The Suzuki XF650 Freewind is a bike of the German “Reiseenduro” (Travel Enduro) class, built from 1997 to 2003 to compete directly against the BMW F650. The oil-cooled, 47-hp motor is an evolution of the venerable DR650 single cylinder — in fact, the XF650 engine has been known to go 180,000 km without an overhaul!
Enter Marco Provvedi, a member of the group Classic Special Firenze in Florence, Italy — organizer of the annual Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride in Florence, as well as other charitable events. Marco wanted a custom scrambler that was truly built for hard, everyday use both on the road and off. As he says:
“It is not just a special for aperitif or good only for photos.”
Whereas most single-cylinder scramblers these days are based off the Honda NX650 platform, Marco opted for the Suzuki XF650 Freewind — a project base we have never come across before. He drew his inspiration from old Ducati Scramblers, assembling parts from a variety of old bikes: Cagiva 125, Moto Guzzi V7, Harley-Davidson, a Piaggo scooter, and more.
The result is a modern scrambler that’s not only aesthetically pleased, but athletic as well. To date, Marco has taken the bike on long trips through the rough terrain of Corsica, Sardinia, the South of France, and more. Below, we get the full story on this Suzuki XF650 scrambler!
Suzuki Freewind Scrambler: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
Hi! I’m Marco from Florence, Italy. I’m a member of a group of friends called “Classic Special Firenze” — cafè racers lovers and organizers of the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride and the “Babbonatalata” — literally, we wear Santa Claus uniforms during Christmas and we do charity at the city kennel and with children with disabilities.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
So I present my scrambler built on a Suzuki Freewind ’98 base. Motor is an XF650 N.
• Why was this bike built?
Unlike many other specials (not all! But mostly of them), my intention was to create a strong bike, suitable for every use: for this reason this scrambler has seen many “friendly competitions” like the Eroici in Moto (in Chianti area) and MugellOFF, as well as many dirty roads around Tuscany, Sardinia and Corsica.
Also in Florence there were not many scramblers; I wanted to make something different.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
I wanted to try as much as possible to make a bike with clean design lines. All in all, I take many ideas from North American modern scramblers seen in Instagram (or the OLD Ducati Scrambler).
• What custom work was done to the bike?
It was built by me and a friend in Pisa. Tank taken from an old Cagiva 125, side panels Motoguzzi v7, fenders from a Harley Davidson Italian Aermacchi and luggage rack of a Piaggio scooter of the Italian post service.
The fuel tank has the two different sides: on one compares the writing “Johnny” (because each member of the group CSF is called “Johnny” in a state of equality) in a Ducati double-writing style.
And on the other side, the “Classic Special Firenze.” It is written as if it were an old whiskey bottle logo in 1930’s (and in the background a sort of white wing).
• How would you classify this bike?
I think it’s a Scrambler… but I like to describe it as a Blender. Her name is Freewilly!
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
Cost of building was very cheap, and it was built according to my ideas, on a motorcycle base that nobody has used. In fact most of the special scramblers are made on Honda Dominator or Yamaha single-cylinder base…
And despite all, this Suzuki manages to go in rough terrain without difficulty and long range trip (Corsica, Sardinia Island, South of France etc…). It is not just a special for aperitif or good only for photos.