Federal Moto havethe Midas contact. The builds popping out of their Chicago workshop are sharp-edged, compact and large hits with our readers.
However generally, success could be a double-edged sword. After releasing ‘The Sunshine State of Thoughts’ SR500 in 2016, Federal had been bombarded with requests for a duplicate construct. “However there’s no enjoyable in constructing the identical bike twice,” says lead builder Mike Müller. “We love the assist, however we additionally need our purchasers to have a one-of-a-kind bike.”
So Federal typically counsel to their purchasers that they construct one other one-of-a-kind bike. “Simply as thumpy, simply as wheelie-enabled, and simply as superior!”
That’s what occurred with ‘Massive Suzie,’ a DR-Z400 commissioned by an area Chicago-based consumer. “He’s a father of two, a businessman and metropolis livin’,” says Mike. “He grew up on Honda CRs, Suzuki RMs and Yamaha YZs within the early 90s.”
Federal’s consumer needed a reliable metropolis thumper with the Federal contact: a motorbike that he may take for an occasional romp if the setting was proper.
The Müllers knew instantly what bike to make use of: the tried-and-tested DR-Z400 platform, launched on the flip of the century. As a serious bonus, the street-legal DR-Z400S variant has electrical begin—essential improve from the SR500 platform used for ‘Sunshine.’
The slim Suzuki additionally has CDI ignition, a 21-inch entrance wheel, and good Showa suspension: 49mm adjustable forks, and a shock adjustable for high- and low-speed compression, in addition to rebound damping.
With settlement on the 2005-spec donor bike, Federal whipped out the grinders. “We made a brand new subframe out of seven/eight” sq. metal to match the OEM primary body,” says Mike. “Importantly, this makes use of the OEM bolt-on factors for mounting—and could also be a future Federal product. We built-in a LED taillight into the subframe as effectively.”
Then Federal ditched the clunky plastic OEM tank and mated an SR500 tank to the body. “Just like the DRZ, the SR500 additionally has oil within the higher neck of the body,” Mike reveals. “So the tunnel was broad sufficient to suit, and the strains had been excellent with the stance we had been going for.”
The crisp tank design comes from artwork director Chris Paluch, with paint utilized by Peter Gamen of KandyVan. It’s a colossal enchancment on the garish yellow normally seen on DR-Z400s. As is the neat, minimalist seat pad—upholstered by Dane Utech.
However after becoming the SR500 tank, it turned out that there wasn’t sufficient clearance for the OEM radiator and the entrance wheel. So Federal sourced a Honda VFR400 radiator, and plumbed it in with HPS excessive temperature silicone hoses.
After just a little modification and a few custom brackets, they bought sufficient secure clearance for the entrance tire to make it work.
The bars are Renthal’s 7/eight Highway Extremely Low bend, fitted with Biltwell Kung Fu grips plus a compact gauge, switchgear and bar-end blinkers from Motogadget. Renthal additionally equipped the 49T Ultralight rear drive sprocket and matching gold R1 MX Works chain.
The short-adjust clutch and brake lever are from MSR, and a Hella lamp now lights the way in which.
There’s high quality in all places you look on this DRZ400. The suspension entrance and rear has been utterly rebuilt and the brake rotors are new, upgraded objects. The fenders are custom-made from 3003 aluminum alloy, and hand-rolled with custom brackets. Your complete body is powder coated.
The wheels are powder coated too, and have been re-laced with chrome steel spokes. They’re now shod with Metzeler’s extremely regarded Karoo three twin sport rubber.
Even the motor seems higher than new, with a mixture of polished and ceramic-coated surfaces protected by a Devol Engineering aluminum skid plate. There’s a high-flow Uni Filter on the consumption finish, and a custom exhaust routed to observe the subframe geometry. (It exits by way of a 12-inch chrome steel Cone Engineering muffler.)
Federal have hidden a lot of the electronics underneath the tank, together with a Motogadget m.unit Blue management field. It’s fed by Antigravity’s smallest and strongest lithium battery, the SC-1.
“I’ve to say, this hooligan, thumper model of construct is my favourite to do,” says Mike. “It’s a kinda Federal staple. Possibly in the future I can preserve one for myself.”
We wouldn’t thoughts one ourselves, both. Older DRZ400s are low-cost and simply positioned, and if taken care of, will preserve going ceaselessly—on each metropolis streets and hearth trails. Possibly that is the right ‘actual world’ custom construct?
Federal Moto | Fb | Instagram | photos by Grant Schwingle