Elemental Rides x Capelos Garage build an IT-inspired XSR…
Yamaha Yard Built program commissions talented builders from all over the world to transform modern Yamaha street bikes into “Yard Built” specials — a way to inspire individual owners and develop aftermarket parts and accessories. Last year, the Yard Built theme was “Back to the Dirt,” aimed at stirring up some good old mid-70s / early 80s dirt bike nostalgia.
Yamaha Portugal enlisted two of their country’s most talented builders, Ricardo Santos (Elemental Rides) and Nuno Capelo (Capelos Garage), to transform a brand new Yamaha XSR700 street bike into a dirt-themed Yard-Built special. Santos, who worked for many years in the MTB industry and also as a professional chef, turned to building custom motorcycles full-time back in 2008, while Capelo is a talented architect turned motorcycle designer.
The pair have worked together in the past and have a similar philosophy toward custom motorcycles:
“We really don’t appreciate bikes that are not meant to be ridden every day… We still believe that less is more, and the closer you get to the origins, the more you find true motorcycling enthusiasts.”
With this Yamaha XSR700 TT (“True Tribute”), they took their inspiration from Yamaha’s IT series of two-stroke enduro machines available from 1976-1986 — a resemblance immediately apparent in the bike’s paint scheme and headlight. The IT (International Trials) series is still highly respected in vintage woods racing / cross country / hare scramble circles — and, as intended, this bike incites sweet pangs of nostalgia for those of us who hold the IT series in high regard.
Besides the frame and engine, this parallel-twin street scrambler is entirely bespoke. It’s now sitting on 43mm Showa forks with a fully-adjustable Showa rear shock, while the wheels are an 18″/17″ pair of Excel rims laced to Talon hubs. The brakes have been upgraded and the ABS disconnected for off-road use. The tank is a custom-built steel unit with cutouts for the modern frame rails. The internals of the 74-hp engine have been left stock, but a new twin-filter intake and custom stainless steel exhaust system kick up performance a notch. Says Santos of the end result:
“Suspension is tuned for light off-road use, and its powerful twin engine makes use of a much shorter final ratio to give the bike a truly gnarly acceleration in every gear. It just wants to pull wheelies all day long!”
Below, we get the full story on the build from Santos himself, as well as more photos from Bruno Ribeiro (@oneportuguesephotographer).
Yamaha XSR700 Scrambler: Builder Questionnaire
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
I started building custom motorcycles back in 2012 after quitting my job as a professional chef. Before that I had worked many years in the mountain bike industry. Though working for a big Portuguese workshop for some time, I have been working on my own projects for the past 4 years and some of them I have worked together with my mate Nuno Capelo, who is a talented architect turned motorcycle designer.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
This build is based on a brand new 2018 Yamaha XSR700 street bike.
• Why was this bike built?
This project was built for Yamaha Motor Europe’s Yard Built program under the theme “Back to the dirt.”
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
The 2019 Yard Built edition aimed for the concept of bringing back the mid-seventies and early eighties dirt bike nostalgia. The combination of new and retro had to be our main focus. As soon as we decided to combine features of two golden eras of motorcycling development, it was clear what our path should be.
Our absolute goal is always to make the motorcycle as charismatic as possible, and to have the new versus old characteristics as well-blended as possible. We really don’t appreciate bikes that are not meant to be ridden every day.
Despite the deviance in concepts and all the flashy poise seen nowadays in the custom motorcycle world, we still believe that less is more and the closer you get to the origins, the more you approach true motorcycling enthusiasts.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
The only thing that remained from the original bike was the engine and the frame. Everything else is bespoke.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
We called it XSR700 TT. TT stands for True Tribute 😉
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
Despite its looks, it is not a pure off-road motorcycle. More of an all around scrambler..
Suspension is tuned for light off-road use, and its powerful twin engine makes use of a much shorter final ratio to give the bike a truly gnarly acceleration in every gear. It just wants to pull wheelies all day long! It sounds amazing through its custom stainless exhaust system.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
Except from the aforementioned exhaust system we did all the work ourselves. I am particularly proud of the bespoke lights and the amazing color scheme that was inspired by the old 2-stroke IT Yamahas.
Follow the Builders
Builders: Ricardo Santos and Nuno Capelo
Location: Porto, Portugal
E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Phones: +351966760847 /+351962365133
Webpages: www.elementalrides.com / www.nunocapelo.com
Instagram: @elementalrides / @capelosgarage
Photographer: Bruno Ribeiro @oneportuguesephotographer