From cult classic to modern classic.
Suzuki’s DR Big is considered a cult classic. Powered by a liquid-cooled, four-stroke, single-cylinder engine, the DR Big originally came in the 750 S trim before the 800 S variant stormed the scene in 1990. Aside from the engine displacement increasing from 727cc to 779cc, the DR Big didn’t receive another significant update during its 12-year run—typical Suzuki. That task was left up to custom shops like Portugal’s Unik Edition Motorcycles, and the Moscavide-based garage resurrects the DR Big as a stylish scrambler.
Presented with a neglected 1991 DR 800 S Big, shop founders Tiago Gonçalves and Luis Gonçalves (not related) new they could breathe new life into the aging dual-sport. While the DR Big series is a relic of ‘80s styling, the crew felt that ‘70s throwback would be more appropriate for the times.
To achieve the stripped-down scrambler look, Unik Edition ripped off the rally-inspired fairings, square headlight, and goofy mirrors. A retrofitted Suzuki GN gas tank replaced the original fuel cell and a brown leather bench seat stepped in for the rugged enduro unit. Up front, a Marchal round headlight added to the groovy ‘70s vibe, and out back, a license plate/turn signals combo bracket tidied things up.
The custom looped subframe also called back to the scrambler’s heyday while the shortened mudguards spoke more to today’s aesthetics. A pair of streamlined side covers completed the DR Big’s transformation but the team didn’t stop with retro cosmetics. Tiago and Luis rebuilt the 21/17 wheelset and shod the hoops with Metzeler Karoo (front) and Mitas E-09 (front) rubber. A new one-into-two exhaust system and Arrow mufflers also added some modern-day performance.
Gallery: Unik Edition Scrambler: 1991 Suzuki DR 800 S Big
With all the pieces in place, Unik Edition knew they had to find a way to spice up the build.
“A customer had this original but rusty DR 800, and said that he wanted something ‘cool’,” explained Tiago. “So I said, ‘why not do something more artistic’?”
That’s where visual artist Vasco Costa stepped in to add some extra panache. From the frame to the side covers, from the suspension linkage to the bash plate, Costa left (nearly) no surface unmarked. The new paint scheme gives the old Suzuki a new identity and a new lease on life. The DR Big may be a cult classic, but there’s no shame in adopting new trends.