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Beach Bum: A big wheel Yamaha XSR custom from France

Yamaha XSR custom scrambler by Sur Les Chapeaux De Roues
Yamaha’s latest push into the European custom scene has yielded some of the best XSR builds yet. The most recent Yard Built initiative involves nine different customizers, each producing bikes with a ‘Back to the Dirt’ theme.

We’ve already seen stellar work from Germany’s Hookie Co., and a Portuguese build from Capelo’s Garage and Elemental Rides that recalls the Yamaha IT enduros of the past.

Yamaha XSR custom scrambler by Sur Les Chapeaux De Roues
Now it’s France’s turn to represent, with this fresh take on the XSR700 from Sur Les Chapeaux De Roues.

Like Portugal’s entry, this XSR is a throwback to another Yamaha classic. This time, it’s the lesser known but absolutely adorable BW200.

Yamaha XSR custom scrambler by Sur Les Chapeaux De Roues
Produced in the 80s, the BW (‘Big Wheel’) was a fat-tired, easy-to-ride dual sport, making it the perfect beach cruiser. The modern Yamaha XSR is a far more advanced and powerful bike than the little BW—but this custom recaptures the old school charm.

“I think it’s the ‘funnest’ bike I’ve ever built,” says SLCDR’s sole proprietor, Manuel. “It’s light and powerful, but with a fun look—and it’s easy to ride in a lot of conditions. I wanted this bike to be accessible to everyone, so it’s a little bike.”

Yamaha XSR custom scrambler by Sur Les Chapeaux De Roues
The XSR isn’t exactly bulky or heavy out of the box, but Manuel has still trimmed it down further. But first, he had to replicate the BW200’s most distinguishing feature: its bubbly wheels.

Using a Honda Transalp hub up front and a Yamaha XT660 hub out back, he laced up a set of appropriately sized rims using stainless spokes. They now measure 2.50×18” (front) and 4.50×14” (rear), and are wrapped in chunky tires from Vee Rubber.

Yamaha XSR custom scrambler by Sur Les Chapeaux De Roues
Suspension upgrades are less drastic, but equally good. They include a new shock and new fork internals; both from Öhlins and out of the official Yamaha aftermarket catalog. Manuel also upgraded the rear brake with a Nissin caliper, then removed the second front caliper and shaved the mount off the fork leg.

There’s a full complement of custom-built bodywork up top. The XSR’s OEM fuel cell and covers are gone, replaced by a handmade steel fuel tank with the original fuel pump integrated.

Yamaha XSR custom scrambler by Sur Les Chapeaux De Roues
The new tank also houses the XSR’s speedo and a pop-up gas cap, and all the electronic components now live underneath it.

The front end features a custom-made steel headlight nacelle, attached to a pair of one-off fork leg covers.

Yamaha XSR custom scrambler by Sur Les Chapeaux De Roues
Manuel also fabricated the seat, a pair of aluminum fenders, and a side cover for the left. As per Yamaha’s Yard Built rules, he didn’t cut or modify the frame at all: everything attaches to existing mounting points.

Capping things off are a rear grab rail that also doubles as an exhaust mount, and a small front luggage rack that you might find on a vintage BW200. “If you want to,” Manuel jokes, “you can put a red wine bottle on it and go the beach!”

Yamaha XSR custom scrambler by Sur Les Chapeaux De Roues
The rest of the finishing kit is well considered. The cockpit includes a set of Renthal handlebars, with a Yamaha bar pad, red ODI/Troy Lee Designs grips, and Beringer controls.

The start button sits in the steering head nut, and the turn signal buttons in the Beringer control clamps. It’s all very neat.

Yamaha XSR custom scrambler by Sur Les Chapeaux De Roues
Other off-the-shelf goodies include a side stand support and radiator guard from Yamaha (modded with the SLCDR logo), grippy off-road pegs, a Highsider LED taillight, and Motogadget blinkers.

Manuel swapped the air box for a pair of Twin Air foam filters, and fabricated stainless steel exhaust headers that terminate in an Akrapovič muffler.

Yamaha XSR custom scrambler by Sur Les Chapeaux De Roues
It wasn’t all plain sailing though. Getting the vibe right was high on the priority list—so he ended up building two gas tanks and two sets of exhaust headers. David Roguet handled the final paint; a nod to the BW’s original white and red combo.

Manuel has simultaneously sorted out the XSR’s fussy aesthetic, slimmed it, and made it a whole lot cuter. Between the vibey motor and easy-going looks, this is one Yamaha we’re itching to take to the beach.

Sur Les Chapeaux De Roues | Facebook | Instagram | Images by Charles Séguy

Yamaha XSR custom scrambler by Sur Les Chapeaux De Roues

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