Eric Bahlman has been tinkering and riding his 77 Suzuki all around AZ for some time now and we thought we’d do An Original interview with him regarding his bike, the ups and downs of riding, and everything else in-between. Click top image to read it all.
Let’s get this started properly. What made you get into motorcycles or want one?
When I was little I always wanted a motorcycle but never got a chance to ride one. A few years ago my friend bought a Honda CB360 and let me ride it. Since that day I’ve been hooked!
I know for me, riding a motorcycle feels like an extension of bmx? Would you agree to that notion and why?
Oh for sure! The feelings are very similar. It’s the same freedom you’ll feel riding your bike around from spot to spot, to cruising your motorcycle on the freeways and winding through backroads. Doesn’t get any better!
Just being a bmx guy, I think you (we) know how to crash and handle something with 2 wheels, even though it’s 100X faster and heavier, haha. Sorry, no question here…
I totally agree. I think we have a natural ability to be able to handle a motorcycle. I also think from riding skateparks over all these years has given us an enhanced awareness of our surroundings, like watching out for some scooter kid who just dropped in and cut you off. This helps watching out for bad drivers who don’t pay attention and will cut you off while you’re going 50+mph.
I know there’s no helmet law in AZ, do you prefer to wear one or are you one of those guys that likes the true freedom of not wearing one?
The freedom from not wearing a helmet feels great when I’m just cruising around town but I try wearing a helmet as much as possible, especially on freeways.
What year and model is your bike?
It’s a 1977 Suzuki GS550
Since it is an older bike that doesn’t have disc brakes or the latest greatest technology, do you prefer an older bike over the newer ones and why?
My bike actually had a disc brake in the front when she was stock but I recently swapped it to a drum brake for a cleaner look. I think that’s why I like older bikes (cars too) because they’re simple. No fancy gadgets, plastic molding, crazy wire harnesses and computers etc… Just a motor and wheels!
Last time I talked to you, I think you mentioned that you had it all redone? Do you like to tinker on your bike a lot yourself too?
Ya I took it from a stock bike looking like a cafe racer into hard tailing it to look like a chopper from the 70’s! I even put Shadow grips and bar ends on it. I’ve always been a hands on kinda guy. As most of the Volume crew knows anytime I’m on a trip and something breaks or won’t work I’ll be the guy to fix it, haha!
What else would you want to do to it, if you could?
Nothing, she’s perfect!
I don’t even think you have a tach (?) on it but it looks like the thing would haul-ass, you open her up on some AZ backroads?
Oh hell yeah! She’s only a 550 but is a 4 cylinder engine with a six speed transmission, she rips!!
We all know riding in traffic and shit is a bit dangerous, you have any big scares yet?
Nothing crazy, just people being idiots and not paying attention. A few weeks ago some lady next to me was on her phone and started to merge into my lane so I hit her car with my hand, it freaked her out and she backed off, haha.
I’d imagine riding a motorcycle in your area being really calming and beautiful with all the open roads and mountains around you. You have a favorite road or route you usually take?
There are so many scenic views out here. The best ones are outside of the city where you can just relax and just enjoy that great AZ desert scenery.
I think that about raps this thing up. Any shout-outs or whatever to your motorcycle crew (MC for you newbies) or mechanic?
Huge shout out to Doug and Kelly at Haifley Bro’s in Phoenix! They did all the fab work on my bike and did one hell of a job. Go follow em on Instagram @haifleybros and @haifleybro. Also to French at Cyclewerks Tempe for helping me out with all of the wiring and tuning.