A tracker-inspired Yard-Built Special from Italy…
The Yamaha XV950, better known as the Star Bolt on US shores, is a Japanese cruiser with a 942cc air-cooled, fuel-injected 60° V-twin producing 51 horsepower and 59 foot-pounds of torque — a proper rival, some say, for the Harley-Davidson 883:
“An abundance of torque delivers a fun, responsive ride and having suspension and brakes that work goes a long way to increasing confidence. The belt-drive motor is lovely to use and the XV is a good looking piece of machinery. Watch out Harley Sportster, you might have a serious Japanese rival for the first time.” —MCN
Enter the Yamaha Yard Built program, which commissions talented builders from across the globe to transform modern Yamaha street bikes into “Yard Built” specials like the XSR700 TT we recently featured — a way to inspire individual owners and develop aftermarket parts and accessories.
At Wheels & Waves a few years ago, a couple of top guns from Yamaha Motor Europe spoke with our new friend Marco Lugato of Moto di Ferro (Iron Motorcycle), a Venetian motorcycle professional who has more than three decades of experience in the industry, both as a mechanic and as a professional road racer. In 2009, he opened his own workshop to create the bikes he’d always dreamed of:
“Moto di Ferro was born with the idea of creating minimal motorcycles — motorcycles with attention to the smallest detail and which display a high level of craftsmanship.”
The Yamaha top guns were instantly impressed with Marco’s passion, racing pedigree, and workmanship:
“Marco is one of those builders that has genuine oil in the blood, riding from a very early age, first off-road and then as a professional road racer, his credentials are without question.”
They tapped Marco to transform an XV950 into a Yard-Built Special — not so much a one-off machine as a concept of what’s possible for prospective owners with the platform. The result is the “Speed Iron” XV950 you see here, a tracker-inspired V-twin born from Marco’s own passion for speed.
Below, we spoke with Marco for a little more information about himself, his history with motorcycles, and the details of this stunning build.
Speed Iron XV950: About the Builder
My name is Marco Lugato, I was born in Venice, and I have been working in the motorcycle industry for 30 years. After my studies I began to collaborate in various motorcycle workshops as a mechanic. I have always dedicated myself to making motorcycles, which had something different from what was expected.
In addition to this, I dedicated time to another passion of mine, speed. From 1987 to 1990 I was a professional track racer, I raced in various national championships. After this experience as a driver, I continued to collaborate with various motorcycle brands, and in 2005 I started collaborating with an American motorcycle dealership, which I am very passionate about. After this collaboration, I felt that I needed to dedicate my work experience to something personal.
Moto di Ferro was born with the idea of creating minimal motorcycles — motorcycles with attention to the smallest detail and which display a high level of craftsmanship.
Speed Iron XV950: About the Build
“It has a clear Moto di Ferro design whilst retaining the simplicity and performance of the XV950, it’s a beautiful bike that is still very much fun and rewarding to ride, and potentially available for a wide audience of Yamaha riders to own.” –Cristian Barelli, Yamaha Motor Europe
Not surprisingly, Marco’s passion for speed was the driving force behind the “Speed Iron” — a tracker-style XV executed with a high level of detail and attention to rideability.
The front suspension has been swapped out for a set of VMAX forks with dual 320mm disc brakes, while the tires are wrapped around a set of Borrani wire wheels — a brand handmade in Italy for some 85 years.
The aluminum tank and side panels are also handmade, shaving some weight, and the tail is a CNC machined aluminum unit set on a custom subframe — one of Marco’s favorite parts of the build.
Other elements include an Acewell speedometer, Tarozzi footpegs, LSL bars, and an Arrow exhaust. Meanwhile, the headlight and brake light have integrated turn signals, keeping the bike very minimal and sleek-looking.
Overall, this is one Yamaha V-twin we’d love to ride. Don’t hesitate to contact Marco if you’d like him to build you your own Italian-made custom!