El Solitario Big Bad Wolf XJR1300
It’s been 2 months since my feature about the workshops that were gearing up to challenge Lucky Cat Garage’s ‘Sprintbeemer‘ in the 1/8th mile races at Glemseck 101. Since the race took place I’ve been eagerly awaiting details and photos of the bike that finally “killed the cat” to be released and today is the big day. The winning bike, a heavily customised 2015 Yamaha XJR1300 aptly named “Big Bad Wolf”, was built by our Spanish friends ‘El Solitario’ in conjunction with Yamaha Yardbuilt and some of their most talented associates. Although the Big Bad Wolf was not built specifically to take on the Sprintbeemer like Plan B’s ‘Cherry Salt‘ or the Young Gun’s ‘Ferdinand the Sparrow‘ it chewed up and spat out every opponent that stood in it’s way to take home the trophy and put an end to the Lucky Cat’s 3 year reign.
A collaboration with El Solitario seemed like the perfect pairing for Yamaha’s next Yard Built project, but as El Solitario’s David Loner explains he entered into the collaboration with some trepidation. “El Solitario was not familiar with 4 cylinder bikes so at first we couldn’t understand the challenge. We are motorcycle poets not engineers, so countless hours of research, and the love of our friends, made it possible to find the best partners in the world of fast bikes”. A key partnership formed early in the project was with race expert Mauro Abbadini of Classic Co. As the project technical director he brought with him the confidence and know-how of a veteran racer.
Together they decided that unlike many other Yardbuilt bikes the Big Bad Wolf would be a performance-focused build, however, in keeping with the Yamaha Yard Built ethos the Big Bad Wolf XJR1300 frame would remain unmolested. The tank is also the original unit, as are the handlebars and the rear light, but that’s about the only parts of the original bike that weren’t replaced or heavily modified.
At 183kg the Big Bad Wolf weighs in at at almost 60kg less than a stock XJR1300 and power has been increased substantially thanks to the racing heritage and knowledge of build partner Classic Co. Starting with the heart of the beast Classic Co blueprinted the engine and ported and flowed the heads. The resulting 50% flow increase at the intake port was then taken full advantage of by removing the EFi system and bolting a set of Lectron 42 Carbs in their place, specially designed and built to bolt straight onto the XJR by Lectron Fuel Systems. Compression was also raised and the internals of each cylinder modified to improve combustion. To deal with the stress from the increased power the engines rods were reinforced with titanium bolts and the crankshaft was rebalanced for optimum performance. A Dynatek Programmable Ignition was then installed to manage the finely tuned engine, which is now delivering 148 BHP to the rear wheel.
To ensure the Big Bad Wolf had no issue exhaling a custom titanium exhaust was ordered in from Asahina Racing in Japan, designed to fit any 2015 Yamaha XJR. With all that extra power, keeping the air cooled engines internals well lubricated was a priority. Rather than just adding an off-the-shelf solution, El Solitario approached the issue with the same outlandish design approach we’ve become accustomed to seeing from their workshop. Built by Taleo Racing in Madrid the custom, semi circular oil cooler wraps around the bikes front end like a pair of retro shades and to replace the original headlight a pair of PIAA intense lights sit just above creating a rather unusual looking front end arrangement.
For handling improvements K-Tech Suspension collaborated with Novatech to develop a new pair of front forks, mounted using custom made triple trees from ISR in Sweden, and the awesome black and white adjustable rear shocks. ISR also created the bikes rotors and the CNC rear brake caliper bracket to hold their high performance brake calipers in place. UK based wheel experts Dymag were called upon to develop a set of carbon fibre wheels that could be used on 2015 XJR’s and to get them sticking to the tarmac securely Michelin street, slick and rain tyres were added, preparing the bike for whatever conditions mother nature has in mind.
To get the power down quick the Big Bad Wolf uses a race ready quick shifter from Corona and to further reduce weight, the bike uses a custom aluminum swing arm from Over Racing in Japan. To manage electrics MotoGadget supplied wiring solutions in the form of an M-Unit module and the bike uses a keyless M-lock ignition.
“Finally it was Sunday. The big day for us. We raced the Big Bad Wolf in the Cat Killer Class. The lineup included some of the gnarliest Turbo Charged, Nitrous Oxide powered drag bikes you could imagine, all wanting to take the Lucky Cat’s life. What happened then will be remembered in this house for years. Race by race we kept winning all fights. Turbos, Compressors, N.O.S…. Whatever! Our rider Mauro just kept getting better and better, and we’ll never forget the sound of the Wolf on the starting line all revved up to 9.000 RPM before the flag went dropped. Then when it was time the Lucky Cat returned to the starting line in all its glory, only to lose its head. End of the story.” – El Solitario
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