2012-11-13 18:29:30+0000

Commissioned as an official build for Yamaha themselves, this Yamaha XJR1300 custom was built by the Wrenchmonkees. Based on a new XJR1300 street machine, this café racer style custom was built by the Copenhagen based custom builder over three months and unveiled this week.

Yamaha's premise was for the Wrenchmonkees to build a custom machine around a stock chassis and powertrain. The builders cite electrical as one of the biggest challenges with customizing a new bike; with modern day moto tech as it is, it's no surprise that they would.

The tank, the engine, and major frame components remain unmodified with this custom. Everything else however, gets majorly overhauled. Things start off with custom spoke wheels, 19-inch on the front and 18's on the rear. The inverted front forks are from a R1, while the rear sets are an in-house fabrication. Bars get treated to clip-ons for a more authentic café racer riding position, while the instrument cluster gets completely removed for a clean look.

No café racer can be complete without a proper seat; so the Monkees went to work creating a completely custom seat and tail unit that sits directly on the sub-frame. Nearly all of the bike's wiring and electronics get neatly tucked in to this custom tail unit along with a non-traditional lithium battery to power it all. The exhausts are hand built with a retro megaphone style throwback to the old XJRs while tapping in to some MotoGP-esque styling cues.

Not wanting to deviate from their own style-guide of not using bright colours, the XJR1300 custom gets a matte dark olive green paint job with a hint of metallic flake. The swingarm gets a similar black paint finish. To make the frame stand out, it gets roughly sandblasted, then set on fire, creating a burnt raw steel effect. We've not seen this approach to a paint scheme before, but absolutely love it.

The end result? A beautifully finished new-age custom motorcycle à la retro café racer style. Here's what Wrenchmonkees Crew Chief, Per Nielsen had to say about the finished bike: ‟We are very pleased with the results of our Yard Built Yamaha - the muscular engine of the XJR has kept it looking retro and retained its mechanical expression. The XJR is all about the cool air-cooled engine and our customisation shows this off in a new modern way with the addition of components such as the inverted forks and radial brakes.”

Wrenchmonkees will use this custom as a prototype to reverse engineer bolt on kits for stock Yamaha motorcycles allowing new bike owners to modify their own machines with very little effort. This XJR1300 is the first in a series of custom machines that will be similarly commissioned by Yamaha to various other builders.

Does that mean this bike is no more than a marketing ploy? Perhaps. Does it still look good and serve to make XJRs more desirable? You bet. If more of us like more bikes and dream of more customization, in my world, there's nothing wrong with that.

The one-off custom is also currently on display in Milan at the EICMA show and it looks just as good in person. Check it out:

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