Yamaha is collaborating with custom builders in a really smart way.
The Yamaha Yard Built program is a sort of sanctioned skunkworks division within Yamaha. Its official purpose is to showcase what a stock Yamaha can become, and to inspire owners to customize their own motorcycles. The customizers collaborate with Yamaha, giving the manufacturer feedback to make the bikes more customizable. Yamaha showcases the bikes and the builders make their parts available for purchase by Yamaha customers. It’s a win-win.
This particular build harkens back to a classic Yamaha enduro/motocross bike, the TT500. Obviously it couldn’t be a perfect representation, as that classic was quite a lot smaller than the modern XSR700. The builder, Greg Hageman, admits that his builds involve not only a lot of time just staring at the bike, but also a lot of time fabricating parts and trying them out, only to find they don’t work out the way he wanted, then ends up scrapping the whole pile.
Such was the case with the rear subframe on this build. He found it was easiest, and worked best aesthetically, too leave the stock subframe alone. He says, “Building a bike takes hours and hours of just daydreaming for me, sitting and analysing the design so I can see in my head what will work to change, and what won’t, and for that also what is actually worth changing. Just changing things sometimes is a mistake, to me it’s always a good idea to take advantage of what the engineers have done, and work with it, rather than try to redesign totally.”
Instead of a whole new rear subframe, this build just sports a lightly bobbed rear fender. The lighter modification makes it easy for other XSR owners to upgrade their own rides to look like this one; it will accept the stock seat or a replacement made for the stock frame. The handlebars are dirt style, the grips have been replaced with enduro grips, the front fender with a high-mounted Acerbis unit, and a Euro-style headlight with a brush guard brings the whole look of the front end together.
Rather than swap the wheels for something expensive, he had them powdercoated. The entire build is minimalist but creates a very different look for the bike.
We’ll keep following Yamaha’s Yard Built program for sure. They’re collaborating with some pretty fantastic custom shops. The builds are a ton of fun, and now I kind of want an XSR700. Go and visit the Pipeburn page for a pile of really spectacular photos.