The next instalment of Yamaha's awesome 'Yardbuilt' series of custom motorcycles using models from their current range is here! This time they've collaborated with Japanese born, Brooklyn based builder Keinosuke Sasaki and his workshop Keino Cycles. Based on another Yamaha XJR1300 Keino's 'Rhapsody in Blue' now joins the ranks of the Wrenchmonkees 'Monkeefist' and the Deus ex Machina 'Eau Rouge' as some of the coolest modern XJR custom conversions around.
The Blue Rhapsody takes its main inspiration from the 90's race bikes Keinosuke saw on the streets of Japan in his youth, but also incorporates some of his trademark, chopper inspired touches. These include the rather unexpected use of one of his springer style front-ends and a beehive style brake light taken from a vintage MG which been incorporated into the tail section. A custom made diamond stitched saddle with matching grips from Biltwell complete the old school styling touches.
Keinosuke hand made all of the aluminium panels and covers that replace the XJRs factory units. He also custom made the low mounted, slim line tank, shapely tail end and the fake oil tank that houses electrical components and the battery. The stock air box has also been replaced by a set of 4 hi-flowing pod filters and the EFI remapped to suit the changes in airflow.
My favourite feature of the build is the bikes custom exhaust system. A set of 2-into-1 headers wrap around each side of the bike expelling exhaust gases via a pair of short reverse megaphones. A beautifully hand rolled heatshield on each side protects the rider from the skin searing exhaust temperatures and the system has been finished in hi-temp satin black paint. To complete the build Keinosuke took Yamaha's classic blue paint scheme and added a metallic finish. Kenny Roberts racing style white and black panels run the length of the lower half of the tank and tail and to show off some of his alloy work he's left some sections visible under a clear coat.
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