RENDEZ-VOUS DEUX. Bad Winner’s Yamaha TW125 Street Tracker
Written by Andrew Jones
Whether you prefer two wheels or four, pretty much every petrolhead will know of Claude Lelouch’s infamous 1976 short film, ‘Rendezvous’. Done in one take and purportedly showing a Ferrari 275GTB (or should that be a Mercedes-Benz?) racing through early morning Paris, its look and feel has influenced everything from Mad Max to Ghost Rider. For most who’ve seen it, the spirit of rebelliousness and the unbridled internal combustion glory it captures is the stuff of dreams. Dreams that French shop Bad Winners have channelled into this lightweight Parisian cobble-stone king in the shape of a Yamaha TW125 street tracker.
But before you start with your ‘it’s only 125ccs!’ chorus, let us remember that treating an urban landscape like your own personal amusement park isn’t all about horsepower. Hell, skateboarders, bicycle couriers and those parkour nuts prove that on a daily basis. It’s also helpful to remember that the Japanese were attacking Tokyo with fat-tyred TWs years before they started making SRs into cafe racers.
And while the Bad Winner’s last few Pipeburn features have been all about smaller capacity customs, chief baddie Walid says that there’s some real horsepower in the shop as we speak, including a new Ducati Scrambler 1100, a new Ducati Supersport and even a 2017 Triumph Bonneville T120. But more about them later.
The bike was originally a 2004 TW, and was found with a mere 7000km on the clock and in great condition. Despite it’s tracker-style Dunlop K180 rubber, Walid tells us that its stomping ground was always intended to be as a daily ride in and around Paris. And with the Dunlop’s being standard fitment on both the TW and Suzuki‘s dual purpose Van Van, we’re thinking they would handle the Paris streets/nature strips/gravel car parks about as well as any bouncy rubber ring possibly could.
Equal parts business man and bike maniac, Walid approaches many of his builds not as one-offs, but more as research for a limited series of bikes all based on the same TW platform. Want the same bike, but in black and with a cafe seat? Bad Winners can make it happen. Think of it like customising a custom.
Walid notes that he’s always been a fan of the TW’s ‘balloon tyre’ look thanks to the way it never fails to catch your eye. And while the temptation was there to follow the Japanese lead and lengthen the TW’s swingarm, he decided to keep things short and sweet – quite literally. This theme was repeated in the short seat, the short rear hoop and the shortened Yamaha DTMX 125 tank.
Diving into the details, it’s clear that pretty much everything on the bike was rebuilt, reworked or just plain made from scratch. The bike was decked out with Bad Winner’s usual (and super clean) Motogadget bling, Motone controls and Megaton exhaust, but this time with a handmade pipe. The seat is also handmade in-house, and in a high-grade leather to boot. And the tank swap meant that the mount points and the fuel tap both needed a helping hand before they’d play nice on the new bike.
With his usual swagger, Walid says that there was nothing all that difficult with the build. But what with the modded tank and the rear frame reworking, we’re guessing there’s a touch of modesty in what he says. And his favourite part of the finished tracker? “I really love the Yamaha’s seat and the rear tyre work together,” he smiles. Funny that. We really love the way the bike and the city work together.