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WATCH THIS. Macco Motor’s Timely Yamaha XSR900 Cafe Racer

Posted on July 7, 2017 by Andrew in Café Racer. 30 comments

Written by Marlon Slack.

TW Steel is a Dutch watch manufacturer that builds quality timepieces large enough to beat a man to death with. Recently they’ve been dabbling in the custom motorcycle scene, commissioning a series of bikes based around Yamaha’s incredible, unique-looking lineup. The latest builder to throw their sizeable hat into the ring on behalf of TW Steel is Spain’s Macco Motors, with their brand spanking new XSR900 cafe racer dubbed ‘The Desperado’.

Macco Motors is the end result of two lifelong friends indulging their love of motorbikes. Jose and Tito had known each other for over twenty years and took a gamble when they flung open the doors to Macco in 2011. And the gamble paid off – with the small Spanish workshop producing all manner of stunning bikes. Most of them don’t stay in country either, with 90% of their builds destined for customers scattered around the world.

So it’s no surprise that TW Steel approached them for a build. Crossover projects like this can be kind of naff – and often forced and strained. But there is something a little ‘watchy’ about this bike. The mix of dark colours, textures and materials does line up with more classic, traditional watch designs.

TW Steel figured the guys from Macco would be a good choice for this kind of pairing, with Jose and Tito always having aesthetics at the forefront of their minds when turning to the tools. ‘We care for detail, and look for harmony in the bike’s curves and shapes, while keeping the essence of the bike intact,’ Jose says. Kind of sounds like a watch, no?

Now in standard trim the brown leather and brushed steel that makes the XSR900 already looks like a watch, but the guys from Macco had more ambitious plans afoot. They started with the front of the bike, trimming down the top yoke and relocating the ignition to the right hand side of the frame. Interestingly, Jose and Tito kept the standard speedo and tacho and just modified the mount, deciding it looked nice and light as is.

“And that tank? It’s a legitimate once-off carbon fibre model. In their opinion it’s their favourite part of the build.”

A new bracket was made to drop the gauge assembly behind teeny tiny bikini fairing, matched to the fun-sized headlight. New LSL clipons and levers brings the riding position down over the tank. And that tank? It’s a legitimate once-off carbon fibre model. In their opinion it’s their favourite part of the build. Unsurprisingly it was also the trickiest thing to get right, with lots of sanding and cutting involved to get it working correctly.

Here there’s a bit of visual cheating done by the team, and it works really well. The carbon fibre tank was based around the lines of the standard model, which has a very ‘2017’, very sculptured look about it. The team found a way around that with some cleverly placed red highlights that straighten out the lines along the base of the tank. Clever touch, that.

Back at the rear the guys scratch built a single seat unit. The upholstery is finished in soft black leather with red accented stitching. Down below the red highlight theme continues with the beautiful Kineo rims, clever little hoops that allow you run tubeless tires. Performance trickery is handled by YSS suspension components and a carbon fibre tipped SC Project exhaust that’ll make the most of the growl spat out by the 115 horsepower Yamaha triple.

“The end result of all this work is a fantastic twist on one of the greatest bikes produced by Japan in the last ten years.”

Mucho badass

The end result of all this work is a fantastic twist on one of the greatest bikes produced by Japan in the last ten years. The guys from Macco have turned a pretty unique-looking beast in stock trim to a classy looking modern cafe racer that doesn’t sacrifice any performance in search of its beauty. But we’re not the only people to think so, with TW Steel soon to release a watch based on the colour palette of this bike.

The boys laugh as the photographer’s car is ticketed

[Macco Motors: WebFacebook – Instagram | TW Steel | Photos by Sergio Ibarra ]

  • Andy Rappold

    El poco inspirado….would be a more suitable name 😀 Carbon is the new heat wrap??

    • C’mon! Tell me you wouldn’t want to take it for a ride in the mountains…

      • Andy Rappold

        Honestly..I tried a stock xsr here in Lima and wasnt impressed to say at least. So, no I wouldn’t.

        • Marlon

          Strange. The 900cc powerplant is, in my opinion, one of the best to be wheeled out by any manufacturer in the last ten years or so.

          • I’d have to agree. It’s a touch sports bike/sewing machine for me, but still a real corker.

          • Andy Rappold

            Well..comes down to personal preference… I take an old speed triple over that bike any day 😉

          • Greg Sheffey

            I absolutely love my 16 yamaha xsr 900 60th aniversary has plenty of power for me almost too much in A mode.i leave the traction control onif not its wheelies first 3 gears without trying even with it on it still does wheelies but slams it right back down when it gets airborne.i saw this bike and had to have it.i dont know how many they made but my local dealer couldnt get one.

  • guvnor67

    I think these bikes are about to overtake Bee-Ems and Triumphs as the Bike De Jour, or something. I particularly like the tail on this one, it gives it a real “This bike bites” kinda attitude.

    • Flying W

      Yep, nicely balanced. Some builders tend to dock ’em a bit too close. Love that turned-out pipe too.

      • guvnor67

        For sure, gives it a bit of Muscle Bike/Muscle Car vibe.

    • Agreed. I think it’s the black combined with the tail and the red stripes.

      • guvnor67

        Tough as!

    • Marlon

      I hope they do – the MT09/XSR900 is one of the best bang-for-buck bikes on the market. Warms my heart to see shops tackling this kind of thing. Makes a nice break from the R90 etc that we see a lot of.

      • guvnor67

        And variety is the spice of life! Mix in some decent power, Japanese reliability . .

  • JayJay

    A lot of work, but In don’t like. The lines don’t flow. All these xsr builds struggle in that area.

    • Perimeter frames always upset a bike’s lines. It’s probably my biggest complaint about them.

      • JayJay

        Great bikes out of the box though .

    • Marlon

      I think it works pretty well – especially the front end. Love the little bikini fairing and headlight combo.

      • JayJay

        The thing is: i actually really want a mt09. I like looks good. Somehow in this build the frame brothers me more. Jvb and IWC die a great job on the xsr 700. So it is possible.

  • the watcher

    Someone please explain to me why people keep trying to build specials based on the XSR when they could use the MT-09 and not have to try to find new, and ever less amusing, ways to disguise/justify that bloody hideous tank?

    • guvnor67

      I’m wondering if it’s down to availability, or do some folks just like a challenge?!

      • the watcher

        No surprise with those two builders, though….

        • guvnor67

          Also true!

      • JayJay

        Yeah the IWC bike is really nice.

    • You’re saying you prefer the MT09 tank over the XSR900’s? Not sure I agree…

      • the watcher

        Hell, yes!

    • Jonesy

      Right on —- both good bikes but imo the mt is a MUCH easier place to start

  • martin hodgson

    To me Macco are some of the smartest builders going around! As a stock bike these things are brilliant, but being picky they carry their weight too high… so how to help sort that? Slim tail and a crazy carbon tank, crazy because I doubt many realise just how hard they are to build.

    The whole thing just works beautifully as a total package and you won’t find many bikes this fun to just throw a leg over and go for a blast.

  • Guzzto

    I like the tailpiece proportions in relation to the tank but can’t get over the fact these bikes look like a robot using a rowing machine in profile (that’s in no way a reflection on the builders)

  • monfort lane

    I’ve never understood why designers insist on putting the rear subframes way up in the air… like a wasp ready to sting. I personally hate it, like the idea of thongs. Put the rider low as possible, like Dan Gurney’s Gator {not THAT low}. I don’t want my Package jammed up into the tank. Otherwise this bike is a nice respite from the current Evil Alien School of Design.