This Yamaha TRX850 restomod by HB-Custom is a trellis-framed treat

Yamaha TRX850 restomod by HB-Custom
The Yamaha TRX850 is one of our favorite motorcycling anomalies. It was built in the mid-90s, when Japanese marques tried to corner the European market by injecting Italian flair into their sportbikes. The TRX850’s trellis frame, tri-spoke wheels, and sculpted fuel tank felt distinctly Ducati—but its parallel twin motor and angular tail section gave away its Japanese heritage.

Although it didn’t quite set the market ablaze when it launched, the Yamaha TRX850 eventually found its niche in the secondhand market in an ‘if you know, you know’ sort of way. Old enough to be considered a bonafide classic, it offers a fun ride and endless 90s swagger, for not too much money.

Yamaha TRX850 restomod by HB-Custom
Those qualities also make the TRX a great candidate for customization—or, as Holger Breuer has so expertly demonstrated with his latest project, a great candidate for tasteful restomod.

As the ‘HB’ in Germany’s HB-Custom, most of Holger’s projects are full-on custom jobs. But the owner of this 1996-model Yamaha TRX850 had owned the bike for a number of years and was more keen on restoring it than tearing it apart. That said, there were a few areas that he felt should be improved, starting with the TRX850’s chunky rear end.

Yamaha TRX850 restomod by HB-Custom
Holger ditched all the rear plastics, then hacked off the end of the subframe and fabricated a new loop. Next, he hand-shaped an elegant café racer-style tailpiece out of aluminum. It sits neatly atop the Yamaha’s frame, extending forward to form a harmonious junction with the fuel tank.

The TRX850’s original tank, fairing, and front fender remain in play, as per the client’s request. Holger swapped the OEM windshield out for a tinted item from MRA Racing, and traded the bulky turn signals for slimmer LED units. The rear signals are mounted to a new tail tidy bracket, with a Highsider LED taillight Frenched into the tail bump.

Yamaha TRX850 restomod by HB-Custom
Despite the lack of major aesthetic changes, Holger still had his work cut out for him. “The motorcycle was dismantled down to the last screw and reconditioned,” he tells us. “I realized, for the first time, that a restoration takes longer than a custom bike.”

Getting original Yamaha parts for the bike proved to be easy enough at least. Holger refurbished the OEM wheels, forks, and brakes, upgrading the latter with braided stainless steel hoses. A new YSS shock now props up the rear.

Yamaha TRX850 restomod by HB-Custom
Holger also kept the stock controls, switches, and dashboard, but swapped out the battery for a smaller Lithium-ion unit. It now lives under the tail bump, along with the bike’s other vital electrical bits.

As a testament to Yamaha’s reliability, the TRX850’s 28-year-old motor needed nothing more than a service to keep it ticking over. Holger modified the exhaust headers to flow into a pair of Storm mufflers that are shorter and lighter than the original cans, and tuned the carbs to optimize the bike’s performance.

Yamaha TRX850 restomod by HB-Custom
Holger had total freedom when it came to the bike’s color scheme. Since his client is a massive Yamaha fan, he took inspiration from classic FZR paint jobs to concoct a livery that, while it isn’t technically an original Yamaha design, certainly feels period-correct.

While we’ve seen wilder builds from HB-Custom, we applaud the restraint shown on this project. The proportions are perfect, the graphics are sublime, and the balance of old and new parts is perfect. If we had a Yamaha TRX850 in the garage right now, we’d be hard-pressed not to follow the same formula.

HB-Custom | Instagram | Images by Emayat Wahab

Yamaha TRX850 restomod by HB-Custom

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