Argentina’s LBC Motorcycles builds a 70s-inspired scrambler…
The Yamaha XTZ125 is a lightweight dual-purpose bike built to be tough, reliable, and versatile in a range of environments. In factory trim, the 125cc XTZ looks much like a scaled-down version of the WR250R, though it’s simpler in design, featuring a carbureted SOHC air-cooled engine that makes around 12.5 horsepower. The bike weighs 118 kg (260 pounds) completely full of fuel and oil, with 21/18-inch wheels and just over 10 inches of ground clearance.
“Whether you ride in town or out into the rural countryside, on paved or unpaved roads, you’ll find the acceleration, cruising, cornering and stopping performance that you want in a motorcycle with the XTZ125E.” —Yamaha Global
If you look up user reviews of these 125cc dual-sports, you’ll find that owners absolutely love them, finding the XTZ a surprisingly fun and capable companion for all types of riding.
Our friend Juan Taurel, shop boss at LBC Motorcycles of Buenos Aires, Argentina, has made a name for himself building lightweight scramblers and street trackers. Some of them have their own LBC style, such as the Beta 200 “Mad Scrambler” we recently featured, while others are more retro-inspired machines that recall the glory days of 1960s scrambles and motocross.
This XYZ125 “Retro Scrambler” was built for a customer who wanted a lightweight scrambler for weekends spent in the dirt, on the backroads, and in the town center of Bragado, located in the interior of the province. Says Juan:
“The idea of this project was to make a tribute to a 1976 Yamaha YZ125. Although the donor bike is a four-stroke, we took some distinctive elements of the ’76 YZ such as the paint design, the shape of the side panels, and an approximation of the shape of the chassis. But like I said, it’s a tribute, not a replica.”
Juan says he enjoyed the project from the very start. As a big fan of 1970s motocrossers, he examined how to replicate their lines on a modern four-stroke, then set about modifying the chassis and fabricating the side panels, front number plate, and front mudguard in aluminum. We especially love how the LED lights are tucked subtly into either end of the motorcycle, while the battery is stored inside a custom waterproof electrical box.
Then there’s the iconic yellow-and-black Yamaha paint — the work of LBC’s go-to painter, Alejandro Minissale, who hand-painted the speed-block striping — no vinyl here! The result is a nostalgic scrambler that’s both street-legal and tons of fun in the dirt. Below, we talk to Juan for the full story on this “Retro Scrambler.”
Yamaha XTZ125 Scrambler: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
I’m Juan Taurel. Since 2012, I’ve had a custom motorcycle shop in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the heart of the city, called LBC Motorcycles.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
The donor bike is a Yamaha XTZ125, 2017.
• Why was this bike built?
This bike was made for a customer. He wanted a little scrambler with a retro look to ride on weekends in the dirt, on the rural roads, and in his city of Bragado, in the interior of the Buenos Aires province.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
The idea of this project was to make a tribute to a 1976 Yamaha YZ125. Although the donor bike is a four-stroke, we took some distinctive elements of the ’76 YZ such as the paint design, the shape of the side panels, and an approximation of the shape of the chassis. But like I said, it’s a tribute, not a replica.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
We modified the chassis and manufactured the side panels, front mask, and front mudguard in aluminum. The rear fender was made from a front fender of a Kawasaki from the ’90s — we cut it, gave it another shape, and adapted it to the Yamaha. We hid LED taillights in the rear of the seat and inside the front mask.
We added new MX tyres and a custom-made electric box, completely waterproof so you can use the bike in the water, on the dirt, and in the sand without problems. New handlebar, new speedometer, custom-built exhaust. And as always, our painter Alejandro Minissale gave it the touch of color — the classic Yamaha stripes are hand-painted, not stickers.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
LBC / Yamaha XTZ125 Retro Scrambler.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
So fun! Super light bike.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
I enjoyed this project a lot. I love old bikes, and the customer gave me the freedom to make a bike inspired by 1970s motocross. So when he gave me the OK, I enjoyed every moment of the process, investigating the shape of the chassis of the 70s to achieve a line similar to the original, adapting the paint design — I really liked doing this little bike.
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