Minus the mid-century innovations by Yamaha, Honda, and Suzuki, one could argue that motorcycling might be a lost art today. With their small engines, low profiles, and street-rider stances, these lightweight hallmarks of design give new riders all over the world a way into the fray, and experienced riders the perfect minimal ride.
These days, the ‘UJM’ (Universal Japanese Motorcycle) is for many riders the core of the custom scene. It’s the perfect platform for stylish townie and urban rides with cheap price tags. Models like the Yamaha XS650, SR400, XSR700 and XSR900 are among a legendary line of Japanese bikes that beg to be turned into café racers, bobbers and trackers—and they fill our galleries of great builds.