This is one of my “finds” from my trip to the Horse Smoke Out Thirteen. I actually heard this bike before I saw it. I had just arrived, was unpacking and getting my act together, when I heard this loud howl coming from behind me. I turned around just in time to see a bike flash past, slow, turn up the hill, and disappear into the vendor area. This all happened in the space of less than five minutes. From a distance, I couldn’t tell if it was a Honda, Kawasaki, or Suzuki, the only thing I knew for certain, it was long, low, black, loud as hell, and I wanted to see it.
After a bit of wandering around I found it next to the Intensity Cycles booth. It was a 1982 Suzuki GS 1100 owned by Doug Hollandsworth. Suzuki has made several variations of the 1100, the GS is my favorite. Some would call the GS 1100 a “Standard,” or a “UJM,” Universal Japanese Motorcycle, but Doug’s GS is nothing close to standard, or universal.
This is a totally custom, street legal, drag bike. If you know me, you know my favorite color for a motorcycle is black, the other colors are ok, but I love black. Doug’s GS has a perfect balance of just the right amount of black and shiny bits.
This is a completely street legal drag bike, with just the bare minimum of the required equipment to make it so.
From the rider’s point of view it’s all business. The drag bars are capped off by miniature bar end mirrors, there is no speedometer, just a huge tach. I guess if you were curious about how fast you were going, the cop that stopped you would let you know. The only other equipment present is an emergency shutoff lanyard, shift light, and air pressure gauge.
The bike is long and low, the frame’s steering neck has an additional seven degrees of rake added to help straight line stability at high speed. The front forks are from a 750 Suzuki, the leading axle design drops the front about three inches, lowering the motorcycle and giving it an aggressive stance.
The lengthened swing arm is a Kosman Racing item, as is the widened rear wheel.
The polished finish really shows off the quality of the welds, Kosman makes a beautiful product!
The heavily modified Suzuki GS engine breathes in through a set of K&N style pod filters, and out through a Murray Racing Spyder four-in-to-one equal length header.
As I mentioned before, the sound is incredible! I was not familiar with this brand of pipe, so I decided to call the company. I was fortunate enough to speak with Dennis, the owner of Murray Racing, and he gave me some of the company’s history. Murray started out making pipes for the early Honda 750 fours, and went on to make exhaust systems for Kawasaki and Suzuki as well, they have been doing this for over thirty years. Murray has a big following in Bonneville Salt Flats and drag racing, Dennis himself started out as a drag racer. Dennis told me each pipe is hand made to exacting standards. Their most popular system at the moment is one made for the Suzuki Hayabusa, I can only imagine what that sounds like!
Doug’s GS is one badass ride, it shows you what can be done with one of the early Japanese fours. I can’t imagine Doug seeing anyone else on a bike just like his, and isn’t that what building a custom is all about? Congratulations Doug, awesome bike!
Words By: Terry Cavender
Images By: Terry Cavender