You could argue that the modern custom scene owes its success to Universal Japanese Motorcycles. They’re affordable, reliable and easy to pull apart—making them the perfect blank canvas for builders.
Not all UJMs get equal time in the limelight, though. And according to Ventus Garage of Kraków, Poland, there’s one that deserves a lot more love: the Suzuki GN400. So they’ve turned a GN400 into a cool street tracker coated in BMW’s famous matte ‘Frozen’ paint.

“The Suzuki GN400 is a very overlooked bike on the custom scene,” they tell us. “It has everything you want from a base bike. It has a big single engine that sounds beautiful, it’s simple in its construction, and it has nice lines off its frame.”
“We could go on all night, but long story short, the Ventus Garage team loves using the GN400. We’ve already built two bikes based on the GN, and we decided to put all our knowledge and experience into this third one.”

For this build, the guys aimed for that elusive balance between form and function. “With flat track bikes there is nothing more important than performance, but at Ventus Garage the ‘look’ is at the top of the list as well.”
“Who said that those two can’t go together?”

The biggest upgrade happened to the chassis. Ventus pillaged the remains of a wrecked custom Aprilia RS 250 to upgrade their little GN400: On went the Aprilia’s upside-down forks, along with its triple clamps.
They’re matched up to a pair of aftermarket rear shocks, fitted with custom bushings.

Bizarrely, the Aprilia also came with a pair of 18” spoked wheels—perfect for what Ventus had in mind. So they repainted the rims, chromed the spokes and fitted the wheels. The front brake was converted to a single 280 mm disc, before the guys got to work on the back.
With an upgrade from the Suzuki’s stock drum to a disc setup, the guys had to install a Nissin master cylinder, and modify the rear brake lever setup. A full set of braided stainless steel brake lines from Hel round out the package. Other pleasingly OCD details are the turned foot pegs, and there’s a stylish braid wrap on the kick-start lever.

Equal consideration went into the motor, which was stripped down for glass blasting, to get the metal to its natural color.
Ventus inspected the engine at the same time, and had to hone the cylinder and recondition the head. Everything was buttoned up with new rings and gaskets, and a new cam chain.

When it was time to work on the fuel system, the team fell back on a tried and tested method: they installed a new Mikuni carb with a pod filter with the help of an exceptionally mechanically-minded buddy, Bartek.
Getting an exhaust to complement the intake was vital. So Ventus turned to Devil’s Garage, who fabricated a complete stainless steel system from scratch, following the GN400’s revised lines flawlessly.

As for the frame, Ventus revised the rear end with a new, kicked up loop to match a new tail unit. They also designed it to hold a discreet LED taillight. Then they detabbed the rest of the frame, painstakingly sanding down imperfect factory welds to get everything neater than stock.
The actual tail unit was supposed to be an off-the-shelf flat track piece, but the guys couldn’t find anything that would sit right. So they built their own from fiberglass. The final upholstery is a mix of Alcantara and the same leather that Bentley use.

Right at the start of the project, Ventus knew the OEM fuel tank wasn’t going to cut it, visually. After heaps of misfires (including buying a Bultaco tank), they found the solution: a Yamaha XS400 tank that had been hiding in their own workshop for years.
Up top are a set of MX bars from Accel, with Renthal grips and an upgraded brake master cylinder: it’s a decidedly upmarket cockpit.

The speedo’s a Motogadget Motoscope Tiny and the switches are aftermarket, with all their wiring routed to inside the bars. Ventus upgraded the electrical system from 6V to 12V to work with the new speedo, and revised the wiring loom to hide everything away.
As for that stunning paint color, it’s one of the most unusual BMW car colors ever made: Frozen Gray. It’s a ‘metallic matte’ paint designed for the M3, with an eggshell texture that must never be waxed, and it looks stellar. Especially for this shoot inside HEVRE, a club in Kraków that started life as a house of prayer.

This is Ventus’ thirteenth build, so they’ve nicknamed it ’13.’ “For some this number is bad luck,” they say, “but for us it was always lucky.”
Yip, these guys are definitely on a roll.
Ventus Garage | Facebook | Instagram | Photos by Marcin Malicki