Bringing you the world's best cafe racers, trackers, scramblers, bobbers & custom motorcycles.

Renegade Custom’s Yamaha Scorpio – “Desert Racer”

Posted on September 16, 2012 by Andrew in Scrambler. 40 comments

It’s funny how two seemingly incongruous things can go really well together. Like pickled fish and sour cream, tractors and drag racing, or hot girls and samurai swords. At first glance you’d dismiss the match-up, but once you see (or taste – and I mean the fish, not the girls) it in action, you’re sold. Likewise for motorbikes and deserts. From a tarmac-centric point of view there’s not much to be said for turning you back on the smooth, safe blacktop and heading towards the cacti. But once you get a taste of the dirt in your mouth and you loose the road, you realise that the whole planet is yours to conquer. Just ask Steve McQueen. And Ren de Haas, of Sydney’s Renegade Customs.

Go Ren. “The bike is a 2008 Yamaha Scorpio with 8000k on the clock. Mint condition, just super ugly (my opinion). The client was young scaly wag surfer dude from Western Australia who works offshore and has too much money and no sense of, um, sensibility. The brief was to build a bike that is a head turner with some slight off-road capabilities so he can find that ultimate surf break (this thing’s going to have some custom racks on it too) – oh and it had to be able to carry a pillion (much to my disgust, I would’ve made the seat shorter otherwise).”

“We started with a ground-up transformation, removing all the crap that looks ugly and changed the stuff that was needed. The major mods were obviously all over paint in 2 pack. A new (old rd200) tank with some respect given to the original paint style. A custom fibreglass seat and some really nice diamond stitch, and old skool BMX bars. A full compliment of lights and some custom indicators (the po-po may not like these) and the bike is finished with a painted engine, some sweet little grille work on the front sprocket, a wrapped header (which people either love or hate) and a simple slip-on pipe.”

“The tyres on this build are Metzeler Enduro 1s, and were a perfect choice as the pattern is similar to the Australian desert floor (this bike is gonna look sick fanging across the Nullabor). I have used (for the first time) a magnet driven speedo from Dan Moto and attached the drive to the rear wheel. And the head unit is attached directly to the headlight housing. All in all, it’s a really nice build and by far the best paint job I have done yet! It’s ain’t the fastest bike on the block but jeez it’s a fun lil’ blaster around town and on dirt roads too. It’s loud, turns heads, and is quite effective at the off-road stuff! Most importantly the customer is happy… I hope – he will collect in the next couple weeks. Please let the next build be a big one (oh wait – there is a CB750 just waiting in the workshop) more on that next time.”

“This is the 6th bike to exit the Renegade Customs garage and each one is getting more and more refined. I also cut my teeth with some TIG welding on this build – both steel and aluminium with mixed results. They are getting better though, and I am happy with my progress. My painting is almost awesome and I reckon my fibreglass skills are up there now, too. I hope you like it.”

  • arnold

    Aside from the usual kvetching about missing fenders on an off road bike, the overall ‘ look ‘ improvement is startling. Diamond stitching, nice. So much loose stuff hanging off the steering bars, not so nice. Overall a ‘B’ grade; for it’s probable intended use*, an ‘A’. ald

    • arnold

      * tat and pierced chick magnet.

  • Why is so wrong to want to be able to carry a passenger on a beauty like this?

    • If yr going for clean and minimal, having to add a second set of footpegs and a big-ass seat never helps things…

      • Grendel Medlord

        Yeah but whats the point of having a bike that gets ladies hot and bothered if after you get their attention you have to say “Uh… can we take your car?”

        • Right, it’s not a proper bike with no bitch on the back. So far for this clean and minimal creed, i wanna go dirty and maximal!

          But maybe all the single seat drivers have ladies (or husbands) at home and try to keep them there, while they’re on a ride?

          • One extra person = more weight, slow’s you down, especially with a llitlle engine like this one, keep it light, keep it fast.

        • Singletracker

          Would you rather A) go for a ride with a mate, each on your own bike or B) go for a ride with your wife on the back. I rest my case.

  • Just the kind of bike I like – nice ride, good build.

    • arnold

      Mr Manx , pleese edit your speling.

      • Thanks! I’m glad there’s an edit option – don’t want to look like a racist wanker.

  • dingo

    i can see the rear indicators, tiny as they are (personal preference but I like larger blinkers, most road users are visually impaired enough as it is) but I cannot for the life of me spot the front indicators!

    • dingo

      ok, never mind I just found them. hell they are tiny though. they may have cool points but i hope they’re bright as all get-out…

      • Krylov

        Modern LED technology should do the trick.

        Even in TÜV-overregulated Germany you are allowed
        to have these tiny LED-blinkers, provided they carry some
        “E”-sign (meaning they are officially tested and approved
        for all European countries) and positioning obeys certain
        legal constraints.

        Maybe it should be mentioned at this point, that half of the
        time enjoying this blog I think: “You could never _ever _ get this
        beauty past some German hardass TÜV-engineer for road

        You lucky Australians, you… 😉

        • It’s def. not as bad over here as in the EU, but it’s not a patch on the US either…

          Which reminds me can any of our EU readers update me on the results of the whole “Type Approval” fiasco that was being voted on in the European Parliament? The one that was looking like making ABS mandatory on all new bikes and banning exhaust, tyre, and engine mods?


          • Hah, that’s new to me! I think i should have a look what these damn politicians are doing in Brussels.

          • arnold

            This is where I got the original info:



            Keeping vehicles as produced by the factory is the issue.
            Aircraft are like that now , except for the experimental category, for conformity.
            Race cars, race bikes, never mind customs would all be affected (effected?). ald

          • That’s it! Fuck off these shit monkeys in Brussels.
            U.S.A. or Australia, here i come!

          • arnold

            Once they finish coming after me, they will come after you.ald

          • Singletracker

            Lol ……. come on I live my life talking up the passion for resistance in Europe. I’m sure you guys will blockade a few motorways, torch a few police cars, and shut down the EU economy every other week until the legislation is over turned.

          • I like they way you think – like ’68 all over again!

          • vachequipis

            A big rally against it here in France next weekend, but Brussels won’t listen! The moto companies seem to be on their side, blinkered by short term profit, The EU will soon eradicate bikes :,,,(

          • arnold

            They know what is best for you. Just like Mayor Bloomberg in New York City.(sarcasm)

          • arnold

            It ain’t just big sodas.

          • And the fact that they aren’t even elected! Who came up with that pile of crap?

          • Krylov

            @Andrew@Pipeburn: I just read the 23 pages of this European legislation proposal and – that is were we are already in Germany!

            Any change of things related to brakes, suspension, steering, wheels _has_ to
            be accepted by some TÜV engineer in order to keep permission for road
            use. Any modification that might affect “noise or other engine emissions” will lead to a loss of road use permission.
            So essentially you are supposed to keep your machines stock and/or apply only approved aftermarket parts with something called “Allgemeine Betriebserlaubnis” (items featuring a KBA-number (“Kraftfahrtbundesamt”)), which need when applied still an ok from some TÜV person or parts which feature an “Exx”-sign (“xx” is some number related to a country code, where the homologation testing was done.). The “Exx”-homologated parts need no further TÜV permission.

            Imagine these rules also heavily enforced – with German efficiency/ overobedience to boot! – by our police forces (“Ihr Fahrzeug hat keine gültige Betriebserlaubnis.”) and there you are…
            I recently read a story where a motorcyclist was stopped and when theyfind anything wrong they nicked him for a license plate having 35 degree angle (30 degrees allowed) making this up to be a ” document fraud”, a quite severe offence with penalties up to jail time. ( I guess this never made it to court, but still… )

          • All I can say is that if you live in Germany and you aren’t actively doing something about insanity like this, you deserve all you get.

            Form an association. Lobby government. Talk to BMW Motorrad. Stage a protest. Get a whole bunch of “illegal” bikes and converge on parliament. Get in the media. Cause a ruckus!

            Tinkering with machines is a right, not a privilege. Where would the Wright brothers have been if they were stifled by laws like these!?

          • Remember, remember the 5th of September….

          • Krylov

            @Pipeburn_Andrew:disqus :
            Andrew, well put. Unfortunately, the odds are working very much against us,
            as there are some background facts to consider:

            1) Germany is “car country”. Please read this sentence again slowly.

            (Even BMW does not care that much about their motorcycles, when the shoe drops.)
            Car supplier make profit by selling new cars. I you are hellbent on going on
            using an old vehicle, this supplier want’s it to be as closely recognizable
            and in original state w.r.t to his brand as possible: This is additional advertisment (without having to pay) and they can sell you stupidly overpriced
            “original equiment manufacturer” rebuild parts for your vehicle.
            Car supplier spend huge amount of money to get the general legislation
            going that way.
            Motorcycles do not matter in this, despite 2,4 million registered units
            in Germany.

            2) Germany has a very strong insurance industry. They want your money for the
            insurance fees, but whenever there is an accident and they should have to make a payment, they will opt for the slightest chance to reduce/deny payments. If you were stupid enough to tinker with your bike without some TÜV person giving his/her ok, they will drag you through the courts on this point, pointing out that this accident was your fault alone just because your vehicle was not safe for road use due to your unqualified modifications.
            Legislation, again, follows suit:
            Insurance companies have enough money to pay a strong lobby that helps writing laws in order to either have not to pay at all or to make sure they have
            to pay as little money as possibe.
            This explains also the upcoming mandatory introduction of ABS, because some
            insurance statistics say that a certain number of fatal accidents could
            be avoided: That will be less money for insurance companies to pay in the future!

            3) Germany, as nearly all central European countries, is very densely populated
            and has a demographic problem: The population percentage of people older than 50 years is ever increasing. Not a bad thing in itself (I guess, we all are getting older).

            Unfortunately some of these old farts now insist on their neighbourhoods
            in silence and – being children of the late sixties/seventies and the green
            revolution – environmental health. To make things worse, your typical “Hermann”
            between 50 and 60 is _the_ antithesis of a “no worries” person.

            This basically makes them think of any motorcyclist as an “unnecessary
            noisy, environment poisoning, potentially suicidal sociopath” hellbent on
            disturbing their peace. even worse, also destroying the property values of their pieces of land.
            (Sole exception may be motorcyclists on fully catalytically cleaned, ABS-
            equipped BMW RT supertouring bikes. But then you can not distiguish those
            contraptions from cars by some distance anyway…)

            Trying to motivate _this crowd_ to stand up for _your_ right to tinker with
            standard bike exhausts such that catalytic converters and noise emission limits
            may go down the can, is overly ambitious at best, realistically more like downright futile.

            In fact, this crowd even managed to have usually conservative Baden-Wuerttemberg, a German federal country in the south close to Bavaria, elect a green local government. Now some old farts over there are even trying to prepare a legislation even going beyond(!) the European proposal: This would basically ban all(!) aftermarket exhausts and it would allow to shut down any “loud” motorcycle (i.e., anything louder than a car).
            Well, there are legal constraints that will hinder them effectively to get this
            legislation passed, but there are already many motorcyclists looking
            for old pre-90ies bikes that will legaly allow to get around these still
            possibly upcoming constraints.

            Verdict: The social acceptance of motorcycles and their use in the
            German population in general is currently strongly on the decline.

            4) A very restrictive set of techical rules is established for vehicles, as I mentioned in a post earlier. Quite a few recent ones on engine emissions are due to overconcerned green-thinking: The average german will ride less than 3000 kilometers per year, effectively spending less gas/oil than your annual
            tourist flight carrier just taxying back to the airport terminal.

            But some of TÜV regime really does have a technical background specific to German riding habits:
            The average velocity on German Autobahn roads is >73 Miles per hour (117km/h) – and this includes the shitload of trucks jamming the slow right lane at 50mph: There is no speed limit on about 16.500km of Autobahn road.
            Until the early seventies there was even no speed limit on backroads.

            Add a population density of 229 Persons per square kilometer, it is easy to see that the resulting number of accidents and their severity due to high speeds involved pretty soon got the notion outlawed that anyone with a blowtorch and a tool shack in his yard should be allowed to tinker with brakes, suspension and engine parts of motorcycles at his own liberty and _then use_ the resulting contraption on the usual overcrowded German high velocity streets.

            While in the US and – I guess – even Down Under there is enough space
            to go around and the average travelling speeds are far lower, in Germany a bad suspension or even a cool looking, but thermaly overstressed drum brake can get you faster in trouble than you can say “Krankenhaus” (that’s German for hospital).

            Ok, very long post, coming to an end:
            I guess we can say, that some of the problems we face with the proposals issued in Europe to restrict freestyle motorcycle building are coming from the fact that the people responsible for these have seemingly clever and very rational arguments (safety of general population and operators, enviromental issues, support of vehicle industry). That makes it so yery hard to argue against them, being in a minority situation anyway.
            Even worse for us, this line of thinking completely omits the fact that motorcycles are not just for transport, but also pieces of art and self expression. Working yourself on these machines has a intrinsic quality of a reality that no virtualized tv or computer entertainment can ever give.

            Maybe these guyys even would understand our arguments and encourage
            us to go on building. But they seem hellbent, however, on not letting us ride what you build yourself on public roads in Europe any longer.

            And we know, building motorcycles, that you no longer can ride, is completely beside the point. Is’n it, average Harley-Davidson custom builder?

          • Amen, brother. Couldn’t explain it better than you.

  • Renegade….makers of some of the best postie bikes you’ll ever see!

  • revdub

    Awesome bike, gentlemen. The seat work looks real good. Nice glass on that ass. You can quote me on that.

    • Please note that Pipeburn in no way condones the placing of wet fiberglass on you buttocks…

      • revdub

        I needed a laugh this morning. And an important reminder. I’m guessing that Monday mornings are universally despised, right?

  • Ugh

    Radical change, though the end product is decent, but not spectacular.

  • Singletracker

    Been watching this one being built over the last month or so and reckon this is your best build to date. From the cool custom indicators to the awesome diamond stitch … Boom.

  • tmcsp

    Sweet little machine! Finally a custom that can carry the pretty girl on the back. Love the tank, and the nod to Kenny Roberts with the black dashed-stripe accent.

    Even without fenders… it would look just right parked on the beach with some killer surf in the background. Awesome.

  • mike

    so what is the closet thing you can get to a yamaha scorpio in the states? I want to find a similar bike with those specs. I’ve looked everywhere and have no leads.