Picking the right donor for your custom project can be a daunting task. And if you’ve got the cash or the credit history, there are good reasons to spring for a new-ish machine—one with modern suspension that starts every time.
Yamaha’s XSR900 comes to mind. We rode it and loved its brutish nature—and the modern amenities like ABS and switchable power maps. The looks were near perfect too in our book, short of a few gripes.
Enter the Wrenchmonkees, whose rendition of the XSR900 we’d park in our garage without a moment’s hesitation.
This urban scrambler-slash-brawler is called ‘Monkeebeast,’ and it’s the latest collaboration between the Copenhagen workshop and the Yamaha Yard Built program.
The Danish duo of Per Nielsen and Nicholas Bech recently adopted the slogan ‘Wrenched from Black’—a mantra that the XSR900 proclaims proudly. But there’s more going on here than a murdered-out paint job.
The guys have massaged every angle of the XSR900 into place, creating a mash-up of minimalism and menace.
The tank covers are stock, but the seat is a one-off. And the unsightly boxes that normally adorn the sides of the frame have been binned—with the electronics originally housed inside them relocated.
Gone too are the XSR900’s ultra-modern cast wheels. In their place is a pair of Borrani rims, laced to blacked-out hubs with 9mm stainless steel spokes. Continental’s chunky-but-road-friendly TKC80 tires take the scrambler motif further.
Even though the XSR900 handles and brakes well out of the box, the Wrenchmonkees couldn’t resist a few enhancements. There’s a K-Tech shock out back, along with a TRW brake disc and Gilles Tooling chain adjusters.
The front brakes have been upgraded with a Nissin master cylinder, and the whole system is now hooked up to braided hoses.
Keeping the front-end trimmed is a MT-03-style headlight, high-rise Magura handlebars and Biltwell Renegade grips.
The XSR900’s speedo is one of the best looking stock units on the market, so the Wrenchmonkees have kept it. But they ditched the switchgear, opting for minimal switches from Motogadget instead.
Matched to the new, taller seat are rearsets from Gilles Tooling—modified to take enduro pegs.
Custom-made, angular fenders—and a burly engine guard—cap the build off at both ends. And a SC Project silencer on a modified MT-09 system provides a suitable soundtrack.
‘Monkeebeast’ is an exercise in restraint rather than excess. A byproduct of what happens when a shop with years of experience considers each mod carefully, to create a subtlety that’s hard to emulate.
The Yard Built ethos dictates that the chassis is left untouched as much as possible. And the Wrenchmonkees did just that—reworking the bike without cutting anything.
As with those bikes, the plan is again to retail the parts used on this new build—making it an easy project for XSR900 owners that want their own Monkeebeast.
Count us in.