The German motorcycling divisions really know how to stir things up for the better. Much like BMW building a life-size concept from a lego model, Suzuki’s Germany division has decided they also would like to push boundaries. So they of course enlisted premier German builders Mellow Motorcycles to build a radical flat tracker.
Suzuki decided it wanted to, nay, needed to enter the Essenza competition which would be held at the Cafe Racer Festival in Montlhéry, France. The 1/8th mile drag race has 5 rules; custom bikes only, no drag bikes, two wheels, two cylinders, and 1200cc maximum. That’s it, pretty simple. Suzuki only has two twin cylinder motorcycles in its lineup that are worth their salt, the SV650 and the V-Strom series. And the SV just wouldn’t do. Suzuki then approached renowned German builders Mellow Motorcycles and offered to give them a brand new V-Strom 1000 XT if they were willing to build it to their specs. Mellow was happy to oblige.
Before Mellow could tear into the V-Strom, Suzuki laid down some very particular ground rules. The hard parts were not to be modified in any way, including frame and suspension. They were allowed to tune any standard components, but they had to stay in factory condition. The other stipulation was that any body modifications must be made so they mount in the same fashion as stock. That means the fuel cap needed to remain as well as the stock fuel system. That is quite the task, yet Mellow Motorcycles owners Flo Hubert & Amir Brajan didn’t even flinch at the idea.
The brilliant Germans started by ditching all the stock bodywork, taking the bike down to a rolling chassis. From there they elected to mold their concepts out of clay instead of the new 3d scanners. Hubert says, “In order to find the right shapes and to finalize the design, we have gone through the elaborate path and instead have worked with genuine Clay models instead of 3D computer riot.” I don’t know these folks, but I love their style.
To keep the stock fuel system intact they first had to design and build a new aluminum gas tank that could fit underneath their new bodywork. From there they started molding the tank and tail section, eventually landing on a monocoque design that would incorporate the bodywork into one single unit. The finished product was made entirely from carbon fiber, and they added two carbon side panels to give the bike a ‘slimmer and lighter design.’ Making this even more impressive is how they managed to hide the entire electronics package well within this bodywork, giving it the ultimate custom look. That’s right, this tracker still features full ABS, 3-rider modes and traction control.
By far my absolute favorite part of the build is the front end. The fairing Mellow Motorcycles created is possibly the best number plate/light fairing I have ever seen on a motorcycle. It comes with such style and yet is still entirely functional. Everything from the number placement to the hint of Suzuki yellow makes this the perfect piece to set the entire build off. I mean… just look at it.
While I could go on for a couple more hours about how much I love the front number plate I’ll contain myself and point out that it’s not just the front of the bike that’s impressive. Utilizing the stock subframe Mellow has created a truly unique tail section that really gives this build a unique tracker feel. It’s edgy for a tracker, just like it should be. The number plates on the back are small and sleek yet you can visualize his actually sliding on dirt and being legible. To top it all off the little ducktail spoiler over the Suzuki ‘S’ emblem just drips with cool. They even managed to find the perfect balance between the bright Suzuki Yellow and showing off some of that exposed carbon, a balance that normally doesn’t exist.
Suzuki’s 1037cc V-twin isn’t the most potent engine in the world but it can hold its own, producing gobs of torque to keep the grin factor high. Mellow Motorcycles elected to fit the V-Strom with a Yoshimura R-11 pipe and call it a day. With the already adequate power from the torque V-twin combined with Mellow Motorcycles radical weight reduction, this Suzuki has gone from capable adventure bike to stupid fun do it all bike. After all, the suspension hasn’t been changed leaving the option to taking this bird off-road anytime you’re feeling adventurous.
Now the V-Tracker is a great looking bike, but it was built for a purpose. And that purpose was to drag race, and that it did. Without any extensive performance mods, the V-Tracker was able to take home a very respectable 3rd place in its first-ever event. Even better, the bike that beat it in the semi-finals was non-other than the overall winning Indian Scout, which happened to be sporting nitrous. 3rd doesn’t sound so bad when you hear that. Even better than that this machine would easily beat that Scout in any other contest, including the looks department.
From an unlikely platform to one of the coolest trackers in the world, Mellow Motorcycles has just secured their place as one of the best in the game.