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Yamaha Star Bolt by JPD Customs

Posted on November 27, 2013 by Scott in Tracker. 23 comments

A little while back Yamaha gave one of their fresh off the factory floor Star Bolt’s to 10 custom bike builders. The brief was pretty simple, do whatever you want with it. Jeff Palhegyi from JPD Customs was one of the chosen builders. Over the years Jeff has created more than 60 individual custom Stars for Yamaha, but this was his first Star Bolt. After throwing around a few concepts, Jeff decided to turn the Bolt into a retro styled dirt tracker. “I have always been a fan of Dirt Track Racing and the Star Bolt ‘Dirt Track Concept’ was a natural fit” he says. The bike may not have won the Bolt Build Off – that was awarded to Doc’s Chops – but it did receive a lot of attention and is still one of our favourite Bolt builds.

Initially, Jeff and his team were just going to add dirt track wheels and bodywork to build this street tracker, after purchasing these items they figured out that the steering head was too high and the swing arm too long. Placing the chassis in the fixture they cut the top tube away from the chassis, along with that went the steering head down tubes and eventually the whole bottom of the chassis.

After reworking the chassis, they realized that modifying the stock tank was going to work nicely. The stock tank was chopped down 2 inches. They also shortened the swing arm almost 3 inches and put everything together only to see that the shocks stuck out in the wind with the dirt track tail section. “Back out came the sawzall and the rear of the chassis was cut away, Geeze there was nothing left!” says Jeff.”I got on the phone with Penske and a custom dirt track monoshock was on the way.With all that done the tail was still not right, I sectioned it and added 2 inches, fabbed up a subframe, hand-made aluminium side covers and number plates.”

With the build deadline looming, Jeff still didn’t like the way the stock headlight looked and he also needed an exhaust. “Burns stainless provided the cool ultra lite mufflers and a bunch of u-bends to build the exhaust. I went online and found the perfect size lights from KC and fabbed up the new aluminium front number plate. Yamaha R6 forks were used and we machined the retro TZ look carrier and front rotor, wheels are from Dave at Jupiter wheel, tires are Goodyear Dirt Track, seat was made by Howard McKee and the paint was laid on by our regular Benny Flores. When we were done, there was almost a complete Yamaha Bolt on the floor of the workshop, less the engine and electrical.”

The Bolt’s simplicity really helped Jeff and his team achieve this stripped down retro dirt tracker. “I’ll be the first to admit we got a little carried away with the fabrication work” he says. “It was great fun and that’s what a bike build is all about.”

  • StreetRebel

    Now this is an awesome conversion of a heavy weight, boring criuser.
    JPDC’s bike turned out as a light-weight dirt dancer with lots of lovely details. Great!
    That’s the kind if inspiration I needed today….

  • Mike McFadden M&M Customs

    I was apart of this Build Off and Jeff’s bike was my favorite of the 10. Heck of a job and as always incredible quality.

  • ccc40821

    It’s a new bike, not a conversion, and we should all be thankful for that. What on Earth prompted Yamaha’s frame guys to design a stock frame with those awful, bent front tubes, we’ll probably never know.

    • StreetRebel


  • AWLongmeyer

    I’ll give you the highest compliment I can muster; it looks like a Mule build.

    • Jeff Palhegyi

      Thanks, Richard makes great stuff! JP

      • lemieuxmc

        You gonna bring this bike to the La Jolla Motor Classic in April?

        • Jeff Palhegyi

          That would be great fun if my schedule allows I will be there!

  • Deej

    I love it!

  • This is a custom street tracker that happens to have Bolt motor! When a custom bike is so much better than the original, one has to ask: what were the factory engineers thinking?. There are so many great details on this bike and the build so monumental that it would take a coffee table book to document it all. In my opinion this should be the Pipeburn bike of the year.

    • Tron


      Absolutely unreal.

      • JK

        Agreed, unreal bike. Loving the vintage dirt tracker styling!

    • Mike McFadden M&M Customs

      That was the whole fun of the build off we all had such different takes on what these bikes could be. I went with the Drag Bike look above and some of the guys like Greg of Doc Chops went with the Old Steve McQueen Dirt Duro They even had a dirt bike doing doubles and a Bobber.

  • bartsky

    Nice to see Yamaha star offering this class of bike again, I bet it will be a successful line.

  • I’m partial to streetrackers and this build is super impressive to say the least. This is the one I voted for! As described, this bike wasn’t yet another fancy, cosmetic, chopper/cruiser re-hash, but was entirely re-engineered. All of Jeff’s stuff is well thought out and he doesn’t cut corners. I yield to the master.

    • Jeff palhegyi

      Thanks Richard! As soon as I get it back from Star we are going to Julian for lunch on trackers! I am buying. JP

      • I just got a new (used) “Aprilia Tuono R” to ride around on. I need a ride!!

  • Hispeed

    This bike is beautiful!!!

    I’d never seen a Bolt (Not a Cruiser enthusiast), so after I saw this bike I went to see one at Yamaha’s page. It just may be one of the worst looking stock bikes in existence.

    I can see how it took so much work to get this result.

  • Stout

    This really is an awesome transformation from a stock Bolt! If only there was a sound bite so I could hear what those pipes sound like!

  • Zundap

    Very well done. Looks like it just rolled out as factory prototype for an international motorcycle show. Dose it go as well as it looks? ..Z

  • Septic the Sceptic

    Great outcome here. Yamaha should run with it. They'd corner the market. Maybe even get a FT series going.

  • Paul McM

    I saw this up close and personal at the Long Beach show. Very Nicely executed, with excellent craftsmanship, quality components, and flawless paint. Nice to see such attention to details by a custom builder. The rear shock mounting set-up was inspired.

  • Mike

    I saw a JPDC Bolt at the International Motorcycle Show. It looked like a café racer from the 1970s. It was love at first sight. They wouldn’t let me sit on it. If I had seen this particular bike when I was shopping for one I would’ve bought it on the spot.