Whichever way you want to look at it, whether new motorcycles from bike makers or the customs sector, right now there seems to be a large bias towards building scramblers. However, cafe racers are still ruling the highways. In fact, they never died at all! And as far as cafe racers are concerned, we have the new classy Suzuki GS550 by Eastern Spirit Garage.
The Suzuki GS550’s form is quite similar to the Suzuki GS750 and the Honda CB550. Why change something so good anyway? This is a bike from the late 1970s that’s superbly well-balanced and follows all the traditional cues that cafe racers were known for without feeling even a small bit of stale.
Although Eastern Spirit isn't willing to reveal everything they’ve done to renovate the bike, a quick scrutiny at its engine reveals a fresh coat of paint, as well as a few other interesting details. On its right, a neat tiny transparent cover can be seen. There’s also a custom-designed, finned intake system while on the left, they’ve marked their shop’s name into the bike’s engine cover.
As for its exhaust system, it’s a magnificent stainless steel, 4-into-1 affair. It runs under the cafe racer’s engine, doubling back on itself. The old Zook has also been treated to some gorgeous suspension upgrades, with upside-down forks upfront, as well as brand new shocks out at the back. Wheels are re-laced with 18” rims while the front brake has been upgraded to a 4-pot Brembo setup to complete the setup here.
As for the front of the bodywork, the stock tank has been adjusted to sit better, before being matched to a custom-made tail unit. It’s then perched on a custom-made sub-frame, with all its key electric components having been hidden to ensure everything remains airy. Finally, the tail light (as well as the license plate bracket) have been mounted to the side.
Up front, Eastern Spirit has installed a new set of clip-ons and also pared down the switches. A Daytona speedo is also embedded in the bike’s headlight bucket, with its idiot lights being housed in a small panel that has been welded into the neck of the GS550’s tank.
According to Eastern Spirit, they used a headlight from an old Polish WSK bike because they’re in love with its shape. Indeed, this has become their trademark.
With a deep bronzed brown that’s used as the bike’s final paint job, this is complemented by a subtle gold fade that creates a great pinstripe effect. Each part of the bike has been finished with meticulous consideration, with some of them being polished and others blacked out.
For a final touch, Eastern Spirit has installed bronze tank badges with a gas cap that bears their company’s logo completing the look.