An XT500-powered street tracker, finished in honor of a lost friend…
Barigo was a small frame builder founded by French motocross rider Patrick Barigualt. The story is, a friend asked him to build a frame for his Bultaco, which performed so well that more orders came in. In 1976, the company delivered their first frames under the name Barigo, including those built for running gear from Honda (Barigo HB) and Yamaha (Barigo YB).
Says Bruno Bassaler, builder of this Barigo YB 500:
“Barigo was a small frame builder at the start, chrome / molybdenum frames that withstood the constraints of off-road racing better and could be fitted with engines such as the Honda XL / XR and the Yamaha XT. The motorcycles of the first Dakars were almost stock motorcycles, but the frames were not rigid and solid enough. This man began to make frames more suitable for more severe use…”
In 1980, the Barigo machines received a favorable test report in the French magazine Moto Verte, and orders poured in. A Barigo won the Rally of Tunisia in 1981, and many victories and top placings in rally raids, supermoto, and enduro would follow, including the Marathon class of the Paris-Dakar. From 1995 to 1998, Stéphane Peterhansel and Eddy Orioli shared four consecutive victories for Yamaha with Barigo frames. Unfortunately, the company failed to win bids to equip the French army and police, and the company disappeared in the late 1990s.
Enter our new friend Bruno Bassaler, a French motorcycle mechanic who turned his passion for motorcycles into his profession:
“I live in the south of France near the Mediterranean sea… What I like above all is to modify my motorcycles to my taste and ride just for fun!”
This particular Barigo has a very special history. It was an unfinished project of his friend Dédé:
“This bike belonged to a very good mechanic friend too! Dead for many years now…too young unfortunately. I took over this one after having promised his ex-partner to try to build what he would have liked to do with it…and on the condition of keeping it as long as possible!”
Dédé had gotten the bike in very poor condition, and had only begun to sketch out the direction of the build. However, he and Bruno had talked about the project several times, and Bruno wanted to “go in the direction of his mind.” Nicknamed “Blue T,” he outfitted the Barigo frame with an SR500 engine, 12-volt electronics, Hyosung forks and wheels, a DTR 125 swing arm, Brembo brakes, and much more.
Below, we get the full story on this Barigo street tracker, and the very special story behind its creation.
Barigo Street Tracker: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
My name is Bruno, 55, motorcycle mechanic for over thirty years… I work on new bikes in Sète near the Mediterranean sea in the South of France. Passionate about it for much longer, I have made it a profession…and I have always liked to modify my own motorcycles for fun and to ride differently.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
The base is a 1980 XT500, but rebuilt with a Barigo YB frame in chrome / molybdenum.
• Why was this bike built? (Customer project, company promotion, personal, etc.)
This bike belonged to a very good mechanic friend too! Dead for many years now…too young unfortunately. I took over this one after having promised his ex-partner to try to build what he would have liked to do with it…and on the condition of keeping it as long as possible!
• What was the design concept and what influenced the built?
At the start, the bike was just sketched…an inverted motocross fork (the first inverted forks from KTM), a 17-inch wheel with an axle, but no front brake calipers. The rear wheel was a 17-inch wheel too, but not centered and just threaded on the rear wheel axle, without brake…motor broken! Dede had recovered it in pitiful condition and was just starting to sketch out the project! I wanted to go in the direction of his mind, because we had talked about it several times before it disappeared!!
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Starting from the base that I had, I started by removing the engine, installing a SR500 engine with a ragged design, cylinder head reworked with regard to the conduits, adapted the wiring harness of the SR (switch to 12 V and electronic ignition). Changed the fork for a lower height (from Hyosung 125 GT) as well as the wheels of this motorcycle, the adaptation of a DTR 125 swingarm, a rear shell and an adaptable saddle, then the manufacture of the headlight plate, of the light support / rear plate, of the various fixing lugs, the installation of LED indicators. A Brembo braking system coupled front / rear, a guard before Buell, and a personal painting which resumes the lettering that my friend had done by a letter painter!
• Does the bike have a nickname?
I call it “Blue T.”
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
Well, the engine is flexible and torquey — not very fast, but playful! The braking is good, and the cycle part is very pleasant on the back country routes… Plus a motorbike for cruising and listening to the sound of the two exhaust systems.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
I’m not proud of anything…just that I just hope that if Dede sees it, he has a big smile on his face! Afterwards, I would just like to thank my friends Flavien and Francky for sometimes putting me back on the right track by their support, by helping hands (welding the exhaust in one / two), and for their encouragement.