A big bore café inspired by Japanese folklore…
The Yamaha XJR1300 was a modern incarnation of the air/oil-cooled muscle bikes of the 70s and 80s, a 1251cc brute that boasted twin shocks, a braced swingarm, and a colossal inline four with forged pistons and chrome-plated aluminum cylinders that put out 106 hp and 72 lb-ft of torque.
“The Yamaha XJR1300 was a fire-breathing brute of a machine, a two-wheeled muscle car whose air/oil-cooled engine could be traced back to the 1980s.” —BikeBound
Enter our friend Sergey Smirnov, the designer and co-owner of Latvia’s Sculpt Moto, who fell in love with cafe racer style after twenty years of riding and decided to try and bring the culture to his home country. Based in the Latvian capital of Riga, his workshop focuses on builds from the 1980s onward:
“I propose to my clients something unique, personal, and, at the same time, modern and functional.”
The concept for this build came from the Japanese legend of Kintarō (Golden Boy), a child of superhuman strength raised on Mount Ashigara, capable of smashing rocks, bending trunks, and uprooting trees. Kintarō made friends with the animals of the mountains, who served as his messengers and mounts, and battled monsters and demons as a boy. He would grow to become the famed samurai warrior Sataka no Kintoki:
“We were inspired to create a legendary Japanese motorcycle in a Japanese samurai-style. Yamaha Kintaro — the embodiment of the ancient legend of the samurai Kintarō and the power of the mysterious mask Hannya.” –Sergey
The mighty XJR is the perfect donor for such a machine. He and his crew picked up an ’01 XJR1300SP in Germany — a limited edition that came with Öhlins shocks, a special dual seat, and a trick multi-color paint scheme. They completely disassembled the bike and went hard to work. The bike is now packed with high-quality components from across the globe: Kineo wheels, ABM clip-ons, LSL footrests, Acewell and Koso gauges, and more.
We especially like the custom one-off fiberglass tail-section, which can be detached in just two seconds for quick access to the battery. The paint is another standout element, complete with custom airbrushing over a candy tangerine and sand-pearl metal-flake base. All in all, this is one stunning XJR that would surely astound the samurai riders of lore. Says Sergey:
“A legend is not a thing of the past… This bike is more than ready for another 20+ years.”
Below, we get the full details on “Kintarō,” as well as more gorgeous shots from photographer Andrey C’machoff (@cmachoff.photo).
Yamaha XJR1300 Café Racer: In the Builder’s Words
Project based on a 2001 Yamaha XJR1300SP. It is a classic powerful motorcycle and a nice platform for a café racer build. The Yamaha XJR1300 is a timeless classic, last of the oil-cooled big bikes. This model is still popular and really satisfies the owners — XJR owners usually keep and ride these bikes for many years. We bought a donor bike in Germany.
Our idea and vision of the project came from the legend of Kintaro:
“Carp, overcoming the last waterfall, becomes a Dragon” (Ancient Japanese wisdom).
- Kintarō — the ideal of amazing strength and endurance for centuries.
- Hannya — for samurai in Japan, this mask is considered a strong amulet.
We were inspired to create a legendary Japanese motorcycle in a Japanese samurai-style. Yamaha Kintaro — the embodiment of the ancient legend of the samurai Kintarō and the power of the mysterious mask Hannya.
The idea and design of the motorcycle was mine. All the processes like disassembling, painting, upgrading and final assembling of the motorcycle were under my supervision.
I had an idea for a detachable tail section and seat. We didn’t buy a universal part online, which would have just a straight shape. Since the back part of the frame varies in width from the back to the front (to the gas tank) and has a curved shape, we created the handmade fiberglass tail-section in the shape of the frame. As a result, the shape of the tail-section follows the shape of the frame, wide at the back, tapering towards the middle and having a slight expansion under the gas tank. Also, this tail-section with seat can be removed and fixed back just in two seconds (without screws, just a “click-on” system). Very convenient access to the battery.
Modifications and parts:
The process began with complete disassembly of the donor bike. We modified the sub-frame, and powder-coated the frame, swing arm and forks in gloss black. The fork was upgraded with new Wirth springs, oil seals, bearings replaced, new oil. The engine was rebuilt and repainted, the carburetors were cleaned and upgraded with DynoJet Stage-3.
The following works were done as well: chrome-plating metal parts, exhaust/collector chrome-plating, and exclusive custom paint in Candy-Tangerine-Sandpearl-Metalflake.
Only the best parts were used, which together form a high-quality and reliable motorcycle:
– Brand new KINEO spoked wheels with ContiRoadAttack 2EVO tires
– Adjustable ABM clip-on set, ABM grips, clamps, ABM handlebar ends, ABM Synto brake/clutch levers
– Rizoma Mirrors
– AceWell speedo/tacho with custom bracket
– LED 7″ Headlight, CNC headlight brackets, front/rear mini turn signals, LED smoke taillights
– License plate bracket
– Protective fork gaiters
– Custom made radiator grille «Kintaro»
– Custom made metal side covers
– New set of carburetor joints, new K&N filters/crankcase breather
– LSL adjustable footrests
– Koso oil temp. adapters, JP oil temp. gauge, engine oil pressure/temperature switch sensor, new NGK spark plugs, new strainer cover gasket, oil filter gasket, new O-rings, new clutch slave cylinder seal kit
– Chrome Dina mufflers, new exhaust gaskets
– Custom made connecting pipes and custom made exhaust brackets
– New Progressive fork springs
– Front and rear gold spot brake calipers from the latest XJR
– New clutch components/friction plate/driven gear/clutch boss/pressure plate, new clutch cover gasket, new swingarm bearing kit, new swingarm rubber guard seal, new fork oil seals and bearings, new front/rear brake pads, HEL stainless steel brake lines, new front/rear brake disc bolts.
And recently, a new handmade black leather seat with “Fish Scales”, new fiberglass front fairing and aluminum handmade number plates “87” for a more Club-Style look.
The Sculpt Moto team has invested a lot of time and effort into this project. The new body style of motorcycle is harmonious from nose to tail. Mostly I like the idea of airbrushing, which I came up with for this motorcycle. As well as the high-quality work of my team and the attention to both technical and aesthetic aspects. The final result is the stylish, powerful and modern café racer, “Kintaro.”
Due to its engine capacity, the Yamaha XJR1300SP can be ridden both in the city and on the highway. You will enjoy the strength, explosive power, and impressive volume of the engine. The thrill of riding it is similar to a powerful sport cabriolet car. It sounds and rides amazing!
A legend is not a thing of the past… This bike is more than ready for another 20+ years.
Follow the Builder
Location: Latvia, Riga
Photo: Andrey C’machoff (@cmachoff.photo)
What an absolutely beautiful bike
Wow! That paint work is pure art. Fantastic bike. For someone like me who loves the in-line 4 muscle bikes, this is the most beautiful of them all. Thank you for reminding me how much I love Japanese super bikes from the seventies and eighties.