A father/son street smoker from France!
Introduced in 1971, the Suzuki GT380 was the smallest sibling of the mighty GT750 “Water Buffalo.” Known as the Sebring on American shores, the 371cc air-cooled triple made 38 horsepower at 7500 rpm — power enough to brawl with the middleweight four-stroke twins of the era. Unlike the Kawasaki’s “Widowmaker” triples, the GT380 was actually known to handle well, and the power delivery wasn’t quite so lethal:
“Though the competing Kawasaki triples were known as rockets, the Suzuki GT engines were tuned more for smoothness and reliability than peak power.” —Motorcycle Classics
Enter our new friend Paul Chevalier, a 26-year-old builder and motocross rider whose father owns a small motorcycle shop in Carcassonne, France. His old man bought this ’73 GT380 a few years ago, and it had sat largely untouched in the shop until Paul came across a photo of the Suzuki GT750 flat tracker that Roland Sands built for Travis Pastrana to race in the 2018 Super Hooligan race at Daytona.
“So I thought to myself, why not do the same with mine?” –Paul
Paul and his father rebuilt the engine with a new crank, swapped the original exhaust for a trio of Jollymoto pipes, looped the rear of the frame, lowered the forks, fitted 19-inch wheels, and more. The result is one bad middleweight smoker — a father/son build that Paul won’t soon forget:
“I’m quite proud of the final result and the details I managed to put on it. But above all I’m proud because my father helped me finish this project.”
Below, we get the full story on the build, along with more shots from photographer Gabriel Rouquet (@gabxflex).
Suzuki GT380 Street Tracker: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
My name is Paul, I’m 26 years old and I grew up surrounded by motorcycles. My father has a motorcycle shop so I have my space to make my own motorcycles.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
It’s a Suzuki GT380 of 1973.
• Why was this bike built?
My father bought this motorcycle three or four years ago but he was always too busy for it. So one day, seeing the bike, I decided to redo it — I wanted to have a bike to ride when the sun is out.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
One day I stumbled across a photo of a Suzuki GT750 that Roland Sands Design had built for Travis Pastrana to race flat track and I loved it. So I thought to myself, why not do the same with mine?
• What custom work was done to the bike?
We had the crankshaft redone and changed a few engine parts. We replaced the original exhaust with three Jollymoto pipes. We modified the back of the bike by removing everything useless and creating a rear loop.
The forks were cut to lower them and we changed the wheels to 19-inchers with Excel rims. Finally, we added lots of small details to take care of the look of the bike with the gray paint.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
The two-stroke is really very pleasant to ride, and it’s a real pleasure to have a vintage motorcycle but with a taste of today.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
I’m quite proud of the final result and the details I managed to put on it. But above all I’m proud because my father helped me finish this project.