Tell us a little about yourself and why you decided to build a RYCA.
I had been riding a Honda Ruckus for about a year but really wanted to learn how to ride a motorcycle. I just grew out of a 49cc really quick. I told a friend who rides I was interested in getting a Honda Rebel but I wanted a bike that was easily customizable and wanted to know how much custom work cost. He sent me a link to Ryca Motors and I was instantly in love with the CS1. I loved the contemporary and clean aesthetic that you don’t see with a lot of stock bikes. The idea of building my own bike was intimidating at first but I just became so infatuated with the look, I had to have it. I did have some handy woman skills under my belt already, so I felt fit for the challenge.
How did you find your Suzuki? What year model? What shape was it in?
In the time it took me to save up for the kit, I diligently searched craigslist for my bike. I finally found a 2002 Savage with 9000 miles on it, looked great cosmetically; it had been used as a commuter bike. I spent $1900, but probably should have paid $1300 because she was long over due for a new cam chain. You live and you learn the sound of a stretched cam chain. I had it replaced after the conversion.
Did you sell the take-off parts? How much did you get?
I tried to sell them wholesale to a used part shop but they had a lot of Suzuki parts already. I live in Albuquerque now and haven’t found a place to buy them wholesale. If you have the patience you could get a lot parting them out individually, I just haven’t done it yet.
Tell us about any mods or upgrades you did to your bike.
I got some bar-end mirrors, heat wrap for the pipe, led Tru-Wrap turn signals and running lights, knee grips on the tank, Yamaha Rapture petcock and a crank case vent filter. Nothing crazy, the bike is great as it comes. If I had a little more wiggle room financially things could have gotten wild.
How long have you been riding? What other bikes do you own?
I had maybe 6 hours of riding a 125 in a parking lot for my M license and then I was meeting a guy and riding a 650 home. Seems a little haphazard now but I’m a very safe rider, it comes naturally to me. I tend to just jump right into things!
What's your occupation?
I work for Whole Foods right now. I graduated from the University of North Texas in 2013 with a degree in Fine Art. I’m project oriented, visionary and a natural entrepreneur.
What advice would you give to future Ryca builders?
If you have the vision and want a badass bike, it is attainable. If you’re inexperienced mechanically just gather some basic knowledge on how to use your tools. Watch the videos a head of time and gather an understanding of what is coming up. Buy a $15 dollar Clymer manual, its must. I built my bike inside our house in a 150 sq ft space, get organized, everything has a place. Make an archive, label everything, and take pictures. If you can’t figure something out, stare at it for a long time, it will come to you in your sleep! This quite literally became my “dream bike”. And of course the Ryca guys have your back, they are a phone call or email away.
What was the best thing about building the bike?
I started the project not long after graduating from UNT. I had way more time on my hands than usual and just needed something I could delve into. I love how the project brings you so close to the motorcycle. You begin to have an understanding what things are and how they work. I had little to no assistance during the build, so it felt refreshing to be doing something that was completely foreign to me and figuring everything out a long the way.
Tell us about any problems you had and how you solved them.
The issues that I had stemmed from lack of experience and were mostly little things. Having never owned a motorcycle the tear down was actually a little more difficult than expected. The carb tuning in Texas was challenging, since the bike had a lot of miles on it, I had some parts that needed replacing like the needle value and some O rings. My trouble-shooting took a long time because again, I was learning everything new. I had my boyfriend or roommate help with lowing the front-end, you do need a lot of force to get those springs down. The things that I thought would be difficult turned out to be the easiest like the custom wiring. If there was something I wasn’t sure of, Ryan was always quick to answer my emails.
Anything else you want to add?
This project was an amazing experience and I’m so glad that I did it. I feel so much more confident in my ability to trouble-shoot, tool knowledge and general understanding of my bike. It’s empowering to show others that motorcycle building is not just a guy thing, it’s for anyone interested.
Thanks, Sara. Great story, and the bike looks awesome!