Walk into any gym around the world these days and there’ll be a line up for the mirror as jacked up shirtless individuals get the perfect selfie for Instagram. But over in the distant corner, large but unassuming, is a big man who comes in everyday and gets the job done without a fuss. Imposing, all natural and capable of benching more weight than the rest of the posers could ever dream of. In the motorcycle world that individual is the Yamaha XJR1300 that still relies on classic looks and a big cube air-cooled engine to fill an important niche in the company’s line up. But Walid from Bad Winners in France decided it was time to show the juice heads what real muscle is all about and has turned this 2005 example into a brutal beast he calls The Arm Breaker.
It took the sacrifice of a 30-year-old comic book collection, over 7,000 comics to be precise, for Dave to appease the Motorcycle Gods as he sold one hobby to fund another. This one had a little more action and little less action heroes, however. A 1980 Yamaha SR500 would be the machine of choice to pop his speed demon cherry, but this wouldn’t satiate his appetite as he craved more from his machine. “The SR500 was so much fun to throw around, but I never felt I could trust it not to break down 50kms from home. Carbies became the bane of my existence. Since I’m not mechanically minded, fixing it on the fly wasn’t much of an option for me. I had had enough…”
Old world craftsmanship, timeless quality and innovation in design are two things that go hand in hand with both the Yamaha Yard Built Specials and Shinichi Haraki’s Iron Heart Selvedge Denim range. With the all new 20th Anniversary Yamaha XJR1300 part of the Yard Built program and Iron Heart a company dedicated to providing the very best in denim and jean wear to the motorcycling world it made sense the two would team up.
A little while back I received an invitation from Yamaha to the XJR1300 European press launch. Naturally, I was thrilled to be part of it and sent back a RSVP with the requested passport information saying I would love to be involved in the European launch. So my mind wanders off, picturing where we would be riding the XJR? Maybe we would be taken on the legendary German autobahn where pesky speed limits have been slain? Or perhaps we’ll disappear down the picturesque Amalfi coast with the Mediterranean breeze flowing in my locks? Or could we be taken up one of the most famous and photographed roads in Italy, the Stelvio Pass, with its endless hairpin turns? Then reality hit when I finally read the details of the invitation. The launch was actually going to be held in Sydney, Australia! What? That’s where I live. So after the initial disappointment, I realised being a native could actually come in handy while doing the press ride, like being comfortable riding on the left hand side of the road… but more on that later.
It’s a fantasy that every road bike owner must have had at some time in their lives. ‘What if I could build a bike that was invisible to radar?’ The thought of those charming boys in ‘law enforcement’ totally unable to get a reading on you as you glide through your favourite set of corners. And not at a speed calculated to be ‘safe’ for everyone from the tanker truck full of petrol to the little old lady with failing eyesight, but instead at speed that perfectly suits your skills, the bike’s performance and the conditions of the day. It’s what the afterlife must be like. The afterlife and whatever inspired the owner of this beautiful Yamaha to brief her builders, Portugal’s It roCkS!bikes, to turn his stock XJR into the two-wheeled equivalent of a Stealth Fighter you see here.
Last year Yamaha started asking motorcycle customizers to provide inspirational ideas on how to transform modern Yamaha motorcycles into what they have dubbed ‘Yard Built Specials’. It’s only been a few months since Deus Ex Machina Italy launched their last ‘Yard Built’ Yamaha XJR1300 named Project X. Now they have just unveiled their latest take on the XJR1300 at the EICMA 2013 in Milan – the largest two-wheeled show in the world. Deus and Yamaha have collaborated to transform this powerful XJR1300 into something to behold. The ‘Eau Rouge’ is Deus Ex Machina’s modern interpretation of endurance racing bikes of the 70s and 80s – and what a wonderful interpretation it is.
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