Phat Trakka

Part 2: The Look



What to do with it?

I was looking at the dirty, rusting remnants of the GT750L wandering what to do with it.  I could strip it and sell the parts on ebay, or I could rebuild it, but into what?

The original plan for the first L was to make it into a sort of street going TR750 replica.  In the end, that plan was to replace the frame with a modern design space frame fabricated out of 4130 seamless chrome-moly tube to suit a Yamaha YZF600R tank that was bought as an upgrade for an FZR400, but that's a whole other couple of stories..

I had a spare Yamaha TZ350 alloy tank that could have been made to fit with a little creative fabrication to make it into a period Cafe Racer, but I did cafe racers back in the day, so I needed to try something completely different. So that's when I started trolling the web and buying magazines like Streetfighters from the UK.

I found Suzuki Dave in Florida on the GT750 forum and on the Sundial Motosport message board  Dave had the New Skool look covered.  That bike is amazing in so many ways, but the style wasn't what I was looking for for this project. He had used many of the same late model parts I had collected for the first L project, and had already solved many of the problems. Dave turned out to be a great guy and very helpful.  

So I knew that it could all be done, but I still hadn't decided on what i was going to build. Back to the internet looking for ideas for The Look, and into libraries looking at books. Who would have thought it.  Libraries are full of all sorts of great reference materials. 

I was drawn by the look of early Hot Rods, especially the early post war ones when money was tight, but the ingenuity and enthusiasm were what mattered. These two are much later, but capture some of that look.

Simple clean and old looking, with the emphasis on function rather than looks.

Then I started looking at Dirt Track racers or Flat Trackers and that's where the look started to jell. It's a uniquely American form of racing and look.

With the exception of the Kenny Roberts TZ750, they are all tall and thin and let's face it, a GT750 might be tall, but no one will ever accuse it of being thin. 

That took me to street versions, often called Street Trackers

The last picture is from the Sundial forum and this bike is real close to the look I was after. The problem is that I hate to copy other people's bikes.  I prefer to do my own thing, so I don't want to copy his bike, but I do like the look. He has captured the image really well and for once, I was happy to imitate - up to a point. 

Going back to the Hot Rod influence, I wanted to make it look lower and fatter without making it a show bike.  It also has to be fun to ride.

The look was starting to come together, at least in what's left of my mind. The L would become a low, mean flat track type with fat GSXR wheels, and modern suspension.  The hard part was going to be keeping it looking Old Skool while using late model parts.

This where things started to drift.  Mission Creep is the term military people and project managers use.

This story now splits into two streams:

Phat Trakka 2   and

Part 3  of The Addiction ( to be renamed sometime soon to something more appropriate)