Monster in the making
John “Fieldy” Holman is turning Big Bertha into Frankenstein
I was living the dream on Queensland’s Gold Coast when my neighbour Kurtzo, from Burleigh Bars (an American Victory Cruiser fanatic), says to me over the fence one night, “Hey, Fieldy, have you seen those new Boulevards? They are #!&@ing beasts!” I thought to myself, if Kurtzo thinks a Jap bike is a beast they are worth looking at! The next week, I was driving past Gold Coast Suzuki with the missus and decided to drop in and check one out.
Maybe it was a mid-life crisis thing, but I was standing there, thinking to myself, “How do I talk the boss into this one?” and she says, “You know, I do like the look of that bike.” Next thing I am sitting down with Luke the salesman signing on the dotted line for a 2009 Suzuki Boulevard M109R.
It’s a beast! It’s 310kg dry, is 1800cc and has curves! I called her Big Bertha. But, so much for the limited-edition model: it turns out there are about six white ones the same as mine on the Gold Coast, so I had to customise it. I had no budget at all, but my idea was to make this bike look like mine. The bike has some great curves and angles so I decided to tidy up the look and go with the sweep of it. As for budget, I just involved the other half in every decision (in other words she just got sick of me asking her what she thought of this air kit, or this exhaust etc).
I decided to customise the bike from scratch. The project took me 10 weeks and I didn’t waste any time.
The first thing I did was go to the internet. Everywhere I looked there were bolt-on parts and accessories for the M109R. And I read a lot of forums online. This is a very popular cruiser; Google it and you will see. Here’s what I did.
Before I picked up the bike I got the shop to fit a larger 260 rear tyre instead of the stock 240. At the same time they fitted a large Suzuki sissy bar and mount.
I put a fender eliminator kit on the rear and removed the tank stickers.
Then I debaffled the stock exhaust.
A Rivco Tach Relocator kit was installed.
Kurtzo from Burleigh Bars put on 1.75-inch (44.45mm) rollerbars — the fattest in the world — and that really set off the bike! Scythe II mirrors, Kuryakin Iso Grips, Kuryakin throttle boss and Kuryakin stiletto caps were next.
I fitted new gel seats for me and the missus.
Deano from Gold Coast Suzuki installed the Cobra Swept Exhaust, the Power Commander V, Ultra Flow Stage 3 Air Kit and JSD Timing Retard Eliminator. Then Skips Motorcycle Performance Centre in Stapleton dyno’d and tuned it. I believe you can never have enough power and, bloody oath, I love it!
I didn’t really cost me that much because I did my research, plus the Aussie dollar is strong at the moment, so parts from the States were cheap. I got assorted bits from Mean Cycles in Miami, Florida, and also online from Cruiser Customising.
I wouldn’t do anything differently and I haven’t had a bad experience with anyone I have dealt with, but I haven’t finished yet.
Ride system to it. I’m going to go even bigger with a 300 fat tyre kit. I’ll fit a rear-brake relocator, a 21-inch front wheel and fender relocator. I’ll take the rake out seven inches in front with a new triple tree. I’m going to get work done on the cams and port, and have the heads polished for more horsepower. Then I’ll get a second job to pay for it all!
Special thanks go to my neighbour Kurtzo, who told me about the Boulevard in the first place and has given me heaps of help, especially with those wicked-looking hangers! Luke, Josh and Deano from Gold Coast Suzuki are almost my second family; I’m down at the shop most weekends picking their brains and they are always willing to help. Thanks to my old man, ZZ!, that’s his nickname, for helping me install the bits! And of course, Juzzy the missus, for putting up with me and saying yes when I want to buy stuff (which is every weekend).