Rooster Republic: Studio Motor Suzuki Thunder

Words: Geoff Baldwin Photography: Luke Ray

For this shoot, scouting out its location and the day leading up to it was one of my favourite experiences while we were in Jakarta in 2015. While Luke might not share my feelings regarding the shoot, which took place in between heavy tropical showers, I loved every minute of it.

The shoot took place at Lot9, a trendy café/restaurant Donny suggested we visit for lunch. Despite the less than desirable weather it made a great backdrop for the bike and we managed to fit in a feed and a Bintang or two prior to the bike arriving. Before we settled on Lot9 as a location though Donny took us to a few locations he thought might also be appropriate.

One place that didn’t turn out to be suitable was a huge repair and restoration yard next door to Lot9. Filled with classic BMWs, old American pickups and a Porsche or two it was an unexpected and exciting sight; especially when a door was opened to reveal a bare metal Ferrari Dino they were in the process of restoring! This was one of many such experiences in Jakarta. Almost every day the Gearhead Monkey crew took us to either a workshop or someone’s personal garage where there was some kind of rare exotic or incredible custom tucked away. Jakarta blew me away in this respect, my naïve assumptions about Jakarta’s custom scene all went out the window during our five days in Indonesia’s capital. 

While Luke was out in the rain snapping away with his umbrella boy close at hand I was having a blast chewing the fat with the guys from Studio Motor, Katros and Gearhead Monkey Garage. In between all the tomfoolery I managed to find out a bit about the bright red, Suzuki GSX250 Thunder named the Rooster Republic.

Built for the owner of a chicken farm in East Java the Bobber styled build looks just as much fun as it rides. Sitting on sixteen inch rims with big fat 5.0 Firestone Deluxe Champions, it’s the perfect little run about for bustling, bumpy Indonesian streets. With a set of Yamaha Bison 41mm forks and a pair of YSS Z series shocks the bike sits an inch or so closer to the ground so quickly getting a foot down in stop, start traffic isn’t an issue.

To fit the fat rubber on the rear, Donny’s team put together a custom swingarm using 1.25 inch seamless tube. The tank, fenders and the battery box were all fabricated in house at the Studio Motor metal shop along with the custom struts and brackets to mount them up.

The frame and engine internals remain untouched aside from a rear loop trim necessitating the addition of the custom solo seat. The Rooster’s full exhaust system and drag style handlebars are another custom addition from the workshop all of which showcase just how capable Donny’s team is at manipulating metal.

The Rooster Republic was finished by powder coating the engine and frame in a mix of satin and gloss finishes while the tank and fenders were covered in candy rooster red with black and silver pinstriping. All up it took the team two and a half months to complete and it’s a great example of Studio Motors’ work with the smaller capacity bikes that are so common in Indonesia.

Donny was happy to admit he’s a big fan of this bike, which was obvious by the grin that appeared on his face when he threw his leg over it. If I had to choose one bike that we shot over there as my personal ride in Jakarta this beefy little bobber would be my pick of the bunch.

This article first appeared in Tank Moto issue 07.

Follow Donny: @studio_motor.