The Suzuki Boulevard C50 is a superb bargain tourer that was just dying to be modified, says Brisbane MBW reader Denzil Charles who supplied this story.
READ OUR BOULEVARD C50 REVIEW
The Boulevard was my first new bike, after a few hand-me-downs. I’m a big fan of old big-fendered, ArtDeco-styled bikes, so I knew that whatever bike I ended up purchasing would be a blank canvas for future customisation.
I bought the bike new in 2008 after shopping around and paid just $10,500 ride away. After buying the Suzuki, the modifications began slowly. Whitewall tyres were fitted immediately.
After a few thousand kilometres getting used to the Boulevard, it was time for an exhaust. At the time there were a handful of Aussie manufacturers making parts for metric cruisers, but none ticked the style that I was after.
Using the internet for good, instead of evil, a long search of overseas manufacturers yielded DG Hard Chrome. A set of their Long Shots exhausts was ordered from the USA. A few hours of spannering, and the pipes were fitted up. Whilst I was pleased, my neighbours were probably not as enthusiastic about my triumphant post-installation test-ride around the neighbourhood at late hours of the night!
I rode the bike around for a few years, until the announcement of the first Distinguished Gentleman’s ride in Brisbane. It was the spur in the side that I needed to go all out on the Boulevard. With an idea in my head of how I pictured the end result, a complete teardown of the bike ensued.
First, the number plate bracket on the rear guard was removed and mounting holes were filled. A new plate mount was machined from aluminium, polished and mounted to the left-hand side of the final drive. The number plate is held on with LED post lights.
Mounting points for the rear pillion seat were kept intact as it’s always great fun being able to introduce non-riding friends to motorcycling.
Deciding to repaint the bike was easy. Choosing a colour scheme was arduous. After toying with idea of traditional two-tone paint job, I ended up diving in at the deep end and going with what I really wanted which was something similar to the Soprano Purple of Holden’s Efijy concept car.
Scouring paint samples, PPG’s Plum Candy over Metallic Charcoal was selected. A manic painting session ensued. Four coats of the charcoal, followed by eight coats of the Candy Plum and a further 10 coats of clear had her just as I’d imagined.
Turning to the engine, the exhaust helped to move air out of the cylinders, but didn’t help increase the incoming air, so the stock air box and its convoluted intake trunking was ditched for a homemade foam air-filter element.
The PAIR (emissions control) valve on the left side of the engine was removed to un-complicate the look and allow a better view of the cylinders.
A few little tidy-up details, fitting chrome trim around the guards and tank, removing the stock mirrors for some smaller ‘hidden’ units, which actually provide a better view than the factory mirrors did!
I chose to remove all badging from the bike, purely for aesthetic reasons, and it’s great fun listening to people try to guess what it started life as!
Final assembly the night before the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride made for a late night, but riding the Boulevard there, and joining in on the event was worth every late night in the shed.
The exhausts were the most expensive single item at about $2000 by the time I had them shipped here. After that, it’s about $500 worth of paint. Otherwise everything else has pretty much just been negligible. I’ve done all the work on her myself, so it’s just cost time.
I love her to bits and, other than some braided brake lines (purely for aesthetic reasons) she’s pretty perfect to me.
I ride her whenever I get the chance, and every time, without a fail, she puts a giant smile on my face. The blend of classic styling and modern, turn-key, reliability was exactly what I wanted to get out of the build and I think she’s hit that goal spot on.
I’m looking at moving overseas in the future, so if someone twisted my arm and waved a fistful of dollars under my nose, I could be convinced to sell her. But don’t let the bike know I said that!
My current build is an ’82 Kawasaki GPZ550 cafe racer and I’ve got a Yamaha XJ900S in the shed too. I hope to bring the GPZ to a DGR soon!
I’m a licensed aircraft maintenance engineer by trade, so getting my hands dirty in the mechanical is par for the course!
Playing with bikes is rest time for me. I enjoy being locked away in my workshop at home, getting my hands on the bikes. It offers a great sense of pride and accomplishment, pushing that finished project out for a ride. Even if it’s a little mod or some basic maintenance, once you’ve done something and it works just as you’d imagined is a brilliant feeling.
- If you have a custom bike build you would like to share with MBW readers, email us the details and photos.