Let’s say you’re a relatively new convert to motorcycling. And you want a custom bike, something a little smaller and cheaper than an 883 Sportster, Triumph Bonneville or Moto Guzzi V7.
The obvious option is the Yamaha SR400. Or maybe one of the more compact vintage Honda CBs. But Australian builder Ellaspede has come up with another solution—the Yamaha XJR400, little brother to the evergreen XJR1300.
“Being an import-only model in Australia, there aren’t that many good XJR400s around,” says Ellaspede’s Hughan Seary. “So locating one took a while. Our client Matthew managed to find a great example in black, rode it in, and we started discussing possibilities. Whilst taking cues from our previous XJR, he had some other ideas he wanted to explore.”
One of the cues was cafe styling, so clip-ons and a humped seat were in order. The ability to carry a passenger was another requirement, so Ellaspede made the custom seat unit just long enough to achieve this.
Under the seat are discreet frame mods, relocated electrical items, and a custom rear guard with a plate relocation bracket to help with legal requirements. The removal of the airbox left space for BMC pods to feed air into re-jetted carbs, and the standard headers are now hooked up to a SuperTrapp muffler.
A lowered headlight and Acewell gauge help clean up the front end, while Posh indicators and an LED taillight take care of the other lighting duties. To reduce the revs, the front cog was swapped out for a 1-tooth-up unit. Many fabricated, powder coated, painted and polished items help finish the look.
Matthew got himself a cool ride because he chose a donor bike that didn’t need a huge amount of work to produce a sharp, semi-modern take on the cafe racer genre. If you were a young rider looking for an affordable custom, would you have done the same?