You may know Jean-François Vicente. He used to run a French retro custom outfit, VD Classic, that we’ve featured before. J-F has a new company now, called Vicente Design—and he’s pursuing a more eclectic style of bike building. “One day I woke up thinking twenty years of SRs and XT500s was enough,” he says. “I didn’t want to spend my life designing only ‘neo retro’ bikes.” So J-F bought this Yamaha through a classified ad in the US.
It had a Kenny Roberts frame and was intended for dirt track use, but was in bad shape. So J-F rebuilt it as a 70s Yamaha TZ-style production racer, spending a lot of time on the dented and cracked frame. The tank, seat housing and front fender are made from carbon fiber. The engine was blueprinted and rebuilt to race spec, and mated to a racing gearbox located in Japan. The bike now weighs less than 115 kg—and not surprisingly, “handling is perfect”.