Apparently, the hipsters are ruining motorcycles. At least that’s the mantra of the old guard, bemoaning every trend from tire choices to velocity stacks.
Meanwhile, the rest of us are happy to enjoy bikes for what they are: sometimes impractical; always fun. So join us in giving Walid from Bad Winners a high five, as he flips the establishment the bird with ‘The Apex.’
It’s a 2000 Yamaha FZS600 Fazer—and while it has fenders and no pipe wrap, it’s neither street legal nor particularly sensible. So it bucks most current trends, while still giving the haters plenty to write about. But oh boy do we want to ride it.
Walid tells us he drew inspiration from multiple sources… “I chose this bike because I wanted something away from the actual custom scene,” he says. “I have always been into racing bikes—that’s where I come from.”
“I know on this project that I’m at the limit of bad taste—it’s a mix of cultures between a cafe racer, a stunt bike and a supermoto. With the aggressiveness of a MotoGP bike, all combined into one.”
Walid envisioned the perfect blend of performance and looks. The theory was to strip off as much as possible, and add in just the right amount of upgrades. But it turned out to be a tricky affair in practice.
First on the list was a switch to the full running gear from a 2012-model Yamaha R6. Walid installed the front forks, wheels and brakes—but hit a snag with the swing arm.
“Putting an R6 swing arm on a Fazer frame is a good idea,” he says, “but it took me couple of nights thinking of how I could do it.” Eventually he put the frame on the bench, clamped it, and redesigned the rear end to make everything fit.
The process included widening the frame at the right spots, and reworking the suspension mounting points to optimize the balance between the new ride height and the geometry.
The Fazer is no slouch, so Walid had no need to mess with the engine. Instead, he worked around it to squeeze out a little more performance—starting with a custom-made CDI that allows him to tune the ignition to his heart’s desire.
The rest of the wiring’s been simplified, and now runs off a Motogadget m-Unit controller. And there’s a weight-saving Lithium-ion battery tucked away in the seat hump.
The original airbox is gone, but rather than just snap on a set of pod filters, Walid’s taken the trouble to build a proper filter box, calculating the optimal volume for the carbs. It’s matched up to a hand-made, stainless steel four-into-one exhaust system.
There’s even a custom-made water cooler. “I’ve taken a karting grid and then rebuilt the box around it,” Walid tells us. “It allows me to reduce the dimensions and the volume, while improving the cooling system at the same time.” It’s capped off with a small LED gauge, poking out to the left of the fuel tank.
Off-the-shelf bits include switches and a tiny LED speedo from Motogadget, Renthal street bars, Domino racing grips and LSL foot pegs. Illumination comes from a pair of 1600 lumen LED fog lights, mounted on either side of the engine. Metzeler race slicks round things out.
The bodywork is all custom, and dressed in a re-interpretation of Yamaha’s classic black, white and yellow racing palette.
On paper, a stock Fazer weighs 416 pounds dry, and makes 95hp. Walid has weighed ‘The Apex’: It’s just 271 pounds dry (123 kilos), and punches out 107hp. And with those waspish looks and the sharp paint, it’s a very attractive package indeed.
Considering it’s only January, here’s to another twelve months of ruining motorcycles.