Green V: Yamaha XV1000 TR1 Cafe Racer

Yamaha TR1 Cafe Racer

Lys Motorcycles builds a sporty V-twin Yamaha… 

In 1981, the Yamaha XV1000 TR1 appeared in European showrooms. Though it bore close semblance to the shaft-drive Virago series, the 980cc V-twin TR1 featured a fully enclosed chain final drive and different styling. In the US, it was a sold in a smaller displacement version, the XV920R, for insurance reasons. In contrast to the Virago, the TR1 wasn’t meant to be a boulevard cruiser but a Euro-style grand touring machine.

It may not have been rocket ship out of the crate, but it size, sound, and strangeness of the hulking V-twin translated to serious street presence:

“The bike is a real traffic stopper at the moment… Kids on push bikes will stop and stare. Taxi drivers will hang out of their windows for a chat  ‘Is it really 1000cc, mate?’ Old gents with eyes misty for their long-gone Vincents and Zeniths will tell you it’s the bike of their dreams, son, but I don’t think I could manage the weight anymore.” —BIKE, 1982

Yamaha TR1 Cafe Racer

What’s more, the platform’s performance potential was put on display when an XV920R superbike affectionately known as “Lurch” began appearing on US racetracks. Built by Texan Vernon Davis, Lurch took a young Kevin Schwantz around Laguna Seca in his first-ever pro race. More recently, Vernon’s son, Jesse, built “Son of Lurch” to compete in the AHRMA Vintage Superbike Heavyweight class, where he’s been winning everything in sight.

Yamaha TR1 Cafe Racer

Recently, we heard from our friend Dimitri of France’s Lys Motorcycles, located in Calonne-sur-la-Lys. Back in 2016, we showcased an interesting Martin / KZ650 cafe racer that Dimitri built. Now he’s back with this ’81 TR1 cafe racer built for a client who gave him three primary requirements:

“The customer request was: USD gold forks, no three-spoke wheels, and a sporty look.”

Yamaha TR1 Cafe Racer

Besides that, Dimitri was given creative freedom, and he says he built the bike as if it were for himself. It’s now running Ninja ZX-6R forks, Kawasaki ER6 wheels, upgraded brakes, a full suite of Motogadget electronics, and much more.

Yamaha TR1 Cafe Racer

Dimitri says the modifications translate to a lighter, faster, more agile bike on the road:

“The bike is a lot lighter. The TR1 is not a powerful bike (68hp), but with lighter wheels, nice suspension, and big brakes, it’s very fun to ride. And the sound…”


Below, we talk to Dimitri for the full details on the build, and we have David Filatriau of to thank for the photographs.

Yamaha TR1 Cafe Racer: Builder Interview

Yamaha TR1 Cafe Racer

• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.

Lys Motorcycles is a French company. I work alone in my workshop. I build cafe racers, scramblers, and sometimes choppers. I like different types of bikes, but the results need to be clean and sporty.

Yamaha TR1 Cafe Racer

• What’s the year of the donor XV1000 TR1?

Yamaha XV1000 TR1 from 1981.

• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?

The customer request was: USD gold forks, no three-spoke wheels, and a sporty look.

Yamaha TR1 Cafe Racer

• What custom work was done to the bike?

Here are the modifications:
Kawasaki ZX-6R forks
Billet top triple, 30mm drop to increase the ground clearance and integration of Motoscope Pro
Kawasaki ER6 wheels
Radial brake
Rear disc brake instead of the drum brake
Custom-made rear sets support
XV750se gas tank
Green paint with goldleaf
Custom subframe
Seat with Lamborghini stitching
Custom exhaust
New wiring harness with full Motogadget parts
LED headlight, Motogadget lens3 tail light

Yamaha TR1 Cafe Racer

• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride the finished bike?

The bike is a lot lighter. The TR1 is not a powerful bike (68hp), but with lighter wheels, nice suspension, and big brakes, it’s very fun to ride. And the sound…

Yamaha TR1 Cafe Racer

• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?

I’m very happy with the result, the customer let me do what I wanted and he likes his bike. I like to sporty look of the bike but with nothing too much. I’m proud of the homemade rear sets, the seat, and the exhaust.

Yamaha TR1 Cafe Racer

Yes I like this bike 🙂 I built it like it was for me.

Yamaha TR1 Cafe Racer

Follow the Builder

Instagram: @lysmotorcycles
Facebook: Lys Motorcycles

Photos by | @ecrismoideslueurs


  1. Magnificent! This is unrecognizable from the donor bike, which has a really good motor, but no personality. You have added plenty of personality. I think the seat and tank combo is just perfect. I know how hard it is to get that combo spot on. You nailed it!

  2. Nice job. But houch, my old back.

  3. Terry Martin

    Had an XV1000 from new, and rode it for twenty years. Great bike once the head gasket issues were resolved.

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