“Neo Tokyo” — an Akira-inspired slabside GSX-R…
In 1985, Suzuki introduced the original GSX-R750, an aluminum-framed racebike for the street — a bike that would serve as the grandfather of all Japanese super sports to come:
“True, there had been plenty of fast and fiery superbikes before the oil-cooled four was unleashed in 1985. But the GSX-R750 was the first modern race replica: a uniquely single-minded machine built for performance above all else.” –Roland Brown, The Ultimate History of Fast Bikes
These first generation machines, known as “Slabbies” or “Slabsides” for their flat sides, boasted 100 bhp at 10,500 rpm and weighed just 388 lbs, giving them a staggering power-to-weight ratio. Meanwhile, the lightweight chassis handled well under heavy braking and at high lean angles. Truly, the GSX-R was a highly focused two-wheeled weapon for the street…
Enter our friend Michel Szozda of Cool Kid Customs, based in Haarlem, near Amsterdam. Since opening shop in 2014, the Dutch builder has been making a name for himself with bright, burly builds that defy classification, such as his Zebra-striped NX650 “Brawler” and 70s-inspired GR650 scrambler. Now Michel is back with a bike of his own, his 1986 Suzuki GSX-R750 restomod dubbed “Neo Tokyo.”
Michel had always wanted a Slabby, and he picked up one four years ago in poor shape, intending to keep the bike in factory trim. However, the bike began to transform, sharpening into something truly special:
“As the years went by, things broke and instead of repairing the parts, I just upgraded them with better ones. At the end, the only thing that was missing was a nice paintjob, so I finished it this year!”
Throughout the process, Michel kept the cyberpunk classic Akira in the back of his mind, which follows the exploits of a bōsōzoku gang in the post-apocalyptic city of Neo-Tokyo — thus, the GSX-R earned the nickname “Neo Tokyo.”
The bike’s modifications are all-encompassing, including a second-generation “Slingshot” short-stroke engine, wheels/brakes/forks from a year 2000 GSX-R SRAD, braided brake and oil lines, an upgraded oil-cooler, Yoshimura bodywork, LED lighting, Silvermachine custom seat, and much more.
To us, “Neo Tokyo” is a pure cafe killer, a custom oil-cooled supersport with performance light years ahead of the SOHC cafe racers of previous generations. Below, we get the full story on the bike, as well as more stunning photos from photographer Duy Vu Dinh.
Suzuki GSX-R750 Restomod: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
I’m Michel Szozda, owner of Cool Kid Customs in Haarlem, The Netherlands. Been modifying motorcycles since 2013.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
It’s a Suzuki GSX-R750, 1986. 1st generation aka Slabby/Slabside.
• Why was this bike built?
Bought this project four years ago because I always wanted one. I bought it in bad shape and wasn’t planning on modifying anything. But as the years went by, things broke and instead of repairing the parts, I just upgraded them with better ones. At the end, the only thing that was missing was a nice paintjob, so I finished it this year!
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
The design actually came with the years, it just grew and grew as I upgraded the parts.I build it with the 1988 movie Akira in the back of my mind.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Haha, what wasn’t done to the bike. I changed everything on the bike except for the fuel tank. Swapped out the original wheels, brakes and fork for a newer GSXR SRAD 2000.
Removed the clipons for a top bar yoke from ABM. Used a Pro-taper handlebar, Stainless brakelines, Domino throttle. The Nissin brake/clutch controls came off a Kawasaki Ninja. Aftermarket oil cooler, braided oil lines.
GSXR slingshot short stroke dot head engine, 36mm Mikuni carbs, GSX750 fairing, LED triple headlights, Double LED tail lights, Yoshimura Seat cowl, Yoshimura side panels, custom made stainless exhaust, Mass moto carbon silencer, Silvermachine Leather seat…
And there’s a chance I forgot something 😉
• Does the bike have a nickname?
The bike is called after the city where the gangs riot in the movie Akira: Neo Tokyo.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
There’s only full throttle ;’D
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
I’m proud of every part I managed to fit on there to form the end result.