The Yamaha XJR1300 was a throwback: an old-school, air-cooled muscle bike that looked like it could go toe-to-toe with a Grizzly bear. The big inline four offered 106 horsepower, good for a quarter mile time of 10.6 seconds and top speed of 160 mph — not bad for a 500-pound heavyweight. Meanwhile, the upright riding position and broad power curve made the bike a decent tourer for those who prefer to ride in the wind instead of hiding behind a big fairing and windshield.
Lars, the owner of this bike, is fond of doing long rides through North Germany, but his old XJR was getting tired. So he went to Daniel Schuh of Germany’s Espiat with a single question:
“Can you conjure something nice out of my old lady?”
Lars only had one request: he wanted the bike to be a two-seater with a monochrome finish. Besides that, he gave Espiat complete creative freedom with the build. Daniel, who is no stranger to custom XJR builds, managed to build a burly custom XJR suited for extended riding. Says Daniel:
“This bike doesn’t want to be parked in front of the ice cream parlour, or stand around at shows, it wants country roads…”
Below, we get the full story on the build.
Yamaha XJR1300 Brat: In the Builder’s Words
I definitely said yes 🙂 Lars let me work completely free. The only condition was that he wanted a monochrome finish and a two-seater.
For this XJR, the goal was to build a fully customizable bike suitable for everyday use. It will be an even bigger challenge if the bike is to remain pillion-suited. The XJR1300 manages to attract attention with a classic look and still meet the demands of the daily rider. The owner Lars is a casual guy and adventurer who likes to make long tours over the North German landscapes and that’s how the bike should be — it’s supposed to make you want to fly on country roads.
A comfortable, classically stitched genuine leather bench seat in combination with the raw sheet metal tank visually form the centre of the bike. Newly formed covers for the frame triangle round off the classic impression of the Yamaha. The air scoop covers give a hint that the 4 cylinders with 1300ccm need a lot of air.
At the front end, the round old-school headlight with protective grid dominates.
The newly formed fibre windshield provides some wind protection.
The original speedometer instruments were removed and replaced by a mini Koso speedo. The speedometer makes an analog impression with its pointer and dial, but works completely digital.
The bike is due to the comfortable bench seat and the upright seating position absolutely tour-suitable — even carrying luggage such as tent and sleeping bag is no problem, the luggage can be attached to the bench seat without any problems.
A particular challenge was the preservation of the blank sheet metal on the tank. Since clear varnish does not form a solid bond and does not protect permanently against corrosion, I considered a special coating. Several tests and different procedures were necessary to achieve a perfect result. The sheet metal is now permanently protected against corrosion.
The original 4-into-2 exhaust system was replaced by a 4-into-1 system and rounded off by a compact Megaphone rear silencer.
The bellows on the fork round off the classic look of the bike and protect against dust, dirt and stones.
The rear and brake lights are integrated in the turn signals, which results in a very discreet and tidy rear view. The seating position is sporty but upright, and the wide handlebars provide optimum handling.
The XJR is a bike for everyday use and for extended tours, a bike for connoisseurs and adventurers. This bike doesn’t want to be parked in front of the ice cream parlour, or stand around on shows, it wants country roads, surrounded by forests and fields, lakes and the sea — it wants to live and experience!
The combination of black and shiny metal dominates in colour. The basic character of the XJR has been retained and the qualities of the bike have been emphasized.
The bench seat is made of fibreglass to fit perfectly. The windshield and Fenders is also a special design made of fibre composite materials.
- Custom fibre Windshield
- Special coating tank
- Genuine leather bench sociable
- Windshield, bench, side cover, air scoop, custom made
- Handmade composite lightweight fenders
- Swingarm black powder coated
- TomTom navigation device
- Four-inti-one exhaust system
Pictures by Patrick Remfert