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1993 Yamaha XJR 400

Posted on July 24, 2011 by Scott in Café Racer. 38 comments

Believe it or not, the Ukraine is one of the few places on earth where you’ll struggle to find an SR400, CB750, or even a XS650. Due to the Soviet regime before 1991, these older Japanese bikes simply weren’t imported into the country. So when the 19 year old editor of, Artem Terekhov was approached by motorcycle clothing brand Fast & Fashion to build a cafe racer in collaboration with them, he decided on a Yamaha XJR 400. It’s probably also worth mentioning that Artem comes from the Autonomous Republic of Crimea in the Ukraine, where cafe racers are few and far between. “Café racers are entirely absent here, so this bike turns heads every time we take it out for a ride” he says. Artem and his Dad started the project way back in July 2010 and the bike was only finished in March 2011. This is the build story of the bike they call ‘Fast & Fashion’ as told by Artem.

The donor bike is a stock 1993 Yamaha XJR 400. It is fitted with Suzuki GSX-R 600 K6 USD-forks (with gixxer yokes and clip-ons but with the xjr’s steering axis to match the headstock). Gixxer forks are shorter than stock the xjr’s by about 7.5 cm, so the bike’s front-end is lowered and overall silhouette gained a more dynamic and streamlined look.

The stock heavy alloy wheels were replaced with spoked wheels from Yamaha XT660X 2004 – Excel Takasago aluminum alloy rims, shipped from Greece to Crimea by my friend and partner Evgeny Kobzev (AKA Joice) from, who is also deeply involved in this project. Without his enthusiasm and help this bike can never see the light of day – even considering the fact that Joice lives in Greece and I’m in Crimea! Front wheel was fitted with gixxer’s 310-mm brake rotor (with help of in-house made adapter – the adapter was fitted on the hub to make the rotor fit perfectly into gixxer’s 4-pot radial tokico caliper). Overall, the front unsprung weight was reduced and new brakes are much better than XJR ever had.

At the rear-end there was a lot of work too. I’ve fitted spoked wheel and installed two-pot brake caliper that were originally on the xjr’s front wheel (through the in-house made adapter). Stock rear shocks were replaced with YSS items. The subframe was modified – shortened and re-welded. After that we’ve fitted the new seat, made completely from scratch. The passenger seat is tiny, but just enough for a nice girl.

The engine remained pretty much the same, except for refreshing all the necessary components (spark plugs, filters, servicing etc.). The exhaust system is aftermarket, although I don’t know who made it – it was installed on the bike when I’ve bought it. The sound is awesome – pure, juicy and loud, way better than stock whisperer.

The tank remained stock, except for the additions of the new logos, exhaust and modified instrument panel (removed the speedo and re-arranged positioning) was painted by my fellow painting professionals in Moscow.”

Artem tells us this XJR400 cafe racer is currently for sale. “I want to move to the next project” he says. So if you’re interested in the bike, it could be yours for the special price of $9000 USD o.n.o. Bear in mind that many bike parts are hard to get in Ukraine, so a lot of them would have been shipped in from all around Europe and USA. Any locals out there interested?

Looking at the end result, we are glad the Ukraine doesn’t get the more common Japanese bikes we see so much of. As with other Eastern European shops and some of the bikes coming out of India, it’s quite inspirational for us spoilt Westerners to see what can be done when you don’t have a lot at your fingertips. And all this from a 19 year old. Not bad, don’t you think?

Photography by Vladislav Spivak (AKA Tamrik)

  • Emaychee

    It's the limitations which define creation in these cases. And I'd say it certainly shows here. Has an air of something about it..

  • That is a sweet looking little rocket!

  • Dave in Kalifornia

    Now, that's hot. Very well executed.

  • Great looking bike with some nice touches

  • 10 Bones

    After sitting here trying to think of something clever to say … all I keep coming up with is "I wish my bike was that trick!"

    Great execution. Looks like a REALLY FUN bike to ride all day long with your pals, tear-assing around and pissing off the locals with it! Nice looking nightime cruiser hound as well. Looks like it would easily poach a few unsuspecting riders with that one!

    Practical, fast looking, fun looking, low cost of ownership. Bravo! Now only if the Jap bike factories would take notice of efforts like these … (oh wait, they're trying … the new Fazer is pretty cool .. forgat about that and a few others).

    Good job, fine sir!


  • Thanks for the mention of our bike! Big respect from Russia and Ukrania to Pipeburn!

  • Den

    Really cool bike, nice work! I didn't know that only nice girls had small rumps!

  • Rex Havoc

    Nice and tough. Good work Artem and Joice

  • D.

    That's a fine bike.

  • NZ G

    Felt compelled to post for the first time after seeing this bike…. So cool

  • ran

    was confused about the tyre choice but quickly realised – communist roads. We are definitely spoilt.
    Great looking bike

  • Robert

    I love the back side panel color coordination with the forks. I love the brown and black together. I really like how muscular this bike's stance is. I think this bike has exceptional lines. It truly is a work of art. This is a really good looking bike and even better if you google what a stock XJR400 looks like. Thanks for this post.

  • Lowflying

    Awesome. Those little 4 cylinder yammies are jewels. Wish I'd known about them in my L plate days.

    But seriously, no pipe wrap?

  • Thanks to everybody, every opinion matter for us.

    ran : "was confused about the tyre choice but quickly realised – communist roads. We are definitely spoilt.
    Great looking bike"

    Yeah! Tyres were shipped from Greece as well, but your idea about communist roads have a sense! Unfortunately, back fender is not enought for such roads – it needs to be longer.

  • "But seriously, no pipe wrap?" – No, it's a pipeburn =)

    This exhaust is well done. Sadly we don't know who made it, looks like in-japan aftermarket pros, which are close to officials.

  • liz

    A truly fantastic bike…..
    I have 2 '97 digi dash xjr400's. have done some mods on one, as for the other you have given me some ideas. many thanks for sharing your knowledge and as for your acheivement 'Bravo'.

  • 2liz: If you'll find yourself searching the web for answers about xjr when you'll be modifying it, you can contact me. I will try to help as much as I can, liz!
    My e-mail is

    2everyone: Thanks for your comments, people! This is our first project, but not the last))) Glad that you all like it, reading this comments is very pleasing to me and to all who was supporting and helping me throughout this work. Thanks again! And if you ever want to wrench up your own bike, don't be afraid – it's 200% worth it 🙂

  • Astonishing that it's your "first project." Had I now the money and the time I'd love to ride it home to California 🙂

  • 2davidabl: I've enjoyed the bike so much during 1000-mile trip from Moscow to Simferopol, Crimea. GSX-R forks and brakes added confidence in handling and stopping departments, and light spoke wheels – swiftness in turns. Bike became very responsive, predictive and, literally, like living being 🙂
    I think that riding it to California also be very pleasant 😉

  • Thats a nice bike!

  • "I think that riding it to California also be very pleasant 😉

    Ukraine to Ca would be the trip of a lifetime. Via either Atlantic boat crossing or Pacific.

  • L2 Studio

    Very nice! Hoping my 82 XJ650 Seca turns out as well.
    Roads in my part of the US are terrible for the most part, so my tires are a lot like yours. Good choice.
    I am new to cafe` style as cruiser style is so prevalent here on the west coast. Very inspiring work.
    Keep it up!

  • Yeah. Long Way Round. Cafe style 🙂

  • "Roads in my part of the US are terrible for the most part, so my tires are a lot like yours."
    Phrase about "communist roads" was just a joke 🙂
    In Crimea we have some really nice roads like long straights in steppes and mountain twisties. Pavement is mostly good, especially if you compare them to the other parts of Ukraine and Russia 🙂
    Basically, we fitted this tyres for two reasons: they were free (included with wheels) and they look pretty damn good on the bike! 🙂 Handling is good too, but mileage will be short – I heard that they worn out in about 2000 miles. Tires are Pirelli MT60R Corsa.

  • Very well integrated execution – thought through.

    Rear mudguard seems to follow the current 12:00 bob fancy, though – living in a rainy climate makes me want to see it at 10:30 to prevent me duds from roostertails – but that's a personal preference. Everything else is spot-on.

  • 2Chuck: I hang the licence plate on the fender (with reinforcing panel under it to save licence plate from the strikes of the rocks going from the tire), so it continues the fender line and protects from dust and rain. It's very practical and not harming the aesthetics 🙂

  • dave in kalifornia

    Again I must say, Artem: NICE bike! Can't wait to see what else you come up with (if that's your thing)


  • nibs

    Excellent job.

  • hamish

    g’day Artem,
    I have recently purchased a yamaha xjr 400 and would love to ask you a few questions?I tried emailing you but “My e-mail is”  wont do the trick..? email is help or advice you can send my way would be greatly appreciated.


  • S1LvER

    Hey Hamish! Dropped you a line on your e-mail, hope you got it!

  • stephen gibbons

    Hey Artem, love the bike man, stunning, did you manage to sell it ? if not , send me an email gibworld AT

  • Artem

    Hi Stephen, I sent you an email. Check it out!

  • D-Rock

    I love this bike man. So much in fact I bought a ’98 XJR 400 today! I am really wanting to do a similar project. How did you change the back end? Did you have to make a custom rear fender?

    Well done man.

  • luke.perrett001

    Love that front end. How easy was the swap? and what does it handle like? If anyone has any info I would love to hear form you. luke.perrett001(at)

  • jopt

    все в порядке! просто добавлю русский коментарий!

    • Artem Terekhov

      Хехе, спасибо, дружище! 🙂

  • Pigluv

    Cafe Style I’m likes this…

  • just wondering how it performs? especially with the 400cc engine – any plans to modify it?