There’s always been a great deal of overlap between the bicycle and motorcycle worlds. For many of the builders we interview, their love of motorcycles began with pedal bikes. And lest we forget, early motorcycles were little more than motorized bicycles:
“A motorcycle is a bicycle with pandemonium attachment, and is designed for the especial use of mechanical geniuses, daredevils and lunatics.” –George Fitch, Atlanta Journal Constitution, 1916
Recently, we talked to Dustin Carlson of Utah’s tecGNAR, who specializes in painting road and mountain bikes. Recently, he got interested in motorcycles and painting moto tanks, fenders, and more. So he bought an ’06 Suzuki DR650 dual-sport — his first motorcycle — and got to work.
Though Dustin is new to the moto world, his workshop in Price, Utah is outfitted with all of the tools necessary for such a build, and he can paint, cerakote, and powder-coat in-house. He cut 18 inches out of the stock subframe, welded in a hoop, fabricated an under-seat electrical box, upgraded the carb to a Mikuni 42-6 pumper, and more. Then there’s the paint:
“Most of my work in the pedal bike world is pretty wild. Lots of color and design cues from the 80’s and 90’s. I love candy paint jobs and fades so I went with both! The palm trees were added to scream 80’s Miami sunset fade!”
The paintwork reminds us of the synthwave albums we’re so often pumping through the speakers at BikeBound HQ — an aesthetic we’ve rarely seen translated into mountain bikes. Below, we talk to Dustin for the full story on this “Sunset Scrambler.”
Suzuki DR650 Scrambler: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
I am actually very new to motos! I know most custom moto guys are pretty good on the mechanical side but often send out the frame and tank to painters. I’m a painter that wanted to mod a bike with little to no mechanical knowledge! I have all the tools needed to do the work, I just haven’t owned a moto before. I can paint, cerakote and powder coat out of my shop in Price, Utah.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
2006 Suzuki DR650 with 20,000 miles. Completely stock.
• Why was this bike built?
I professionally paint pedal bikes, like road or mountain bikes. It would be a natural extension of that to also paint moto tanks, fenders, etc. I needed a way to show off my products, so I bought the 650.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
Most of my work in the pedal bike world is pretty wild. Lots of color and design cues from the 80’s and 90’s. I love candy paint jobs and fades so I went with both! The palm trees were added to scream 80’s Miami sunset fade! I think the retro colors match the “restomod” look of scramblers.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
I cut about 18 inches of sub-frame off the back of the bike, and welded in a hoop. The fenders, seat, headlight, and tank were all purchased online through various moto sites. I fabricated the under seat box for all the wiring and battery. I also upgraded the carb to a Mikuni 42-6 pumper. Some exhaust work and an aftermarket muffler.
I hand-painted the tank. The frame and swingarm were powder coated in-house. The fork, wheels, motor, exhaust, muffler, and all other little parts were all cerakoted by me.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
I’ve been using #SunsetScrambler on all my Instagram posts!
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
With the new pumper carb and high flow muffler this thing screams! I’m not the best rider… But I think you could lift the front wheel pretty easily.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
I was very surprised that this bike started when I got it back together! I did a ton of work to it and I was worried I would have problems mechanically when I was done. I actually did have some problems but with some help from online forums and service manuals, I have it purring like a kitten!