Sylvain Berneron is a BMW Motorrad designer who is particularly passionné about customs. This is ‘Tzar,’ his personal Suzuki GSX1200 Inazuma—and it’s even faster than it looks. At the Wheels & Waves festival in Biarritz last June, Tzar took on all-comers and won the hotly-contested drag races at the local airfield.
Berneron is best known in the custom scene under his alter ego Holographic Hammer, sketching concepts for new bikes. “As a designer I realized that the first idea is rarely the best,” he notes. “Perfection comes from exploring different options and trying unusual things. All my friends ride or work in the custom motorcycle business, and I was always around them to Photoshop their garage builds, and make them logos. Holographic Hammer is a digital tool that helps and simplifies the manual labor.”
So how did he approach his own build? “Before getting my hands dirty, I had to figure out exactly what I wanted,” he says. “That meant a good steel frame for stiffness, running under the tank for a more classic look. I wanted an oil-cooled engine because they’re simple and reliable—a big-bore inline four, to get decent torque and power. I wanted twin shocks for their beauty, and all of it in a ‘modern’ base bike that could be ridden every day.”
Only two bikes fitted the bill: The Kawasaki ZRX1200 and the Suzuki GSX1200 Inazuma. With little to separate the contenders, Berneron picked the Suzuki for the shape of its tank. He started to tear it apart, looking for ways to get the maximum impact on a tight budget. “It was all about updating the chassis and reworking the tail to get a proper cafe-racer line.”
Although Berneron maintains his own bikes, this time he called in a race mechanic friend, Hugo Lambert. They grafted on a GSX-R1000 front end, installed LSL clip-ons and an Acewell speedo, and fitted a pair of Braking PR19 master cylinders.
They shortened the subframe by 30 centimeters and totally reworked it to hide the battery and CPU under the seat. The engine received K&N filters, bigger exhaust pipes with a ZARD silencer, a modified ignition and a pair of Yoshimura cams. Berneron estimates the output to be around 160 hp.
After a trip to the powdercoater, the cream on the cake was a paint job inspired by Barry Sheene’s 1975 RG500 racer.
If you want to visualize a custom before firing up the grinder, contact Sylvain Berneron via the Holographic Hammer Facebook page.
Images courtesy of Guerry & Prat.