Since 2014, Yamaha’s Yard Built series has paired the industry’s best customizers with one of the company’s Sport Heritage models to create some of the freshest custom designs. The competition’s Back to the Future theme in 2018 brought us retro-futurist designs like Hookie Co.’s XSR700 kit and 2019 revived the rally and vintage dirt bike style of the ‘70s and ‘80s with the Back to the Dirt challenge. For 2020, Yamaha is adding a twist to the build-off by accepting fan-made designs for the Back to the Drawing Board project.

From now until March 30, 2020, tuning fork fans can submit custom XSR700 drawings using the Back to the Drawing Board form. Participants are expected to provide the build’s style (tracker, scrambler, etc.) while refraining from engine and chassis modifications. The company also mandates a color palette that calls back to iconic Yamaha models (XT, TT, Ténéré, SupérTénéré). Of course, a project title and a short description of the design’s influences to help Yard Built’s jury determine the winner.

Yamaha Germany Manager Marcel Driessen, founder of Mellow Motorcycles Flo Hubert, and online journalist Jens Kuck will judge the contestants’ drafts. Once a winning blueprint is announced, the customizers at Mellow Motorcycles will bring the design to life. Understandably, Yamaha includes a disclaimer that allows Mellow builders to change aspects of the design in order to meet street-legal regulations and Yard Built rules.

Event organizers will present the finished build along with four other custom bikes at the Wheels & Waves Festival on June 10-14, 2020. Yamaha will invite the winner of the drawing contest to the festivities in Biarritz, France. The winning designer won’t be able to take possession of the built motorcycle but the Back to the Drawing Board competition could be a great stepping stone for an amateur draftsman. 

If you have a vision but lack the mechanical know-how to pull it off, Yard Built’s Back to the Drawing Board may be the opportunity to create your dream machine. With a little help from Yamaha and Mellow Motorcycles, your design could go down as another classic custom motorcycle from Yamaha’s Yard Built series.

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