Daniel Schuh — “artist, designer, dreamer, doer” — left the hustle and bustle of Hamburg for a quieter existence in his hometown of Mecklenburg, Germany. There he started Espiat, where he does product/web/corporate design and creative solutions for big clients such as MTV, Telekom, and more. He also builds some pretty rad bikes, such as this BMW R80 tracker we featured last year.
Now Daniel is back with a 1996 Yamaha XJR1200 street tracker built for German motorcycle dealer Hassemer. The XJR1200 was introduced in the early 1990s, a big air-cooled naked bike with a retro chassis, twin shocks, and 98 horsepower on tap. The “unbreakable” XJR was capable of 11.5 second quarter mile times. Said one reviewer:
“Crack open the throttle at 30mph and you’ll need crampons and a safety harness to stay on board at full bore through the gears.”
If that doesn’t sound like a prime starting point for a “dirty street tracker,” nothing does. Below, we get the full story on this Yamaha XJR1200 street tracker, nicknamed “Gold Rush.”
Yamaha XJR Street Tracker: In the Builder’s Words
Once again, one of these unbreakable Yamaha XJR’s has found the way to my garage. Motorcycle dealer Hassemer asked me to design a new custom version of their YAMAHA XJR. The only requirement for the new design was not to leave the bike completely black. So the decision was made to use the color combination of black, gold and chrome. The overall style was supposed to go towards a little dirty street tracker. Thus a radical rear end had to be designed and number plates on the handlebar and on the sides must not be missing either. The basic character of the Yamaha XJR was sustained.
Courage to use chrome, shine and gold.
Admittedly, the color combination would not have been expected from me. But somehow, we wanted to build a bike with polished rimbeds again, as it was made in the 1990s. And if you once take this daring step, you can steadily continue right away. So, chrome parts have been deliberately chosen and it worked well. Elbows, rear mufflers and the crash bars, together with the polished rimbeds, form the base of the bike. The rest of the bike comes in discreet black. To compensate this strong color contrast, the decision was made to use a noble metallic gold tone. I think that the color concept fits perfectly to the Yamaha XJR birth year. Rear, lamp mask and number plates are individual custom-made items.
I have designed and implemented air scoops as cladding for the air filter box. The rear was made of GFK (glassfibre-reinforced plastic). The lamp mask also serves as a number plate and is also a custom-made part of fibre composite materials. The mufflers (Ok in this case the “sound amplifiers”) fit excellently to the XJR. We wanted to keep the original megaphone look of the end mufflers and decided for these open funnels- Whoa, what a mad sound! The engine and the transmission are in an excellent original condition.
The cockpit was cleaned, a small analogue speedometer and a few signal lights are the necessary leftovers. For the implementation of the short tail, the frame had to be shortened, the rest of the the framework is unaffected. Combined turn signals with lights and brake function for a clean rear view.
The back and brake lights are being integrated into the turn signal, resulting in a very sporty and clean rear view. The telescopic fork had received more progressive springs. The seat position is sporty but upright, thanks to the wide handlebar and the lower weight, resulting in optimal handling results.