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Suzuki GSX R R32 - Custom Motorcycle

Harry Altena Took His Love For Euros And Motorcycles To A New Dimension.

Greg Emmerson
Mar 17, 2010
Photographer: John Zamora

We've made no secret of our love for two-wheeled transport and have shared a few of our exploits both in the magazine and at A few years ago we even invited readers to submit photos of their bikes and found there are plenty of you with serious machinery between your legs.

Anybody who's never climbed aboard a modern superbike will struggle to comprehend the ludicrous performance and exhilaration they provide. And once you try it, they will change your life.

But we don't believe you have to swear allegiance to either two wheels or four. We're happy to take our thrills any way we can, and we're not alone in feeling that way. Take Harry Altena, for example. He's always loved Euros and owned a couple of BMWs before buying this '04 VW R32.

The 30 year-old from Gardena, CA runs a machine shop called One Off Creationz. He designs custom machinery but was constantly being approached to make custom parts for motorcycles. One day, he decided to have a go himself so went out and bought a brand-new '07 Suzuki GSX-R1000. "I didn't even have a bike license when I bought it," he laughed, "but I rode it eight miles home and stripped it down for the build."

We all know inspiration for a build comes in many forms, and we see plenty of diverse influences among the cars we feature - take the lumberjack theme on this month's cover car, for example. However, we've not seen many take their love of four-wheels over to their bikes, or vice versa. But since this was Harry's first project bike, he thought he might as well break new ground by theming his Suzuki on his beloved R32.

The most obvious carryover from his VW was the 18x8" wheel on the back of the bike. It's a genuine R32 wheel, and it took Harry 40 hours to custom build his own single-sided swingarm to fit it. "It's about 6" longer and 3" wider than a stock swingarm to accommodate the wheel," he told us. "But the stretch means the bike doesn't want to wheelie as much any more!" he laughed.

Eurp_1003_13x_o+r32_motorcycle+rear_wheel Photo 5/15   |   Suzuki GSX R R32 - Custom Motorcycle

He retained the R32's five-lug bolt pattern to secure the wheel, but needed to create a double chain-drive system because the wheel's width would have caused excessive chain wear without it. He also added a VW roundel as a chain guard over the center sprocket.

The rear tire is a 250/40 R18 Avon Venom motorcycle tire, the front has a 120/70 R17 Avon Viper on a custom wheel designed by Harry to replicate the spokes of the R32 wheel. He had a friend machine the wheel because the diameter exceeded what his own machines could do.

If you take a look around the bike, other R32 signatures include the blue Beringer calipers that mimic the VW's. You'll also spot the car's indicator lenses on the fairing, while the instruments have red LEDs to resemble the car's display at night.

The bike was painted a matching Black Magic pearl before the diligent builder had R, R32 or VW logos airbrushed onto the tank, fairing, headstock, seat, seat unit and wheel center.

After adding a plethora of custom bike parts, the GSX-R1K came together like a dream. It's certainly not bad for his first custom bike and its subtle styling represents the Euro scene perfectly in the more outlandish custom bike scene.

Eurp_1003_15x_o+r32_motorcycle+billet_metal Photo 9/15   |   Suzuki GSX R R32 - Custom Motorcycle

Harry's creativity didn't stop there. He even built a tricycle for his three kids, complete with a matching carbon screen, airbrushed logos and paint.

As for the R32 itself, it's been slightly neglected. It currently boasts a Neuspeed intake, Borla exhaust, Revo software, stage 2 StopTech brakes and some stereo gear. He had planned to add forced induction and build a matching trailer to shuttle the bike to shows, but those plans are on hold for the moment.

In the meantime, he rides the Suzuki every weekend and drives the R32 daily, having the best of both worlds and enjoying them equally.

Super Streetbike If you're a fan of custom street bikes like this, pick up a copy of our sister title, Super Streetbike magazine. Our own Justin Fivella resides there and he broke this story in SSB a few months ago. You can find copies in your local bookstore, or browse online at where you'll find a breakdown of Harry's Gixxer as well as some biker girls...

By Greg Emmerson
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