Words by Ian Lee.
When it comes to building a bike, an open brief is always a good brief. It’s nice to know someone puts their faith into the fact you will get it right. This is exactly what happened with the latest build to roll out of the Salty Speed Co’s workshop. Starting with a 1988 Yamaha SR400 with only 6500kms on the clock, the whole bike has been stripped back and reworked, giving a fresh new look to this bulletproof thumper.
Utilising the classic single for the build, Matt from Salty Speed Co decided the engine needed no work, and to focus on improving the aesthetics of the machine. The first aspect that needed to be touched up was the stance.
It’s difficult not to love Yamaha’s timeless XV750. It’s a bike that was intended as a cheeky Japanese tilt at America’s star-spangled Harley market, but now-a-days it can take on pretty much any custom role assigned to it with mucho aplomb. Café racer? Bobber? Tracker? The bike’s been there and done that. And add that to the fact that the bike used an engine-as-stressed-member design, a rear mono shock and adjustable pneumatic suspension and you have a bike that was light years ahead of it’s competition. Speaking of which, it’s time to meet the builder of this rather charming ride. Introducing New Zealand’s David Sinfield and his very clean DS Design ‘81 XV.
Written by Ian Lee.
With a hot sun beating down, 45 degree Celsius heat just outside my front door, last week my thoughts drifted to the beach and how nice it would be to live near the ocean. Cool breezes, the sound of waves and a sweet ride to experience it all on. Then this bike appeared in my email inbox. Must be a sign. A sweet thumper, built with the surf in mind, this 1985 SR400 has been made over to suit the beach bum lifestyle. With a build brief that appeals to both form and function, this is definitely a bike I would be happy to ride on a sunny day. Or any other day for that matter.
Here’s something that you probably didn’t know. The movie ‘On Any Sunday’ not only won an Academy award, invented the world’s first helmet cam and single-handedly changed the Western world’s attitude to motorcycling – it also introduced large areas of the world to the wonders of both Flat Track racing and BMX bicycles. Which, if it’s not too long a bow to draw, means that it’s probably also responsible for today’s star bike. Meet Poland’s Pan Sławomir and his very mean, very green flat track Yamaha, ‘Storm Buddy.’
Written by Ian Lee.
Sometimes a bike appears in our inbox that is hard to write a post on. It’s not so much the bike is built in bad taste, or lacks description from the builder, it’s because the damn thing has so many features it can be hard to know where to start. Today’s bike falls into this category, it is a cacophony of build aspects, all vying for attention at the same time. Coming out of the Rusty Bolt Garage in Santa Fe, this Yamaha RD400 has been built with everything “either upgraded, replaced, or repaired on this baby.” And what a beautiful baby it is.
In the cuisine game they call it a fusion. In music it’s known as a mash-up. And in biology it’s a hybrid. Put simply, it’s when you take two different things and make something new, unexpected and original. Now take that thought and consider today’s builder, one Sasaki-san of Brooklyn’s Keino Cycles. He’s bringing the Japanese obsession with craft and dedication to America, the birthplace of cool. So let’s meet the latest result of this grand cultural collision – it’s an unexpected take on a Yamaha XJR1300 created for the company’s “Yard Built Specials” project, entitled ‘Rhapsody in Blue’.
Written by Ian Lee.
Crocker motorcycles are something else. The styling is amazing, while still having an air of functionality about them. The main problem you will find with these bikes is the rarity, which in turn boosts the price beyond the reach of mere mortals. Those lines though, that is the look you want, so how do you get it? Utopian Customs have come up with an answer, producing their own homage to the Crocker marque, using a 1979 Yamaha and their ingenuity to bring this speedway bike to life. Which in turn is something else in itself.
Written Ian Lee.
As I sit here in the feeble warmth of the sun in this southern hemispheric winter, I sometimes drift away and like to imagine I am somewhere exotic. Rio maybe, where the closer you get to being naked the better. I’m talking about the local custom bikes though. Today’s feature bike comes from São Paulo, stripped bare and proud of it. Built by Motorscompany, this Yamaha RD350LC was raised from the dead, and given numerous transplants in order to gain life again. From dead stock to sports custom, the little oil burner has had mucho work done, and the results speak for themselves.
Written by Martin Hodgson.
As the 2-stroke era of road bikes began to come to an end as the 1970’s excess collided with the red tape of the 80’s, most manufacturers let the smoke filled air slowly disappear. Honda had long since had the CB range, the triples of Kawasaki and GT Suzuki’s it had been confirmed would be no more. But Yamaha wanted one final shot at refining its wild RD range and the 400 model would be the perfect salute to reed valve filled delirium. So when decades on, the owner of this ride saw what MotoHangar of Virginia had created with their “Best in Show” 2-stroke, The Honduki, he knew exactly where to turn.
Once in a while, the eyes of even the hardest of hardcore custom bikers wander. Sure, old custom bikes are the duck’s nuts – but what if one were to loose all sense of rhyme and/or reason and buy a brand new Japanese bike? Maybe one to keep in the garage next to the antique Far East classics you currently have. Have you ever felt the urge? We have. And guess what? There’s actually isn’t that much on offer. With the notable exception of the just re-released Yamaha SRs and the Honda CB1100, you’re pretty much up Soichiro Creek if you actually want something that looks half decent without a heap of work. Until now, that is. Japanophiles – meet your factory custom bike saviour. His name is Greg Hageman, and this is his rather masterful tilt at a 2014 Yamaha Bolt, factory warranty and all.