Yamaha Motorcycles

Yamaha’s first motorcycle appeared in 1955. The 125cc two-stroke YA-1 went straight to the racetrack and started winning titles. Yamaha has built on those race credentials over the years, winning at the IOM TT and the Paris Dakar. Yamaha continues to run a successful factory race team in Moto GP. Yamaha’s contribution to the custom motorcycle world includes the highly successful and long loved SR400 and SR500 singles we see in so many café racer builds. Other Yamaha custom favourites include the seventies XS650 twins and more recently their XSR700 and XSR900 Sport Heritage range.
Return of the Cafe Racers - Unexpected Places – Defined Yamaha XS250

Unexpected Places – Defined Yamaha XS250

For most people, a small capacity Japanese bike probably doesn’t sound like an ideal trade-off for a classic Triumph TR6, but for ‘Defined Motorcycles’ owner Mick Scott it was a means to an end. While his TR6 sat in pieces he needed a runabout to keep him on the road. Wanting to…

Continue Reading
Return of the Cafe Racers - Cafe Contenders – Yamaha SR400 and SR500

Cafe Contenders – Yamaha SR400 and SR500

At some stage, the tide turned against Yamaha’s SR400 and SR500. It might just be that I’m in Australia and we’ve been saturated with years of Deus-built specials. But there’s been a rising level of snark towards cafe racers built around Yamaha’s evergreen classic. It seems that these days it takes a…

Continue Reading
Return of the Cafe Racers - Gold Rush –  Espiat Yamaha XJR1200

Gold Rush – Espiat Yamaha XJR1200

It’s not often we deviate from our café racer theme, but every now and then something pops up that warrants a mention. This street tracker styled Yamaha’s XJR1200 is the work of “artist, designer, dreamer, doer”, Daniel Schuh. From his home in Germany Daniel runs the freelance design company ‘Espiat’. When he’s…

Continue Reading
Return of the Cafe Racers - Odd Job – Speedtractor Yamaha SRV250

Odd Job – Speedtractor Yamaha SRV250

Despite its underwhelming capacity, Yamaha’s SRV250 was a true performer. Yamaha already had the SR250, a downscaled version of the SR400, but it lacked pizazz. So rather than kitting out their latest retro-styled ride with another underpowered 250cc thumper, they opted for a tuned version of the same v-twin found in their…

Continue Reading
Return of the Cafe Racers - Hanko – George Woodman’s Yardbuilt XSR700

Hanko – George Woodman’s Yardbuilt XSR700

Yamaha’s XSR700 falls into what Yamaha refers to as their Sport Heritage range, a category similar to Triumph’s Modern Classics or BMW’s Heritage series. The idea behind all the motorcycles in those categories is to pay homage to the classic bikes of yesteryear while using the latest technology and engineering. Another common…

Continue Reading
Return of the Cafe Racers - Second Wind -Sparta Garage XJ600

Second Wind -Sparta Garage XJ600

For every great custom build, there are a dozen bad ones. Just take a look on eBay and you’ll find countless, half-cocked custom motorcycles. Unfortunately, many of them end up being bought by unsuspecting riders for way more than they are worth. It’s an unfortunate by-product of a popular trend. Sometimes though,…

Continue Reading
Return of the Cafe Racers - Red Dragonfly – Tondo Garage XV1000

Red Dragonfly – Tondo Garage XV1000

In the early days of Yamaha’s venture into motorcycle production their YA-, affectionately known as the Akatombo or Red Dragonfly, paved the way for the companies racing future. It was the first Yamaha to wear their iconic tuning fork emblem and earned the respect of the motorcycling world by vanquishing the top…

Continue Reading
Return of the Cafe Racers - Built for Fun – Purpose Built Yamaha Scorpio

Built for Fun – Purpose Built Yamaha Scorpio

I grew up around bikes on a Rural Property in Queensland, Australia.” says Tom Gilroy of Purpose Built Moto. “Dirt bikes were a big part of my life growing up, as were all types of things with motors. I would often come across or get given old farm bikes to fix up,…

Continue Reading
Return of the Cafe Racers - Retro Six – Vintage Addiction Yamaha R6

Retro Six – Vintage Addiction Yamaha R6

Looking back over a few of our recent features it seems that building retro customs out of modern sports bikes could be the next big trend in motorcycle customisation. The 80s and 90s were all about speed. Manufacturers were ferociously battling it out for the title of fastest street bike in both…

Continue Reading
Return of the Cafe Racers - Kando – Cafe Racer SSpirit XSR700

Kando – Cafe Racer SSpirit XSR700

As anyone who works in advertising will tell you, the key to winning a project is having a good pitch. When Yamaha Yardbuilt contacted Hugo López and the crew at Cafe Racer SSpirit in Spain they knew they’d have to put something special together to outshine their competition. A 25-page document explaining their concept…

Continue Reading
Return of the Cafe Racers - Top 5 modern motorcycles to customise

Top 5 modern motorcycles to customise

One of the biggest decisions you’ll make when building your own Cafe Racer, or any style of custom motorcycle for that matter is selecting a donor bike. Some time ago I published a story on this same topic that covered older motorcycles . Today I thought I’d take a look at some modern alternatives…

Continue Reading