Mortagua-Fighter 8: Suzuki GSX-R1100 Powered CustomAggressively angular with an unceasing attention to detail, the Mortagua-Fighter 8 hardly presents itself as a project undertaken by a non-commercial builder in his personal garage.Yet, Carlos Rodrigues is a custom motorcycle enthusiast who solitarily creates masterpieces in his hometown Mortágua shop in northern Portugal.
Rodrigues’ first ride on a motorcycle came at a riding school, where he swung his leg over a Suzuki GSX-F400. After learning to ride, he purchased a Honda NSR125 two-stroke and his trajectory was set. Six years later, in 1999, Rodrigues built his first custom motorcycle from a Suzuki RF600R.Paulo Santos’ spectacular photos of Mortagua-Fighter 8 were taken at Vidraria Mortágua, a highly regarded glass and mirror shop where Rodrigues has worked magic with glass for 25 years. After hours, Rodrigues builds custom motorcycles.“My biggest difficulty is not having partners working in parallel with me,” he says. “It takes me a lot of time to build these bikes.”Mortagua-Fighter 8 is his eighth build—hence the 8 in the name—and it took him 18 months to complete. Rodrigues retains possession of all of his creations, making him something of a collector of his own.“All the projects are built for me,” Rodrigues says. “I do not work for customers. The builds are a hobby.”“I really like the concept car/moto world,” Rodrigues says. “This world between design and idea, leads me to be free in the world of motorcycles.” Rodrigues finds further inspiration from French builder Lazareth.Beyond that, Rodrigues is a big fan of heavy metal music. Mortagua-Fighter 8 is subtitled (Disturbed Cadaver), which salutes “Cadaver,” a song by Disturbed. “Keeping my radical style,” Rodrigues explains, “I took this project in a very radical line and concept style.”Being fully self-contained does have its challenges, however. “Money is very important,” Rodrigues explains. “I do not have much money. If I had, I would have made with alloy materials and other noble materials.”Regardless of budget constraints, Mortagua-Fighter 8 is a striking custom motorcycle.Mortagua-Fighter 8 is powered by a Suzuki GSX-R1100 motor, which is set in a frame built by Rodrigues. He is also responsible for a wide range of pieces on the Mortagua-Fighter 8, including the abrupt exhausts, the curvaceous hub-steering front suspension, and the piercing bodywork.Rodrigues does access outside venders, including OZ for the wheels (which he modified) and the white-and-gray paint by Joe Garage.Although Mortagua-Fighter 8 is rideable, the motorcycle is tilted toward form. “It is a very rigid bike,” Rodrigues allows, “but as it is a project for bike shows, it does not have much importance.”With Mortagua-Fighter 8 drawing worldwide acclaim, Rodrigues has his ninth project finished and ready for the right moment to reveal it. His enthusiastic fans wait with bated breath.Photography by Paulo Santos