Off The Wall: 50cc Smoker from Carneros Negros Custom…
Introduced in 1980, the Suzuki FA50 was a 50cc case-inducted two-stroke “noped” (no pedals) highly popular in South America as a beginner bike and commuter. Though it could muster just 28 mph in stock trim, it earned a reputation as reliable, tunable, and fun.
“Probably the most notable feature of the FA50s is the enclosed drive line. The Drive line consists of a centrifugal clutch, chain, and reduction gear, all of which is enclosed and bathed in oil. This feature makes the drive train very low maintenance and should last the life of the bike.” –Moped Army
“When my mother found out that I bought the motorcycle, she did not speak to me for many days, she said that she was going to kill me (the motorcycle did not go more than 35 km/h!!!).”
The bike was in pretty horrible shape, with a leaky carb, shoestring primer, and biege paint job done with a brush. Still, it was special to Lucas as his first taste of two-wheeled freedom, as he’d only been allowed quads as a youngster. He rode the FA50 daily for a year, then moved onto larger bikes, customizing a Yamaha FZ16 and deciding to open a workshop:
“I got so excited that I decided to quit my job, my studies, and open my own custom shop in 2019. I initially opened the workshop with a friend — we were rebels! And also crazy people for opening a custom workshop in our city — we were the only ones!”
Lucas decided to bring in his FA50 from the cold and give it a full transformation in the image of the Suzuki motocrossers of yesteryear:
“I come from the enduro side, so that was the way to go. I based the colors on those of the iconic RM250. Covers (customized), off-road tires, high fenders, and ‘vintage enduro’ style.”
Nicknamed “La Colgada” (The Hanged), the bike had spent some five years hanging on the wall before Lucas rebuilt and customized it, putting the little smoker back on the road. Though it isn’t the biggest or fastest machine to come out of his shop, the stories and relationships to come from the build are endless:
“Wherever I go they look at the motorcycle, they approach to ask, some with anecdotes that they had in their childhood with the same motorcycle, how they learned to ride motorcycles on it. It has a lot of sentimental value for me, and to be able to continue using it, and so beautiful, is something that satisfies me a lot. It is a motorcycle that will remain in my family and I intend to pass it on to my son when he grows up.”
What’s more, La Colgada earned a special mention in Argentina’s prestigious AFF Motos Expo, where the great Argentine workshops showcase their custom builds. Congrats, Lucas! We look forward to seeing what comes next out of Carneros Negros!
Suzuki FA50 Scrambler: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
I am 33 years old and from the city of Gualeguaychu, Entre Ríos, Argentine Republic. Currently a student of motorcycle mechanics and electronic injection, I am also part of the organization of the Moto Expo (massive motorcycle event that has been held for 12 years).
My history with motorcycles started around the age of 17, when I used to visit the workshop of a friend who was dedicated to buying 0-km motorcycles and quads and selling them. There I was able to learn basic things, such as how to install a carburetor, set up an acid battery, give the first gear, etc…
For my 18th birthday my parents decided to give me a quad, because they said a motorcycle was too dangerous…internally I wanted two wheels and not four! Even so, I knew how to enjoy the quad, go off-road, and take journeys into the countryside. Then I went to live in Buenos Aires for 7 years and I had to sell it, but I still had to have a motorcycle.
I returned to my city, now as a couple, I was already making my own decisions. And I decided to buy my first motorcycle, the Suzuki FA50. At that time it was an occasional purchase, a little motorcycle to be able to move around the city from one place to another and nothing more.
In 2018 I made my first customized motorcycle, a 2012 Yamaha FZ16 that belonged to a friend. I didn’t have a workshop yet, but I knew how to use the tools and my head was flying with ideas, so I also decided to give life to the Suzuki.
I got so excited that I decided to quit my job, my studies, and open my own custom shop in 2019.
I initially opened the workshop with a friend — we were rebels!! And also crazy people for opening a custom workshop in our city, we were the only ones! That’s where the name “Ovejas Negras Custom Bikes” (Black Sheep) arose, synonymous with rebellion (let’s say that custom culture was born that way, out of rebellion), but we realized that the name was widely used by other businesses in the world, so we decided to change the name to the male animal, and it ended up being called Carnernos Negros Custom Bikes (Black Rams).
Several motorcycles have already passed through here and they will continue coming through. Currently I am alone in the workshop, my friend decided to leave, but I continue with many crazy ideas, and with great desire to continue being a stray… It is still the only custom workshop in my city.
Here the client is treated as a friend; they come when they want, they listen to good music, pleasant conversations, and drink MUCH MATE! I try to put the best of myself into every bike I do, as if it were my own. And in fact I am very fond of them.
Seeing them roll down the street is a dream come true. I also organize rides with friends from the workshop; we get together once a month and go out riding around the city; we stop at a bar for a beer or have a barbecue somewhere. It’s the good thing about having a workshop, the friendships.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
Suzuki FA50 1992.
• Why was this bike built?
The Suzuki FA50 was my first motorcycle, and here in Argentina the first motorcycle for many riders. For years it was “thrown” in the backyard until I decided to give it love.
At first I thought about changing the engine and using only the chassis, then I gave up because the soul of the bike is the engine, so I started to customize it.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
I come from the enduro side, so that was the way to go. I based the colors on those of the iconic RM250. Covers (customized), off-road tires, high fenders, and “vintage enduro” style.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Overall: High handlebars, inverted front suspension, and a low seat to compensate.
At first it was a low cost project, with recycled things; the idea was to make it work and to get out of its original style a bit. First I got a lower yoke from an old motorcycle (DKW150 year 1963), and I adapted the original Suzuki wing.
Honda Wave 110cc front shock absorbers, BMX handlebars with support made by me, BMX brake levers, Honda Wave 110 14″ rear rims, Rinaldi RMX 35 60/100-14 off road tires, Dell’Orto carburetor for a 50cc moped, modern LED headlight in the front and mini winks 3-in-1 LED in the rear.
In its first stage it was green/purple chameleon, and I didn’t like it at all. In its second stage and final stage, as it is currently, the color was changed to RM250 yellow with the range of colors it carried on its plastics: black, French blue, and navy blue.
The front shock absorbers were changed for inverted rods with bellows, and the original rear shock absorber was restored, left in metal color with lacquer.
Two high fenders were also added, emulating a vintage enduro from the 80s. They’re made of sheet metal, almost flat and long, with their supports adapted to the motorcycle. A mountain bike caliper and disc was adapted to the front wheel.
The original base was used for the seat; it was made lower with black leather and double stitching rhombuses and a smooth strip all around.
The two original wheels were deteriorated, so the rims were changed, using the original hubs and adapting spokes to measure.
It was fitted with a 50cc chamber exhaust with a muffler so that it sticks out of the bike straight up.
The engine was completely disassembled and made new. The piston and connecting rod were changed and harder clutch springs were also put in.
It has its original fuel tank, and the oil tank with its meter.
The motorcycle was converted to full 12v LED, with minimalist light buttons printed in 3D, making the wiring not visible — they go inside the handlebars.
Two machined aluminum tubes were used as footrests.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
“La Colgada” (The Hanged). Why? Well, at first it sat languishing for five years, then I built it up with different color livery, no fenders, etc.
I hung it on the wall of my workshop and it stayed for three more years until I decided to take it down and leave it as it is now. It is a very fun moped with stories.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride?
It’s very fun!! Its maximum speed is 50 km/h, but even so you feel the wind in your face. It’s like riding a bicycle, but faster, and that noise and smell of 2t that I love!
Wherever I go they look at the motorcycle, they approach to ask, some with anecdotes that they had in their childhood with the same motorcycle, how they learned to ride motorcycles on it. It has a lot of sentimental value for me, and to be able to continue using it, and so beautiful, is something that satisfies me a lot. It is a motorcycle that will remain in my family and I intend to pass it on to my son when he grows up.
• Can you tell us some of the stories about this bike?
Stories with the motorcycle? Ugh! When I bought it, it was quite deteriorated, its previous owner had painted it beige with a brush, horrible! Its carburetor was leaking gasoline everywhere and it had a shoelace as a primer.
I used it non-stop for a year until the motor didn’t want to run anymore. I remember that at that time I worked in a complex outside the city, and the entrance was through a dirt road. I had no fenders, so if it rained I had to take an extra set of clothes, because I came to work covered in mud, from head to toe. Until one day I made a rear fender out of sheet metal, but it was actually a rectangular piece of sheet metal wired onto the rack.
I also remember that when I was going at maximum speed (30 km/h), I would pull the cord that had the primer to “add more speed”.
When my mother found out that I bought the motorcycle, she did not speak to me for many days, she said that she was going to kill me (the motorcycle did not go more than 35 km/h!!!).
After so long, getting to have it as it is today is a dream come true, and my greatest achievement was last year at the AFF Motos Expo (exhibition that takes place in San Isidro only for customized motorcycles, where the great workshops of Argentina participate, as well as amateurs), where “La Colgada” managed to obtain a special mention from the organization.
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