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Tell us a little about yourself and why you decided to build a RYCA.
First off I want to thank you for a great kit and the most wonderful and responsive customer service I have had in a very long time!!

I discovered the RYCA CS-1 on Wikipedia when reading about the Suzuki Savage. I have owned motorcycles since I was 15 years old. I had just retired and reacquainted with a high school friend, John, and we both thought this would be a fun project for the long Maine winter. We feel the café motorcycle look is awesome and the Suzuki 650 is a bulletproof motor. We each ordered a CS-1 Kit.

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

I found a 2004 Savage with 5800 miles for $1800.00. The bike had been sitting behind a John Deere tractor in a barn and was not in the best of shape. This was a fun and rewarding build as we both bounced questions off each other as well as a few to Ryan too!!

Did you sell the take-off parts? How much did you get?
I am planning to sell the old parts soon.

Tell us about any mods or upgrades you did to your bike.
I purchased the CS-1 kit with the Super Bars. The bike was stripped to the bare frame cleaned and repainted. I moved the ignition key switch to the old battery location, as I plan to use a small tank bag. All of the aluminum parts were cleaned and polished. I installed my design of the “Cool-2-Touch” manual decompression lever (please see pictures). Back Bay Customs located in Portland, ME painted the Barcelona Red color and Ghost Stripe. I used 4 Led DOT blinker lights as to meet the inspection requirements of Maine. 

How long have you been riding? What other bikes do you own?
I have been riding motorcycles for 45 years. Currently this is my only bike but I am looking for another donor bike for build #2!

What's your occupation?
My background is in the HVAC controls business.

What advice would you give to future RYCA builders?
The advice I would pass on is to take your time. If removing the engine use the Clymer wiring diagrams and string tags to locate and mark all of the wiring. Use a cable hoist attached securely to the ceiling to assist with the engine removal/installation. We used a strap around the engine and unbolted the frame. The installation of the engine into the frame was about 2 minutes!! This was John’s idea.

What was the best thing about building the bike?
One of the most enjoyable aspects was working with an old friend and building two motorcycles that are turning heads here in Maine.

Tell us about any problems you had and how you solved them.
Removing the swing arm bearings was a chore, as we did not have the Suzuki puller. We used a long drift punch. We really had no problems with the RYCA kit. All the parts are well thought out and fit well. I have had trouble keeping the thumbscrews tight that hold the side covers on.

Anything else you want to add?
John and I would like to extend our contact information to anyone in Maine that is interested in building his or her own RYCA. Please contact Gary via email at gbriggsmtroad@gmail.com or John at j.alden@myfairpoint.net.

Thanks, Gary! A very inspiring build and a fine looking bike. Great to hear your story!

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