Despite the long winter nights and unforgiving climate, Sweden has a thriving custom industry. It’s what we’d call an ‘underground chopper’ scene—with the most famous graduate being BMW designer Ola Stenegärd.
But there’s a new wave of modern alt-moto builders coming through, and at the forefront is the small Stockholm shop 6/5/4 Motors. Their bikes are beautifully finished and fun to ride—like this thoroughly revamped Yamaha XT500.
So the lads bought themselves an XT500, intending to use it as a weekend shredder in the forests around Stockholm. But they couldn’t keep their dirty hands off it—and soon the first mod was done.
“That’s why it basically took us forever to complete.”
“We wanted to make it look snappier and more virile. And make it run as well as it looks.”
The airflow is improved, and the engine has been tuned to suit.
The old 6-volt wiring is all gone, replaced by a new harness and a modern 12-volt system. Switching to 12 volts also meant that a battery eliminator could be fitted—and the heavy stock battery dumped.
Juice is now fed to a compact four-inch headlight, with new blinkers and an LED taillight strip to match.
There’s a tiny speedo just ahead of the bars, new levers and grips, and even tinier switchgear. (It’s from a new Swedish outfit called Combmaker and made from high-grade aluminum.)
To reduce the conspicuous overhang at the back, 6/5/4 have trimmed ten centimeters (four inches) from the back of the frame, and it’s made a world of difference to the stance.
The stripe of vivid yellow over the raw aluminum tank is inspired. Look closer, and you’ll notice that 6/5/4 have created their own version of the classic XT logo—but this time reading ‘XT654.’
No sooner was the bike finished than the inevitable happened: A visitor to the workshop made an offer for it. “We decided to go with the offer. We no longer had the nerve to wreck this perfect, shiny-looking thing in the forest anymore.”
Their customer has no such qualms, though. He’s a Swedish actor and radio host, and he’s promised to do what 6/5/4 couldn’t—go rough with it.
So they’re each building a ‘swamp toad’ right now, and those bikes will not be for sale. Or so they say…