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Muscle Rétro: A Yamaha XJR1300 from Bad Winners

Custom Yamaha XJR1300 by the Bad Winners workshop
Bad Winners is one of those shops that consistently do good work. It’s owned by Frenchman Walid Ben Lamine, who has an unusual and very performance-focused CV—including stints as a championship rower and a race team mechanic.

It’s not surprising that the machines he puts together in his workshop in the 19th arrondissement of Paris are clean, thoughtfully specc’d, and designed to perform. Like this XJR1300, which took two years to build and will comfortably outpace a showroom bike.

Custom Yamaha XJR1300 by the Bad Winners workshop
The XJR1300 was one of the best of the old school muscle bikes: an air-cooled cruiser in sporty clothing that handled well around town, and packed a solid wallop out on the open road.

The US never got the XJR, but it remained on sale in Europe and Oceania until a couple of years ago, with fuel injection and clever ECU programming keeping it on the right side of emissions regulations. But the Euro4 standards (and a lack of ABS) finally killed it off.

Custom Yamaha XJR1300 by the Bad Winners workshop
“We got the bike from a garage in the middle of France that was closing down,” Walid tells us. “It was in good condition, with 29,000 km on the clock.”

It’s a 2005-spec XJR, so the 98-horsepower, 1251 cc inline four engine is probably just run in.

Custom Yamaha XJR1300 by the Bad Winners workshop
That didn’t stop Walid from tearing down the motor, though. By installing Wiseco pistons and boring out the cylinders, he’s bumped the capacity up to a hefty 1390 cc and fitted a custom ECU that he can program for optimum performance.

Walid has also fitted shorter intake pipes and a DynoJet Stage 1 carburetor tuning kit.

Custom Yamaha XJR1300 by the Bad Winners workshop
There’s a custom airbox to keep the gases flowing in freely, and a 4-into-1 exhaust system from the British company Black Widow, constructed using 304 grade polished stainless steel. It’s terminated with a compact Spark GP-style muffler.

The result? A solid 128 horsepower at the back wheel on the dyno after a session of tuning the four Mikuni carbs.

Custom Yamaha XJR1300 by the Bad Winners workshop
To keep the show on the road, Walid has taken the suspension to a higher level with 43 mm adjustable forks lifted from a Suzuki GSX-R1000. He’s also kept the Gixxer’s brakes and calipers, and the front wheel too.

Magura HC1 radial master cylinders for the brakes and clutch lift the lever game, and the wheels are shod with grippy Continental ContiAttack rubber to avoid sticky situations. Öhlins shocks keep the rear end planted.

Custom Yamaha XJR1300 by the Bad Winners workshop
When you’re not busy hanging on for dear life, you can enjoy the upgraded cockpit—replete with Motone switchgear, Renthal bars and grips, and a classy Motogadget Mini speedo.

A Motogadget m.unit now handles the electrics, and there’s a Koso Thunderbolt LED headlight to light your way with over a thousand lumens.

Custom Yamaha XJR1300 by the Bad Winners workshop
Bad Winners is known for sharp, edgy graphics and slick surfacing, but this XJR1300 is designed to fly under the radar. There’s a black powdercoat everywhere, a discreetly bobbed front fender and a handmade leather seat sitting on a minimalist subframe loop.

The tank is stock but subtly modified at the back to interface better with the seat, and Walid has given it a deep, glossy coat of black paint.

Custom Yamaha XJR1300 by the Bad Winners workshop

In this era of electronic overload and rampant regulation, it’s good to see older muscle bikes like this still being built and ridden in anger.

And if you find your pulse rate rising, you’ll be glad to know that the XJR1300 is à vendre. Drop Walid a line if you’re keen.

Bad Winners | Facebook | Instagram | Photos by Guillaume Petranto

Custom Yamaha XJR1300 by the Bad Winners workshop

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