Father and son bring a GS550 back from the brink…
In 1977, Suzuki finally entered the four-stroke arena with their GS series — the last of the Japanese Big Four to do so. The GS750 earned Cycle World‘s Best of Breed title for the 750 class, and the GS550 was no slouch in its own right. The 49-hp middleweight was faster than both the Honda CB550 and Suzuki’s own GT550 two-stroke, and the handling was solid — firmer than most of its rivals:
“An excellent mountain road darter.” —Cycle
If we have a soft spot, it’s for father and son builds. Recently, we heard from two of the best photographers in the business, Christine Gabler (@myeyesbychristine) and Marc Holstein (@marc.holstein), who’d just shot a new build from son/father duo Allen and Michael Posenauer of Germany’s AMP Motorcycles. The pair started building bikes together several years ago as a hobby that complemented their “real” jobs:
“In ‘real’ life Michael has a metal fabrication shop and Allen is a car mechanic and is studying mechanical engineering.”
Over time, they kept getting more and more commission requests, so they’ve begun taking on a couple of customer builds each year. This is their latest, a 1978 GS550 built for Switzerland’s Jonas Müller (@mrjonesmiller), who bought the bike as someone’s badly modified, non-running, unfinished project bike — the perfect donor for an AMP transformation.
They agreed on a sleek, blacked-out look that would highlight the tank, painted in Fiat’s Cappuccino color:
“We always wanted to paint a tank in this cool hue. When Jonas proposed this colour, we instantly knew we were speaking the same language ;)”
We especially love the internal wiring, the stainless steel custom airbox, and the combination of powder-coated parts and stainless steel hardware — making this one clean, highly-executed 550/4.
Below, we get the full story on this build, along with more incredible shots from one of the best photography duos in the business, Christine Gabler (@myeyesbychristine) and Marc Holstein (@marc.holstein).
Suzuki GS550: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
We are father (Michael) and son (Allen). We are from Offenbach near Frankfurt, Germany. We love building bikes together. We’ve been customising bikes as our hobby for some years now. Lately we are getting more and more requests from people wanting us to build them a bike. So we decided to do a couple of customer projects a year. Not too much because we don’t want to lose the fun of it. In “real” life Michael has a metal fabrication shop and Allen is a car mechanic and is studying mechanical engineering.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
Suzuki GS550 from 1978.
• Why was this bike built?
Jonas Müller (IG: @mrjonesmiller) from Switzerland wanted us to build his dream bike. The bike he purchased had already been somebody’s project, but never finished. It was badly modified and nothing worked on the bike and it was not running.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
We wanted a clean look, completely blacked out. Just the tank had to stick out. It is painted in Fiat’s Cappuccino colour. We always wanted to paint a tank in this cool hue. When Jonas proposed this colour, we instantly knew we were speaking the same language 😉
• What custom work was done to the bike?
We’ve built a 4-into-2 exhaust with the original headers so Jonas can still fit the original mufflers for the general inspection. In the rear a loop was welded in and slightly bent up. The rear foot pegs came off. The frame, the wheels, and all the parts have been powder-coated in gloss black. We mounted fat Shinko E270 tires on the wheels. An Alcantara seat has been done to fit the bike. Highsider blinkers and mini LED light have been used in the rear.
In the front we used a traditional Bates style headlight and Motogadget bar end blinkers. We used miniature switches from Racetronics and all the wiring is inside the handlebar. The speedo is from Motogadget too. A completely new wiring harness was built and a lithium battery was added. The complete exhaust and engine casing was painted satin black. This goes well with all the black gloss parts and new stainless steel hardware.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
Never thought about it? Maybe you could call it “Cappuccino Racer” because of the paint colour.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
Because the bike is not registered we did not really ride it. But it sounds amazing and very powerful.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
All the wiring is perfectly hidden and tucked away. You can almost see nothing of the cables. The blacked-out engine casing with the gloss black powder-coated parts and the new stainless steel bolts looks awesome.
The airbox came out really great. Firstly we wanted to modify the original plastic one, because we did not want the classic open filters. This did not look as good as planned. So we built one out of stainless steel with a filter and mesh inside. This looks awesome and reminds you of the sport filters of classic cars like a 911.