Black Puddin’: An irreverent Suzuki GS1200SS by Sticky’s Speed Shop

Custom Suzuki GS1200SS by Sticky's Speed Shop
‘Sticky Matt’ Coulter, the proprietor of Sticky’s Speed Shop, is no stranger to an oil-cooled Suzuki. But despite a back catalog of Bandits, Slabsides, Slingshots, Harris frames, and drag choppers, all utilizing the iconic inline-four, Sticky Matt had long craved to build one Suzuki in particular. His Holy Grail of production bikes; the 2007 Suzuki GS1200SS.

Though plentiful on the shores of Japan and New Zealand, the Suzuki GS1200SS made it to the UK in very limited numbers, with even fewer surviving today. So when Matt eventually tracked one down—disassembled and spread across multiple boxes—he made it his. A self-confessed hoarder of rare, race, and rare-race parts, boxes of bits are something of a Sticky’s Speed Shop specialty.

Custom Suzuki GS1200SS by Sticky's Speed Shop
On a mission to build his ultimate oil-cooled Suzuki, Matt dug deep into his hoard, reaching for prize finds that had long been earmarked for this particular project. Carbon-magnesium Dymag wheels, a Spondon Kawasaki Z900 swingarm, a big block 1,371 cc motor, AP calipers, narrow track PFM discs, and Bimota ‘fattest of the fat’ right-way-up Paioli forks were just the start of what would become a dizzying parts list.

But alongside an appetite for what Matt refers to as “the goodies,” Sticky’s builds have become known and enjoyed for their left-field design and character.

Custom Suzuki GS1200SS by Sticky's Speed Shop
Working in collaboration with friend and artist Ryan Quickfall, his previous build, a GSX-R1000 K1-powered 1989 Suzuki Slingshot, was dubbed ‘Sushi-Suki’ and daubed with a prawn-topped, Skull-sporting Nigiri. And before that, the pair collaborated on the provocatively monikered ‘Widow Licker’—a purple, neon-pink, and yellow Slabside featuring a bird dropping a lucky shit on its flank.

“After the balls-out craziness of Sushi-Suki I wanted the GS to be simpler, plainer,” lies Matt. “I intended it to be all-black, subtle. From then on it became known as ‘Black Puddin’—but then I thought it could use a little bit of leopard print to break it up.”

Custom Suzuki GS1200SS by Sticky's Speed Shop
Things Inevitably began to spiral. Ryan penned a Black Puddin’ character for the tail and Matt’s penchant for purple and 90s tack took hold. Meanwhile, Matt kept tapping his parts bin to put the GS1200SS together.

Matt had a few bits left over from an ex-World Endurance Harris F1, including a factory dry clutch casing. (If this was to be the ultimate oil-cooled motor, it needed the dry clutch conversion.) Keihin FCR39 carbs would feed the engine, and a cut-and-shut Moriwaki Monster pipe, originally destined for a Z900, would eject the noise.

Custom Suzuki GS1200SS by Sticky's Speed Shop
Maxton twin-shocks, old race yokes, Race Component Development rear-sets, custom spindles, and a custom torque arm also made their way onto the bike.

For the tank and tail, Matt approached another long-time collaborator, Coba Valley Cycles. The GS was in itself conceived as a tribute to the iconic XR69 race bike, so the custom aluminum bodywork would refer back and exaggerate those iconic lines. The little and large Monza tank fillers were an idea taken from Matt’s dad’s old endurance race bike, a Rickman Z900.

Custom Suzuki GS1200SS by Sticky's Speed Shop
The fairing is a King Carbon XR69 unit. The original lozenge cutaways were replaced with lightning bolts, while alongside the single offset headlight, a circular hole pattern was cut to both ape the traditional second light, and provide airflow to the head cooler. Layers of purple lacquer, matte black leopard print, and a purple screen were then added to satisfy the ‘plain and subtle’ brief (obviously).

Matt is keen to stress that Sticky’s Speed Shop is far from a one-man outfit. Lee from Steelheart Engineering contributed, as always, with billet clock and headlight mounts, billet battery and electrical boxes (with a clear acrylic top), and a host of other fixes. All those little details make for a machine that looks as good with the bodywork off as on.

Custom Suzuki GS1200SS by Sticky's Speed Shop
With a deadline looming in the form of the 2024 Bike Shed Moto Show poster shoot, the finishing touches were added deep into a sleepless workshop night alongside friend and fellow builder, Gav Shuter. A mirror-polished Suzuki tank logo, blued titanium bolts, 70s psychedelic GS1371SSS graphics, and a perforated leather seat with crocodile edging, were amongst the last elements to come together.

So, has Sticky’s Speed Shop finally completed its Suzuki catalog? “Maybe,” says Matt.

Custom Suzuki GS1200SS by Sticky's Speed Shop
“Next up is a Bosozuku-inspired Zed and a couple of Ducatis. But never say never. I picked up a dry clutch GSXR750 Ltd engine the other day. That will need a home at some point.”

We can’t wait to see it.

Sticky’s Speed Shop Instagram | Images by Amy Shore

Custom Suzuki GS1200SS by Sticky's Speed Shop

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