The ICON Elsinore returns

Pratik: A Yamaha XT660R from Bunker Custom Cycles

Custom Yamaha XT660R by Bunker
Istanbul-based brothers Mert and Can Uzer are known for their sleek, super-clean custom builds, but their latest creation has a surprisingly practical mien.

The commission came from Kerem, a customer living in the ancient city of Adana. A nine-hour ride south from Bunker’s workshop, it’s near the border with Syria and is one of the world’s oldest recorded settlements. It’s also a place where temperatures can reach a sweltering 45 °C (114 °F) in summer.

Custom Yamaha XT660R by Bunker
“The upside of living in Adana is that it’s next to Turkey’s largest and lowest plain,” says Mert, “and surrounded by the Toros Mountains—which have beautiful pine forests and charming roads.”

Kerem’s brief was simple: he needed a reliable, single-cylinder bike to escape the summer heat. He’d be using it for camping and exploring the high-altitude mountains, and for his daily commute in Adana in the winter.

Custom Yamaha XT660R by Bunker
Mert and Can chose a 2007 Yamaha XT660—the ‘R’ version, which has a 21-inch front wheel rather than the 17-inch hoop found on the supermoto-themed ‘X.’ It’s powered by a 47 hp SOHC single, which is durable rather than exciting, and let down only by its low-speed fueling. (After all, the plains of southern Turkey are not the right place to test reliability.)

“First we had to get the engine ready,” says Mert. “Although the XT660 has a really ‘proven’ engine, we used K&N filters and a Power Commander to retune the leanness at low revs.”

Custom Yamaha XT660R by Bunker
Next up was a call to SC Project. The Italian specialist supplied a muffler designed for the Africa Twin, which Bunker mated to a custom 2-into-1 exhaust pipe. “Now the bike is much smoother at low to mid revs, and much quicker,” says Mert.

With the engine tuned correctly, Bunker gave it a thorough refresh with new bearings and seals. Then they went through the rest of the XT660 with the proverbial fine-tooth comb, ditching old rusty components, and sandblasting or powder coating the rest.

Custom Yamaha XT660R by Bunker
The bulky, angular plastic bodywork ended up in the bin, though. “The undressed XT was a bit complex, but promising,” Mert says. “We wanted to go for a utility-based look, but the main obstacle was the tank.”

The Power Commander meant that the XT660 was consuming a bit more fuel than normal, so Bunker didn’t want to reduce the tank capacity. Looking for solutions, they noticed that the inner steel fuel cell has unused air space at the top of the tank, next to the steering neck.

Custom Yamaha XT660R by Bunker
So Bunker rebuilt the tank, getting rid of the hump on the original and slimming down the sides without losing capacity. It’s now hidden under a new outer aluminum shell, with matching side covers lower down that not only reinforce the visual lines, but also provide protection for the radiator.

The front and back fenders are also beaten from aluminum, and there’s a custom bash plate made from slightly thicker 3mm aluminum to protect the undercarriage from rocks.

Custom Yamaha XT660R by Bunker
There’s a new seat pan too, which dovetails with the original locking mechanism. Bunker have trimmed down the back end of the frame and fabricated a new loop, which also provides mounting points for a removable rear rack.

On the lighting front, a BikeMaster headlight leads the way, with a neat super-white halo effect for the running light. It’s set into a new aluminum headlight cowl. The stop and turn signals are eBay finds, used to keep costs down.

Custom Yamaha XT660R by Bunker
Practicality is at the fore elsewhere. The top and side racks accommodate luggage with all the storage needed for camping—around 80 liters of capacity. Soft drybags can be attached to the left side and a big Givi hardcase on top, which has a quick release keyed to the bike ignition and adapted to the custom mount.

“This was a must for the commuting too,” says Mert. “It will be handy to leave the helmet on the bike in the city.”

Custom Yamaha XT660R by Bunker
That’s probably the first time we’ve heard helmet storage woes mentioned in the context of a custom build, but we’re not complaining. We’re all for artful museum pieces, but there’s also a place for bikes that can take you almost anywhere in style.

Bunker Custom Cycles | Facebook | Instagram | Images by Onur Aynagöz

Custom Yamaha XT660R by Bunker

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