In Japan, there is a design theory called Kanso (簡素)—meaning simplicity, or the elimination of clutter. And every time I see an Auto Fabrica bike, I’m reminded of that fine principle.
The machines that roll out of the English workshop are reduced to the bare minimum, but beautifully finished. And this extraordinary build, called simply Type 6, is Auto Fabrica’s best work yet.
Most shops have a bike that’s been kicking around since the beginnings of time, and that’s the story with this Yamaha. “It’s one of four XS650s we rescued from a farm in the depths of rural Cornwall,” says shop owner Bujar Muharremi. “A lucky find that effectively kickstarted our company.”
We’ve come to expect stellar levels of craft and finish from Auto Fabrica, but the Type 6 adds impeccable industrial design to the mix.
Bujar and his crew spend a huge amount of time on preliminary design before they pick up the grinders. Starting with hand sketching and moving on to Photoshop renderings, they create the bike in the virtual world before turning the vision into metal.
This time, the objective was to push the physical limits with panel beating. “We spent a lot of time trying to balance clean graphics with highly complex and organic surfacing, to achieve a clean yet interesting design.”
Much of that cleanliness comes from the tank and seat base, a single elegant unit formed from 2.5-millimeter aluminum. The XS650 frame has been modified by lowering the headstock two inches and moving it back slightly, creating the strong top line that flows from the headlight to the rear cowl.
The engine of the XS650 was pretty handsome straight from the factory, but it’s been elevated to a whole new level here.
“You can trick the eye by placing the single inlet on the opposite side to the exhaust outlet positions, to create an asymmetric balance.” It might be a trick, but it works well.
Auto Fabrica love the matte finish that aqua blasting gives to bare metal, so the engine casings and aluminum parts all went into the blast cabinet.
“We could have kept them straight through and raw, but with the refinement of the bike as a whole, we needed a more refined exhaust note—as well as the correct back pressure.”
The rear wheel is built on the standard hub, but it’s now laced to an 18-inch alloy rim with stainless spokes. Up front is a beautiful Laverda SF750 twin leading shoe hub laced to a 19-inch alloy rim, with a custom brake switch located on the TLS arms.
The bodywork is almost impossibly sleek, so it’d be a shame to have clunky bars up front. To maintain the theme, Auto Fabrica fitted slim clip-ons and then created a custom wrap that forms a smooth loop. It’s a neat solution that matches the inverted stainless steel brake and clutch levers.
We’ve only the skimmed the surface of this build, because it’s often the ‘simple’-looking bikes that involve the most work. (As Mark Twain famously said, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”)
The Type 6 is for sale. If you’d like to examine it at your leisure in your own garage, contact Auto Fabrica via their website.