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Bakker Grizzly T
Powered by a Suzuki GSX-R1000 K7 engine making around 160bhp at the rear wheel, Bakker's new machine is fitted with a plush seat, low footpegs and a set of wide pulled-back bars. A headlight from an FZ6 is housed in Bakker's own hand-beaten aluminium cowl for added protection, and a pillion seat is also fitted.
Though the K7 GSX-R is remembered for having less midrange
shove than the earlier bikes, it's still a flexible engine, so at
pottering-around-town speed it's docile. The riding position is more akin to
something like a Honda CB500, and it's a compact bike. It's shockingly light,
too - fully fuelled it's lighter than a middleweight commuter, so it's
incredibly manageable and nimble at low speed.
Bakker has set the seat height and footpeg position to suit his own 5ft 7in stature; I'm 6ft tall, so I would have appreciated another 30mm of seat height for a less knees-bent riding position. The footpegs are also a touch too far forward to feel natural - but the beauty of investing in something as bespoke as the Grizzly T is that there's always the option of ordering different specification parts to suit you.
The GSX-R's top-end grunt is still intact, so where a
factory supernaked would start running out of power, the Grizzly T fires itself
forward. Despite being lightweight and powerful, the low centre of gravity and
easygoing chassis set-up means it's not a natural wheelie bike - it'll only lift
the front if you encourage it, and it's not happy holding it up unless you reach
an uncomfortably high balance point. If that's what you want, Bakker makes other
bikes to suit wheelie fiends.
It's refreshing to ride something that's outrageously powerful and entertaining to ride hard, but doesn't frustrate you when you back off. Dealing with congested Dutch roads was more relaxed than it would have been on a standard GSX-R - there's less pressure to send the tacho needle flying towards the redline.
This bike is Bakker's own bike, and keeps standard exhausts so it's subtle, too. The fuel tank holds a useful 22 litres.