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Custom Suzuki DR-Z400 by Customs by Frank
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Custom Suzuki DR-Z400 by Customs by Frank
22 Oct Custom
Sponsored by Moto Animals

Ever start out with a basic idea, only to get hopelessly carried away? A wheel swap and a simple suspension tweak were all that Frank Edens was planning for his Suzuki DR-Z400 S—but luckily for us, it didn’t end there.

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Based in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, Frank designs furniture and builds custom bikes under the moniker ‘Customs by Frank.’ Though he does take on commissions, this 2007 DRZ was a personal project.

“Most of the time I build complete projects for myself,” Frank tells us. “I follow my intuition for what a bike really needs. When I finish a project, I sell the bike.”

Frank’s original idea was to inject the tiniest bit of flat track DNA into the street-legal enduro. Suzuki produced the DR-Z400 in both enduro and supermotard trim—the key differences being wheel sizes and suspension travel. So Frank envisioned a third ‘street tracker‘ version…

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“I wanted to create a motorcycle that could have been a concept bike, or an original design by Suzuki itself.”

“At first I wanted to keep this project simple—just the adjustment of the suspension and some new 19” wheels and tires. But when I found a Suzuki DR 400 aluminum tank from the 80s on the internet, the project rapidly changed.”

With some modification, Frank managed to fit the classic tank to the modern DR-Z400’s frame, reshaping it up front to clear the radiator. But he knew a simple tank swap wasn’t going to cut it—so he turned his attention to the rear half of the bike.

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The subframe was reworked for a better line—and to accommodate new bodywork. It now supports a hand-made, flat track-style tailpiece, also made from aluminum and easily removable.

“Aluminum parts create a lighter and more viable bike,” explains Frank. He called in a good friend, Ruud Huijbers, to help with welding, and handed the seat shaping and upholstery over to Miller Kustom Uperholstery.

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For the wheels, Frank’s picked 19” Excel rims, shod with street-legal flat track rubber from Mitas. Promax Racing Suspension sorted out the DR-Z400’s suspension, lowering it at both ends with stiffer springs all round.

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“On the technical side, I didn’t change too much,” Frank tells us, “because the basis was already perfect.” Even the air box is still in play, simply upgraded with a performance filter from BMC. The exhaust system is new though; Frank fabricated a new stainless steel header and plumbed in an Arrow X Cone muffler stolen from a KTM Duke.

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He also pared down the wiring, adding a Lithium-ion battery to keep things compact. It’s fitted in a hidden tray under the seat, but is easily accessible. The bike still has everything it needs for road use in the Netherlands, including LED lighting at both ends. As for the cockpit—that’s been kept super-sano with new bars and grips, fewer switches and nary a speedo in sight.

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Then there’s that delectable livery—inspired by Barry Sheene’s time with the Texaco Heron Suzuki team in the 70s, and applied by Royal Kustom Works. (Yes, the ‘7’ on the side is a tribute to Mr Sheene too).

DR-Z400s are known for being punchy, tough and versatile little buggers. Frank’s added a huge dollop of sex appeal to that list, cranking the fun up to eleven without losing too much practicality.

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As a daily runner, it ticks all our boxes. It also shows what Suzuki could do with the DR-Z platform, if they so wished. Now if only Frank would turn this into a kit…

Customs by Frank | Instagram | Images by Wouter Mertens, Credit: bikeexif

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#Custom #Suzuki #DRZ #DRZ400 #Moto #Bike

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