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Speed Read, 24 January 2021

The latest motorcycle news and customs
It’s a newsier mix than usual this week, with the Yamaha SR400 finally down for the count, and a top European motorcycle museum gone up in smoke. On the custom bike front, we’ve got two very sporty builds—one an XT600 supermoto, and the other a radically restyled BMW R nineT.

Yamaha XT600 supermoto by 86 Gear Motorcycles
Yamaha XT600 supermoto by 86 Gear Motorcycles Christian Boosen runs 86 Gear Motorcycles in Warsaw, Poland, a city where the custom scene is starting to boom nicely. He’s just finished building this XT600 for a local client, and it looks like an absolute A-to-B supermoto weapon.

Yamaha XT600 supermoto by 86 Gear Motorcycles
The engine got a massive shot in the arm with a rebuild including a high-comp piston, the cam from a TT600, and a Mikuni TM34 flatside carb—plus a new hydraulic clutch to handle the extra power.

When not zooming down Warsaw streets on the back wheel, the rebuilt forks (with progressive springs) and a YSS shock keep the bike planted on its new 17-inch supermoto-spec rims. A bigger front brake disc and new master cylinder help keep the rider out of trouble.

Yamaha XT600 supermoto by 86 Gear Motorcycles
An XT500 fuel tank keeps the top line flatter than standard, and there’s a well-padded new seat (on a truncated subframe) to cushion kerb jumps and hard landings. This one looks like more fun than a barrel of monkeys. [Via | Images by Bartek Zaranek]

Yamaha SR400 Final Edition Limited
Sayōnara, Yamaha SR400 It’s finally the end of the road for the venerable SR400, which has been around since 1978. Yamaha has already withdrawn the plucky air-cooled single from most markets around the world, and this week it announced the end for its home market.

Yamaha SR400 Final Edition Limited
Two swansong models will be released on March 15—a regular ‘Final Edition’ and an upscale ‘Final Edition Limited’ [shown here] that’s restricted to a thousand units. We’re surprised that so many are still being produced, but then again, the SR is still an icon in the Japanese scene.

Yamaha SR400 Final Edition Limited
The FE Limited SR400 is only available in black, with a subtle sunburst effect hand-painted on the tank. Each bike will have a cast plate with the serial number, brass ‘sound fork’ badges, a faux leather seat, black anodized wheel rims, and black instrumentation.

Yamaha SR400 Final Edition Limited
The price for the FEL is a somewhat steep 74,800 yen, which equates to US$7,200. But given the love for the SR400 in Japan, it’s still probably a safe investment for buyers. And hopefully, we’ll still be adding to our archive of the best SR400 custom builds for some time yet.

BMW R nineT by Ortolani Customs
BMW R nineT by Ortolani Customs What happens if you love your bike, but want a change of style? It can be dangerous to simply buy a new bike, because you could be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

BMW R nineT by Ortolani Customs
That was the dilemma faced by Olivier Ortolani’s latest client, who loved his R nineT but wanted to change up the looks. So Ortolani found a way to complete transform the appearance of the R nineT without affecting its performance.

Taking inspiration from fighter jets and flat track racers, Ortolani has created completely new aluminum bodywork, with the tank sitting lower and the seat unit moved forward a little, for sportier ergonomics.

BMW R nineT by Ortolani Customs
The oil cooling system has been split into two, with a compact cooler sitting above each boxer cylinder. A Dynojet Power Commander now keeps the engine running smoothly, because the breathing has been radically opened up—with CNC’d velocity stacks at the intake end and a stubby titanium Zard exhaust system terminating alongside the back wheel.

New forged PVM rims add to the sporting vibe, and paint is limited to a few ‘splatter’ effects on the raw alloy. It’s a million miles away from the look of the regular R nineT, and not surprisingly, Ortolani’s client is a happy man. [Via | Images by Bertrand Bremont]

Top Mountain Crosspoint Motorcycle Museum fire
The Top Mountain Crosspoint Motorcycle Museum This week, the moto press has been dominated by reports of the museum fire in Austria. It was shocking news, even though we’re guessing that most people outside Europe, this writer included, had never heard of ‘Crosspoint’ before.

What’s left of the magnificent building is over 2,000 meters above sea level, in the highest ski resort in the Austrian alps. It housed around 230 vintage motorcycles, plus many collectible cars. All were damaged by the inferno before fire crews could get the blaze under control.

Top Mountain Crosspoint Motorcycle Museum fire
From where we’re sitting, the most notable part of the story is the lack of fire suppression measures: some reports are claiming that the (mostly wooden) building did not have a sprinkler system. (A huge snowblower was roped in to help fire crews struggling to get a water supply, but by that point, it was too late.)


If it’s true, it’s an unfortunate oversight. It’s well known that the National Motorcycle Museum in Britain was destroyed by fire in 2003, also due to a lack of sprinklers. [News report]

Iron & Air: The Photo Issue is out
Iron & Air: The Photo Issue is out Renowned photographer Scott G Toepfer is the guest editor of the latest issue of Iron & Air, and it’s a visual treat. The 114 pages are packed with stunning images and the stories behind them.

Iron & Air: The Photo Issue is out
We get an insight into the work of photographers such as Yve Assad, Sinuhe Xavier and Bill Phelps, plus incredible examples of photographic skill—such as the image above by Charles Séguy.

“Photo issues are a rare opportunity to turn the lens on the photographers themselves and learn from their personal experience,” says Scott. “This is the heart of photography as a craft, and while we can digest as much imagery as we want within the span of a 24-hour day on our phones, we must occasionally remind ourselves that it is the quality of the art form that sustains it beyond an endless scroll.”

Iron & Air: The Photo Issue is out
Give yourself an analog treat with a subscription here (and grab yourself a free back issue too, while you’re at it.)

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