Slabside + Slingshot = Slabshot by Haxch Moto…
Introduced in 2009, the Suzuki GSX-R1000 K9 was the first all-new machine in the model’s history, featuring a new short-stroke engine and lighter weight chassis, suspension, and wheels. No less than Niall Mackenzie of Visordown called it “the revelation of 2009,” finding very few negatives in the 180-hp superbike:
“The 2009 GSX-R1000 K9 is the darkest of dark horses, with pretty much every component of the motorbike revised and refined.”
However, while the technology and performance of today’s superbikes can’t be denied, many of us miss the beauty and attitude of the “Youngtimer” sportbikes of the 1980s and ’90s — bikes that weren’t afraid of curved bodywork, muscular lines, and flashy liveries. Bikes that were bold. Such was the case for our friend Marc Bell of London’s Haxch Moto — a designer, fabricator, and racer whose ’88 GSX-R1100 Slabby we featured earlier this year.
“I built this bike as I hate the look of modern sports bikes, but love the huge improvements in power, handling, reliability, etc. and wanted to see if it’s possible to make a modern sports bike look good like they did in the ’80s/90s!”
Marc took inspiration from two of the most iconic sportbikes of the era, the Suzuki first-gen GSX-R “Slabside” and second-gen “Slingshot” — and especially the endurance racing versions of these machines — to create the aptly named “Slabshot.”
The black OEM frame and swingarm were soda-blasted, then Marc spent hours sanding and brushing to get that shiny bare aluminum frame that screams ’90s. The tank and tail section are full custom pieces, and Marc put his lathe and milling machine to work turning out various aluminum parts like the rearsets, pegs, fairing stays, headlight cover, and more.
He designed the graphics himself, which painter Ian Boultwood laid down. The result is one of the best-looking modern superbikes we’ve ever seen — which is just as Marc intended:
“I love the final silhouette of the fairings, proving the point that modern sports bikes can still be things of beauty, not ugly Transformers!”
“Slabshot” GSX-R1000: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
Professional fabricator and bike obsessive, mainly into sports bikes and I currently compete in classic club racing championship on a 1987 FZ600. Racing is my passion as much as building bikes.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
Suzuki GSX-R1000 2009 (K9).
• Why was this bike built?
I built this bike as I hate the look of modern sports bikes, but love the huge improvements in power, handling, reliability, etc. and wanted to see if it’s possible to make a modern sports bike look good like they did in the ’80s/90s! It was a personal project but will soon be up for sale and I’ll offer commissions if people would like their very own Slabshot.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
I was heavily inspired by the early Slingshot endurance bikes, the Yoshimura fairings and style, and I wanted that purity in the silhouette, along with other functional details that you find on race / track bikes: paired-back switchgear, etc. Items only on the bike that function.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Full custom made tank and tail section to flow into the lines of the frame and into each other. I manually milled and turned various aluminum parts on the lathe and milling machine here in the workshop: rearsets, foot pegs, clock bracket / fairing stay, headlight cover.
The frame and swingarm were originally black, so they were soda-blasted and then I spent a couple of days sanding away the sand cast texture, then brushing with Scotchbrite to get that ’90s bare aluminum frame aesthetic.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
SLABSHOT: a combination of the two iconic Suzuki bikes, Slabside and Slingshot.
• Any idea of horsepower, weight, and/or performance numbers?
180HP — top speed 185MPH.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
Amazing compared to the classic bikes I’m used to, haha!
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
I love the final silhouette of the fairings, proving the point that modern sports bikes can still be things of beauty, not ugly Transformers!
I’m also really proud of how the graphics came out, I spent a lot of time designing those in Photoshop, but when painted in reality they look even better!
• Is there anyone you’d like to thank?
Ian Boultwood for carrying out the paint job; he did my designs justice and absolutely smashed it!