The Yamaha XS750 and XS850–both triples–don’t receive nearly as much attention from custom builders as the wildly popular XS650 parallel twins of the same era. However, the three-cylinder XS750 was lauded as a “Bargain BMW” by Cycle World upon its introduction in 1976, and the stock tank just screams “cafe racer.” Plus, the 68-69 horsepower rating of these early triples is still respectable. In 1980, the engine was increased to 826 cc and given a larger crankshaft and added oil cooler, and the bike became the XS850–overall very similar to the previous machine.
The bike featured today is “Lola,” a 1978 XS750 cafe racer built by the talented crew at Backdoor Garage of Portugal, who express their mission as follows:
“Projects developed for art, painting, photography, video, music and motorbikes, with no restrictions to expression.”
They are a busy crew, customizing 12 bikes per year. “Lola” immediately leapt out at us with that John Player color scheme that remains so incredibly sexy to this day, and here at BikeBound, we’re suckers for triples. We’ll let the boys from Backdoor take the mic from here.
XS750 Cafe Racer: In the Builder’s Words
Tucked away for decades in a haystack, we received one Yamaha XS750 dated 1978, not running, lacking pieces and extremely rusty. The project started in planning, where the main motivation was to preserve most of the original pieces. Soon we realized what we were expecting was a lot of work. After being dismantled and having a lot of iron coming out of the frame, the creation of the structure for the battery and electric equipment was a terrible headache.
The choice for the frame color was so easy, as in 1978, in F1, the John Player Special Lotus 79 was awarded with the Constructors’ Championship, and we got inspired by the colors of the well-known brand and decided also to fight for a place at the podium.
Many hours of work followed: to save brake pumps, rectify engine, use more simple electronics, recover the starter engine and shock absorbers, and create a handmade “baquet” for a perfect made to fit leather seat – It isn’t “Plug-and-Play”, it is HANDMADE.
The younger sister (XS 400) kindly gave a Clubman handlebar , to which we only added the essentials: dials for oil and neutral. From modern times, only one alarm system with electric starter remote control.
Last, but not least, as the biggest feature, four coats of varnish over one pin stripe white and gold, offer the black precious one classy detail.
Lola…the simplicity of the “Lady from the 70’s” …that’s how we like it!!
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An inspiration to me… I love what you have done with the gold frame and headlamp.