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Kevin Schwantz owned my bike!

By Trevor Franklin -

Custom & modified bikes

 26 August 2009 15:30

Bikes with history take on many forms. Take, for example, this plain-looking 1990 air-cooled Suzuki DR350S. Would you believe it was once owned by 1993 GP500 World Champion Kevin Schwantz?

The 385cc big-bore air-cooled DR350 was presented to Kevin Schwantz as a ‘ranch bike’ by the technicians of Team Pepsi Suzuki, who Schwantz was signed to at the time. The bike was then later imported into the UK.

The bike’s present owner, MCN reader Keith Skinner, has owned it for 2-3 months and says it still runs perfectly with smooth power delivery and perfect throttle control.

A self-confessed Schwantz fan, Skinner knew of the bike’s existence in the London area and when it came up for sale had to have it. The bike is now used for ‘pottering about’ and lives in Skinner’s garage alongside his prized RG500.

“The bike was eventually registered for road use in 1997,” said Skinner. “Road use today would require that the rear number plate is fitted flat and vertically (it was originally stuck on the rear mudguard) and probably hung off a standard DR350 rear sub-frame. I have a copy of the original US registration and some interesting provenance.

“I was fortunate to have dinner with Kevin Schwantz at last year’s Stafford Show and he confirmed – well, he was gobstruck actually – his ownership of the bike, along with the scuffs and scratches.”

Another major modification to the ex-Schwantz DR350S includes fully adjustable front forks taken from a Suzuki RM250 motocross machine. But most work centres around the increase in horsepower output from Suzuki’s original claimed 30bhp to 41bhp on a dynamometer.

Here is the full list of engine modifications to the Kevin Schwantz DR350:
Capacity bored out to 385cc (was 349cc)
High Compression piston
Gas-flowed cylinder head
Customised extensions to cylinder head cooling fins for better cooling
Semi flat-slide carburettor
Arrow carbon exhaust can
SS exhaust manifold
Dry sump clutch
6 speed close ratio gearbox

If you have a bike with interesting history attached to it, email details and pictures to trevor.franklin@motorcyclenews.com