Henson jettisoned the ugly...
Henson jettisoned the ugly stock taillight/license plate hanger and fabricated a custom setup using a GSX-R1000 tailight for a much cleaner look to the B-King's rear end.
In order to give the bike the proper stance, Henson lowered the front two inches by internally modifying the forks. This prevented having to drop the forks in the triple clamps and result in a hacked-up look on a trick custom bike. To get the rear riding at the right height, a set of one off lowering links were fitted which dropped it two inches as well. The last part of the lowering process was shortening and re-welding the kickstand so it too maintained a stock appearance.
As supplied by Suzuki, there are several parts that are bright aluminum or plastic, so Velocity powder-coated or replaced them as required. The stock plastic chain guard was ditched and replaced with a custom aluminum unit that features an integral license plate mount and LED tag light. The stock foot peg mounts were also powder coated black.
One of the worst looking parts of the stocker is the rear fender/license plate mount. Hanging down well below the under tail exhaust, it makes a styling statement that most people hate. In order to clean this up, Velocity completely removed the mud flap, inner fender, license plate mount and tail light. In its place is a new setup borrowed from a Suzuki GSXR-1000. The result is a far better looking arrangement that no longer looks like a mud flap from a delivery truck.
The typical six psi turbo kit doesn't require a lot of internal modifications, but since this was built to be Barry's personal bike, he opted for a few upgrades here as well. For starters, he installed a set of high-tensile APE studs and nuts to make sure the head was held tight enough to survive repeated boosted runs. He also fitted an APE billet cam chain tensioner. The rest of the engine, however, is stock, including the rods, clutch, pistons, etc.
With the extended swingarm,...
With the extended swingarm, the stock plastic chainguard was ditched in favor of a custom-built aluminum piece with integral license plate mount on the end. An EK ZVX2-530 chain delivers the power to the rear wheel. Note the custom rear suspension dogbone links to lower the rear ride height.
Henson lowered the front end...
Henson lowered the front end two inches by modifying the fork internals, avoiding the problems associated with raising the fork tubes excessively. Everything else on the front end, save for the RC Comp wheel, is stock.
The custom-fabricated exhaust...
The custom-fabricated exhaust shows some exquisite welding on every section of the piping. Heat shield foil keeps the underseat plastics and electrical components from being melted by the exhaust heat.
When we arrived at the Velocity Racing shop just outside Lexington, Kentucky, Henson wheeled out the bike and as he started up the engine, I noticed it only had four miles showing on the odometer. I asked if it was completely set up and broken in and Henson assured me it was. In fact Henson said that on this bike he simply installed the kit, downloaded a map into the Power Commander, and then made one dyno pass. He claimed it was so well-sorted right out of the box that no other work was necessary. I have ridden more than a few aftermarket turbo kits and in my experience if their fuel and boost maps are not tuned to almost near perfection, there nearly always will be a host of drivability issues. It was time to see if Henson's reputation for quality construction would continue untarnished.
The first thing I noted after thumbing the starter was how it sounded. The Vance and Hines open exhaust canisters result in a real nasty turbo bark, especially for a street bike. Henson was quick to add that if the owner prefers, he has some quieter replacement mufflers. But with such a Mad Max-style bike, the sound fit the character perfectly.
The Velocity turbo B-King showed no signs of being cold-blooded, and easily powered away with no stumbles or coughing. Of course, I could only wait a few miles before unleashing it, as I couldn't wait to feel the turbo on a big naked bike of this size. At highway speeds the turbo spools up quickly and very noticeably no matter what rpm or throttle position you're at. There is never a lag or shudder from the big engine. I even lugged it down as far as 1900 rpms in top gear and after whacking the throttle open it simply spooled up and began to catapult me forward with alarming ferocity.
One major difference in riding a turbocharged naked bike versus a Hayabusa is that there is nowhere to hide from the wind. Even on a 500-horsepower Busa the wind blast is so well managed that it can be pretty deceptive, but on the B-King you know you're going fast without looking at the speedo or tach.