Enter the Slabshot: Custom builder blends Suzuki Slabside with GSX-R1000 to create retro superbike

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How is this for a retro special? London bike builder Marc Bell has combined the chunky 1980s look of Suzuki GSX-R Slabsides and Slingshots with the modern motor and chassis of a 2009 Suzuki GSX-R1000 to produce the ‘Slabshot’.

Bell, who has been riding for around seven years, wanted to see if he could blend the brutish charm of performance superbikes of the 1980s and 90s with the slimline proportions, handling, and reliability of something more modern.

“I’ve always liked the older bikes, but the downside was the performance and the reliability. They look so nicely proportioned,” Bell told MCN. “If Suzuki ever did bring out a totally old-school GSX-R, it would do so well.”

Suzuki Slabshot front sprocket, chain and controls

Bell will be displaying the bike at the Bike Shed Moto Show in London at the end of May, having built a GSX-R1100 Slabbie special for the 2022 event.

The Slabshot will then be going up for sale, with plans in place to produce a catalogue, including three retro colour schemes, before taking commissions to build more to order. Expect to pay £25,000-£30,000.

“I built it as my ideal bike, but it’s not going to be one that I keep because I’ve proved the idea works,” Bell continued. 

Suzuki Slabshot hoover tubes

Getting down to detail, the Slabshot wears a set of classic endurance-style bodywork, inspired by Slingshot GSX-R race bikes of the time.

Bell designed the look of the rear end initially by mocking it up in cardboard, then tweaking the design to match the line of the fuel tank.

To get the front fairing to fit, the standard clocks, screen brace, bars, and controls were removed, with new aluminium brackets installed to work with the revised look. The tank is a modified Slingshot item, cut and reshaped at the rear for a steeper profile.

Suzuki Slabshot fuel tank

But there are plenty of modern features with new clip-ons, a quick action throttle, racing switchgear, and braided brake lines all part of the build. There are also Brembo M4 monobloc calipers, a smaller aftermarket exhaust, and an adjustable Nitron shock at the rear.

It’s fully road legal, meaning you can stun at the local meet as well as on a trackday. For more on this build and information on how to commission your own head to the haxchmoto page on Instagram.

Suzuki Slabshot in detail

  • Stripping back: The frame and swingarm were soda blasted before being brushed to create the bare aluminium look of a 1990s sportster.
  • Getting the right look: Marc Bell spent hours designing the livery in Photoshop – laying options over a shot of the bike to get an idea of how it would eventually look.
  • Taking the tube: The stock Suzuki airbox feeds were replaced with some period ‘hoover tubes’, inspired by bikes like Bell’s own Suzuki GSX-R400 road bike.
  • Going keyless: Another thoroughly modern element of the Slabshot is the keyless ignition – a feature not available when the K9 GSX-R1000 base bike was released.
  • Cracking yoke: The bike was treated to custom billet aluminium top yoke, which was designed and CNC machined to look like race bikes of the 80s and 90s.