The 2017 Wheels & Waves celebration of customs, sunshine, and hipsters is almost upon us. It takes place from June 14-18, 2017, in Biarritz in France. And given the Sports Heritage range and the association the Japanese firm has established with European bike builders, it’s no surprise that there is a fleet of new Yamaha Yard Built customs for Wheels & Waves 2017.
The bikes will be unveiled at Ocean City during the four days. So you could image the shots of half-finished, and indeed half-started machines are being shared as a teaser for the final reveals. Or there are custom builders across Europe frantically trying to screw parts together before heading off to France. And there’s a strong national twist, as each bike has been created by a national Yamaha distributor, a local custom bike shop, and supported by a motorcycle magazine from the respective country. Because print is obviously a retro niche thanks to the internet…
As always, there were simple rules to follow. You could customise a Yamaha XSR700 or XSR900. And you can’t make major modifications to the frame and engine. Because then it’d be harder for the Japanese firm to sell Sports Heritage accessories off the back of it.
Yamaha Motor Italy has collaborated with OMT GARAGE and Ferro Magazine on a ‘hi-performance scrambler’ based around a Yamaha XSR900. We’re not sure we believe the Italian journalists when they claim a custom scrambler is a brand new concept. But the Troiano Brothers behind OMT have certainly built some awesome bikes in the past. Including a very 1982 Yamaha SR250 named ‘The Maniac’. And a gorgeous Moto Guzzi custom known as the Silver Knight.
“We love the engine block, so compact and muscular and the frame design, it only needs a classy polishing treatment and it will be perfect. Our philosophy, in a few words, is ‘Less is more'”, said OMT.
Yamaha Motor Germany picked the well-known Marcus Walz from WalzWerk Motorcycles and teamed up with CustomBike magazine for an XSR700 Tracker… Marcus previously created a custom Yamaha XV950 Yard Built project. “For me the XSR700 is the perfect funbike,” stated Marcus Walz. “It is superlight, super handy and well balanced. All this makes it an ideal base for a supercool Custom bike!”
And it should look something a bit like the sketch that has been released.
Next on the list is Yamaha Motor Spain, Cafe Racer SS and a modern Yamaha XSR700 take on race bikes from the 1970s and 1980s.
“The project was clear,” they confirmed. “We wanted to build something totally different. Not just slight modifications, but a complete customisation. Our aim was to build a “racing” bike inspired on the bikes from the 70-80s; with a single seat, lowered handlebars, racing exhaust, and taking into account the requisites of building a street legal motorcycle. Paying higher emphasis on the “racing” aspect, we decided to name the build as ‘XS700-R’.
Once the whole fairing, seat, lights and accessories were removed, we started to analyse how the 3D printed bodykit would fit within the frame. Then we started working on the fairing, bending and adapting metal pieces, simulating the final look of the gas-tank and the monocoque seat. Once the simulation was approved, instead of continuing the process with the conventional “fiberglass”, we contacted a local 3D Printing Company (Tumaker 3D) for the bodykit scanning and printing. Everything but the seat base, because of the rigidness needed, will be elaborated in 3D. Having the complete bodykit already scanned and print-ready, our intention is to offer the kit to the public, accompanied with its assembling instructions (easy to install; plug-and-play).”
Yamaha Motor Portugal has teamed with the Maria Riding Company for a versatile tracker named “The Orbiter”. which they claim is;
“A bike developed to search and explore fields with freedom and fun. The combination between the lively 689cc engine and the light chassis combined with the new front with more responsive suspension will make it an easy and responsive vehicle to drive around uncharted fields and tracks.”
“Striped of the unessential and revamped to reach all of the XSRs agility potential, the Orbiter is perfectly suited for reconnaissance missions in rough and inhospitable terrain.
The look gets something from space rovers and military tech, mixed with a vintage motocross vibe, resulting in an original and sporty overall visual.”
Next up is Greek Yamaha distributor Motodynamics and the winner of the Yard Built competition last year, Jigsaw Customs. They’ve opted for a retro 1970s American flat tracker.
“Based on the 1975 TZ750, the concept is to adjust the lightweight chassis, the powerful engine and the compact dimensions of an XSR700 to the American flat tracker standards. The XSR gets a full strip down, 19” wheels, special flat track tires, a compact handmade costume based on the 70’s bright colours and low center of weight that almost touches the ground.”
Three more countries to go, with Swiss Yamaha distributor Hoestettler, and Young Guns Speed Shop. This tracker intends to be more of a modern interpretation.
“Our thought was to build something that really fits the DNA which Yamaha has given to the XSR700, a simple, light and useful daily drive,” they announced. “As Yamaha has developed a very cool and technically simple base, we wanted to keep it and go on like this. We do not want to interrupt the thoughts that the Yamaha engineers have put in, we just want to add the best aftermarket parts, such as Borani wheels, a Nissin braking system and for sure the great Akrapovič exhaust which was made especially for the XSR700.”
“Mostly we want to build a great working, good looking and stylish street tracker, with some beautiful aftermarket parts, a relocated ECU & ABS system, an aluminum tank, seat and number plate including the light.”
That just leaves Yamaha Motor France, who have teamed up with George Woodman on a modern race Yamaha XSR700 inspired by a range of guitars. And Yamaha Motor UK who worked with Bike magazine and Down & Out Motorcycles on creating the ultimate urban and utlitarian adventure motorcycle.
“The XSR is such a modern bike,” commented Down & Out Motorcycles. “Yamaha got it right from the start which makes it a challenge to customise. But it’s worked out really well, and it’s something people can easily copy, or cherry pick ideas from.”
There’s loads of stuff happening at Wheels and Waves 2017 from when it opens on Wednesday, June 14th. It kicks off with a surfing contest, and the El Rollo Flattrack races in the afternoon. And all sorts of skateboarding, music and art in addition to the plethora of all types of custom bikes. Pretty impressive for something started by a group of friends and volunteers just a few years ago.