An Reasonably priced 1989 Customized Suzuki 800 Intruder—From The Archives

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This text was initially printed within the April 2000 challenge of Motorbike Cruiser.

800 Intruder

Jay Gershen reinvented this 800 Intruder for his spouse, Annette.

Mark Langello

“Generally you choose up a chunk of clay and also you don’t know what to do with it till you get it in your fingers,” says skilled bike builder Jay Gershen in regards to the 1989 Suzuki 800 Intruder he purchased at a storage sale. “The bike was so clear I simply determined to take it…what I used to be going to do with it I didn’t know.”

The Gershens, Annette and Jay, from Farmingdale, New York, weren’t searching for a motorcycle, precisely. Annette had been taking hits on her husband’s Harley-Davidson for years. She primarily rode minibikes and dust bikes as a child and his 1948 Panhead didn’t intimidate her. Annette beloved to trip, and when Jay introduced the used Intruder house she was more than pleased to device round on that. The Suzuki remained completely inventory the primary few years she rode it. There occurred to be ­one other metric cruiser within the storage receiving the star therapy on the time (see “Royal Flush”).

Annette Gershen

Annette Gershen along with her 1989 Suzuki 800 Intruder.

Mark Langello

Low Drama

The applause and acceptance Jay acquired from his undertaking Yamaha Royal Star is what finally ignited his curiosity in recreating Annette’s Intruder. “It was an unpleasant duckling,” Jay says. “It had potential, however one thing radical needed to be accomplished.” That meant taking the entire bike all the way down to the body and beginning over once more. He didn’t have a psychological blueprint for reconstruction when he began—the bike’s metamorphosis could be course of impressed. Jay knew he ­wished the Intruder to be drama­tically completely different—he wished the bike low and large and flamed from hub to fender.

Jay tended to the engine first and went by the tranny to verify the drivetrain was working flawlessly. He traded the inventory carburetors for protruding 34mm Mukunis, swapped Suzuki’s customary airboxes with Okay&N air filters and added an ignition system from Accel Efficiency. Inventory, the Intruder was very fast and responsive for its dimension, however Jay wished to verify the bike would cleanly blow away any Harley Sportster fashions (and he gleefully reviews that it does).

Subsequent Jay started refinishing the body. He wished the graphics to movement to the depth of the body, so the scrupulous paint work needed to start earlier than the physique work was tailored. The bike—initially a maroon shade—was sprayed with a base of “Shimrin Blue,” then topped with “Sweet Purple”—each hues from Home of Kolor. The flames could be pearl white with lavender and pale blue highlights which, when examined intently, are literally etchings of feathers.

House of Kolor

Home of Kolor hues had been sprayed on the bike and flame/feather designs had been added. Gershen’s good pal, Mike Terwilliger airbrushed the mural on the tank.

Mark Langello

The flame and feather enterprise was tough, nevertheless. “I wished her to have girly flames, so I wanted to do the licks somewhat in a different way. These girly flames I designed aren’t related like man flames—like macho flames—they’re form of wispy.” The hand-painted feather particulars symbolize “movement and a way of freedom…of floating.” The flame theme on Annette’s bike flows fantastically and delights the attention with its intricacy.

Jay wished fenders that may give the bike a low, large stance. Utilizing an eight-inch clean from Arlen Ness, Jay spent two months molding the rear finish to get the fender completely ­located between the body and swing­arm. “If you realize what you need, you may make it match,” he says of his effort. Making use of a entrance fender from Cobra was a “no-brainer” compared.

800 intruder details

Take an in depth look and you’ll see the flame and feather particulars.

Mark Langello

Tank High

Gershen’s good pal, Mike Terwil­liger, who airbrushed Jay’s Royal Star graphics, is chargeable for Annette’s provocative tank mural additionally. Now, when­ you see a girl using a motorcycle with a unadorned girl painted on the tank ya gotta speculate. First, you surprise if it was her concept…then, effectively, you surprise if the rendering is of her. The flowing locks on the Amazon rising up by swirls of smoke certain appear to be Annette’s hair. When requested in regards to the resemblance—which she usually is—Annette likes to banter again about how underneath her motorbike leathers there’s a “actual girl,” whereas Jay relishes the “eat your coronary heart out” side of the mural. Each agree there’s nothing gauche in regards to the illustration, “It’s tasteful, inventive and a lovely complement to the bike.” The mural wasn’t in­tended to be a portrait of Annette, nevertheless it does mirror her spirit. She’s a powerful, free spirit with sufficient safety and lack of inhibition to not be offended by the picture of the portray—or her nickname, “Winch,” which adorns her license plate.

“Winch” was a nickname given to Annette by a girlfriend years again and it caught like sap. “I’ve by no means taken it offensively,” she says. “It’s at all times been affectionate.” Since Jay procured the one New York “BIKER” plate some 30 years in the past, the 2 tag traces praise one another.


Rhonda Hoffman Color Changing Honda Magna
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Rhonda Hoffman’s Shade-Altering Customized Honda Magna

The paint job, utilized by the proprietor, modifications with the angle of view


Annette and Jay are open, amusing and animated; and speaking to them is as pleasing as their bikes. Their New York accents are infectious and their love of motorcycling is feverish. Probably the most endearing qualities of the Gershens’ relationship is how they flatter one another. We interviewed them individually and would have guessed by the quantity of raving they do about each other they had been extra of a brand new and unblemished merchandise. Jay and Annette, nevertheless, have been collectively since they had been teen­agers. They dated for ten years earlier than getting married. Their kids—boy/woman twins—at the moment are youngsters. Jay, who says his spouse is extra stunning at this time than when she was 18, admits it price him a whole lot of effort and cash to place the Intruder to­gether “however…she’s value it” he says tenderly. “When a husband and spouse do issues collectively like [we do] it’s like courting once more.”

Annette believes “a lady can’t have sufficient leather-based and chrome” however the horde of gleaming metallic on her Intruder should nearly be sufficient. Jay utilized chrome to the bike as vigorously as he painted flames. He put in braided traces from Goodridge and changed all of the nuts and bolts with stain­­­­­much less chrome from Gardner-Westcott. Ahead controls got here from Jardine, the entrance indicators and mini-tach from Chrome Specialties and the fork caps and chrome oil filter from Cobra. There are a whole lot of Harley components on the Intruder, together with the louvered battery field—which Jay needed to hand-tweak to suit the Suzuki. The flame headlamp (which options L.E.D. bulb alternative designed by Jay) was made by Headwinds, and the license plate bracket and lights are from Drag Specialties. Arlen Ness components embrace the blinkers, grips, mirrors, pegs and back lights.

Chrome and flames

Chrome and flames had been utilized vigorously to Annette’s Intruder.

Mark Langello

It took a whole lot of manipulation to get a lot of the Gershen’s chosen goodies to suit the Intruder. Different components, such because the handlebar, spoiler and neon floor results, had been customized by Jay. Probably essentially the most hanging function on Annette’s bike is the circa-’60’s Speedo exhaust pipes which fantastically echo the flame licks.

At 5’eight”, Annette didn’t really want the bike lowered, so it was accomplished within the identify of visible enchantment. The seat top, initially 27.6 inches, is now 22.Zero ­inches because of a Progressive Suspension decreasing package for the entrance tubes and utility of 10.Zero-inch Progressive shocks on the rear. A Corbin Gunfighter saddle accentuates the bike’s ready-to-pounce posture. Although the seat handily got here with purple flame inserts, Jay wished to take the design a step additional, so he used leather-based paints so as to add element contained in the flames.

This can be a bike your sensory system digests in phases as a result of there’s a lot element and depth. There are actually flames in every single place; they even lick up the perimeters of the chromed radiator. Thumbnail-sized flames are painted on both aspect of the spokes of the 21.Zero-inch entrance wheel, and the detailed 15.Zero-inch rear wheel needed to be taken aside for entry, then painstakingly laced and spoked once more. “Everybody assumes you do a paint job as soon as every part’s put collectively—particularly your wheels—however I did the paint job when every part was aside, which is form of completely different.” Annette runs Dunlops on her Wheel Works rims.

Heat Reception

To say the least, the Intruder has been effectively acquired. It’s already taken first place awards at varied exhibits together with Americade and The World’s Honest of Bikes. “Folks go loopy once they see this bike,” says Annette. “After which there’s the actual fact there’s a lady using it.” And the Gershens do trip their present items each likelihood they get. The Gershens get pleasure from the truth that once they attend Harley occasions persons are compelled to query their selections. “Infrequently you get somewhat jabber about them being Japanese bikes, however we shrug it off as a result of we all know they’re jealous. We discover individuals would moderately be using a motorcycle that appears like ours than what they’re using proper now.” Generally flames communicate louder than phrases.

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