To say the Yamaha XT500 is a legendary bike would be an understatement. More than 40 years later, it is still one of the best thumpers in motorcycle history. After winning the Paris to Dakar rally shortly after its release in 1976, it paved the way for future enduro and off-road bikes. But what if it was released today as a larger capacity scrambler? Jesper Johansen from Slowbuilt in Copenhagen, Denmark, wanted to build a larger capacity XT with all the retro cues of the original classic – only bigger. “I always loved twin shocks dirt bikes,” he explains. “Especially the Yamaha XT500 and HL500 – had a few over the years, especially the white 1976 model XT with the iconic tank decals.”
We all have family heirlooms that have been passed down from generation to generation. Like expensive silverware, bone china plates, antique furniture and the most precious of all – motorcycles. We love a good story about a bike being in the family for decades and this is one of those tales. From as young as five years old, Jerrett Bellamy from Ontario, Canada, has been riding this exact Yamaha XT500 with his dad. “He made up some foot pegs that would clamp onto the frame so I could ride in front of him,” recalls Jerrett. “I can remember riding with him hanging onto the handlebar and us popping little wheelies.”
How do you haul ass in Hollywood? You go full metal jacket on a breathtaking Urban Enduro that’ll cruise with Bentleys on the Boulevard, before heading to the hills where the stars live to rip it up on the rough and rugged roads. But first you need to pick a platform with an iconic status and a Paris-Dakar pedigree…
The Red Clouds Collective are a Portland-based outfit that make bomb-proof waxed cotton moto gear. And luckily for us Seth and Casey Neefus, head honchos at Red Clouds, also use the business as a front for making gorgeous custom bikes, like this pair of incredible Yamaha XT500s…
Forget about textbooks and teachers because the two things that will always capture a teenage boys attention are speed machines and wild women. Combine the two and you have a potent mix that will forever be burned into an impressionable young mind…
It’s the fourth month of 2017 and we’re calling it. Mash-ups. Hybrids. Cross genre. Call them what you will, but it’s pretty clear to us that less and less builders are interested in conforming to typical bike categories. Our case in point? When we interview builders, more and more are refusing to classify what they’ve built, or they’re telling us, ‘It’s whatever you want it to be.’ Well, tonight it looks like we wanted it to be an enduro Yamaharley brat with a bumblebee paint job and more fork travel than a 12 foot man on a spaghetti binge. Meet Kickstart Moto’s very random, very cool ‘Plan B’ Yamaha XT500.
Some people dream of a day when time travel becomes a reality. Of course, for those who spend their time fiddling with bikes in garages, it’s obvious that the ability to warp time and space already exists. It’s what happens when you “just pop out the back for 5 minutes,” and wander back into the house three hours later with dirty hands and a shirty partner. Now, if only we could somehow reverse the process so that those three hours becomes the five minutes that we originally had to spare. If we could do something like that, then we’d all be able to build a bike in no time at all, just like Doug “Hawkins” Devine and his three week wonder – “Single Naked Chick.”
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Some bikes are served to us on a silver platter, replete with back story, specifications, build photos, screen shots from the eBay ad, the builder’s mothers maiden name, when she lost her virginity and some original polaroids of the aforementioned event (with handwritten notes), and a professionally shot selection of photos with notes from the lensman himself noting time of day, ambient temperature, and how many beers he’d had with his delicious lunchtime meat pie. Then there’s this bike. You want information? We have just about as little as we possibly could without having nothing but a gaping black hole where our email inbox used to be. The real crime here? It’s that something so arse-smackingly cool can be so damn anonymous – like finding out that the hottie across the room at the party who took your breath away is actually suffering from amnesia.
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As you all now realise, Pipeburn strives to bring you the best custom bikes from all around the world. And bring we do; on an regular basis you can check in and get a piping hot serve of sweet motorbicycling goodness. Why, anybody would think these things beautiful things grow on trees! Well we’ve got some potentially shocking news for you; they don’t. They are actually bloody hard work to create. Even if you have yourself a bunch of spare time and decent garage to get down and dirty in, chances are that for every sweet bike like the one you see here there are another three rusty, half-finished wrecks that never cross the line.
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