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Yamaha XT600 – Corb Motorcycles


Posted on November 24, 2015 by Andrew in Scrambler. 35 comments

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A little bit of old, a little bit of new and lots of out of the box thinking makes this Ténéré Tracker unlike any other, and that’s always the way it was meant to be. Starting with a “fit for the junkyard” ‘89 model Yamaha XT600, Santiago Garcia of Corb Motorcycles in Spain had a very unique vision of the sort of bike he wanted to build for himself. For more than 6 years in the city of Terrassa, 30 km from Barcelona, Santiago has been churning out customs for his clients and gaining an impressive following of fans and other local builders all determined to keep the true spirit of motorcycling alive. But when you build customs every single day and you finally find time to build something for yourself, it creates a chance to push the boundaries in every way.

Nearly 30 years of hard work had the XT needing a thorough strip down and clean with dirt, mud and bugs in just about every corner and crevice. With the Yamaha stripped to its bare frame the rear end was shortened 10cm by removing material from the subframe and then re-welding the rear section back in. With unnecessary tabs and brackets removed it was time to hit the sandblaster to rid the metal of any imperfections and old red paint. While shooting a coat of black would be easier and cheaper Santiago wanted an Enduro like durable finish and had the frame powder coated black instead. With the shorter subframe and different look he was trying to achieve a new seat was fabricated and leather wrapped that fits perfectly between the rear end and flows up onto the tank for comfortable riding even on harsh surfaces.

The decision to buck the trend of small road bike tanks on dirt bikes to create a tracker look was a deliberate one but rather than just go conservative Santiago went the whole hog and tracked down a tank even larger than standard. This particular item is the 1986 long-range tank fitted to the Ténéré Dakar model of the XT600. The Ténéré takes its name from the desert region in the south central Sahara where running out of fuel is just not an option. The tank was then sent out to Bryan La Tinta who laid down a stunning Yamaha Red with White Speed Blocks and the Corb Motorcycles logo in Black. Then with the tank back on the frame Santiago grabbed some sandpaper and other implements of destruction and set about ageing the pristine paint in what he calls a “savage style”. It’s the sort of thing that gives painters nightmares, their work is their baby, but a builder has a design in his mind and to that he must be true!

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By the time the 2KF model made it to Europe there had been significant improvements to the engine to aid in reliability. The 600cc thumping single with four valves might not rev like most similarly sized machines but that’s not what it was made for. Yamaha recognised that Europeans were buying these bikes for trips to the African continent and increased cooling fan area, improved lubrication throughout the engine and a strengthened gearbox made for a machine that could go where no help was available. To squeeze a little extra zip from the thumping single, the exhaust is hand-made from beautiful stainless steel pipes and finished out with a muffler from a KTM 690. The XT offers a throaty induction roar at the best of times but this build breathes even easier thanks to twin pod filters and are matched with a similar filter for the oil breather.

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While the big travel telescopic forks of the ’80s were great for the sand dunes and back roads, suspension technology has come a long way in a short period of time and Santiago wanted only the best so the front now swings a set of late-model Yamaha FZR USD forks and trees designed to work with the XT frame. The basic monoshock rear design remains in place but the long travel standard unit has been ditched for a YSS shock normally fitted to a Ducati Monster. The result of the changes gives the bike a lower centre of gravity, improved high-speed handling and a much improved sealed road experience with the modern suspension taking care of a lot of the thumpers vibration. Still wanting to retain the enduro bikes brakes an adapter was made to mount the standard front caliper to the new forks.

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The wheel and tyre combo is a true mix of old and new; up front the standard hub has been laced to a new rim before being fitted with a Bridgestone BT45 3.50×18 tyre, while out back the newly laced original rim sports a true tracker legend in a 4.50×18 Firestone Champion Deluxe. Wanting to keep the XT road legal required the fitting offenders, the front is an FZR item stripped of its paint and leaving the raw plastic finish with the rear a one piece guard also acting as the license plate holder. The box like XT headlight was never going to work so Santiago adapted a KTM390 Duke item with a digital Koso speedo mounted above. New low-rise wide bars were fitted into the clamps for extra leverage with modern mirrors and new grips working with the headlight to create an entirely more modern front end. Not only has Corb Motorcycles now got a new shop bike for fun rides anywhere and any time, Santiago has created a talking and challenging the norms and stirring the pot will keep that conversation going for a long time.

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  • Vít Jakeš

    Now that is just pure confusion.

  • Cristian Farrés

    En general creo que no esta mal (valorando siempre a nivel estético, no entro en la parte técnica) pero me parecen dos mitades de moto… Del deposito para atrás (exceptuando el porta-matrículas) sigue una misma linea muy bien resuelta y homogénea, pero el tren delantero no le pega nada, la rueda delantera es demasiado pequeña en comparación con la trasera, el guardabarros delantero i el faro parecen sacados de una moto de 49cc, desmerecen bastante el resto del conjunto. El porta-matrículas creo que se podría haber resuelto mejor también. De todas formas se aprecio un buen trabajo y unos buenos acabados.

  • revdub

    I followed this build online and love it. So mean. The sub-frame and seat make all the difference, but the forks and mono-shock should be mentioned as well. Mad respect for Corb and what they do.

  • Jim Stuart

    En mi opinion parese que el tanke necesita pintura o algo mas fenito…el resto esta buen como es. Lo siento pero mi castinano es mal y mi ingless is peor. Si era mio el take seria negro y greis con linias rojas. Muchas buenas suerte con todos sus motos que viene

  • wrong tyres for a scrambler

    • Ted Dumais

      This has got to be the most ridiculous use of a Firestone yet. The rest is super cool. A knobby tire would make this bike nearly useful.

  • Hardley T Whipsnade III

    I’ll take Ratty and Ted’s complaints a step further ;

    The tires are wrong . The saddle is completely wrong . The tank is utterly out of proportion to the build and dare I say it ? Wrong . The paint job or at least that pretending to be a paint job ( manufactured patina perhaps ? ) is wrong . Fact is nothing about this bike is right . From the engineering right on down to the aesthetics this is El Solitario gone very very wrong indeed ! Fact is the only thing they got right is the ongoing abuse of the literary device Irony . Which in and of itself is wrong !

    • roscoe

      Didn’t you read the accompanying ad copy article?

      “While shooting a coat of black would be easier and cheaper Santiago
      wanted an Enduro like durable finish and had the frame powder coated
      black instead.”

      My god, think of the horrible, inhuman costs involved, in time, labor, and money, in the application of powder coat rather than paint! It bears repeating, but this was a superhuman effort. Thankfully, the world now knows of the sacrifices involved.

      • Sacrifices?

      • lemieuxmc

        Sadly, many people confuse good natured sarcasm with vicious insult… but those guys are all flaming assholes, so who cares.

  • sethasaurus

    What the hell, man?..
    I uh.. just, I can’t even… uhh..

  • jlgace

    I kind of stopped reading after sanding the tank down after getting it painted. This is interesting to be sure, but I think not quite worthy of Pipeburn. Only one person’s opinion. Not seeing a concerted effort to build a machine here for function or form. Kudos for building a machine in general though, you’re a step ahead of me of late.

  • Blake Proudfoot

    I like the tank as a starting point, has as GS quality to it. On the other hand, artificially distressing a new paint job when the rest of the bike is clean is about as stupid as it gets.

    A redesign on the seat/subframe would really help, and an exhaust placement/different can that visually didn’t dominate the rear half of the bike. I hate those headlights but that’s just a personal preference thing. I’d take a classic round headlight over those street fighter styles any day.

    I really like the concept, especially the off road endurance tank, just seems a little discombobulated after that. Modern tread on the front, Firestone on the back?

  • CORB Motorcycles

    Fuck the Rules. More than 1200 likes talks louder than 6 “nobody” bad comments. Thanks to all the cool people for your support, and thanks to Pipeburn to trust in me and share my work. Yeah !!!

    • When you expose your work you must be ready for every kind of criticism, positive or negative. Negative comments have nothing to do with your passion on building bikes. Negative comments have to do with the end result of your work and vision, in terms of design and functionality.
      Obviously you are not ready to take some notes from that ‘nobody’ comments. Pity 🙁
      I wish you these ‘likes’ that you are mentioning to become even louder and transform into commissions for future projects, because after all this is the only thing that trully matters: to maintain a shop alive…and our attitude under any kind of pressure of course…

      • Corb Motorcycles

        Obviously I expose my work, Cirticism is not the same to offend the builder. I Respect opinions, but some people is full of shit ready to shot behind a keyboard, and this is not a constructive comment. I don’t mind of them.

        Thanks for your support. I hope new commissions or future project after all that to keep showing my point of view.

        • Blake Proudfoot

          Out of all the builders who have received criticism here, your response is about the worst. A couple guys liked your bike, a few didn’t. Don’t take it so personally. Maybe explain some of the choices, and have some humble dialogue rather than the typical “f the haters” response.

        • The world of internet motorcycle sites is a strange one indeed. Especially when people get to tell you what they really think. Lots of commenters have no idea what the F they’re talking about and at the same time a lot do. As more and more people build similar things (same style over and over), or strive for a similar look/vibe, it seems the comments become more polarized. You will find after you build your second or third bike that sometimes criticism that you may not like, is what will help you see more clearly what you are doing or what you should change in the future. As an example, there is very little argument for the use of Firestone tires other than “Screw you.” Or, “That’s the look I was after.” Half the commenters want Firestones on every bike ever made and the other half wouldn’t hang them on the side of a tugboat. If everybody lines up to kiss your ass, will that improve your builds? No. If someone says that you have a bizarre combo of components or the bike looks disjointed or what’s its purpose(?), ask yourself, Why do they think that? Separate yourself from the project and you’ll be able to accept opposing opinions.

        • Advice applies only to the person giving it.

          • lemieuxmc

            I don’t know what you mean exactly, but when Richard gives someone advice about a bike build it’s kind of like Monet giving you some painting tips… you should be thankful and think hard about what he said to you.

          • I wasn’t really picking up on what he was saying either.

          • Even if anything here could be thought of as even being, kind of like Bob Ross; advice is, at its best, only the course of action the advisor would choose for themselves… More often than not it really is just another demand to paint by the numbers.

          • Clear as mud now.

          • Like and Dislike are equal expressions of the mind’s constraints (we like something because it is within the capacity of our tastes to do so, and vice versa). These expressions are more revealing of author than subject. More relevant though is that the two are typically distinguished by the nature of the spirit behind them. Criticism then should be viewed warily if not ignored completely.

          • While at the same time praise should be ignored due to the spirit behind IT. Really, speaking about a subject at all should be limited to head nods or better still an emotionless stone face.

    • guvnor67

      Personally, I like it!!! Has a sort of “move and I’ll bite ya!” Look about it. Dare to be different I say.

      • Corb Motorcycles

        Thanks !!!

    • jlgace

      In retrospect, my comment was a bit harsh. I am, probably like you, passionate about motorcycles. I did check out your site, and although this one was a miss for me I see the potential. My apologies for the nay-saying and keep on doing what you’re doing. At the end of the day, your career path is about self-gratification and that’s all that matters and I’m envious.

  • the watcher

    The more I look at it the more I like it. But Corb remember this: the “likes” are as full of shit as the “dislikes” and all believe they are “constructively criticising” – arguing with opinion is best left unsaid, your work speaks for itself.

  • Like everybody I am predisposed to zero in on what I like (or what I can imagine myself liking) For me that is mostly minimalist cafe bikes and both the techno-modern or survivalist interpretations of a street-fighter… But I kinda get this, too. The oversized fuel tank on a one-up only sized bike doesn’t unbalance the proportion for me as much as it conjures up the image of a two-wheeled stay-dog whose existence is out roaming the undulating straight line backroads of America’s West and Mid-West. I say spend a couple of days on it and then take a photo of it in its unwashed state and the distressed tank will make perfect sense.

  • reckon bike of the year

  • Davidabl2

    I’d say it takes some getting used to. And then rewards the effort…But it’s not gonna be the next big thing.

  • Mo Denaro

    I like Pipeburn. Shows who has an eye for this type of thing. And everything in between.

  • Nick

    I love big tanks and I cannot lie! I’m in full support of people doing what I hate. And I don’t hate this bike. I wouldn’t make it but do your thing. If I saw this bike ride by I would watch until it disappeared. It’s cool. It’s weird. It’s not normal. I’m in support of that. I laugh every time I read these comments. Motorcycle riders are a bunch of conservative authoritarian a-holes posturing as freewheeling outlaws that preach individualism and the freedom of the open road. Please. The hypocrisy. The best advice is to reject advice. Have the balls to trust your decisions and make your bike personal and a pure reflection of yourself. Make it yours. Any idiot willing to take the advice from some random comment… Ha. Good luck with life.

  • jasin charai

    what carbs is om it and how did u make it run on open filters?