Think of a custom Yamaha, and you’d probably pick a mid-size SR or XS model. But it looks like the spotlight is now drifting towards the mighty XJR. And if that means more machines like this low-riding XJR1200 from Portugal, we’re all for it.
‘Sunburn’ was built by Osvaldo Coutinho and Alexandre Santos, friends and engineers from Oporto. And since they’re engineers, this ’97 Yamaha is no pipewrap-and-Firestones job.
The XJR is big and heavy—about 233kg or 510 lbs—so the first job was to reduce weight and size. The bike was stripped down and everything apart from the engine, the core of the frame and the swingarm was junked. The machine now tips the scales at just under 200kg or 440 lbs.
The forks and brake calipers are now from a Yamaha YZF, and the original double shocks have been replaced by a monoshock. The rear section of the frame was cut and re-engineered to fit, and the section above the engine was reinforced to bear the damping load. The swingarm was modified to become a cantilever unit and carries a box hiding a small gel battery.
The 98 bhp air-cooled engine was in good condition, so the internals were left alone. Instead, it’s been treated to custom-made velocity stacks and a 4-into-4 stainless steel exhaust system. A retune has boosted output to 12-15 bhp beyond stock, and Goodridge lines now feed a high-performance PWR oil cooler.
The original wheels are gone, replaced by a much lighter set of XJR1300 ‘Kineo’ 17” tubeless rims, with black powdercoat, gold nipples and hubs. They’re shod with Michelin Pilot Road rubber. The brakes have been upgraded with larger discs all round, new hoses and top-class ISR master cylinders. Motogadget supplied the Motoscope Pro digital instrumentation, m-Blaze Cone indicators and m-Switch push-button controls.
The custom upper bodywork is a one-piece fabrication. Yes, the tank, seat and rear section are a single unit that can be released by removing just one screw—a trademark of Osvaldo and Alexandre’s builds. And very sharp it looks too.
“The bike feels very light and the engine turned out to be a powerhouse,” the boys report. “A true café racer! Below 5,000 it’s a little sleepy but from there on, it just shoots up to the red line—always pushing us to go faster!”
‘Sunburn’ was a commission and has gone to its new owner, but if you want to follow Osvaldo and Alexandre’s builds, head over to the it roCkS!bikes Facebook page.
Photography by Rui Bandeira.