Night Shift Bikes’ Leafy Savage – a custom cafe racer

custom cafe racer

This electric-drive conversion of a 2003 Suzuki Savage is the second ground-up Night Shift Bikes custom build. After I bought the bike, I broke it down and sold the 650 thumper motor, transmission and combustion parts for what I spent on the bike. I sent the rear swing arm off to the team at Enertrac, who laced an 18-inch rim to one of their custom brushless DC motors. It delivers 13 HP continuously and peaks to 40 HP.

Body work embraces the right angles of the components and the square-tubing I uncovered on the original bike. I did lots of tab cleansing and made a hoop for the custom seat from Karl Vosloh. Karl used some scraps of foam left over from JT Nesbitt’s Bienville Legacy; JT and a bunch of other New Orleans builders have helped me throughout the build.

Component upgrades include motogadget’s m-unit, m-lock wireless key and m-button to keep things clean; LED lighting; rear disc; custom charge and data ports; and toggle switches from Radio Shack. Rearsets, shocks, front fork drop hardware and triple tree hardware are from RYCA – a shout out to those guys; if you have some wrenches, they’ve taken away your excuse for not building your own bike.

This is the second battery pack for this bike. I fried the first one and upgraded to the incredibly sturdy cells that Nissan uses in their Leaf electric cars. This new pack is more durable, dumps more current for quicker acceleration, and floats in the frame in a more interesting way than the first pack.


  • 2003 Suzuki Savage Rolling Chassis
  • 120 Volt battery pack (14 Nissan Leaf cells
  • Custom battery box
  • Custom Enertrac 602 Hub motor in 18″ rear wheeL
  • Kelly Controller
  • Orion Battery Management System
  • Eltek Valere 3,000 Watt on-board charger
  • Cycle Analyst
  • RYCA motors CS-1 mod components, fork inserts to drop front end
  • Upgraded shocks
  • Custom kickstand

We are working on a new build now, applying all we learned on this one! Keep up with that one on instagram at @nightshiftbikes

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