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Yamaha Cafe Racers

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 - No Joke 2 Stroke – RD350 Boardtracker

No Joke 2 Stroke – RD350 Boardtracker

What’s not to love about two-stroke motorcycles? The alluring smell, the exhilarating sound and the white-knuckled terror of an unpredictable powerband. Unfortunately, the fun police put an end to the era of mighty two-strokes such as Suzuki’s GT500 and Kawasaki’s H1 “Widowmaker”. Despite the lack of new models hitting the streets, there…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - DEI GRATIA TRX – YAMAHA TRX850 RACER

DEI GRATIA TRX – YAMAHA TRX850 RACER

We love cafe racers trimmed to perfection. Bikes built for a narrow purpose. A ride with lights removed, brackets cut back and an impossible back-breaking, wrist-aching, groin-punching riding position. But there’s something special about a build done with a nod to practicality. Which is exactly what Manfred Schmidt did here, with his…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Yamaha XSR900 Ride Review

Yamaha XSR900 Ride Review

My dog doesn’t care for the Yamaha XSR900. When I arrive home on any other motorcycle the small ball of fur masquerading as a canine runs to the window to stare out at me. But for the last few weeks, I’ve been riding the Yamaha XSR900, the family furniture destroyer is nowhere…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Motor Bike Expo Yamaha XJR1300

Motor Bike Expo Yamaha XJR1300

When you are the organiser of what is arguably the biggest custom motorcycle event in the world it goes without saying you should be riding a custom bike of your own. Federico Agnoletto is the man behind the Verona based ‘Motor Bike Expo’ which attracted an astounding 167,000 visitors in 2018. After…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Muscle Bound – Blacksilver XJR1300

Muscle Bound – Blacksilver XJR1300

I never thought I was a fan of muscle bikes until I rode a Yamaha XJR1300. It was in 2015 when Yamaha held a global launch event in Sydney for the XJR1300 cafe racer. At the time I hadn’t had much experience riding an inline four, let alone anything with a capacity of…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Mein Motorrad – MZ Skorpion cafe racer

Mein Motorrad – MZ Skorpion cafe racer

The Skorpion Sport was produced by German motorcycle manufacturer MZ (Motorrad und Zweiradwerk) between 1994 and 2004. Although you may have never heard of the Skorpion, or it’s manufacturer, the bike proved very popular in Europe as an alternative to Japanese inline fours. By combining a bulletproof engine with a well-designed frame and capable…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Lessons Learned – Peter’s Yamaha XV1100

Lessons Learned – Peter’s Yamaha XV1100

The saying ‘to bite off more than you can chew’ is one that many budding bike builders can relate to. It’s a common tale that you may have experienced yourself. A man browses online, finds incomplete project bike for sale, checks bank account, daydreams for hours or days and then buys project…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Engine engine 25 – Yamaha DT250

Engine engine 25 – Yamaha DT250

If you’ve been following Enginethusiast for a while, you’ve probably noticed that Anthony Scott has a soft spot for vintage racing motorcycles. Between photographing them, orchestrating events to use them and working on his own race bike inspired builds, they’re always playing on his mind. He’s the first to admit that others…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Years in the Making – Yamaha TRX850 Café Racer

Years in the Making – Yamaha TRX850 Café Racer

Nothing makes me happier than featuring custom motorcycles that have been built in my hometown. Today’s café racer is the work of Jonny Taylor who’s based in Victoria, Australia, like yours truly, and works as a maintenance fitter in the gas industry. Jonny’s 1996 Yamaha TRX850 was 4 years in the making,…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Virile Virago – KSC Yamaha XV750

Virile Virago – KSC Yamaha XV750

Rapid prototyping, CNC machining, 3d printing! Whatever happened to good old hammers, spanners, and the occasional grinder? I get a bit nostalgic when it comes to custom motorcycle building. It’s clear that a lot of the ‘hand-made’ techniques that helped to create the custom scene are losing out to high tech methods.…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Timing is Everything – Partridge x TW Steel MT-10

Timing is Everything – Partridge x TW Steel MT-10

I’ve worked on my fair share of custom builds to know that things can get a little stressful. When I read the story of Ant Partridge’s Yamaha MT-10 build for TW Steel though, everything I’d experienced felt like a walk in the park! The story begins with his moving to the UK,…

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