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Return of the Cafe Racers - Yamaha XV950 Pure Sports by LowRide

Yamaha XV950 Pure Sports by LowRide

I’m a huge fan of what Yamaha are doing in Europe with their Yardbuilt series of custom motorcycles. The idea behind the Yardbuilt series is to hand motorcycles from the current Yamaha lineup over to some of the world’s hottest custom workshops and let them have their way with them. Previously they’ve enlisted the Wrenchmonkees to modify the SR400 and Deus Ex Machina to tranform an XJR1300 both of which resulted in outstanding looking builds. This time round they’ve given their sporty cruiser, the XV950 Bolt over to the crew at LowRide magazine and Radikal Choppers and they’ve created this amazing bike that uses minimal parts to maximum effect.

Firstly a design was rendered in conjunction with Oberdan Bezzi Design which took styling cues from the Yamaha FZ750, a legend in its day for both its unique engine/chassis design and its engine performance. This design is vastly different from the cruiser styling of the standard XV950, giving it the look of a sports bike but special attention was used to ensure comfort and ride-ability were not compromised. Mechanically the 950cc engine remains untouched as does the bikes electrics and it’s frame. What did change though are 5 main components consisting of the fairing, tail section, handlebars, exhaust, and the intake manifold.

While the XV950 ‘Pure Sports’ fairing may lack the sharp angular lines of its influencer (the FZ750) it still oozes retro-cool. Hand formed out of aluminum the single piece fairing is the most dramatic of all the custom components on this bike, complimenting the Bolts stock tank perfectly. Sitting high on the front forks the fairing transforms the XV950 from cruiser to sports bike and has been attached using all pre-existing mounting points. Tucked in behind the fairing are a set of low slung clip-on bars to further add to the sports bike look and to position the rider for a much more aggressive riding style.

The aluminum tail end is again designed to reposition the rider for a sportier ride without sacrificing comfort. Remembering that the footpegs are still the stock factory items it was important to not create an awkward seating position. All up the new rear section and leather-wrapped saddle add another 120mm of seating position height. Amazingly again the whole tail section uses existing mounting points to secure it in place.

The stock Boltexhaust was designed to meet strict noise and emission laws, Unfortunately, that means it’s a muffler is about the same size as what you’d find on a Mac truck. Keeping this on the bike was not an option so an HP Racing 2-into-1, stainless steel system was mounted in its place. Not only does the new system look the part it also weighs less, provides better performance and as you will notice by watching the video further down the page, sounds bloody fantastic.

The bulky, plastic, stock air cleaner was stripped away to expose more of the XV950’s sexy v-twin engine. In its place, a cast alloy velocity style cover has been added increasing airflow (although I’d probably like a bit more filtering) into the fuel injection system. This addition combined with the exhaust would have necessitated remapping the ECU, unfortunately, there’s no mention on the press release of how this was done or what performance improvements it has yielded.

Fitting the new bodywork and bars also meant that the stock lighting had to change so in their place, slimline Rizoma indicators have been stealthily mounted to the bike and an LED taillight provides running and breaking light. Then to finish the FZ750 hommage off LowRide had the ‘Pure Sports’ painted in a red/black/silver FZ livery.

The entire approach to the build of the ‘Pure Sports’ XV950 would suggest to me that Yamaha gave LowRide a similar brief to the other Yardbuilt builders; which I suspect is to create a bike using parts that could be reproduced for resale and easily attached by budding home builders. Yamaha has shown that it wants to give its customers the option of customizing their bikes (check out the SR400 Gibbonslap website) and it is, in my opinion, a breath of fresh air. While Yamaha does sell bolt-on parts for their Bolt (allow myself to introduce myself?) they lack the level of creativity that most custom builders apply. If Yamaha continues to partner with builders like LowRide, the Wrenchmonkees, and Roland Sands Yamaha owners are going to be spoilt for options when the time comes to add a bit of custom flair to their new ride.

LowRide     |     Radikal Choppers     |     Yamaha Yardbuilt


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