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EUROPEAN UNION. An Irish XV750 Cafe Racer from Italy’s KSC

Posted on October 26, 2017 by Andrew in Café Racer, Racer. 33 comments

Yamaha’s XV750; been there, done that. Am I right? We’ve seen more cafe’d iterations of the good ol’ Coffee Grinder than just about any other bike out there. Hell, if XV cafe racers were actual coffee, the world would be ankle-deep in espresso. But every now and then we come across one that’s different enough to catch our very jaded eyes. No points for guessing that this, the latest bike from Italy’s Kustom Special Components, is just such a one.

“My name is Massimo,” says, Signore Carriero. ”I am an Italian living in UK. The shop is in Italy and is run by my friend Fabio. The project was made by the two of us and another colleague, Alessandro. I am an engineer and I designed and produced parts for the bike. Fabio is specialised in fabrications and welding and Alessandro is mechanic and a bike builder”.

Massimo tells us that the bike was found in Ireland, of all places. “I have friends there, so they collected the bike for me and brought it back to England. I then arranged to send it to our shop in Italy”. That sounds like quite the voyage.

“A while ago we were preparing a Virago XV500 in our shop. The shock absorber embedded in the frame was beautiful to my eyes and I fell in love with the design. From there, we started to look into building an XV café racer but with a stronger engine and some racing DNA. We started to look at the 750, but that model was never sold in Italy so naturally we had to look elsewhere. That turned out to be Ireland”.

Note the subtle green stripe

The team’s first thoughts on the design were focused on a race-based look, a sporty riding position and decent handling. Hence, a decision was made to try and use the full front suspension travel and ground clearance. To achieve this, the front yokes have been designed with a forward offset and a step to guarantee enough clearance between the front tyre and the engine when in full bump.

Similarly, the footpegs were designed to have the legs and back of the rider in the ‘correct’ position and the rear damper rod was increased in length to raise the body, increase the ground clearance and to give the bike a better maximum lean angle. Also, the fork’s caster was reduced to more super sport values, improving the bike’s handling.

“The wiring loom was then reduced and placed under the seat with the main electrics; as you can probably tell, the seat was designed with this in mind and the tank was modified to look slimmer and sleeker”. Next, Massimo rolled his sleeves up and aqua blasted the cylinder block. All the rest was polished, the frame was painted and all the aluminium components were anodised. Then the reassembly began.

Finishing touches included some brakes courtesy of Brembo Racing, K&N filters, a fully digital dash, a bespoke headlight design, integrated rear lights and a classic Yamaha racing paint job from the 70s and 80s.

The team’s main challenges centred on the always tedious adaption of the bike’s old wiring to work with the required modern features, like the dash, speed pickups, brake lights and the handlebar commands. “The tank was modified a lot. The original Yamaha unit was far too big, but it had some interesting features. Basically, we made it slimmer on the sides and the front was covered up”.

“The exhaust really brings a smile to my face. They are one of our specialities”.

“Looking at it now, I love the way the new tank and seat line with its ‘leaned forward’ look give the bike a great dynamic and it really supports the bike’s overall racing look. Also, the exhaust really brings a smile to my face. They are one of our specialities, and this one makes the bike very strong and solid-looking. Its design was inspired by circuit racing, and I think it really works well on the bike”.

In a touching detail on the bike’s paint, the team managed to combine the Yamaha’s Irish and Italian influences into one neat touch. “On the headlight fairing a green line runs from the bottom to the top. As you’ll know, Green is the colour of Ireland and at the bottom it pairs up with the white and the red to show an Italian flag. Also, you’ll find a shamrock hidden in the paint if you search hard enough”. Looking for a lucky clover in the bike’s paintwork? Nice touch, huh?

[ KSCFacebookInstagram | Photos by Marco Di Vincenzo ]

  • revdub

    I really like the seat and rear subframe work. The slimmer tank looks great as well. Awesome tucked up exhaust. Very nice build.

  • AB

    Definitely one of the best XV builds I have seen. A couple simple things noteworthy – look it has guards front and rear, and a splash of paint makes them a cohesive whole unlike many bike with chopped off rears.
    Really nice work on this build.

    Side note – can someone do this to a MT-01 please.

    • martin hodgson

      I’d love to see an 01 done like this, they’ve got so much potential but very few customs have done them the sort of justice this bike does to the XV.

    • guvnor67

      I think that neat little rear hugger is great, really makes the back end. Good job all round.

      • With the XV750 having the stressed member frame, the floating bobber seat is an obvious (and easily overdone) choice. Really happy to see the concept pushed a little here.

        • guvnor67

          I think this one works so well in that, aside from the gorgeous paint, they haven’t tried to go all retro, it has modern ‘guards, lights, tyres, which apart from being neat as a pin, brings it into that realm of usability! Sure is an outstanding build.

    • Nice point re: MT-10. I’m definitely not a fan of the bike’s stock looks. Terminator robots are for young kids and B-grade movies, not something that should inspire new motorcycle design…

  • martin hodgson

    I’d have to write an essay to capture everything I like about this build, but it’s the quality of workmanship and the perfect fit and finish across the entire build that takes it to the next level. That exhaust is absolutely incredible, TIG welders unite! and the seat unit is easily one of the best I’ve seen.

    • The way the lights have been worked into the seat pan is masterful.

  • These old Viragos keep getting better and better. Great looking, slim and trim. Great build.

  • Don Arnold

    Have to second AB. Road rubber, real suspension and fenders in no way detracts from this luminous being. One nice touch is the fake headlight rim that sorta hides the usually hideous insect-terminator headlights.

    • Yes! I was really intrigued when I noticed the tank artwork through the back of the headlight. Again, that’s something really new and interesting.

  • the watcher

    First XV I’ve even bothered to examine in ages, they’d got so samey. Not exactly mould-breaking, but bloody handsome, nicely constructed, and some cute detail choices. It’s a “yes” from me (people say I look like Simon Cowell).

    • Thanks Simon.

    • guvnor67

      Just think of all the crazy, delicious bikes you could have on Mr Cowell’s pay packet?!

      • Yeah, but being a professional wanker kind of turns me off the role.

        • guvnor67

          Good point!!

        • the watcher

          Ive never been rich, but I kind of assumed that being a total wanker was, if not a prerequisite, at least a perk.

      • the watcher

        FZR400sp fitted with an RD500lc motor?

  • Hugh Janus

    Unfortunately, despite being an absolute fuggin beauty, having “European Union” in the title made me want to immediately tear it apart.

    • Don’t judge a book etc. etc.

      • Hugh Janus

        I just bought a big box of facetiousness for cheap-bucks and thought I might wave some around. I actually think this muddasickle is uber-super-hyper-duper two wheeled sexy time, but I would love to tear the actual European Union apart.

        • guvnor67

          Yourself and another several million people I believe!

  • I’ll never be a fan of chopped off back halves, but that said, the rest of this build looks super good. Love the tank (NOT an overplayed Mojave tank again), exhaust, aircleaner, front end and the Yamaha paint scheme. Workmanship is tops!! This how it SHOULD be done. Just needs a disc on the rear wheel.

    • guvnor67

      Would you agree though, that the rear hugger, painted to match the rest of the bike, helps finish the cut down rear nicely? I think without that ‘guard the back end could look almost unfinished maybe?

      • Yes, it does “Help”, but the look of so many bikes just chopped off just doesn’t work for me.

        • guvnor67

          It’d be a dull-as-a-rainy-day world if we all liked the same thing!

    • Mark Aslett

      Like the tank too, what is the tank from, it is modified I believe but from what?

      • Massimo Carriero

        Hi Mark it was a Kawasaki GPZ 750 1986

        • Azz

          Thanks Massimo, brilliant bike, great look, I have a Yam TR1 that I am converting.

          • Massimo Carriero

            Thanks a lot. Good luck with your build.