Five years ago, if we were asked to describe the stereotypical café racer it would probably be a Honda CB. Today, the mental picture is more likely to be a Yamaha Virago.
For the last twenty years of the 20th century, the XV series was a somewhat nondescript V-twin cruiser. But it’s now the platform of choice for many builders in the USA and Europe—popularized by groundbreaking customs from workshops like Classified Moto and Greg Hageman.
The creator of this sleek Yamaha is 27-year-old Daan Borsje of Moto Adonis. Typical of the younger builders coming through, he’s based in Roosendaal—a small medieval city in Holland—and has been working on custom cars and bikes for half his life.
Daan is now a full-time bike builder, after falling in love with the café racer scene four years ago during a trip to Australia and New Zealand. These days the custom scene in Benelux is just as strong as Down Under, and the Moto Adonis business is expanding.
“I now have an employee, and we work hard to deliver as many dream bikes as possible,” Daan tells us. “It’s a growing process, but this XV750 is the best one so far.”
It’s a damn good example of a modern custom, with a style closer to the modern aesthetic of Classified Moto than the vintage flavorings of Hageman. With its stubby seat and lean-forward stance, there’s a definite air of streetfighter to this machine.
The owner is Fabrice, described by Daan as “A hard working man from Belgium.”
“He came to Moto Adonis because we built something based on a XV750 which he really liked, but wasn’t quite the way he wanted. As we started building, more and more ideas came up—inspired by his work, his surroundings and Bike EXIF … we came up with this clean and industrial look.”
This XV750 might be pretty—in a purposeful way—it’s no trailer queen. Daan has given the XV750 a complete front-end swap, using parts from a 2012 Yamaha YZF-R1. That’s not just the forks, but also the brake system and wheel.
He’s adapted and combined the XV750 and R1 triple trees, keeping the modern conical bearings.
The clip-ons are from a Kawasaki Ninja. There’s an aftermarket brake/clutch setup, so the bike stops on the proverbial dime. The rear brake and shifter sets come from Tarozzi, and the rubber is Dunlop’s performance-oriented Sportmax.
Connecting the frame to the swingarm is a fully adjustable 38mm Hagon shock, so the back end can keep up with the sportbike front suspension.
When it came to choosing a tank, it had to be a Benelli. Because, as we all know, Benelli tanks and XVs go together like white on rice. The tank was sandblasted back to the raw metal before the black paint and a clear coat were applied—a simple but striking effect.
Daan has also blasted the engine clean, and refinished it in contrasting metal-grey and gloss-black paint.
It’s the exhaust system that we can’t tear our eyes away from though: hand-made from 40mm stainless steel, it snakes around the engine before terminating in a GP muffler. According to Daan, it “gives the V-twin a nice roar on the streets.”
The custom rear end sports an integrated LED strip to handle lighting. The seat is black leather, with tuck-and-roll upholstery from Miller Kustom. Underneath the seat is a small metal case to hide the electronics.
Most electric parts are new. The blinkers and keyless ignition system are from Motogadget, and there’s a circular Koso speedo set into the front of the top yoke.
Right behind are indicator lights for the blinkers, plus a starter button and kill switch.
The bike is now back with its owner Fabrice in the ancient Belgian city of Ghent, famous for its punishing cobbled streets—where the new suspension will no doubt come in handy.
But most heartening of all is seeing a young builder making a living from running a custom workshop, keeping the quality high and applying modern aesthetics to readily-available older bikes. Not many get that equation to work, so Daan Borsje is a name to watch.