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.
To celebrate the VMAX 30th anniversary, Yamaha approached JVB Moto to build a bike that would become a fitting tribute to the heritage of this legendary machine. It has even become more fitting because the original Japanese designer Kenji Ekuan passed away recently – who not only designed the VMAX but also the iconic Kikkoman soy sauce bottle. We are sure that JVB Moto’s design would have made Kenji proud. We wanted to find out more than the usual Yamaha press release, so we hit Jens vom Brauck with a few questions. He is a man whose work speaks louder than words, but we did try to get a few insights out of him:
Pipeburn: Must be a good feeling to be approached by the mighty Yamaha to build them a bike. How did it come about?
Shun Miyazawa asked me when we met at Wheels & Waves in France last year. I just couldn’t say no.
Hurricanes. Typhoons. Comets. Tempests. If you need any more evidence that the world’s weather is going to hell in a carbon-based handbasket, look no further than poor old Blighty and her Old Empire Motorcycles. The Pipeburn Bike of the Year runners-up in 2014, they’ve been suffering the worst luck weather-wise since their inception. And to make matters worse the catastrophes look set tho continue with this, their Yamaha SR-based ‘Lightning Mk. I’. Hang tight, boys. Hang tight and ride like the wind.
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.