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Yamaha XS650 – ‘YABSA’

Posted on April 25, 2013 by Scott in Café Racer. 26 comments

Written by Ian Lee.

Some bike builders are like magicians. They take particular props, put them together and ‘hey presto’, produce something you didn’t think was possible. A mixture of new and old componentry on a bike build is an example of this. If you lean too far one way, or the other, you can ruin the concept of a build. Or at the very least, while trying to put a new image on an bygone concept, you have the motorcycle equivalent of David Hasselhoff. Roberto Totti and the team at Hook Motors have what it takes to mix new with old, and with over thirty years of experience in Robert alone, you can see the professionalism put into their builds. The Yabsa is one such bike, with a few different motorcycles, from a few different eras donating componentry, and the end result is magic.

Labeled as a ‘retro-futuristic café racer’, the Yabsa is definitely the sum of all it’s assorted componentry, and the workshop at Hook Motors isn’t afraid to mix brands. A BSA front frame has been mated with a custom rear frame, a Yamaha R1 rear swingarm rounding out the frame components. On the frame sits a carbon fibre & leather trimmed seat, bearing the name of the bike, confusing anyone trying to ascertain it’s make and model.

To give the bike a sporting chance, the front end is a Showa setup, ISR clip ons sit atop the forks. A set of custom PVM aluminium rims add lightness to the build, the braking system is fully Brembo front & rear. To have engine power to match the look, the Yamaha XS650 engine has been taken out to 750cc, from the headers back the piping is an MV Augusta custom job.

There is a lot of custom work put into this build, with Roberto Totti’s wealth of experience being put to use.  The fuel tank is custom built for the bike, the fliptop hold down for the fuel cap a nice touch. The front fender is an inhouse job as well, it is modern looking but doesn’t clash with the rest of the bike. The entire bike’s electrical system has been stripped and a custom harness built from scratch, not surprisingly, given the multitude of different major components going into the build.

From the large modern-style wheels for the speed, to the big bore twin for the power, the whole unit comes together beautifully. Although this bike was built a while back, if you can wait 6 months Hook Motors can build one for you, or you could come up with ideas of your own. Either way, Roberto Totti the magician bike builder will surely have more tricks up his sleeve.


  • Carbonarc

    Now that is my kind of custom

  • Tron

    holy shit. speechless.

  • Joey Delgadillo

    That is fantastic, totally original and so well done. Wow!

  • holy moly! this is per-fect-ion! For me as a classic xs rider, this one is the ultimate custom. Grazie mille signore Totti.

  • Roberto Totti is a master craftsman, and this bike is beautiful like his other creations. So many beautiful details here and there, pure lust !
    My only objection is about the rims. Top-shelf for sure, but I would prefer a pair of Kineo wheels, I think the result would be even more stunning.

  • Casper

    Just the way I like my café; old mixed with new.

  • arnold

    You have been serving real cream with my morning coffee lately. I would be very hard pressed to pick out any vestige of BSA parts.

    Well conceived and well done Roberto.

  • revdub

    Amazing. Just when I thought I had seen every type of XS650 custom, this comes completely out of left field. There can only be one like it. Pure custom. Very impressive.

  • Merkin

    Thankfully not another cb750 and or a bike with black rims…

  • John in Pollock

    very nice

  • jlgace

    Very nice machine, love the way the rear section is put together and so many great details. Having trouble with the choice of engine though. Can’t help but see a more modern-looking twin in there with a forward cant to match the front downtube and fill up that dead space behind the neck. Would also help center the engine under the tank. Looks awkward, especially with the dark background making the downtube disappear. I would think a decent XS650 engine is above the status of ‘this is what we had lying around’ these days. Incongruity is the word that comes to mind. I have to respect the vision and effort, it almost surpasses the original working material.

  • KrookStreetRacing

    Holy crap. That is fantastico!

  • The license plate bracket and the fuel filler cap are worth the price of addmission alone. The bike is a stunning example of craftsmanship and style. Kudos.

  • bryan kerswill

    What a beautiful take on an old custom favourite. I love the swingarm shock set up.Great blend of old and new ideas. If I was pushed I,d have a little less kick up of the seat at the back, I never was keen on the streetfighter look. But that’s it and that’s nit picking. Great job

    • Davidabl2

      I want to see what Richard Pollock has to say about this one…
      Personally, I think that the rest of the bike overwhelms the humble motor.
      But on the other hand that seems pretty common with these amazing builds on PB

      • Ok, you asked. Looks to me like lots of craftsmanship was applied. But it also looks as though the rider’s bag will constantly be banging on the tank. The seat angle apparently seems to be a big hit here. Not quite so attractive if you’ve ridden one this way tho. I’m also gonna say there’s just a little bit of clashing styles. R-1 type running gear, Manx style tank with tank hold-down strap and steam punk fuel cap. Sometimes it doesn’t work out so well when you take everything you’ve ever seen that you really like and throw them all at the same build. Very clean, but just a bit confusing. Pipe angle…big no. The frame is very, very cool though!!

        • Davidabl2

          Thx…re “bag” maybe it’s a “Girls’Bike” 🙂
          A lot of what you criticize here seems to come from the novelty at any price mentality that I would guess is a neccessity to attract attention to peoples builds ? Same thing happens in the fine arts as well..

  • bikey mikey

    Now THIS is a build! No hiding behind any BS other than that its a superbly crafted machine that looks just as good standing still, as I imagine it would feel to actually ride. Very nicely turned out. It looks like someone ACTUALLY put some thought and a good many man-hours into the build.
    Soooo nicely done.
    More like this please Pipeburn 🙂

  • Lewn

    Perfect balance. New and old parts mixed perfectly together 10/10.

  • Стефан ‘Dobermann’ Петров

    With that angled up seat, plus the rear sets, your balls will be cramped between your legs and the tank all time, making you feel more furious and that’s a good thing, since you will ride this thing only on very rare occasions and very, very, I mean VERY fast!
    Also this will make your arms stronger, since you will constantly try to push your balls back of the tank, holding a strong grip on the handlebars…
    This machine will make you a very strong, very angry MF on a very good looking bike! Hey, just like in the movies!

    Oh, and If you decide to take your GF for a ride on this two-up seat… With no foot pegs for her? Man, that will be one hell of a ride. Just a two of you… in a romantic hug.. on your balls…


    No, thanks…

  • Hamish Lamont

    It’s odd, in a way that something you never seen before smacks you in the face. A “retro-futuristic café racer” Wow, who would have thought! Soooooo many details and cool things to take in, some of which I’m not sure works with other things, but that’s okay. It’s still awesome. And absolutely unique. Custom building at its best. Bravo!

  • Zundap

    Nice work on the brake light / plate bracket. Usually an after thought, most customs slap it on the side . ..Z

  • travellingtenor

    That bike deserves a better power plant. XS650, really?

  • Eddie

    How does the shock work? Is there a linkage up top? If not, wouldn’t it be way too stiff unless it was revalved/sprung?
    Looks like the stock yamaha shock. Could it even be made to work without the rising rate linkage?