Danish locomotive driver builds a true Master of Torque…
The Yamaha model designation “MT” stands for “Master of Torque,” and the mighty MT-01 was designed as the flagship of the series. Available from 2005-2012, the bike had bold, straight-from-concept styling, R1 forks/brakes, and a massive 1670cc air-cooled pushrod V-twin that boasted 90 hp and a pavement-ripping 111 lb-ft of torque.
“The combination of the low-tech cruiser-derived engine and the cutting-edge performance-oriented chassis makes the MT-01 a hard motorcycle to classify. Yamaha calls it a ‘Torque Sports” motorcycle.’ —Motorcyclist
Whatever you want to call it, the MT-01 had serious street presence and one of the meanest-sounding engines on the planet. It was also a fairly rare machine — we didn’t even get it here in the States, and it’s an uncommon sight in most countries.
Enter our new friend Lars Schau, a Danish “Lokomotivfører” — train conductor — who’s always had a passion for customizing his bikes — just for himself, not to sell. The mighty MT-01 had always been high on his bucket list:
“I’ve always been a ‘Torque’ guy, so this was the ultimate cult bike to get my hands on.”
So the day he came across one for sale in Denmark, he snapped it right up. Lars says the MT-01 is so nearly perfect from the factory, it’s a challenge to customize, but he managed to find some things to improve.
First up was the engine, which he outfitted with a Stage 2 that boosted power to a dyno-proven 91 hp and 128 lb-ft at the rear wheel — talk about pure stomp! What’s more, the full Akrapovic titanium exhaust sounds like something from the Book of Revelations.
Lars also gave the bike a new tail, relocated the license plate and rear lights, swapped out the OEM bodywork in favor of carbon fiber, and painted the bike Soul Red Crystal (a Mazda color) with Carbon Grey Metallic racing stripes. The result is a red metallic weapon that pulls like a train:
“It’s best bike I’ve ever had. It always gives you a big smile when you feel the massive torque, which pulls you through all the gears. And then there’s the sound…it’s just incomparable.”
Below, we get the full details on the build from Lars himself.
Yamaha MT-01 Custom: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
Hi, my name Lars Schau and I live in Denmark, in a small town called Bramming, close to the west coast of Jutland. Well, my history with bikes is actually not that long. My current bike is the 6th bike I’ve owned, but I always had a passion for customizing my bikes. In the beginning it was just some minor touches, but as my skills improved, my custom projects also improved.
Here are some of my earlier projects:
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
Yamaha MT-01 “Stage 2”, 2005.
• Why was this bike built?
Well, the MT-01, has always been on the top 3 of my bucket list. It’s a very rare bike here in Denmark, and the day I saw the right bike was for sale, I just had to buy it. 😉
I’ve always been a “Torque” guy, so this was the ultimate cult bike to get my hands on. I’m always just building bikes for myself, never with selling them in mind.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
It was one of the best was looking naked bikes back in 2005, but I thought it needed a little tweak or two. The MT-01 is a challenge to customize, because it’s almost “perfect” as a factory bike. But of course I found some things I could improve. 😉
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Complete stage 2 kit (Full Akrapovic titanium exhaust, High performance ECU upgrade, Patrick Racing Hi-flow air kit, velocity Stacksm, KN filters, Power commander 3, Barnett race clutch).
Tested on the dyno:
Stock engine: 90 hp and 150 Nm on the crank.
With Stage 2 kit: 91 hp and 174 Nm on the rear wheel.
Probably 105 hp and 200 Nm on the crank (15% chain loss).
Soul Red Crystal (Mazda color)
Carbon Grey Metallic racing stripes and a thin “silver line” between the colors.
A lot of carbon parts: fenders, headlight, tank and side fairings, exhaust covers, and tail section. A completely new tail, and the license plate was moved down, so it’s now behind the wheel along with all the tail, stop, and turn light.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
The Beast from the East or the Torque Monster. 😀
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
It’s best bike I’ve ever had. It always gives you a big smile when you feel the massive torque, which pulls you through all the gears. And then there’s the sound…it’s just incomparable.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
The custom license plate holder and the new rear section. It just makes the bike look how it should have looked from the factory, just timeless and modern. And of cause the paint job…I just love the color.