“Without the subtle LED lighting, you could easily mistake this bike for a race-only flat tracker.”
The Suzuki DR650 has long stood as one of the world’s most rugged motorcycles, an air-cooled thumper that’s remained relatively unchanged for the last thirty years. It can dice traffic on the daily commute, explore off-road on the weekends, and it even serves as a decent touring platform. Says Cycle World:
“Not only is the [DR]’s counterbalanced engine noticeably faster, torquier and smoother than the big Singles powering its closest competitors (Honda’s XR650L and Kawasaki’s KLR650), it has a reputation for being downright bulletproof.”
Enter the five-man crew of Oilbro Motorcycles (Toulouse, France) — Theo, Nathan, Damien, Benoît, and Tom — who began meeting every Monday to work on their custom builds and enjoy some good beers and pizza:
“A ritual that the team would not miss for anything in the world at the Oilbro Motorcycles’ garage.”
Today, Oilbro Motorcycles is not just an independent motorcycle garage, but also a parts shop for vintage moto enthusiasts. The DR650 build you see here started with a clear vision and single goal:
“To recreate a bike, from a robust trail bike known for its ease and its torque, to make it an amazing urban flat tracker.”
The result is one of the cleanest street tracker builds we’ve seen, complete with a front number plate installed on 3D-printed mounts with no visible screws, a gorgeous “floating” rear fender, and a BMX pedal adapted to the kickstart lever. These signature elements truly set this machine apart, along with the fully rebuilt and upgraded engine, TS250 tank, and hand-polished engine covers. Without the subtle LED lighting, you could easily mistake this bike for a race-only flat tracker.
Below, we get the full story on this DR650 urban flat tracker, nicknamed “The Plate,” along with some stunning photos from Benoît Guerry of Studio ZE — a commercial and industrial studio also based in Toulouse, in the South of France.
Suzuki DR650 Street Tracker: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
Oilbro Motorcycles is five people who have always been passionate about mechanics who work to revive or modify old motorcycles and who do everything to put them back on the road.
The story started five years ago when Theo (one of the co-founders) invited two of his friends (Nathan and Damien, met in 2007 during their motorcycle mechanic studies) for the first time to join Benoît and Tom, respectively his father and little brother, coming to restore an old Honda K4 125cc from the 70s in their family garage. Since then, the restoration projects have followed one another and the team meets every Monday to work on their motorcycles custom projects around a good beer and a few pizzas. A ritual that the team would not miss for anything in the world at the Oilbro Motorcycles’ garage.
Nowadays, Oilbro Motorcycles is both an independent motorcycle garage and a motorcycles part provider that strives for allowing vintage motorcycles enthusiasts to make their own motorcycles with a small budget. Everyone should have the chance to build his dream motorcycle from his own hands.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
1990 Suzuki DR650 RS.
• Why was this bike built?
This motorcycle stems from a personal project with a single goal: to recreate a bike from a robust trail bike known for its ease and its torque, to make it an amazing urban flat tracker.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
The design concept was combining both the beach cruising bikes and the flat tracker spirits into an urban flat tracker to cruise into town. The main influences come from something in the middle of the Neo Retro and the Steve McQueen cultures. Old motocross in some way but with low flat track lines.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
The entire frame has been stripped, cut and reworked with a custom back loop. The frame, the swingarm and the upper T fork were thermo lacquered in shiny black. To dress up the set, a pair of 17-inch aluminum rims is spoked with custom spokes on the original hubs.
A Shinko SR 267/268 in 120/70 for the front wheel.
A Heidenau 69H in 160/60 to ensure good torque transmission on the rear wheel.
Originally it was a double exhaust outlet located on either side of the seat. For this project Oilbro Motorcycles wanted to keep a vintage spirit and a very low visual line. Fitting an old Ariel 1000 Square Four exhaust pipe was not easy. The interesting work of the exhaust pipe remains in the installation of Decibel Killer inside the tube, without touching the patina and the history of this part.
The engine was completely disassembled for the application of a high temperature matte black paint, but above all to be sure that everything was in good condition. The rocker cover and the two side covers were treated to remove the original paint and then hand polished to give this chrome finish.
It is a complete AFAM chain kit and new shock absorbers for the rear hub which restore optimal transmission to the 650. For the rear fender, the goal was to float this part in a vacuum while securing it in a solid and invisible way.
A 1971 Suzuki TS 250 tank was chosen for the 650 DR. With its patina and vintage stickers this tank sets the tone. A lot of cutting and welding work is done under the tank to make it adaptable to its new adoption frame. The interior of the tank has been fully treated with a resin.
The entire rear shock absorber link system is completely replaced with new parts. The front end is from a 2000 Ducati Monster 600. Brembo fork and brake caliper give the set an aggressive look.
The engine has been fully opened, to change parts and refresh the whole. New clutch and reinforced spring to give a good bite. Big change for the clutch mechanism, cable passage to hydraulic mechanism, the change is radical. The carburetor is supplied with a Mikuni BST 40, and a BMC air filter. A UNI breather has been installed.
The front is sober and refined as usual Oibro Motorcycles keeps a clear and precise line of conduct. The “Larry” commodos, simple and compact allow the electric cables to pass through the handlebars and a pair of “McDowell” handles have been installed on the handlebars. For the speedometer, a custom support and an Apple Watch can give the lap record.
The kick part has been modified to accommodate a BMX pedal.
The retro Flat Track plate has been installed on 3D-printed supports designed and 3D-printed at the garage, in PLA so as not to have any screws on the front face. This Kick, Front plate and tank combo energizes the project.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
Until now, the bike has been called « The plate ». But you probably have a better idea as you discover it with a fresh a totally new look.
• How would you classify this bike?
Urban Flat Tracker.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
- Custom Design of 3D printed fork plate mount to hide visible screws.
- Handmade polishing of the engine side covers.
- Work on the kick
- Making the rear fender floating like.
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