Written by Ian Lee.
After more than three decades in the motorcycle industry, you’re bound to pick up a whole heap of neat tricks. It also helps if you run one of the biggest motorcycle accessory houses in Europe, with a catalogue of over 6000 fibreglass molds and the know-how that attracts the attention of factory race teams. With access to so much awesome, you know whatever Kent Riches deems fit to lay spanners on is going to end up a feature bike somewhere. And that’s what Pipeburn is featuring today. Starting off with a ‘crusty’ 1972 Yamaha TX650, Kent Riches has raided the Yamaha parts bin and the parts catalogue from his business, AirTech Streamlining, to create a homage to the AMA Pro Twin racers of the 70s, to take the master bike builder back to where it all began for him.
Not a man to be classed a one trick pony, since his first appearance in the motorcycle world in 1977 Kent has road raced, drag raced and set 14 world records. On top of this, he endeavours to build a few custom bikes every year; “as an outlet for his creative energy”. Using the Bonneville inspired TX650 as the base for his race replica, Kent threw himself into the build, doing what he does best.
To ensure a race ready finish, the stock TX was stripped down completely, the bare frame detabbed and reinforced. The factory swing arm ditched, Kent fabricated a box style swing arm to suit the new look of the machine. The factory front end had been swapped out for an FZ750 front end, sporting Goldline race calipers mounted over ventilated discs.
While the bike was stripped, Kent took the opportunity to give the carbon copy Triumph engine a freshen up, as well as fitting 36mm carbs with the obligatory velocity stacks. Deciding the exhaust could do with the Riches touch, a unique Magni style system was fabricated using a hydro forming process.
Quite a bit of effort and time went into giving the machine the aesthetic that Kent desired. Looking to give the midsize Yamaha a period style makeover, Kent massaged a TZ tank to a size that would fit the bike’s sturdy backbone. Mounted behind it is a TZ style seat unit, also modified to fit on the TX’s burly frame. Enveloping the aluminium clip-ons at the front end is a Formula 1 fairing assembly from the AirTech Streamlining catalogue, made to fit using custom bracketry.
With so many accessories and skills at his fingertips, it is easy to see how Kent Riches can create the art piece we are featuring today. With so much of the work carried out by the man himself, one only has to look at the paintjob that has been lovingly laid on the bike, as proof that this is someone who carries out quality work. With so much passion built into this bike, it definitely pays tribute to the men who inspired Kent Riches, so long ago.