We love a custom. And judging by the response this bike received when we posted it on our Facebook page, you do too. This is the handiwork of Lee Workman. Badged as a GSX-R1340, this unique streetfighter also went on to win Carole Nash’s Built In Britain competition. We couldn’t resist a closer look. And if you get your kicks from the technical details too, you’ll want one as well.
After seeing pictures of Lee Workman’s custom GSX-R1340, we all got a little bit excited, and we couldn’t resist finding out what was underneath. Things like the custom swingarm and smattering of Yoshimura logos were evident. But after it won the Built In Britain competition, we were only ever going to have to look a little deeper.
“I was looking for another project and I was looking for a theme to focus it around,” Lee explains. “The drag racing bug had bitten me in the past, so I decided that this would be a serious drag bike first, fun road bike second. I got the theme idea from midweek reruns of Orange County Choppers on TV. Customs and choppers aren’t my thing, but I can appreciate the effort and engineering that goes into them. I liked the way that their bikes incorporated sponsor logos and their actual components.”
Already in Lee’s possession was the basis of this project; a Bandit 1200 engine. However, this GSF1200 engine was a long way from standard. To list but a few changes, the cases were bored for oversize liners and a special cylinder block bored to 1340cc with weight matched and balanced MTC flat top pistons. The crank was lightened and balanced and weight matched and balanced Carrillo H-beam con-rods fitted. A GSX-R 1100M undercut gearbox and coil spring clutch conversion made its way on, and Lee also managed to get his hands on genuine, ex-works Yoshimura sand-cast starter and ignitor covers, and added a GSX-R sump and pick up. He also fitted an APE heavy duty crank case and cylinder nuts, and the head was skimmed, gas-flowed and ported.
The Mikuni RS38 flat slide carbs had K&N pod filters and a micro switch for nitrous fitted, and the linkage modified to accept GSX-R1000 K4 throttle cables. It got stainless steel oversized inlet and exhaust valves and a one off smoothed and Yoshimura logo’d cam cover, and it also received Yoshimura, full titanium GSX-R1100 4:1 conical duplex headers with a handmade titanium link pipe and Yoshimura titanium Tri-Oval race can. But despite all this, he had nothing to put it into.
“I realised pretty quickly that this would never go into the GSX-R1000 K4 I’d bought, so I went hunting for a frame. As luck would have it, one came up pretty soon. It was a crashed and part stripped GSX-R1100L. It came complete with all of the electrics, brakes and footrests. It had virtually everything, minus the engine, carbs, pipe and tank. It was perfect for my needs.”
Lee soon set about making the frame suit his requirements. All unused brackets were removed, as well as the original subframe. A GSX-R1000 K2 subframe went on and a nitrous bottle on quick release brackets was added. Yoshimura rearsets were fitted, as well as a titanium shift rod and a K6 rear master cylinder. He even fitted a shortened GSX-R750J kickstand and his own fabricated headlamp and instrument mounts. This was certainly going to be very much Lee’s own interpretation of a GSX-R themed streetfighter.
“I decided not to fit the original forks and front end again, and after a bit of a think, I flogged it and bought a complete GSX-R1000 K5 front end. It was finished off with a set of HEL carbon hoses and oversize 320mm Galfer wave rotors, and the four-pot radial calipers were spaced to suit, with a set of Brocks Performance billet tie down brackets.
“At the rear, I started with the stock swingarm and removed the old adjusters. I drew up some replacements that would stretch the wheelbase on good old fashioned graph paper. I designed the adjusters to be internal rather than have two great long spikes sticking out the back. I also took the opportunity to accommodate the much larger diameter axle from the GSX-R1000 K4 back wheel that I was going to use, and slots for a caliper hanger that could cope with the adjustment, without the need for a torque arm. I also blagged a tired Bandit 1200 Öhlins shock in exchange for a GSX-R1100M one and a few quid. I had it re-sprung and rebuilt, and this pretty much finished off the rear end.”
But after all of Lee’s extensive mechanical changes, there was still the aesthetics to take care of.
“A poster of a 1985 GSXR750 was on my wall, painted in the Yoshimura colours of anthracite over bright red, a colour scheme I’d always had a soft spot for. And as I’d decided this was what I thought a Yoshimura prepped, GSX-R based streetfighter might be like, it seemed like the colours to go for.”
The bodywork featured a GSX-R1100M fuel tank, modified for twin fillers and black anodised Harris Performance fuel filler caps. Lee also picked up a headlamp unit that he didn’t recognise, but spent a bit of time significantly reworking it to fit and feel as he wanted. A GSX-R1000 K2 seat unit and pillion seat hump were fitted, with a 2.5lb NX nitrous bottle mounted under the cowl. The K2 seat was also reshaped to suit the 1100L tank and recovered in black leather. A Harris carbon fibre, vented K4 front mudguard was bolted on, and the frame, subframe, and various steel brackets all powder coated in satin black, while the wheels were powder coated in white. The engine was painted with black smoothrite and the Yoshimura engine cases were powder coated in crinkle black. All of the aluminium components were mirror polished then anodised black, and all the graphics were designed by Lee.
“It took over five years to build,” Lee explains, “but with the bike finally completed I just wanted to ride and enjoy it on the road. I’ve done a few thousand miles on it now and after a few shakedown runs at my local drag strip, it’s now ready to be used as I intended. I’ve already beat my personal best, running a 9.8 second quarter mile at 144mph, with hopefully more to come.
“As for the Carole Nash Built In Britain contest, I was delighted when it was crowned the winner. I’m just glad other people seem to have taken such an interest in it.”
Check out more images here.