Ahh Belarus. The home of 300+ potato recipes and one of the greenest countries on the planet. If you weren't aware of these facts about Belarus don't worry, neither was I. Belarus isn't a country that often gets a mention here on Return of the Cafe Racers, in fact this is only the second time we've had a feature from the landlocked, eastern European country. Spartak Malkevich, owner and founder of 'Sparta Garage' is the only builder we've come across from Belarus, but that doesn't mean he lacks ability. Today we talk to Spartak about his latest build, the Yamaha XV750 'Tramontana' cafe racer.
ROCR: Hi Spartak, To start with can you tell us where the bikes name "Tramontana" comes from?
Spartak: This is the bike’s name given to it by the customer. 'Tramontana' is a cold strong wind. He actually decided on the bikes name before it was constructed. That’s why it has been finished in cold, neutral colours.
Spartak: The exhaust, the triple clamp and the paint work. Also the headlight, which is mega-custom!
ROCR: The headlight is "mega-custom", what does that mean?
Spartak: The customer asked us to integrate the turn signals into the headlight. We searched for an aftermarket part, but only managed to find one in China and the quality was really poor. So we ended up using the metal headlight from a USSR made car, which I think it was a VAZ model 6. We cut the turn signals out of the Chinese headlight and built them into the reflector. The retaining ring was taken from something from USSR and adjusted so that everything could be installed correctly. That makes it a "mega-custom" part!
ROCR: What work was done to install the bikes front end?
Spartak: The entire front end comes from a Suzuki GSX, including the brakes. It came with the bike, but was installed really badly. To get it functioning properly the steering tube was removed and reground and we installed new bearing cups. We also manufactured a new top clamp with integrated digital speedo, warning lights and ignition. The result is a really pleasant ride.
Spartak: With the previous project we only manufactured elbows, nothing too sophisticated. On this bike we wanted to do something that tested our skills and looked brutal. So rather than using bends we cut stainless rings that were then welded together. All up it took about 12.5 meters of weld and 2 weeks to construct, but the result was worth it.
ROCR: If the exhaust took 2 weeks what about the rest of the build?
Spartak: The entire project took us about 2.5 months. We’ve basically been living in the garage for the last two weeks to get it finished.
Q: And what about some of the other features of the build?
Spartak: We fabricated the seat pan and subframe structure from steel and finished the seat leather. We used the same leather to cover the grips and the handlebars are aftermarket clip ons. For the rest of the lighting we used LED units that are wired into an all new harness because the previous owner had made a mess of it. The frame was repainted, engine cleaned and finally the original fuel tank was given its raw gold and silver paint. Everything was basically handmade and done in our own workshop, this is the Sparta Garage way.
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