Big Suzy: Suzuki DR800 Big Scrambler

Suzuki DR Big Scrambler

Unik Edition scrambles DR Big… 

In 1990, Suzuki released the DR800 Big, the largest mass-production single-cylinder dual-sport ever available to the buying public. The “dashing desert styling” came straight from the mighty DR-Zeta Paris-Dakar bike, as piloted by Gaston Rahier, and the massive 779cc dual-carb engine offered 52 hp and 44 lb-ft of torque — a big-bore king among thumpers.

“No standard bike has a larger cylinder displacement than the DR Big. The engine is also narrower than any twin off-road engine. The enormous single suits well those who think twins are too clumsy and need more power than the smaller singles can offer.” –Suzuki Cycles

Unfortunately, we never received the DR Big here in the States, but they were popular in Europe. These days, however, many of them have grown quite long in the tooth, with battered plastics, missing parts, and leaky seals — bikes in need of a rebirth.

Suzuki DR Big Scrambler

That’s where our friends at Portugal’s Unik Edition Custom Cycles come into the mix. One of their customers had a rusty ’91 DR Big that he wanted to transform into a cool custom, and headman Tiago Gonçalves had an immediate idea for inspiration, the “art chassis” of this Lisbon-built Defender 110:

“I said why not do something more artistic, like the Cool ‘n’ Vintage Land Rover that went to California.”

Moreover, Unik Edition would collaborate with the very same painter behind that Rover project, Lisbon-based artist Vasco Costa — a match made in motoring heaven!

Suzuki DR Big Scrambler

Vasco set to work hand-painting the frame, tank, swingarm, bashplate, and more. Meanwhile the Unik Edition crew handled the rest of the build.

They re-laced the original hubs to new powder-coated rims, fabricated the side covers, shortened the subframe, added a custom saddle, TIG-welded a new exhaust with modified Arrow silencers, outfitted the bike with new fenders, and installed a vintage headlight imported from Japan and placed inside a Honda housing.

Suzuki DR Big Scrambler

The cockpit was also completely transformed with Renthal motocross bars and grips, a Daytona speedometer, new levers and fluid reservoirs, and more. Nicknamed “Big Suzy,” this 800cc scrambler is lighter, quicker, and much more streamlined than the beat-up original — a bike that’s truly “Unik.”

Below, we talk to Tiago Gonçalves of Unik Edition for more details on this thumper, with more photos from the talented Manuel Portugal.

DR Big Scrambler: Builder Interview

Suzuki DR Big Scrambler

• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?

1991 Suzuki DR800 Big One.

Suzuki DR Big Scrambler

• What was the design concept and what inspired the build?

The story of this Suzuki DR800 Big One is super cool. A customer had this original but rusty DR800 and said that he wanted something cool. So I said why not do something more artistic, like the Cool ‘n’ Vintage Land Rover that went to California.

Suzuki DR Big Scrambler

So we went front there! Vasco Costa, the same artist who painted the Land Rover, painted this frame. For sure this DR800 it is one of a kind, and even being a piece of art, the mindset is: GO GO GO!

Suzuki DR Big Scrambler

• What custom work was done to the bike?
  • Collaboration with artist Vasco Costa for the hand painting (frame & tank)
  • New adapted Suzuki tank
  • All fairings removed
  • Custom-made side covers
  • Adapted Arrow mufflers (shortened 12 cm from original Yamaha XTZ models)
  • Complete new exhaust system from engine to muffler, TIG-welded
  • New spokes and powder-coated rims
  • New fenders
  • Shorter frame
  • New tires
  • New speedometer, brake, clutch levers
  • Custom leather seat
  • Motocross handlebar
  • Vintage headlight (imported from Japan, assembled in a Honda headlight housing)
  • Custom license plate holder and turn lights
  • Cockpit: Daytona speedo, Brembo brake, Domino clutch, Renthal bar, chain, and grips
• Does this project have a nickname?


Suzuki DR Big Scrambler

• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?

The transformation from “Big” to a size that makes you want to ride. Now it looks like a modern bike.

Suzuki DR Big Scrambler

• Can you tell us what the bike is like to ride?

Easy to ride. Cool sound. Like a modern bike.

Suzuki DR Big Scrambler

Detail Shots

Riding Shots

Follow the Builder

Facebook: @unikmotorcycles
Instagram: @unikmotorcycles
Rider: @M4ryC4ke
Photography: @manuelportugalphoto

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  1. Stefan Hellert

    Extraordinary bike, I like it, even because it´s used very seldom for customizing. I´m bored of all these 2-valve-BMWs…

  2. Nice offroad bike – but having ridden enduros, that low front mudguard looks like it’ll clog quickly if it sees clay. Probably stump-pulling power.

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