...And the Big Rat Makes Three

Shreveport bike builder and Red River BMW Riders' Club member Steve Culp was the big winner February 28 at the famed Rat's Hole Bike Show in Daytona Beach, Fla., taking home two giant rat trophies. Thirty years ago, Karl Smith, Jr.---AKA Big Daddy Rat---started the Rat's Hole tradition that has grown into the really big cheese at Bike Week. 

Steve came loaded for bear... uh, rodent, with two newly-minted custom rides; a Suzuki T-500 racer/street fighter and a T-200 vintage cafe racer.

These bikes are not your average show bikes and that's just fine with Steve. These are the type bikes that he enjoyed as a kid, and when he started looking around for a cool yet inexpensive bike to take apart and put back together in unique and unusual ways, the small Suzukis seemed perfect ...they were reasonably priced, overlooked and under-appreciated. Appreciation for the bikes was flying at Rat's Hole, as were questions about them. Some of the questions, especially the "what IS it?" variety, can take a while to answer. Steve loves finding unique uses for many different model and manufacturer parts and the T-200 is a tasty hodgepodge that sports a 2007 Victory headlight, Hayabusa footpegs, an Italian Gremeca racing front brake and Akront rims. The racing number 6 was chosen for no reason other than shape and symmetry, the color red because Steve had just finished a red Bultaco and loved the look of it.The lightened frame on the little 200 should be very happy whizzing around the track at speeds close to 100 mph.

The T-500 story is much the same. The really big deal on the bike is a $4500 Fontana front brake. It is rounded out with Akront rims and an antique Suzuki racing tank. A Victory headlight bucket makes up the back seat and the headlight is a WWII Lucas. With a fairing, the T500 should be happy on the track at speeds of mid-120s.

The great thing about the Suzukis is that they not only look good standing still, they're also fun to ride and they get a lot of attention zipping down the road. Steve's plan is to sell the bikes and get started on his NEXT project in time for Rat's Hole 2011!
The gang at Bike Week-Steve, Liz and Ford-enjoying sunshine and seafood!

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