Building a decent custom motorcycle can be a daunting task. But when your customer is also an accomplished builder, the pressure is doubled.
Wolf Moto got the commission for this Yamaha TW200 from Louis Nel—a talented South African builder based in Nelspruit, whose work we’ve featured before. Louis has a knack for balanced lines and meticulous attention to detail, but he also has a busy career and a blossoming family. So his projects are usually after-hours endeavours.
When his wife wanted to start riding, Louis knew a custom bike would be the only option. But he was short on time—so he turned his attention 400 miles south, to Drummond-based Wolf Moto.
Louis and the Wolf team of Kyle Scott and Chris Clokie agreed: the TW200 was the perfect candidate. With a low seat height and sedate power delivery, it’s loved in South Africa. Just ask any farmer looking for a runabout, or a riding school needing a basic mule.
Wolf sourced an original condition 2008 TW200 from the other side of the country, and dragged it into the workshop. “Our initial brief was to build a ‘custom’ TW200,” says Kyle, “which left the options wide open.”
“The project gained direction when we tested our tracker seat from another Wolf Moto bike. Louis liked the idea of a tracker build—and so the Yamaha ‘Fat Tracker’ was born.”
“The idea going forward was to produce a stripped down, street legal custom bike inspired by the flat track racing scene.”
Above the rear monoshock is a flat track-style seat, set into a fiberglass unit produced by Wolf and capped with suede upholstery. It sits on a neat custom-fabricated subframe.
When it came to finding a fuel tank to match, Wolf struck gold. Bike Hospital in Johannesburg had a “new old stock” 78-model XS250 tank, still in its original packaging. Barring a few nicks it was in good shape, so the guys left it ‘as is’ to preserve an air of period-correctness.
The rest of the bike got a thorough clean-up. The engine was stripped, serviced and repainted, and the frame was coated in fine-textured Ferrograin powder. Wolf also ditched the airbox, and fitted a Uni filter via a hand-made stainless steel intake pipe. Then they swapped the battery for a smaller Antigravity Lithium-ion item, tucked away under the seat.
Fabrication includes a new stainless steel exhaust header, with a re-interpretation of FMF’s popular “Power Bomb” expansion chamber. Attached to it is a Supertrapp muffler.
Wolf dropped the front forks internally by just over an inch, and rebuilt the rear shock, powder-coating the spring in the process. The front fender comes from Goods Company in Japan, but the chain guard and aluminum bash plate were made in-house.
The TW200 wouldn’t be competitive on a race track, but Kyle and Chris couldn’t resist adding some ‘race’ bits. There’s an oil cooler from Holley USA, plumbed with fittings from POSH Japan. And there’s a new Yamaha brake disk and a braided brake line.
Up front is a 6¼-inch PIAA 520 Halogen light; out back is an LED strip from Custom Dynamics, handling taillight and turn signal duties. The handlebars are from POSH, kitted with Pro-Taper MX grips.
With everything ticked off the list, Kyle slapped on a set of chubby Dunlop K180s. And then took the ‘Fat Tracker’ for a quick burn on the local dirt track.
It might not have the go to match its racy new vibe, but we reckon it’ll put a smile on Mrs Nel’s face.