“A vintage enduro with all the comforts of new-age bikes…”
The island of Crete, the largest and most populous of the Greek Islands, has an incredibly rich and storied history — it’s the mythical birthplace of Zeus and has been home to peoples from a vast succession of civilizations and empires, including the Minoans, Mycenaeans, Romans, Byzantines, Andalusian Arabs, Venetians, Ottomans, and more.
The island’s geography, though lesser-known, is nearly as epic. In addition to the incredible coastlines, Crete has 30 summits over 2000 meters (~6500 feet) in altitude and a vast array of gorges, valleys, freshwater lakes, and roads both paved and unpaved — a motorcyclist’s paradise.
Enter our new friend and Crete native Vagelis Badourakis of Motoworks.gr, who’s been in the motorcycle business for more than 25 years, mainly on his home island:
“Crete is an island where you can ride a motorcycle almost all year round and because there are so many special places that can be reached with off-road motorcycles, this kind of motorcycle has always been popular here.”
So Vagelis decided to build himself a “vintage enduro with all comforts of new age bikes,” starting with a 1991 Yamaha XT600E — the electric-start version of the Yamaha’s big-single XT600 dual-sport machine.
Vagelis cut the rear subframe and welded in a custom loop, hand-formed a one-off alloy rear fender, and built a custom saddle. He minimized the wiring harness and upgraded the suspension and brakes at both ends, including WP springs, Brembo master cylinder, stainless steel lines, semi-metallic pads, and more.
The tank, so slim and iconic-looking, is from a ’75 DT175. Vagelis laced a set of Excel rims to the stock hubs and spooned on a set of Pirelli MT21 Rallycross tires, which he says are surprisingly good on pavement — as long as it isn’t wet.
The headlight is a Puig LED model and every last screw, spoke, nipple, and bolt is stainless steel or rechromed OEM.
The result, lovingly nicknamed “Thumper Bee,” is an air-cooled big-single thumper that looks straight out of the 1970s glory days, but has many of the amenities of a 21st century machine. Below, we get the full story on the build from Vagelis himself, as well as more gorgeous photos from photographer Kostas Manolakakis (@photo_peti).
Yamaha XT600 Vinduro: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
I’m 43 years old and live in Greece, on the island of Crete. I’ve been in the motorcycle maintenance business for over 25 years. Crete is an island where you can ride a motorcycle almost all year round and because there are so many special places that can be reached with off road motorcycles, this kind of motorcycle has always been popular here.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
The bike is a Yamaha XT600E, 1991 — CODE 3TB.
• Why was this bike built?
Personal and company promotion.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
To built a vintage enduro with all comforts of new age bikes. Electric starter, good LED lights, upgraded brakes and suspension, etc.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
At the rear, subframe cut about 30cm with new custom U-loop, custom alloy rear fender, and custom seat. Custom wiring harness.
The tank is from a Yamaha DT175 (1975).
Handmade exhaust pipes and custom velocity stacks.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
It is very fun and lightweight, about 139kg ready to go. The suspension was upgraded with WP springs and different fork oil. The brakes were upgraded, too, with a Brembo front master cylinder and stainless steel brake hose and metallic pads. Rear brake has stock master cylinder with custom fluid tank, stainless steel brake hose, and semi metallic pads.
The handlebar is an alloy Renthal enduro series and makes for agile and fun handling. The tires are Pirelli MT21 rally cross and they have very good contact with the road, though if the road is wet, they are slippery.
The headlight is from Puig with 11w LEDs, which makes night riding a pleasure. The rims are from Excel and the hubs are stock. All the screws, spokes, nipples, axles, and small metallic parts of the bike are either stainless steel or rechromed originals.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
The handmade rear fender and the handmade seat with space for the battery. I like the simple, minimal bikes and I try to hide wires, battery, and other parts as much as possible.