John Sinclairs GS450 1 Every now and then a build comes along that resonates more than others with those of us who write for the shed. Sometimes its because it's a certain style of bike. Sometimes it's because it has a particularly appealing paint scheme. But this one is a little bit different. It resonates because it's based on a bike that means so much to the writer of this story. The GS450 is a spitting image of the bike that I spent my entire teenage years on, a GSX400. Seeing one turned into something so damn cool almost makes me cry with nostalgia. I'll try and keep my emotions in check. Promise. But before we go any further, you have to watch this. It's a comprehensive time lapse film of the entire build from start to finish. If you ever thought a build like this could be knocked up in a few days, think again. It's a sobering reminder of the amount of work required. The eagle eyed amongst you will also spot that the entire build was done in the back of a converted van. Shed Builds, Pro Builds, now Van Builds. John Sinclairs GS450 2 John was originally from Scotland, but now lives in the Pacific Northwest of the USA on a small island called Friday Harbor. He went there on a two week vacation in 1999, but never left. Half the year he's a professional photographer, the other half he spends flying back and forth to Europe doing high end tech support for a major oil field service company. He describes himself as a self taught mechanic, somewhere between amateur and pro. John has re-built a GS450 before, but it went with his girlfriend when they broke up in 1999. He says he'd love to track her down someday (the bike, not the girlfriend.) John Sinclairs GS450 3 John's current girlfriend wanted to learn to ride, so he found this '81 GS on Craigslist for $400. It hadn't been started in twenty something years, but with a new battery and some fresh fuel, she fired right up. There was a lot of corrosion on the bike, so there was a long, crazy cleaning and polishing phase to this build. There's about ten hours on each of the wheels alone. He wanted to do a classic cafe racer with a hint of off-road capability. Nothing too fancy for a first build as he was doing all of this in the back of a van, with limited facilities. The bike was stripped all the way down to the frame and all superfluous brackets were removed. All electronics were rewired to fit in the limited space underneath the seat. The rear frame was chopped, a new seat was made and clubman bars went on along with a new headlight and speedo. Nearly everything came off the shelves of Dime City Cycles. John Sinclairs GS450 4 John says he didn't want to do anything 'too fancy' for his first build, yet he has designed and built a keyless ignition system. It uses the same tech as those little security dongles you use to access office doors. He has one stripped down and sewn into the back of his glove so all he has to do is wave his hand over the headlight and the ignition comes alive. Sounds pretty damn fancy to us. He is now working on a smaller version of the design with an idea to selling the system online. A lot of ideas for the tank were sketched out before settling on a modern version of the classic checker board pattern. John knew he would be documenting the build in detail, so thought of the name 'The Four Fifty' for the website and made up a neat logo too. John Sinclairs GS450 5 John says it's fun to ride, being so light and nimble. I can vouch for that. My bog standard 400 used to be a proper laugh to throw around the country lanes in the South of England. John admits he's really fallen for these little Suzuki's and wants to specialise in them. He already has a few followers around the world keeping in regular touch about their own builds. Next time he wants to work more on the engine tuning to see if he can extract a few more ponies, plus he plans to have a CNC mill to make some custom parts, like rearsets and triple clamps. Exciting stuff. Yes I'm biased, but these bikes really are little gems. If I could find one in decent nick over here (easier said than done) I'd snap it up. And then bend John's ear about it incessantly. Thanks for the trip down memory lane mate.