Yamaha XS750 Cafe Racer

Yamaha XS750 Cafe Racer

Here at BikeBound, we’re suckers for triples.  There’s something about the harmonics of three cylinders that rev the blood.  Unfortunately, the Yamaha XS750 (and later XS850) never seem to get the same love as the much-loved, oft-customized XS650 parallel twin.

Fortunately, there are builders like Al Baljeu of Ontario, Canada, who are bringing new love to these lesser-known triples. Fittingly enough, this Yamaha cafe racer is partly a tribute to Valentino Rossi, 9-time MotoGP champion. Below, Al gives us the full story on this build.

XS750 Triple Cafe Racer:  In the Builder’s Words

Yamaha XS750 Cafe Racer

My objective when I decided to build a Yamaha XS750 Triple Café Racer was to make it look like it came from the factory after I was done, and basically….. improve on the looks, cornering, braking and keep it ride able and reliable.
The build started out with a Photoshop Concept and a CAD drawing, that way I new what the desired finished product should look like.

The engine was left pretty much stock except for the velocity stacks and the exhaust system. Reliability and driveability was the main objective.

Yamaha XS750 Cafe Racer

A 3-into-1 header with an Emgo universal megaphone muffler. I don’t know who the manufacturer of the exhaust pipes was, but they are 1 3/8″ primaries with a 2 inch 3 into one collector. I added the megaphone muffler. This exhaust combination produces lots of low end torque and is great for around town riding.

The XS750 Yamaha gas tank was lengthened 3 1/2″ and painted with a Duplicolor Paintshop Sublime Green, topped off with a 2K clear. The gas tank and tail section graphics mimic the OEM XS750 Yamaha graphics from the period.

Yamaha XS750 Cafe Racer

The stock seat tail section was utilized to maintain the 1979 XS750 Yamaha OEM look. A LED taillight, brake light and license plate light were integrated into the tail section to give the rear end a clean uncluttered look. Stock seat pan was shortened and narrowed and a custom seat cover was sewn on my 1958 model Singer sewing machine.

There is an an inner rear fender (to keep road dirt and rain off the engine), and a compartment behind the side covers for a full tool kit so I can do emergency roadside repairs if necessary. I used a Ballistic Lithium Iron battery because of its small size, light weight and great cranking power and located it under the seat tail section. A custom made wiring harness powers all the electrics.

Yamaha XS750 Cafe Racer

  • A KOSO DB-02R digital speedo and tach unit was molded into the OEM XS750 Yamaha headlight bucket .
  • VFR750 HONDA 41mm front forks and triples.
  • VFR750 Front brake calipers.
  • Honda SF400 front rotors.
  • XS400 YAMAHA 18″ front wheel.
  • Front fender is off a Honda CM250.
  • Rear brake utilizes a Yamaha R6 rotor, caliper, caliper bracket, master cylinder, and a modified XS750 caliper stay.
  • Avon AM26 Roadrider tires.

The original XS750 Yamaha Rear sub frame was removed and replaced with a custom fabricated sub frame so as to raise the seat height and create a more open look under the seat and between the rear wheel and to accommodate the rear shocks which were leaned forward to 45 degrees.

Rear shocks are fully adjustable for rebound and compression. One of the great features of the Yamaha XS750/850 is the shaft drive….no rear chain to adjust or chain lube to clean off the rear wheel.

Total wet weight was reduced from 530 lbs to 440 lbs, a weight savings of 90 lbs. All fabrication, machining, painting and graphics were done by me in my 2 car garage, no outside professional services were utilized.

Custom made fiberglass side cover/number plates were designed and fabricated from scratch. The number plate graphics are a tribute to my favourite Moto GP rider…9 time world champion Valentino Rossi.

Yamaha XS750 Cafe Racer


  1. Not only is Al Baljeu a fine custom bike builder and a pretty good photographer as well, he is also my younger brother and is much involved in promoting vintage motorcycling. This July 10th., we are the promoters of the Grand Bend Vintage Bike Festival, in Grand Bend, Ontario and on the last Sunday in September we also sponsor the Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride in Sarnia, Ontario. This XS750 Triple will be at both events.

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  5. Grant Reed

    Love the look, the angle of the rear shocks is just right, front headers hint at the Honda 400/4 classic profile, cleaned up alloy cases, yum, yum, great proportions, very well done, only to be superseded by by that classic triple exhaust note…

  6. Absolutely a beauty…. I am about to start my first project on an XS750. Your build is very inspirational. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Looking stunning, BTW how did you mount the R6 rear rotor disc on the wheel? As far as I know the r6 floating disc been fixed on the wheel, Which bracket did you use to mount on the wheel first and the disc on the bracket? Appreciate a reply, thanks in advance…

  8. Fantastic looking bike! The xs750 really does make a great looking cafe racer,and with the benefits of an upgrade. This is the bike to emulate and I will be doing so, with an xs850 that is a bite of a wreak but love a challenge.. hope to see it here too..
    Ps Al if you read this any chance of some directions on the build if need any? R

  9. Absolutely love this build! Spot on look is what OEM should have been. The builder is a master keep up the great work.

  10. Beautiful bike and really appreciate all of shared details and videos you have made of the build. Very inspirational! I too am building my first XS750 and would really appreciate knowing how you mounted the r6 rear rotor to the stock wheel – is it a custom made adaptor? Can one be purchased?
    Thank you and keep up the great work!

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