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Tell us a little about yourself and why you decided to build a RYCA.
I absolutely love the look of the café racer, but the retro-styled production bikes currently available aren’t comfortable for me as a smaller, less experienced rider.  A friend introduced me to the RYCA CS-1, and the specs of the Boulevard S40, and I was up for the challenge.

How did you find your Suzuki? What year model? What shape was it in?

I purchased a 2008 S40 via Craigslist in June 2011. It was lightly used by another female rider; I rode it stock for two seasons before tearing it down in October 2012.

Did you sell the take-off parts? How much did you get?
Unfortunately, the take-off parts are still all over the garage.

Tell us about any mods or upgrades you did to your bike.
I added CRG bar-end mirrors and mini front turn signals; otherwise it’s stock CS-1. 

How long have you been riding? What other bikes do you own?
I’ve been riding since 2010. I started with a Vespa LS200 then purchased the S40 in 2011 in anticipation of the CS-1 build. Expecting the CS-1 to be best suited for city riding, I moved to a SV650 for longer rides.

What's your occupation?
I’m a senior business analyst in supply chain operations.

What advice would you give to future RYCA builders?
You do not need to be a mechanic to do this build - RYCA has done a great job with quality parts and comprehensive build materials. Basic tools, patience and following instructions will result in a fine looking bike. This was a weekend-only project for about 9 weeks, and then another weekend after the parts came back from paint. Take your time, understand the process and label EVERYTHING.

What was the best thing about building the bike?
I enjoyed the entire process, the transformation from cruiser to café racer. We didn’t go into the project with much experience so I learned a lot and am a lot more confident troubleshooting issues on all our bikes. I enjoy showing off the bike and introducing other enthusiasts to RYCA.

Tell us about any problems you had and how you solved them.
General lack of experience slowed progress at times, but using the Clymer manual and forum posts to supplement the RYCA guides/videos got us back on track relatively quickly. YouTube came through with some good stuff for “how to drill through metal” and other random queries for “how to”. A couple of friends with experience wrenching on bikes rounded out the “extended build team” by providing consulting, troubleshooting tips and general encouragement.

Thanks for sharing your story and photos with us, Holly. The bike looks great!

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