A British Yamaha? You bet your knickers.
The custom motorcycle scene is alive and well, and any dedicated RideApart reader gets a healthy daily dose of the best custom builds out there. This one, though, stands apart from the crowd. It pushes the boundaries of machines-as-art. This is art that zooms.
Often when a custom motorcycle falls this heavily into the design side of existence, it is unrideable. The Type 11, however, retains its functionality even though it would easily be able to stand alone as artwork. Three different prototypes marry form and function in a stunning take on two of Yamaha’s current powerplants: the XS750 and the XSR900.
The shop creating these visions is AutoFabrica, run by two brothers and located near London in the UK. Bujar and Gazmend Muharremi founded the shop in 2013 and have since become well-known for their hand-built motorcycles. The bikes are part of Yamaha’s “Yard Built” series, in which the manufacturer encourages builders to customize a Yamaha motorcycle (or, in this case, build a motorcycle around a Yamaha engine). In turn, Yamaha supports these independent builders by showcasing them through the manufacturer’s network, and encourages them to offer the parts they build to other Yamaha enthusiasts. Sometimes, and hopefully in this case, the manufacturer itself will take cues from custom shops and incorporate those into their manufactured bikes.
Each of these machine designs started with “2D sketching,” that is, traditional pen and paper. The philosophy may seem simple: declutter a bike down to its elemental components, and do so with a nod toward a mid-century modern style. The result is a mix of modern and traditional fabrication: from a computer-based design and a 3D printer to a hammer and an English wheel. The air intake ports are 3D printed. The tank, fairing and exhaust pipes that stop you in your tracks are fully hand-built.
The first prototype is track-only and its components tell that tale without question: an Öhlins suspension, BST carbon wheels, Brembo brakes. No headlight or other marker lights mar this design; even the color palette speaks to its seriousness. It is aggression and speed made real, for track time only.
The second and third prototypes were developed nearly simultaneously: the second a road bike and the third marrying the track capability of the first and the road-going nature (and lights) of the second. Each shares the basic design elements, each has parts outsourced as well as hand-built. Great news for folks who are willing to import: the brothers are building a (very limited) run of bikes, so if you love this design, you can give them a deposit and have one of your very own. They will even take your input on design elements, and make it uniquely yours. It is the second, or “Type 11,” that will be produced in limited quantity and sold, no doubt, around the world. Get your name on that list soon.