YAMAHA CAFE RACERS
Fantastic Virago cafe as seen on the premier bike blog BIKEEXIF!
"Yamaha’s underrated Virago from the 1980s is really gaining favor as a custom base. Classified Moto have already shown the way, and here’s another terrific example—this time from Greg Hageman of Doc’s Chops. It’s a 1982 Yamaha XV750, and it was built for Season Two of Discovery Channel’s Cafe Racer TV show.
Hageman built a new sub frame to support the lovely, wasp-like seat unit, and lowered the forks by two inches to improve the stance. There’s a Tarozzi fork brace to tighten the handling, along with Tarozzi rearsets and clip-ons for a better riding position. At the back is an adjustable, air-assisted shock and a simple Acewell unit has replaced the standard instruments.
The engine internals have been left alone, but the stock Hitachi carbs have been rejetted, fitted with K&N filters and matched to a free-flowing Mac Performance exhaust. Tires are Bridgestone Spitfires. Most of the metal has been subdued with a matt black finish, and the result is simple and stylish. Is this the perfect twenty-first century café racer?
(Images by Erick Runyon of Choppershotz. Spotted on the highly recommended Return Of The Cafe Racers.)"
The colours and quality shine through this Peter Jansen built Yamaha XS650 cafe racer. From the shorty front fender and fly-screen, back through the silky smooth paint job, comfy yet classic solo saddle and Dunstall pipes, this is a picture perfect cafe ride!
My Yamaha XS650 cafe conversion started from a homely 1979 Special Edition sporting a stepped seat, high "monkey bars", even a chrome luggage rack on back. Frankly it was ugly!
Firstly, I stripped it of the centre stand, passenger pegs, highway footforward pegs (yuck) and anything else not needed.
OMARS DIRT TRACK RACING supplied the seat/seat-pan combo and I could ditch the stock seat finally. The fun begins!
Using spray-paint and my feeble imagination, I tried about four or five different paint schemes, finally settling on the style you see here. After convincing myself this particular version was going to work, I employed a local artist to sandblast and spray away!
Here you can see I've gone shopping. I slapped on a set of rather loud but very satisfying Dunstall cans, a lightweight, freefloating brake disc, steel-braided brake line, excellent Monza style piggyback shocks, filter pods you can't see, modified shorty turnsignals, Norman Hyde cafe bars and other stuff.
650Central and OMARS supplied more of the little stuff and I insured the cafe beast, and off this Yamaha XS650 goes!
Ran like shit! Damn. Six hundred bucks later, carb sinc, timing job and some electrical work, and NOW she runs like a Swiss watch!
Yamaha XS650 cafe racer
The Yamaha XS650 has to be the favourite for cafe conversions among all of the Japanese bikes I've seen. They're cheap to buy from wreckers and owners alike, bullet-proof as far as the motor goes, and there were hundreds of thousands sold all over the planet for more than a decade.
As well, they are pretty easy to modify with just a minimum of tools. If you've got a basic welder and some cutting tools (especially cutting tools!)your laughing.
Dedicated web-sites such as Omars Dirt Track Racing and 650 Central, as well as dozens more enthusiast sites keep the XS650 going strong with a plentiful supply of cafe racer parts and advice. Just Google Yamaha xs650 cafe racer and you'll see over 68,000 results!
Check the headlight/speedo combo. That looks like some old Ducati 125 unit. Who knows? Well no doubt some of you do! The fork brace is such an odd bit of old-school high tech I just have to laugh. But that was the go-to stuff in the seventies or thereabouts.
Last thought;where's that battery hiding? Your guess is as good as mine.
First, what a great photo! Then, what a nice XS650 cafe racer. Not much stock stuff left here. But it's so seamless it looks like something that might have come from the Yamaha factory.
Some high tech stuff where it's needed but not too much modern style. I love this bike but I always feel sorry for Europeans who have to wreck the back-end look of their specials with that enormous number plate!
On the plus side that front fender doesn't have to suffer the humiliation of sporting a big fat plate welded to the top. Good thing too. The added weight would ground the fender onto the tire. Now that's a tight fit.
Also love the pencil-like exhaust pipe!
The addition of the Ducati 900SS type fairing to the bikes frame make this a lovely cafe, along with the many other details apparent, such as shorty front fender, cafe seat, rear-sets etc...
Obviously, there are thousands of after-market parts available on-line and at bike shops everywhere that could be mixed and matched to fit just about any older Japanese bike. Whether it be pipes, lights, fairings, wheel and tire combos, you name it!
And whether you want to creat a streetfighter, cafe racer or chopper/bobber, your imagination is the only limit. Oh, and your budget!
Just remember, if you put new pipes and/or air filter pods on your special, you'll need to re-jet those carbs for a sweet running ride. Maybe that's why the smaller displacement one and two cylinder machines are most prevalent. One carb is easier to tune than four!
This YAMAHA SRX600 thumper shows how a tailpiece, fly-screen and good paint scheme can turn an already classic Japanese single into a tasty cafe ride.
Love to experience a brisk torquey blast through the twisties on this classic Yamaha cafe thumper!