Yamaha XT600 cafe racer

Yamaha XT600 cafe racer
This sharp-looking custom started life as a 1992 Yamaha XT600E, of all things. It’s owned by Australian Mark Wotherspoon, who wanted a fun bike for his daily commute and weekend blasts around the hinterland backroads. His objectives were to reduce weight, increase horsepower and improve the handling—to “turn corners, not heads”, as he puts it. So builder Evan Bowling upgraded the motor with a 640cc big bore kit, plus enduro-spec cams and valves. The front end is from a Kawasaki ZZR600, with progressive springs to tighten the handling; at the back is a 5-way adjustable shock. “The suspension is bone-jarringly firm,” reports Wotherspoon, “and after the first 400km, it became very clear that this bike is not a tourer.” Grip is unlikely to be a problem though, with Michelin Pilot Road 2 tires on 17” wheels. The bodywork is hand-made, including the alloy fuel tank/air box, duck tail, and front and rear fenders, while the headers and mufflers are stainless steel. The next step? New Keihin CR33 smoothbores to tweak the engine still further. An inspiring approach to a cost-effective cafe racer, don’t you think?

Yamaha XT600 cafe racer
Yamaha XT600 cafe racer

  • Markspoon

    Thanks for the post Chris,
    But I’m just the lucky recipient of the ‘Mongrel’ – all credit to Evan on the build. He has put together a beautifully angry beast, that does everything right.

  • Patrick

    Awesome. I love this bike, stripped down and built for handling. Getting all the different parts working together must have been a challenge, and so a very rewarding and satisfying experience overcoming them. Looks like a perfect example of fun in the garage translating to fun on the road.

  • mingh

    Just goes to show that the donor bike doesn’t matter as much as the style and skill of the builder. looks very purposeful

  • http://www.theflu.de ulf

    what ugly lights….

  • http://www.roelscheffers.nl/ Scheffers

    Nice job!! great looks + the seemingly good handling , great!!

  • David Enfield

    Like the quiet way it says “I AM NOT SHOP BOUGHT , I AM ……….GRRRRRRRRRRRR”

  • steve

    Nice, I’ve often thought that those big bore enduros had potential for this. I like it.

  • Bluey

    It has the refined simplicity of a TT2 without a fairing, 1 less cylinder. I like BIG 4-stroke singles. Is it a street fighter or an Endurance racer? Mead & Tompkins won 24hr endurance races in the 70’s on push-rod B50’s. Keep it simple. “Nice work, Like it”.

  • http://www.twisted-jay.moonfruit.com Jay Vousden

    Very nice, tidy machine. I too love big Jap singles, although I have gone the Honda XL route. I have also made some designs for a Cafe’ racer and a long low chop from the XL. I just need to get my welding skills and then I shall hopefully start doing them.
    About the lights, that’s not ugly, that’s just pure functionalism……… Scratching at night you’ll need that candle power to see beasties on the road and where the twisties go…

  • http://aboutboats patrick

    NICE, but I prefer off road, hence my question, where do I get those downpipes?
    want to fit them on my XTZ…

    any suggestion?