‘90 Yamaha XT600 – Freeride Motos
A polymath is defined as a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas. And naturally, if such a person is set a complex task to perform, it would be easy for them to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve the specific problems they might encounter. Turn a mind like that to the act of customising a bike, and you’re bound to get some pretty interesting results. Today’s bike is the result the hard work of just one man – namely Pierre from French shop Freeride Motos. Paint, leather, fibreglass, leatherwork, metalwork, electrics – you name it, he probably did it. And by the looks of it, he did it damn well.
The idea behind this scrambler was simple; it had to be a one-off, original ride with a few special requests straight from the soon-to-be owner. Specifically, it had to be on the quite side with a low seat, an electronic start and a Bultaco-inspired tank. After much sifting and sorting online, the Bultaco Lobito 125 was chosen for its all-in-one tank, side panels and guard combo that incorporates the seat’s base and even the bike’s license plate holder.
Designing and making the custom ‘taco-esque fibreglass monocoque all by his lonesome, Pierre had to put in a rather large amount of hours to make sure it turned out as good as it looked in his head. He made a test model first to try things out before he got neck-deep in something that might end in tears. Satisfied he’d sufficiently wrapped his head around it, he decided to make the whole thing in two sections, top and bottom. And so the die was cast… or in this case, the mould.
By necessity, this monocoque meant that the rear part of the bike’s frame had to be entirely rebuilt to adapt to the new ergonomics. While he was at it, Pierre fabbed up a luggage rack that was integrated into the back of the bike, and then he added a slick-looking leather saddle bag that hangs off the bike’s port side.
To ensure that the single-pistoned thumper continued to do just that, the original oil tank pipes have been modified for better flow and the old stopper for the oil tank gauge has been replaced by a custom aluminium unit. The swingarm, the hub and the rear brake were all sourced from a 450 GasGas FS. The swingarm was then modified to accommodate the PDS ball joint and the WP shock absorber comes from a 350 KTM SXF.
The bike’s can is from a 450 Honda CRF, with Pierre welding up all the connecting tube-age. The forks are from a Honda CBR600, which much to everyone’s surprise fitted perfectly into the existing front end. But the celebrations were short-lived as the front hub, from a Honda XR 600, needed a new handmade front axle before it was playing well with the shocks. The front break is from France Equipement, with a Nissin caliper and master cylinder. The wheels have been rewired with Inox spokes, Excel aluminium hubs (at 3.5 and 4.5 inches) and the rims have been painted with some very mean-looking black epoxy.
The controls and levers have really been thought about and detailed professionally: the gearshift lever is from KTM, although it’s been modified and polished to within an inch of its life. Similarly, the rear brake pedal has been modified and made into a foldable unit. The bike’s footrests are supermoto style, and the front break lever is a foldable aluminium number. Other brands to be found here are the Bud Racing clutch lever, the Domino grips, and the hidden handlebars indicators from Motogadget.
The bike also has a high-mounted aluminium front guard and a ‘UFO’ front light panel, with a Koso main board to wrap up the sweet looks. The saddle was handmade with leather from the South of France, and the chosen paint is an Aston Martin blue. Apart from a full rebuild, the engine and drivetrain have remained largely unchanged with the exception of an upgraded Uni air filter and some carb and bottom-end fine-tuning alongside a shorter transmission by way of some missing rear sprocket teeth. Ouch.
“This motorcycle is a joy to ride and it feels like a real Supermoto monster,” says Pierre, who’s testing route took in some legendary Basque Mountain passes during this year’s Wheels & Waves show. Lucky bastard. “The TKC 80 tires from Continental help to give it an extra trailblazer look and better grip on a dry day,” he notes. Overall this bike’s attention to detail is remarkable, and the quality of the bespoke French workmanship makes it one great little motocyclette. Where do we sign?