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Yamaha XT600 Cafe Tracker – Redonda Motors


Posted on February 21, 2017 by Andrew in Brat, Café Racer, Tracker. 26 comments

Remember that scene from Jurassic Park where Jeff Goldblum says “life, uh… finds a way”? His logic is simple – if something in nature has got even the most remote chance of happening, given enough time it probably will. A group of all female dinosaurs will eventually reproduce. Nickelback will, given enough time, write a song the doesn’t suck. And two custom bike genres which may seem mutually exclusive will eventually merge to form a whole new subspecies. Take this little Yamaha XT600 beastie, for instance. Half cafe and half tracker, it’s the latest creation from Portugal’s Redonda Motors. And while science may have never intended it to be so, we’re kind of glad nature took its course.

“This is the latest project from Redonda Motors,” says the exoctically named João Barranca, the shop’s owner. “It’s a a 1998 Yamaha XT600E. This design blends the cafe racer style with that of the tracker. The intention was to build a motorcycle for the city that was very fun and easy to ride.”

Ponte Seiscentos

The XT600 base was chosen for the build as it’s an agile old thing that has more than enough motor for everyday urban use. With that being said, João still took it upon himself to improve the handling by dropping the height of the bike by about 20cm/8″.

“The fuel tank comes from an old Honda CB550, and the freshly painted design was based on the Honda bikes of the 60s, with some added Yamaha colours to make sure nothing got too blasphemous,” says João. The tank also adds to the bike’s super compact shape and minimalist aesthetic, disguising the 600cc thumper masterfully. Well, as long as you don’t count the sound it makes.

The original wheels have been changed to beefier ones capable of taking a wider road tire and thusly erasing the original bike’s ‘balancing on hula hoops’ stance. The bespoke exhaust was designed and built in a high-grade stainless steel to give it both a tracker style and a beautiful bass note. Now that’s our kind of orchestra.

Some classic Portuguese design. And some old stone pillars

And the bike’s original subframe was masterfully replaced by one built from scratch by  João himself. It not only supports the seat and whatever butt cakes just so happen to be perched on it at the time, but it also hides most of the bike’s messy electrical components, too. The original air filters were replaced by new foam Ramair filters.

European men. Making the rest of us look bad for over 250 years

All the new bike’s em formação is now given out by a small Koso dial. The rear light and indicators were both changed to LEDs, and up front an old Suzuki GT750 headlight was re-jigged for its new Yamaha home.  Also notice the small projector placed on the bike’s front left-hand side. Neat-o.

“The design and creation of the subframe were the most difficult parts of this build,” says  João. “Ensuring the seat was supported with sufficient strength to hold the driver’s weight was no easy task. And with the creation of this new subframe, I of course had to reposition all the necessary components so that the motorcycle can run. That was not an easy task.”

“The color and the combination of different styles are for me the best parts of this bike,” he says in summary. “The scrambler exhaust system, combined with the old school bench seat and the cafe racer fuel tank results in something I find very interesting.”

So, what’s your take? Freak of nature or the start of a wonderful new species? Somehow, we feel we’ll be seeing a lot more of these types of hybrids. Cafe’s stripped-back and mean minimalism matched with the more casual nature of an Enduro and a sprinkling of tracker DNA thrown in for good measure. If this isn’t natural, then we’re not quite sure what is.

[Redonda Motors – Facebook – Instagram | Photos by Helder Silva ]








  • Ur Momma

    Pfft…. Nickelback will ALWAYS suck.

  • John in Pollock

    The premise of this type of bike is a good idea, and I like the paint and color scheme, but my initial reaction upon seeing this bike, is that it looks like one of those unfinished projects that you find on Craigslist, cobbled together out of motorcycles that originated on different continents… Only its clean, (as in not covered in barn dust) and not a picture taken at arms length over a garage full of shit.

    And yes- Nickelback can’t not suck.

  • Dave Coetzee

    I’m sure the builder/owner of this bike loves the end result but personally, I’d like to see it fitted with a smaller tank, like a Yamaha DT360 and it’s smaller headlight.

    • Agreed, the length of the tank and volume of the headlight bucket unfortunately dwarf the engine a little in this set up, especially in those 3rd and 4th last shots. Also agree that maybe ride height has been slammed a few inches too much, but a lightly longer rear shock would be an easy fix. Bet it is an absolute blast to ride though, smiles for miles !

  • The bike may have some odd aesthetics, it sure looks ridable and a lot of fun, and that’s what it’s all about in the end. That engine rocks btw! Great job.

  • This bike seems to suffer from an identity crisis. This half cafe-half tracker style doesn’t work visually for me, and as a previous XT owner I would go for a 100% retro street tracker machine like the one in the photo below 😉 https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/306f9206546af1de64db5415116bda4fd9684bd1f87e6357b7a9d87c875ff7c2.jpg

    • This is also damn nice – although the tippy-toes stance and comically small wheels on these enduros always throws me…

  • Jim Stuart

    This bike and Nickelback have a common thread…they both suck. They part company when you consider the band is a commercial success, the bike a failure.

  • guvnor67

    Well (a hole in the desert), I thinks they’ve nailed it!! It’s like a retro Supermoto (maybe), and looks like a heap of fun. Looks light, love the colours, I want one!

    • Fun is exactly the right word, Guv.

      • guvnor67

        I can imagine blasting this through the Streets of Lisbon or down the coast to Faro, with probably a lot of time with the rear wheel sideways and the front barely touching the bitumen.

  • Neil_TonUp

    Joining the XT600 motor to the CB550 tank and graphics turns a historic disconnect into a felicitous perceptual product which does happy things to my sensibilities. Fortune favors the brave.

  • the watcher

    Thumpers are always a riot and at least while riding it you don’t have to look at the ugly fucker (true on so many levels). BTW European Catholics live with their mummies til they’re 40 and thereby make the rest of us look like cool bad lads, bless ’em.

  • Apollyon

    Clean execution, a good effort, but isn’t having a negative swingarm angle dangerous?

    • Larry Kahn

      Yes, the swingarm arrangement is all ass backwards.

    • Good point. But may I ask why?

      • martin hodgson

        There are quite a few reasons, one is to do with its negative impact on drive, corner exit acceleration/traction and impact on a chain drive system. The other is to do with handling.

        When you accelerate you have weight transfer to the rear, chain pull and driving force (the wheel spinning). Without going silly technical the geometry of the motorcycle is figured so that under the harshest of these conditions squat is reduced so as never to pass the negative angle. Once this angle is exceeded the amount of horizontal force on the axle increases proportionally to each degree of negative angle. You are effectively pulling the sprocket to the side instead of end over end. So unweighted you must begin with the front sprocket height above the top of the rear sprocket and maintain that angle for as much of the squat condition as possible.

        Here you are starting with that squat already built in, before any weight is applied, or weight transfer or the force of the chain pulling the rear down. All of which increase that negative angle.

        Which then has the additional effect of reducing the effective rebound and dampening of the shock. The tyre starts in an unweighted position, instead of having the angle positive which acts like a mouse trap trying to close. Therefore at the pivot point the shock has direct control of each degree of movement for the full stroke of the shock and can control the speed at which the rear compresses, rebounds and returns.

        So you lose a great deal of traction by removing the shocks ability to control the tyres reaction to the road and weight transfer as you’ve seriously shortened it’s stroke of effective operation and burdened it with unsprung weight.

        That’s the simple version… I hope it makes a tiny bit of sense LOL

        • Dave Coetzee

          Wow Martin! You’re a wealth of info! Think I’m gonna put that tricky, “which is best – 2T vs 4T” question to you one day.

        • guvnor67

          Blimey!! I knew a little bit of that but you’ve just educated me with words that mere mortals can understand. I had a friend try to explain it years ago, but he was a scotsman with a very heavy Glaswegian accent, who drank far to much Scotch, Vodka, and Carlsberg, sometimes in the same glass. oh, and smoked enough weed to keep the local dealer in Mercs and Beemers for decades!

        • the watcher

          Either that or it was the only way to get the “Yamaha” on the tank parallel to the floor! Which do you think?

        • Larry Kahn

          Yeah,that’s what I meant…

  • AB

    I am most interested in the comments – this build just does not work at all for me. But others dig it. Such is the human condition and thank your chosen god that we are this way.

  • Andy Rappold

    This bike looks like its only half done…or is it just me?

  • Beautiful tank and very nice exhaust. Looks like a cool cafe tracker.