According to Paweł Guzik of Poland’s Ventus Garage, the Suzuki GN400 is one of the most overlooked donor bikes for custom builds. The 400cc SOHC engine was derived from the DR400 motor — a near-bulletproof design with solid punch and sound — and the frame lines lend themselves to custom designs.
For the team at Ventus Garage, the time had come to showcase the untapped potential of the GN400 platform, employing every ounce of hard-won knowledge and experience they’d gained from stripping down and building up these models in the past. The result is “13” — their thirteenth build, which has always been a lucky number for them. Lucky for us, as well, as we have never seen such a stunning GN400.
Below, we get the full story on this street-legal flat tracker, along with some amazing photos from photographers Marcin Malicki (indoor shots) and Mateusz Iwanczyk (outdoor shots).
“13” GN400 Tracker: In the builder’s Words
The time has come. After building already two projects based on the GN400, we decided it was time to nail it and use all our knowledge and experience of this model. From our point of view, the Suzuki GN400 is a very overlooked bike in the custom scene. It has everything you want from a decent base bike. It has a big-size single engine that sounds beautiful. It is simple in its construction, it has nice frame lines, and we could on all night… But long story short, the Ventus Garage team loves using the GN400.
It is our thirteenth bike that’s rolled out of our workshop. For some, this number is bad luck, but for us it was always lucky, so we decided to name it “13”.
With flat track bikes, there is nothing more important than performance, but at Ventus Garage, the looks are at the top of the list as well. Who said the two cannot go together?
That gets us to the biggest modification in our “13”, which is a full swap of front upside down forks and spoked wheels from an Aprilia. USD forks are an obvious upgrade in the performance of the bike, but getting the same-size spoked wheels is the thing we love in the look of our “13”.
The wheels were painted in a unique grey matte about which will have to say more later. Spokes where chromed and to get a proper grip on the track we’ve got Dunlop K180 tires.
Front brake has a bigger 280mm disc and the back drum brake had to be replaced with a heaps more effective disc brake. Which was not easy because we had to install the whole braking system with hydraulic Nissin master cylinder and modify the brake lever.
After fitting the triple clamps from the Aprilia, we mounted a 5 ½ inch headlight.
Accel handlebar with Renthal grips and a new master cylinder continued the flat track style, while the Motogadget Motoscope Tiny central unit gives the stylish look that Ventus Garage loves.
We had a lot of work with the engine, which was stripped down to be glass blasted to get the awesome natural gray color of the metal. During that process we inspected the engine and we had to hone the cylinder and reconditioned the cylinder head. We’ve put it all together with new piston rings, cam chain and gaskets.
When it comes to proper delivery of fuel to the refreshed engine, the choice was obvious and well known for us. We’ve installed a brand new fully mechanical Mikuni carburetor with pod filter. Many thanks to our buddy Bartek that has helped us a lot with the engine and mechanical parts. With such an intake, the exhaust had to be decent as well so we left that to the professional in that subject: Devils Garage. This dude did an unbelievable job building a stainless steel exhaust from scratch according to our design.
With the frame, the biggest modification was the back loop, which had to be a base for the fiberglass duck tail and at the same time fit an LED taillight. We’ve put lot of effort to get the frame to perfection by sanding back all the imperfections from the factory, like rough welds, which were all properly covered by powder coat paint in graphite matte.
As we knew from the beginning what effect we want to achieve, we knew that the original tank would not work. After heaps of misses and even buying a tank from a Bultaco, we found a solution lying in our garage from the last couple years. It is a tank from a Yamaha XS400 that we think fits perfectly to the style of the bike.
So that it wasn’t too easy, we had exactly the same problem with the duck tail. Because we couldn’t find any solution on the market, we had to build it from scratch, matching it perfectly to the tank and lines of the bike. Perfectly trimmed seat was done by Lucky who used the highest quality leather from Bentley and alcantara.
Getting to the end of the building process we needed a stylish and elegant colour for our “13” and it couldn’t be more unique than using paint from BMW with a fancy name — Frozen Grey Metallic Matte.
The photo session is from Hevre club by Marcin Malicki (www.marcinmalicki.pl). A few words about the place…
Hevre — a place on the map that you cannot miss in Krakow. When you go inside, you will feel that time has stopped somewhere in the 1930s. It began its history as a prayer house, devastated during the war and serves as a club with an amazing vibe now. When we finished our flat tracker GN400 project build , we decided to use the surroundings of old frescoes. The images that you see here are the effect of another factor that combined all the elements together.
Follow the Builder & Photographer
- Follow the Builder, Ventus Garage: Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Web
- Follow the Photographer (Hevre Club photos), Marcin Malicki: Instagram | Web
- Follow the Photographer (outdoor photos), Mateusz Iwanczyk: Facebook
Note: this bike has also been featured on Bike EXIF.