Getting Personal: Ludovic Lazareth’s Suzuki RG400

A neo-classic custom Suzuki RG400 from the French workshop Lazareth
Ludovic Lazareth builds some of the world’s most extreme custom bikes. You know the type: they appear on websites that wouldn’t normally feature motorcycles, just because they’re so outrageous.

So when Monsieur Lazareth decided to build a bike for himself, we expected to see the ultimate clickbait. Instead, he’s exercised more restraint than usual and created this beautiful ‘neo classic’ Suzuki RG400 Gamma.

A neo-classic custom Suzuki RG400 from the French workshop Lazareth
The RG400 is not a common bike outside of Japan. And Lazareth came across this example in a most unusual way: Via a phone call from his friend Franco Sbarro, of the Swiss sportscar company, asking if he wanted to take away some motorcycles that were lying around in the Sbarro factory.

A neo-classic custom Suzuki RG400 from the French workshop Lazareth
The bric-à-brac included an RG400, and it’s an inspired choice for a custom—a lightweight and fast mid-80s two-stroke.

It weighs a mere 153 kilos (337 pounds), and is based on Suzuki’s contemporary square-four racebike.

A neo-classic custom Suzuki RG400 from the French workshop Lazareth
Sold mostly in the Asian markets, the RG400 had a shorter life than the more familiar RG500, but similar slab-sided styling.

But the heavy-set fairing of the original has now gone. There’s a new tail unit to match the refurbished stock tank, and the cream-and-black paint is immaculate.

A neo-classic custom Suzuki RG400 from the French workshop Lazareth
The rev-happy water-cooled engine is one of the highlights of the RG400: Even in stock form it’s fed by four 8mm Mikuni VM28SH flatslide carbs.

So M. Lazareth has left it alone, and focused his efforts on creating a new chassis with slim, elegant tubing.

A neo-classic custom Suzuki RG400 from the French workshop Lazareth
That new frame is now attached to a full Yamaha YZF-R1 suspension setup, with the forks and swingarm modified to fit.

They’re hooked up to 17-inch Excel rims shod with Michelin superbike rubber. Other top-shelf goodies include an Öhlins shock and a full Brembo brake system with plate-sized 340mm drilled discs up front.

A neo-classic custom Suzuki RG400 from the French workshop Lazareth
Lazareth can fabricate almost anything he wishes in his factory, so he’s gone to town on the exhaust system—with four custom-made pipes and expansion chambers, hooked up to simple cylindrical mufflers. He describes it as sounding like “four engines in one.”

As a point-and-squirt bike, it looks like huge fun. And we’re guessing it’s a little easier to ride than Lazareth’s most famous creation, a motorcycle powered by a 4700cc Maserati V8 …

Lazareth | Facebook | Instagram | Images by Cédric Collao

A neo-classic custom Suzuki RG400 from the French workshop Lazareth