Photos courtesy of Yamaha Motorsports
Jeff Palhegyi has been building one-off Yamaha customs for more than 20 years. His latest, the Yard Built XSR900, was inspired by the legendary Yamaha TZ750.
Yamaha's Yard Built Project seeks to enable builders by asking talented customizers to provide inspirational ideas on how to transform modern Yamaha models into unique specials. Many builders will not only inspire Yamaha owners with their ideas, but will also make custom parts and accessories available to help owners turn their dreams into reality.
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These custom builds have included the scrambler styled Bolt from Florida-based builder Greg Hageman of Hageman Cycles, Roland Sands’ multiple Yard Built creations such as the XSR900 “Faster Sons”, and the SCR950 “Checkered Scrambler” from California-based builder Go Takamine of Brat Style. Over the past 21 years, more than 70 custom motorcycles have been built by Jeff Palhegyi since his initial collaboration with Yamaha for a heavily-customized Royal Star in 1995.
“Working with Jeff Palhegyi Designs has been an incredible adventure,” said Yamaha Motorcycle Product Line Manager Derek Brooks. “We’ve covered a lot of ground over the years, and Jeff’s latest project, the TZ750 inspired XSR900, represents our history in the sense that it blends the modern performance and neo-retro look of the XSR with Yamaha’s racing heritage styling.”
That racing heritage can clearly been seen in the finished motorcycle.
“I wanted to do a retro-styled XSR900 that had the look of the Yamaha factory race bikes from the 70’s and 80’s,” said Palhegyi. “My inspiration ultimately came from the TZ750. The tailpiece is the pivotal shape from Yamaha race bikes from that era, and I just wanted to build a bike that would go with that. There are TZ750 styling cues everywhere, as that was the theme of the bike. The bodywork was the biggest challenge for this project, because you can’t just buy a fairing kit that fits an XSR900. We had to build the tail section, the tank cover, the front café fairing, and the lower half fairing from scratch while working to keep the TZ750 body style."
"The fuel tank design was another very challenging part of building this bike, since it is a cover piece for the actual fuel tank mounted underneath it,” Palhegyi further noted. “We had to make the internal tank fit with the tightly-wrapped aluminum tank cover, and it required careful design and fabrication to make all of the internal components.”
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Other parts of the build included Dymag wheels built for the current Yamaha YZF-R1 with modified axles, custom sprockets and spacers, Graves Motorsports clip-on handlebars, Sato Racing rear sets, Graves Motorsports titanium exhaust system, and countless other pieces.
“Installing the freshly-painted bodywork to complete the bike build was my favorite part of this project,” Palhegyi said. “Putting it together and realizing it was everything I hoped for when I first sketched it on a cocktail napkin made all of our efforts very rewarding.”