A BLAZING APE. K-Speed’s Yamaha ‘Monkey-Slaz’ Tracker
For those not in the know, Yamaha’s ‘M-Slaz’ is a naked version of its popular YZF-R15 single cylinder sports bike first launched in Asia and India in 2008. And yes, we had to look that up. As reliable as it is underwhelming, it’s a bike that in normal guise most of us would instantly overlook in favour of an MT or XSR. But when they just aren’t on the menu, how do you take what’s available locally and turn it into something you’d die to ride? This is how. Here’s Thailand’s K-Speed with their Yamaha ‘Monkey Slaz’ Tracker.
Being such a popular bike this isn’t the first time K-Speed and Eak, their head honcho, have gone to town on an M-Slaz. “Last year we made one for a Yamaha M-Slaz custom competition and we got 2nd place overall,” he notes. They ended selling this bike to a Taiwanese customer, but not before it gained its fair share of publicity. “This year a new customer asked me to build him something similar, but I thought I could do better. This is it.”
Eak’s first step was to chop down the original rear frame, mainly to accommodate the soon-to-be new owner’s less than gigantic stature. “I thought that it was probably too high for my customer. Similarly, I built a new custom rear frame that would fit a slim, flat saddle and a lower overall seat height.”
Supporting the home side when he can, Eak made the call to use local Thai tyres for the build. “I’ve used Vee Rubber’s 140/80-17s for both wheels; it was mainly to add visual weight and to make the bike look bigger than the original.”
As the customer wanted this bike to have a custom tracker look with a modern twist, Eak decided to bin the factory’s wide and high handlebars, replacing them with a low-rise RZM Racing bar. “And as I like a clean and tidy rear on my bikes, everything back there that wasn’t absolutely necessary was scrapped. The net result is a modern look and a big rear wheel without any clutter.”
The tank is essentially the same as the original unit, but with some unused parts removed and some Motive custom parts added – mostly to add more black to the bike’s visuals. “Then we added a new LED headlight with a custom bracket, as I much prefer the round headlight to the factory bike’s original.”
The bike’s suspension set-up also remains largely untouched, bar some minor tweaks. Surprisingly, the wheels are stock but a new gold finish was applied to give them some visual pop and to pair them up with the gold USD shocks up front. “I think black with gold is a great colour combination,” says Eak. John Player would no doubt agree.
Other mods to the black beauty included a new braking system with Brembos on both front and rear calipers, along with some new brake and clutch master cylinders. There’s also some new racing-style rear sets, a custom rear brake light and Diablo bar-end turn signals.
After construction had finished and the paint had been applied to the Yamaha, Eak took the bike for its maiden voyage. “I was personally very happy with it, but I was really glad to see that it was catching everyone’s eye as I rode it around the local streets.” No kidding.
“My favourite part of the tracker? I really like the muffler. It’s a unique look, and I put quite a bit of time into the design. It really adds character to the finished bike,” he notes. We couldn’t agree more.