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Yamaha XS400 – Volure Cycles

Posted on May 7, 2013 by Scott in Café Racer. 25 comments

Written by Ian Lee.

Ebay has changed the custom bike world in many ways. Anyone wanting unique parts can look all over the world for what they require, but on the other hand if the seller is unscrupulous, are you really going to fly across the globe to confront them because your fork gaiters don’t fit? One such customiser who has utilised Ebay to it’s fullest extent is Volure Cycles, based in Estonia. Using global buying ability, matched with neat engineering skills, a rather pedestrian Yamaha XS400 has been tranformed into a slick café racer. And with nearly all the work done in the owner Sander’s garage, Volure’s first build has come up looking like the work of a bike builder with a lot more experience. And best of all, it is proof for your boss or partner that trawling Ebay isn’t a complete waste of time.

Mucho thought, mucho work and many different ideas were tried out by Volure during the course of the build. Working on small components, the bike was slowly built up in Sander’s mind, and he got to build up a relationship with his postman with all the parts rolling in from Ebay. The first job was to drop the engine out, and strip the frame back to bare bones. The engine was rebuilt while the frame components were away getting sandblasted, getting treated to new seals and rings. On the intake side, the stock carbs suck in air through pod filters, the fuel system controlled by a dirtbike throttle assembly. On the exhaust side of things, the stock headers have been modified in order to fit megaphone style mufflers.

With a cool café racer build comes great responsibility to honour traditional aesthetics, and Sander has made sure the lines of the bike flow smoothly. After ditching the stock rear hoop and fender assembly, a custom hoop was fitted up and a fibreglass ducktail fashioned in the Volure’s workshop. A seat was made up to follow the lines of the ducktail, an XS tank chosen to fit in with the build. The frame has been detabbed, the foot controls changed over to heavily modified mid 90’s GSX-R rearsets, leaving very little on this bike as being untouched during the build.

For handling, the front end has been dropped an inch and fitted with stiffened forks, the back jacked up an inch and fitted with Hagon Classic 1 shocks. The XS rides on Bridgestone BT45 tires wrapped around powder coated black original rims. And to round out the café racer aesthetic, Ebay sourced clip-ons are fitted.

For electrics, the bike has been taken from, not added to. The battery and assorted componentry have been relocated to the ducktail, the right hand switches remover altogether. To give a special touch to the bike, Volure had customised XS400 decals made up to fit to the standard meter cluster, then dropped the unit to suit the lines of the bikes, by fitting a bracket made for the job.

Starting out with a flat red XS400, the build took Volure 6 months to complete, and Sander has been tweaking little touches on the bike since. Starting with a simple modification to the tail light & rear signals, the build continued on until the bike you see before you was created. For a first build it is pretty impressive, a good indicator of the talent of the builder, and a chance to see how the world wide web is affecting custom bike culture.


  • Jim Brunson

    It’s very nice. I am a fan of the 78 XS400 having one myself built by Spin Cycle Industries in Bend, OR. (see profile pic., or their website for complete build pics.) The only thing I would add would be a small rear fender just to keep things clean. Other than that it’s beautiful.

  • Richard Brandt

    He may have gone online and bought all that stuff, but I’ve seen more money spent on an end product that looked far worse.

    The ‘cafe racer’ so many people want to emulate was built bit by bit, too, instead of being ripped apart to the engine and put back together painstakingly.

    Plus, hey, it’s an XS, and they’re fun. Nice bike, man.

  • itsmefool

    Coolness; love the tasteful chrome bits! Well done.

  • imwastefull

    boring, plain, usual,trite, these words may be a bit too strong…. so I’ll call her “run of the mill”

  • Alari Johanson

    Good shit man, looks awesommmme!!!

  • New Haven Neil

    That back brake isn’t going to work with the arm past the 90 degree point like that!

    • Richard Brandt

      Yes it will, the fulcrum turns no matter where the lever sits.

      • Swagger

        I have to agree with NHN for the most part. I think there will be ‘some’ brake action at the rear but the lever on the hub is indeed too far beyond 90* to do much. In this case however the OE drum may be too strong and prone to locking up the rear wheel without taking measures. It’ll also lead to a very firm pedal, also yielding less brake force……again, possibly part of measures to ‘tune’ the rear brake.

        or not……

  • Jacob Speis

    I like it a lot. It’s not exactly groundbreaking, but the attention to detail is quite nice. As an XS400 owner, I’ve gotten used to seeing these bikes become forgotten in various stages of completion and rarely seeing a solid finished product seen through all the way to fruition. If nothing else, this inspires me to finish my own.

    • Jacob Speis

      PS- To the editor, does anyone have contact info for the guys who built this? I’d love to pick their brains on a few things.

      • Sander Ziugov

        Fire away !

        • Jacob Speis

          For the rear frame loop, is the frame just cut right after the suspension mounts and the loop welded in? I’m wondering if it’s the stock frame width because many people feel the stock XS400 frame is too wide and choose to decrease the width a bit (such as the Spin Cycle XS400 featured on Bike Exif a little ways back), but I think this looks great.

          Also, what’s the overall length of the rear suspension? It really puts the bike itself at an ideal slight rake.

          • Sander Ziugov

            To achieve the stance above I had to lower the forks about 2.5cm in front, also 1.5cm longer shocks in the back(340mm now) and to get the tank sit level with the ground I also had to be raised 2+cm.

            I actually liked the way the frame tubes went wider after shock mounts, so I kept the width and added a new loop just before the mounts.

          • Jacob Speis

            Hey thanks man!

  • Davidabl2

    Worthy bike. In the writeup I gotta laugh about “megaphone mufflers”… from the ones I’ve heard it’s an oxymoron like “jumbo shrimp’ or “legal ethics”

  • lennard schuurmans

    Nice tail seat combo!

    But no ducktail

    A ducktail is pointing up


    • Glenn

      Ducktail is an Australian term for plastic behind the seat. ….and this is an Aus site.

  • Lewn

    Fantastic for a first build, love Japanese air-cooled twins, this one is just so nice looks fun to ride and fairly cheap to look after. Common sense tires too!

  • revdub

    So clean. I’m sure it gets a lot of looks everywhere it’s ridden. Very cool bike.

  • Absolutely stunning! Just pull the pipes in about 3″ per side and I’ll believe it’ll get ridden hard.

    • Sander Ziugov

      Ha, and why’s that?

      • Ok. “Could” actually be ridden hard without scraping the pipes.

  • A very clean, lightweight, nimble machine. I like the color choice – it makes it look all business.

  • Septic the Sceptic

    Very Nice. Would be a hoot to ride. Great for younger light-weight riders. They'd really be able to get the full potential from it.

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