I’ve been in the market for a bike for over a year. I can’t go anywhere without motorbike friends asking when I’m going to show up on my own two wheels. “In a couple months” has become my go-to phrase to answer. I sure wanted a bike but I hadn’t found the bike. I looked at Ninjas and Monsters. Hawks and SVs. I hemmed. I hawwed. I just wasn’t sure. That all changed last Sunday when HFL reader Thomas Wayne Erst rolled up to our Labor Day ride and barbecue on his FZR400/600-GSX-R-R6 and I found out it was for sale. I wrote him a check and now it’s mine. Keep reading to find out why my new ratbike is one of the coolest damn bike frankensteins you’ve seen in a coon’s age.
My new motorbike started life as an Yamaha FZR400, only imported to the US from 1987-1990. Let’s just start with the fact that everything on this bike makes my raised in the 80′s and 90′s innerchild downright giddy.
I wasn’t sure what Deltabox meant stamped on the frame (turns out all the bike manufactures liked to use awesome proprietary names for bike components in the 80s and Yamaha came up with that one for the FZR aluminum frame) but the square retro-futuristic label reminds me of every 8-bit video game that I never stopped playing. The Vance&Hines logo styling on the SS2R pipe, covered in burnt oil, looks like it was ripped from the dystopian 80′s of Back to the Future 2. In fact, maybe the entire bike does. Maybe that’s why I love it so much.
Somewhere along the way it got a 400/600 motorswap. They boys around here tell me this a) obviously makes it faster and b) makes it so I have to shift a whole lot less. That’s pretty neat.
The front forks, wheel, brake rotors and bars come from a GSX-R. The quality of the front end swap has yet to be determined, but the 3.5×17″ front wheel, huge twin discs and cartridge forks may be quite a bit better than the 1980′s components that came from the factory. The tail section, seat, rear shock and front calipers are straight from an R6. A Brembo radial master cylinder from god knows where rounds out relevant performance mods. The next step will be a 17″ rear wheel and with it, more modern rubber.
What I’m most excited about is that I’ll have street cred when the zombie apocalypse comes around. From its dented coolant can to the wired on rear-end to the undead zombie tank protector, this is the bike of someone who means business. You said the ladies around here needed to stop writing about riding bitch—are you sure you’re ready for that?