way up to managerial level. I've always loved to modify cars and bikes I've owned, applying Motorsport ideologies to enhance both the aesthetics and performance. I'd recently sold an old, heavily modified v8 Land Rover I'd owned forever, and needed something else to give me shed time excuses! My good friend Trev donated his old Suzuki gsx 550 ef to the cause and I set about it in my little workshop determined to build a really cool bobber... It didn't turn out as I'd planned." "The build took a long time! About 5 months in total, as it was a terrible bike to start with and I was still working full time but toying with the idea of setting up DEFMoto. At work I had a full fabrication shop at my disposal :) and I thought that one of the best uses for all the very expensive cnc presses would be to fold up prototype monocoque test pieces up for the gsx rear end to test for stiffness and distortion If I could pull-off this structural seat unit idea, kind of a blend of race car or aero type of construction, I could cut away everything on the bike that didn't work and start again. Create a super clean tank and frameless tailpiece line ( surely the essence of every good café! ) and hide all the electrics in there and a half decent bike may emerge." "At this point I quit my well paid day job and set up DEFMoto otherwise the bike was never getting finished and some things are more important... Right?... The build steamrollered from here , workshop refit, monocoque finished, frame done, powder coat done, controversial Firestones ordered, a million and one odds and sods sorted, new contacts made, and the bike was finished put up for sale and sold!" "My favourite aspect of this build was the seat unit and CB200 tank combo, there's actually more fabrication in the frame to allow the tank and seat to work. The rear seat stays were a particular drain on my life! But it came out quite good, you can pick the bike up from the tail piece or jump up and down on it, super strong and stiff. I also like the way the Firestones and stock Enkei alloys look too. It was a low-budget, time-expensive build and overall I'm fairly happy with it. It now lives Birmingham with new owner, Andy." Photos by Lisa, at Lisa Howard photography.