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Yamaha Yard Built: The Road To Glemseck

Yamaha's Yard Built dealer competition
If you’ve been following the custom scene for the past three years, you’ll know all about Yamaha’s ‘Yard Built‘ program.

It kicked off with the Wrenchmonkees’ brutal MonkeeFist XJR1300, and since then we’ve had top-drawer builds from some of Europe’s most exciting custom shops—including Deus, JvB-moto and It roCkS!bikes.

Yamaha has now handed the baton to its own dealers, who’ve been given a chance to show off their own skills and win a public vote. The bikes are all based on the Sport Heritage range, and the winner will be showcased at the Glemseck 101 café racer festival in Germany next month.

We’ve had a look the entries, and picked out an example of each model that caught our eye.

Yamaha Yard Built 'Klein' by Motorrad Klein, Germany.
XJR1300 ‘Klein’ by Motorrad Klein, Germany One of the most heavily modified bikes in the competition comes from Saarlouis, near the border with France. The XJR1300 engine hardly needs a power upgrade, so the dealer has focused on big dynamic upgrades to boost the riding experience.

We’re looking at an MT-01 fork, Öhlins shocks, and a swingarm and subframe from OVER Racing, both anodized in black. The brake system is a mix of Magura, R1 and OW01 parts, clamping onto high-spec wave discs. Other goodies include custom triple clamps, forged aluminum PVM wheels, and Brandy-Red paint inspired by the 1973 Yamaha RD350.

Yamaha Yard Built XV950 'TB114' by Twinsbike, Italy.
XV950 ‘TB114’ by Twinsbike, Italy The Yamaha XV950—aka the Star Bolt—is usually given the standard cruiser custom treatment. After all, it’s a valid alternative to the Sportster 883. But Twinsbike of Milan has taken a most unusual tack, choosing to give the XV950 a flat track vibe.

The Twinsbike crew has MotoGP experience, and they’ve made an incredible transformation with a minimum of new parts. The stock fender and seat are gone, replaced by a custom unit that looks like a factory design—and completely changes the style of the bike. The SC Project exhaust system and the air intake are new too, but virtually everything else is stock.

Yamaha Yard Built VMAX 'The V-Speed' by Liberty Yam, France.
VMAX ‘The V-Speed’ by Liberty Yam, France The picturesque Dordogne is a favorite region of France for tourists who’ve had their fill of Paris. But there’s nothing pretty about this ‘café dragster’ VMAX from Boulazac dealer Liberty Yam.

The new bodywork is even more brutal-looking than the standard kit, with a half-fairing inspired by the MT-OS concept bike of ten years ago. This VMAX sits an inch lower than standard, and there’s a new aluminum subframe bolted on. It supports a stubby black leather seat designed to hold the rider in place during full-bore take-offs—which are helped by the oversized rear wheel.

Yamaha Yard Built SR400 'Red Flake' by Planète Yam, France.
SR400 ‘Red Flake’ by Planète Yam, France The popularity of the evergreen SR400 shows no sign of waning. It’s a simple, reliable commuter bike that scrubs up well when the occasion requires. This elegant, BratStyle-inspired machine comes from the Yamaha dealer in Rennes, in northwestern France, but would look even more at home on the streets of Tokyo.

This SR has been lowered, with a new rear frame loop and a slim seat lowering the side profile even further. The tank has been remodeled, dropped, and painted a delicious candy red. The cockpit is cleaner too, with the ignition relocated alongside the kickstart lever and a simple Koso gauge fitted up front. On this machine it’s all about the visual flow, from the relocated headlight to the neat little aluminum fender over the rear wheel.