Every two years, on the off years of the Ironbutt rally, the Ironbutt Association holds an international meet to help bring together long distance riding veterans and those just entering into the sport.
Curt Gran, creator of the Fuzeblock and all around Farkle Master, had the great idea of having a bike build during the event to help show participants what it takes to transform a bike from a bone-stock bike to a mile eating machine. We were honored when Curt asked us to help out on the build and the planning began. Maura Gatensby, well known long distance rider, kindly volunteered her Suzuki 650 V-Strom for the project.
Tragically, Curt was killed in a motorcycle accident prior to the meet so the build was put on hold. Lisa Landry of the Ironbutt, myself, and Curt’s wife all wanted to see the build happen because Curt was so passionate about helping other riders, and educating anyone in the sport, but we didn’t know how to still make this huge undertaking happen.
Thankfully, IBA members Brian Roberts (V-Strom guru), and John Harrison (everything under the sun guru) felt the same way about the build and stepped up to the plate and volunteered spend their time at the meet working on the bike. Thankfully, once again the wheels were spinning.
When meet time came there were other mechanical issues that developed with the bike that added to our “To-Do” list. These issues were paramount because the bike had to be trucked in and we wanted to make sure Maura had a running bike to get her home.
The reason I mention these “other issues” is because, while I’ve mentioned a few names, the community pulled together and there were a LOT of folks helping out behind the scenes. They stepped up and did whatever it took to make sure this thing happened. Everything from holding flashlights as fuel pumps got disassembled in the box truck at night, to sourcing and picking up parts, and even siphoning gas from their own bikes to fire up the Strom. Without them, there’s no way this would have happened and my hat is off to them.
The project list was long and we did end up dropping some items from the list but they were things that Maura was comfortable doing on her own once she returned home. For two days we worked on the bike in the atrium of the hotel as meet attendees watched, asked questions, and offered suggestions.
Here’s the final list of what we were able to accomplish prior to firing up the bike and Maura riding it home.
- Replace rusted stock tank with locally sourced salvage tank (coolest 2-tone Strom out there)
- R&R fuel pump (clogged fuel pump pickup screen, damaged O-ring)
- Fabricate & install custom brackets for the HID ballasts
- Replace Stock head lamps with HID H-4 replacement lights, wiring harness, relays, and ballasts
- Install light bar for the driving lights
- Install HID aux driving lights, wiring harness, relays, and ballasts, and switch
- Install Fuzeblock FZ-1 with aux wiring harness for forward power ports, battery tender connection, electrified tankbag power connection, 2-GPS’s, and extra circuits for future needs
- Some re-routing of stock wiring and drilling of access ports in top of rear fender
- Install handlebar unit for tire pressure monitoring system
- Install Volt Meter
- Install bulkhead fitting in fuel tank (for future aux tank installation)
- Modify fuel pump plate to clear bulkhead fitting
- Install ROX bar risers. Minor cable & hose rerouting was done but stock cables were used
- Install Happy Trails saddlebag mounts and bags
- Install Happy Trails trunk rack with GIVI top case plate
Throughout the event I couldn’t help but look around at folks watching, asking questions, and helping out and feeling a sense of accomplishment. Not accomplishment in the sense of getting tasks done, but accomplishment in seeing Curt’s vision come to life. This was just a small piece of everything Curt gave to the motorcycle community and I was honored to be a part of it.
The whole build was captured by the camera and converted to a video which you can watch below.
Video by: Michael Jordan