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BEAST MODE. A Yamaha XV920 Neo-Cafe from Ruthless Customz


Posted on July 10, 2017 by Andrew in Café Racer, Streetfighter. 8 comments

Having owned Viragos ourselves, we know all too well that customising them without treading on anyone’s toes can be a tricky endeavour. With some of the industry’s best builders all making their mark on Yamaha’s innovative stressed-member v-twin, it’s damn hard to do anything that people haven’t seen a million times before. But with this thought in mind, Sergei from Dutch grinders Ruthless Customz took up tools and created this rather cool and decidedly unique XV interpretation. He calls it ‘The Beast’.

Sergei started Ruthless Customz in 2015. He’s had a real love for bikes since he was little and he’s been messing around with them for real since the age of 16. So in ‘15, he decided to start building them from start to finish. “Everything I know about building bikes, I taught myself,” he says.

“Then one day I was watching Cafe Racer TV and I saw an episode where they were building an XV750. There was something very special about that bike, so I started doing some research on Viragos and they really started to inspire me.”

Bitten by the bug, Sergei found himself trawling through the local classifieds for an XV. “I found an ‘83 XV920 close by, but when I got there the bike didn’t even run. Despite my better judgement, I took a gamble and bought the thing there and then. Next, I started building it the way I wanted it to be; there where so many Viragos out there, I knew I had to make mine stand out.”

“It was hard because I had to figure everything out myself as there where no other local builders who knew anything about them. Also I’d never really swapped a front fork before, especially from a new bike to an old one, so I needed to do a lot of research to find out how to get it done right and safe the first time.”

Beastmaster Sergei

Wanting the thing as clean as possible, his next task was figuring out a way to hide all the cabling. While it was tedious work, there were some hidden benefits to the process. “Halfway through, I decided that I liked the starter button being hidden out of sight under the tank. Now everyone who wants to ride the bike always asks, ‘Dude! How do you start the thing?’ It’s fun to give them a surprise by asking them to try and find it.”

“The build was difficult at first because there where just so many custom Viragos out there. I loved them all, but I really wanted to make mine stand out and design it in a way that no one really had done before”. After much thought, Sergei decided to focus on the seat and subframe, the front forks and the headlight. “Most people use a round headlight on Yamaha XVs, but I didn’t want that; I wanted the front of the bike to look as mean and as bold as possible.”

“Now that it’s done, I’m able to look back and say that I really love everything about the Yamaha. But the best part for me is how it all comes together: the front forks, the tank and the subframe, to me it looks exactly like the mix of sportsbike and old cafe racer that I had in my head”.

Smile for the camera

[ Ruthless Customz – Instagram | Photos by Nick Gaerthe ]








  • aaron snyder

    It honestly looks good for a first build and I’m glad he built the bike he wanted. That said the tires should match, the giant battery looks like its falling off, and the pipe wrap needs to be redone, with care. If I saw it on the street I would give the guy a thumbs up but I’m not sure why its on pipeburn.

    • Andy Rappold

      Exactly my thoughts!

  • Kubek

    Oh, be ready. People who don’t know nothing about making an actual bike will beat you for battery placement.

    • Heggs

      I know about bike building and it’s not just about the aesthetics of placing a battery in an ugly position; considering that the entire build (of any bike) is about aesthetics. Never mind the fact that it stands out like a sore thumb either and that there are many, plenty of battery options than just a standard lead-acid battery.

      The biggest issue imo is that it has great potential it has to be hit by debris or other objects. Considering it’s a sealed lead-acid battery, I’d say there’s a too-high chance of it losing part of it’s bottom and spraying acid all over the rear of the bike and the vehicle behind. I’m not talking about a random event either. It’s hanging low enough to hit a speed-hump or a mis-judged curb.

      • JohnRofa

        Il just say this i have build the same Virago and used the same battery first that is not a acid battery its a lithium battery. Second the battery box protects the battery that why its there. The battery is much smaller in real life. And u don’t hit anything even if u go over speed bumps like i did its just looks that way but the bike is high enough and u can see that he meant to have the subframe stand out and have clean lines so that is the best placr to put a battery. And if u put the battery on the side of the bike than it will look like sore thumb standing out. If u look at the bike from the front nothing stand out so i get where e was going with it and because of the subframe u can see the nnice Hogom shock.

  • Dave Coetzee

    Love the parallel lines of the tank & seat. Were it my bike, I would have been tempted to remove the battery for the photo-shoot and kept ’em guessing where it’s located.
    Glad to see this one’s ridden.

  • guvnor67

    I really like it. Yes, it does have a few issues, but they can be fixed. Over all though, it’s a decent job.

  • properjob

    I have a lot of respect for the website, but this article is almost absent of information. Apart from the model of bike and the name of the builder, what’s there for us to learn? Where did the builder source the forks, the tank, the electrics, the pipes; what did he do to get the rear suspension right; he bought it as a non-runner – what was involved in getting it running again, and is the engine modified to raise its formerly modest power output? Sorry, but a few photographs don’t make a good feature.