“Triple Trouble”…a three-cylinder Yamaha with modern upgrades…
One of our favorite young builders in the country — nay, the world — is Bj English of Missouri’s Brick House Builds. Bj has a penchant for building customs that are both unique and nostalgic, with well-considered lines and creative details. A one-man operation, he just finished his sixth full build, “Triple Trouble,” based on a 1980 Yamaha XS850. His vision was clear:
“I wanted to make a bike with a very sleek Café Racer shape but also wanted something with some muscle to it.”
The XS850 was the perfect donor, built to compete with the 750cc fours of the era. An evolution of the XS750 triple, the XS850 was overbored to 826cc, offering 79 horsepower in a well-proportioned, quick-handling chassis.
Below, we get the full story on “Triple Trouble,” as well as some striking photography from Charles Nardi.
“Triple Trouble” XS850: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
My name is Bj English and I run my shop called Brick House Builds LLC here in northeastern Missouri. I have been working on bikes, cars, bicycles, ect since I was a kid and have been building bikes professionally for the last two years. My business is typically 75% customer commissioned bikes and 25% bikes that are for the shop. Brick House Builds is a one-man operation functioning out of my garage below my house. I am typically building around 4 bikes at once with this bike being the 6th full build and belonging to me currently.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
1980 Yamaha XS850 triple
• Why was this bike built?
This bike belongs to me and was built because I wanted to work with something a bit more uncommon than the CBs and CX bikes that I had been consumed with, so a 3 cylinder Yamaha was the perfect choice for me. I call the bike “Triple Trouble” as yes, I am a Beastie Boys fan.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
I wanted to make a bike with a very sleek Café Racer shape but also wanted something with some muscle to it.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Starting with the frame it was de-tabbed, upswept hoop fitted, and powdercoated in the gray you see. An FZR600 front end was converted using the stock XS stem and bearings. Factory XS wheel spins the FZR 320mm rotors using some CNC spacers. The rider controls the bike using Tarozzi clip-ons and some modified Hyabusa rearsets.
Wiring has been simplified and uses an Anti-Gravity battery tucked under the bike. The header is a one-off piece meant to have very simple lines and exits through a nice Cone Engineering muffler for an amazing song! The seat was fabricated to fit the frame and then upholstered professionally.
The most unique item on the bike though has to be the headlight bubble which I made using my old dirtbike helmet. I had the idea while cruising the swap meet at Barber Vintage Festival last year and not being able to find a small fairing like I wanted.
The bike rocks an XS750 fuel tank that still wears its beautiful factory paint and stripes because I saw no reason to try and improve on what they did.
• How would you classify this bike?
I would call this bike a Resto-mod since it blends multiple elements of the factory styling with some modern improvements throughout.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
Again, the headlight fairing was a fun piece to create as it was such an “out there” idea.
Follow the Builder
Brick House Builds:
- Website – https://www.brickhousebuildsllc.com
- Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/brickhousebuildsllc/
- Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Brick-House-Builds-LLC-1086643674690600/
Photographer is Charles Nardi – https://www.charlesnardi.co