Venturing into the left field is risky business for any builder. Go too far, and you could end up with a garish and impractical machine. But ride the line between quirky and classy just right, and you’ll have a hit on your hands.
Christian Schwarzenlander’s Yamaha SR500-based “ExesoR MACHINE” strikes that balance beautifully. Operating out of Austria as ExesoR Motorcycles, Christian’s aim was to build a café-racer-styled custom, “with a touch of Dieselpunk.”
Christian picked up the SR500 for a steal—but it was totally disassembled. “Even the engine was taken apart,” he says, “but it was 90% complete and no important parts were missing.” Naturally, the engine received a full overhaul—finished off with bespoke cooling fins. It now inhales through a velocity stack, and exhales via a stainless steel exhaust system from Two Hands Motorcycles.
For the bodywork, Christian turned to Bernhard Naumann, AKA Blechmann, for assistance. Bernard is an accomplished builder in his own right, known for building “Walton”—a wild Norton-powered chopper that took 6th place at the Sturgis World Championships in 2010. “His knowledge was essential for the final result,” says Christian. The two are now good friends.
Bernard was responsible for the SR500’s seat (covered in tobacco brown leather), and he’s modified an Omega Racer fairing to suit the bike. The tank is also from Omega Racer, now fitted with a custom filler cap. All the bodywork is aluminum, finished in a raw, semi-matte effect. Furthering the Dieselpunk agenda are various brass components—including fastener covers.
The re-wired SR500 now sports a custom ignition system, complete with a hand-built coil and cool little electron tube indicator light (below). The bulk of the new harness is stashed away under the seat. Embedded in the fairing are two LED headlights, and out back is a one-off tail light.
Christian made extensive mods to the frame too. It’s been cleaned up and reinforced in key areas, and shortened in the rear—with a pair of LED turn signals embedded in the tubing. There’s a new swingarm, made out of two SR500 units, and 7cm longer than stock. The frame and swingarm are painted in a color taken from Porsche’s swatch book: Seal Grey.
The front suspension has been lowered and upgraded with Wirth springs, and a pair of custom Hagon shocks prop up the rear. The original Yamaha SR500 wheels are now painted in an antique copper color and fitted with Avon tires.
The final product is kitted with a Daytona speedo, LSL rear-sets and Fehling clip-ons—adorned with a pair of hand-crafted aluminum and leather grips. Christian has also fitted custom sleeved cables, a CNC-machined brake fluid reservoir and a host of other fine details that reward close inspection.
ExesoR’s SR500 is a great example of the interplay between creativity and functionality. I’d even go as far as to call it art—and rideable art at that.