ratbikes, rat bike"Deathwish"
In 2008, I was on my second MBR/streetfighter/survival bike build, a 1984 Suzuki GS1150. It was fun and all, fast enough on the straights, but I was doing a lot of inner city commuting and it just didn't have the manoeuvrability I wanted, and it was on its last legs mechanically. I decided it was time to start over and use a smaller bike as a base, something in the 650-750 range.

Then on a local firearms forum I saw an ad for a wrecked 2008 Hayabusa with a couple hundred kilometres on the clock. The plastics were all gone already, which of course is the first thing most of us do anyways.

rat bikes, survival bike, ratbikes

ratfighter, ratbikes

ratfighter, ratbikes


This was not the direction I wanted to go in, but for the first time I noticed that a stripped Hayabusa isn't nearly as butt-ugly as its full-fairing equivalent. So I drove the 5 hours to go look at it. On the way, I'm thinking to myself "I wanted a smaller bike. This is not it. Do I even need a 1350cc superbike? I'm barely hanging onto my license as it is.... no, I'm older now and all mature and shit. I'm sure it'll be fine." Then I look down and realize I'm doing 220 in the car :/ Regardless, I was already halfway there so I figured I might as well keep going.

Long story short, I bought it. Then it sat there for a year, as life and cold winters got in the way of progress. A buddy and I made plans to go to Mexico for an off-roading trip, and we had the great idea to ride motorcycles there. So I had a deadline. Work started for real.

The exhaust was ruined, and also heavy, so it went in the bin. A couple of mostly decorative exhaust tips stick out from under the bike now, providing the illusion that there might be baffles in the system somewhere. All the parts that used to mount onto the fairings had to find new homes. I spent a few weeks making custom bracketry for the gauges, turn signals, new dual headlights, etc.

Many parts found new homes hanging off conveniently located existing bolts on the side of the frame. A new taillight assembly made of LEDs and a piece of angle was added to the rear. The rear seat was replaced with a scrap piece of roof flashing. The wrecked fenders went in the bin and were not replaced.

Given that this was going to be used on a long trip, cargo space needed to be addressed. A quick frame was put together to hang off the subframe and attach to existing mounting points on the bike, to hold the two ammo cans I had selected as my "saddlebags". It locks through the frame, and each can can come off or the whole thing can be removed with 6 bolts.

Eventually, I tightened the last bolt on the bike, took it for a 6 block test run, and then left for Mexico.

Things I learned on that 7000+km shakedown run: She'll do 270kph without breaking a sweat, keeping the front tire down can be harder than you'd think, and I am too damn old to spend 12 hours a day in that riding position. After I got back she got a bar riser kit which helped tremendously.

I continued to ride it as is for a few years, then got the bright idea to take it down to Wasteland Weekend, an annual post-apocalyptic festival held in the Mojave desert in California. The festival requires way more gear than would ever fit in the ammo cans, so it sadly had to be trailered down but she did get dirt tires out of it, which only adds to the look IMO. The combination of knobblies, soft sand, and a 172 hp superbike finally gave me the inspiration to give it a name, "Deathwish". I still love it. This will be my daily rider for a long time coming.

ratfighter, ratbikes
ratfighter, ratbikes
ratfighter, ratbikes