Wild Horse: Yamaha XS400 by A.G. Custom Motorcycles

Yamaha XS400 Cafe Racer

“Everything you need to ride on the roads of the Basque country.”

The Yamaha XS400 was the company’s middleweight four-stroke, offered from 1977-1982. The SOHC parallel-twin made 36 horsepower, good for a top speed of 105 mph, and the 392cc XS outperformed the KZ400 and GS400…if not its two-stroke sibling, the RD400.

Yamaha XS400 Cafe Racer

Enter our friend Brice Augry of AG Custom Motorcycles, located in the Basque country of France. We’ve previously featured Brice’s two-stroke builds, including his Aprilia RS154 and GasGas-powered 300cc sprint racer — both of which he built to race at Punk’s Peak. Now he’s back with a four-stroke project, the 1978 Yamaha XS400 you see here. He built the bike for a friend who gave him free rein as far as design, but Brice had his work cut out for him:

“You should know that the first time I saw the bike, there was a frame, two wheels, and half a motor…”

Yamaha XS400 Cafe Racer

Inspired by English watches and Japanese style, Brice set out to create a refined, classy XS that would be at home on the winding roads of the Basque country. The engine was completely rebuilt from the bottom up, the wiring harness simplified, and the saddle upholstered by @alexisgleather of Biarritz, France — using leather from a friend’s old sofa! The CB200 tank and grips receiving matching leather trim as well. The owner nicknamed the bike “Wild Horse.” Says Brice:

“I am especially proud of the general appearance of this bike — it has a crazy charm, refined, classy, a new well-deserved youth.”

Below, we get the full details on this Basque-built XS400, along with more great photos from @etcheverrigide.

Yamaha XS400 Cafe Racer: Builder Interview

Yamaha XS400 Cafe Racer

• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.

My name is Brice Augry, boss of AG Custom Motorcycles created in 2019 in the Basque country. My passion came from my father, who was a racing driver in the 70s / 80s. I started riding bikes 11 years ago — after 10 years of mechanics I decided to open AG Custom and enjoy myself!

Yamaha XS400 Cafe Racer

• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?

This is a Yamaha XS400, 1978.

• Why was this bike built?

This XS400 was created for a friend who gave me a white card for the construction. You should know that the first time I saw the bike, there was a frame, two wheels, and half a motor…

Yamaha XS400 Cafe Racer

• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?

The goal was to make the most refined motorbike possible, just what was needed 😉 We were especially inspired by English watches and a big touch of Japan style!

Yamaha XS400 Cafe Racer

• What custom work was done to the bike?

On this XS400, the engine has been revised from A to Z. A good set of measurements was taken — bearings, seals, pistons, gearbox, cylinder head, valves, a 2-in-1 in-house stainless steel exhaust, two nice air filters. The electrical harness was simplified as much as possible — front light, taillight, and ignition, that is all. Suppression of the starter, starting with the kicker only. A lot of work on the leather upholstery, which comes from my friend’s old sofa haha.  CB200 tank covered in leather to match this wonderful saddle and its grips.  Big 28.6 Magura handlebars. Everything you need to ride on the roads of the Basque country.

Yamaha XS400 Cafe Racer

• Does the bike have a nickname?

Her owner calls her “Wild Horse.”

• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?

I am especially proud of the general appearance of this bike — it has a crazy charm, refined, classy, a new well-deserved youth.

Yamaha XS400 Cafe Racer

Follow the Builder

Facebook: AG Custom
Instagram: @ag_custom_motorcycles
Photographer: @etcheverrigide | @kayadaek_photography
And my saddler, who does an amazing job: @alexisgleather

5 Comments

  1. Beautiful build – well done!!!

  2. Beautiful.

  3. Beautiful work, really
    This makes even more disappointing the mistakes with regard to proportions of the bike (bike itself, tank, seat…)
    These handlebar grips are useless, just ‘fashion’
    Wonderful work, but not mi taste
    Cheers from France
    Bernard

  4. I like it. It is not a pretentious bike. It doesn’t pretend to be anything but a useful, practical, everyday ride. You did a good job making a bike your friend can ride every day & enjoy “back to basics” motorcycling. I am however not sure about that seat. Brown seats are a risky choice. When in doubt, stick to black. If it was real leather, with a patina, it might have worked. This is my only negative: It still looks like a damn couch. It looks squishy, poof-like. I know it was fun to use the old sofa, but I don’t think it worked. Change the seat, grips & tank strip. Something with clean lines. Sharper lines to match the “mean” footpegs. Black to match the silver.

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