Bushido: A Suzuki GSX-R1100 with Katana style

Suzuki GSX-R1100 cafe racer by Rusty Wrench Motorcycles
If the next wave of custom motorcycling is focused on retro sportbikes, we’d be okay with that. The 90s are stacked with potent four-cylinder donors, hidden under massive fairings with loud graphics. So there’s potential there—if you know how to liberate it.

Named ‘Bushido’ after the ancient Samurai code of honor, this stripped-down Suzuki GSX-R1100 features a Katana-inspired headlight, and a seat that’ll barely keep you attached to the bike. Now consider that it produces 156 hp and 115 Nm, and it’s just the right brand of mad science.

Suzuki GSX-R1100 cafe racer by Rusty Wrench Motorcycles
It’s the work of Rusty Wrench Motorcycles in Faro, Portugal, and it balances both cafe racer and streetfighter sensibilities, with a few nods to Suzuki’s Japanese heritage. “The moto is a tribute to Suzuki Katana from the 80s,” says RW front man, Francisco Correia, “and the name is a tribute to the way of life of the Samurai.”

Starting with a 1996-model GSX-R, Francisco tore off its fairings and body panels, until only the tank remained. That left the Suzuki’s square aluminum frame and beefy four-cylinder motor exposed, creating a more mechanical and aggressive aesthetic. The tank’s adorned with a CNC-machined gas cap from Slingshot Racing, and an upgraded venting hose that looks miles better than the stock rubber tubing.

Suzuki GSX-R1100 cafe racer by Rusty Wrench Motorcycles
Just behind the tank is a stubby seat, with a sharp kick to catch the rider. The upholstery is top shelf: a combination of Alcantara and perforated leather, with contrast stitching and a RW tag sewn in.

RW fabricated a new bolt-on subframe to accommodate it, and finished off the arrangement with a pair of hand-shaped side panels to fill in the gaps. The taillight sits under the seat; an LED held in a neat aluminum plate. And the license plate has been relocated to a custom-made bracket behind the rear wheel, mounted to the left of the swingarm.

Suzuki GSX-R1100 cafe racer by Rusty Wrench Motorcycles
At the opposite end, RW built a custom aluminum headlight nacelle that echoes the lines of the iconic Suzuki Katana, but in a smaller size. Equipped with an LED headlight, it nails the Katana vibe, giving the bike an almost parts bin special feel—even though it’s not.

Tucked into the back of the fairing’s raised section is a small dash, complete with a tiny Motogadget speedo and a set of LED warning lights. RW have used a bunch of Motogadget parts, including a keyless ignition, bar-end turn signals, and their glassless rear view mirrors (not pictured). The cockpit’s finished off with LSL clip-ons, new grips, and Nissin radial clutch and brake master cylinders.

Suzuki GSX-R1100 cafe racer by Rusty Wrench Motorcycles
There’s not a whole bunch of performance tuning going on here—but with tons of power out the crate and added weight saving, there doesn’t need to be. RW gave the engine a decent once-over, and decided to leave it (and the air box) stock, replacing just the exhaust mufflers.

A YSS rear shock was installed, and the brake discs were all upgraded to EBC items. The tires are Continental ContiSportAttacks—sportbike tires designed for aggressive street riding and occasional track use.

Suzuki GSX-R1100 cafe racer by Rusty Wrench Motorcycles
The last few pieces of the puzzle include custom rear-sets, a modified front fender, and a custom-built belly pan that ties the overall design together nicely.

RW have kept the livery minimalistic on this one; a deep grey metallic paint job, with the forks, wheels and motor finished in black. Highlights are subtle red accents like the ‘Bushido’ motif on the tank, seat stitching, rear shock spring, and even the ‘Tokico’ logos on the OEM brake calipers.

Suzuki GSX-R1100 cafe racer by Rusty Wrench Motorcycles
This GSX-R1100 is a great example of a 90s sportbike done right. Yes, it’s a little busy and a lot crazy—but it also has a killer stance and a host of well thought-out details.

Put together, it just works.

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Suzuki GSX-R1100 cafe racer by Rusty Wrench Motorcycles