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. My personal qualms aside there’s no denying these new fangled technologies work, and today’s build certainly proves that point. This is the MC02, a Yamaha XV750 cafe racer built by Italian workshop KSC Daygo.
“This project is a modern review of a classic motorcycle; built with a racing spirit,” says KSC Dago lead engineer and designer, Massimo Carriero. Massimo runs KSC Dago with his good friend Fabian where they design and produce aftermarket motorcycle parts and the occasional complete custom motorcycle. For this build, Massimo leveraged his skills using modern production techniques while Fabian completed the more traditional fabrication work.
The first stage of the transformation revolved around setting the Virago up with a sportier riding position. To do this Massimo retrofit the wheels and front end from a Yamaha R1. Using a set of CNC milled triple clamps the bike’s steering has been optimised with carefully calculated offset and trail geometry. The rear shock is another modern suspension upgrade from Sachs that’s bolted to the modified the swingarm. The new swingarm position raises the rear end to level out the bikes stance as well as increasing ground clearance. Clip-on handlebars and rear set foot pegs complete the revised riding position.
While the original rear drum brake was retained, the front brakes received a serious upgrade by retaining the Brembo twin disc set up on the R1 front end. The engine internals remain untouched, but there’s a free-flowing K&N filter, a pie-cut stainless exhaust system and the carb has been tuned appropriately. The wiring, on the other hand, received a complete overhaul. The new loom uses as few wires as possible and all of its associated components are tucked away beneath the bike’s seat and beneath the swingarm pivot point. To clean up the cockpit and add a touch of modern tech there’s also a digital dash tucked in behind the bikes bikini fairing.
When it came to revising the XV’s bodywork Massimo chose to wipe the slate clean, ditching all of the original factory items. It now wears a modified 1986 Kawasaki GPZ fuel tank that is much more suited to the bikes sportier demeanor. The front fender is a modified Panigale part while the rear hugger was made by hand from scratch. Bolted to the backbone of the frame is a custom made subframe and seat pan which houses an integrated LED tail light and indicators. With a rider in place, the seat gives the impression they’re hovering over the rear wheel, a look that seems to be all the rage in “future forward” motorcycle design. Perhaps the most appealing element of the new bodywork is Massimo’s custom headlight unit. Developed using rapid prototyping techniques the front fairing includes a plexiglass cover for the 2 projector lamps it houses. Massimo also designed the unit to sit right back between the fork legs keeping the bike’s proportions nice and tight.
When the time came to choose the XV’s paint colour the pair opted for 1970s Yamaha racing livery inspired scheme. Along with a few of their own modern twists, there’s a subtle touch of green on the front fairing as a nod to their Italian roots. The finished bike certainly looks to have the racing spirit Massimo was hoping for, so we asked whether its performance followed suit.
“The whole bike was tailored to me.” Massimo says. “The geometry was completely revised and sports bike numbers were achieved. The ground clearance was improved and the bike gives you plenty of room for enjoyable lean angles. It rides well in the twisties and is sincere and progressive. Best of all it brings a lot of attention in the slow traffic and at coffee shops!”
As far as partnerships go, it looks like Massimo and Fabian have the perfect formula. Blending old school fabrication with high tech design has resulted in an XV750 cafe racer unlike any we’ve seen before, and that’s definitely a good thing!
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