Ortolani Customs builds a race-inspired TR1…
Introduced in 1981, the Yamaha XV1000 TR1 was the biggest V-twin to roll out of Japan at the time, sporting a 980cc / 69-hp 75° V-twin. With the motor used as a stressed member of the frame, it was an all-engine brute of a machine, called everything from a “sawn-off” American-style factory special to a “Japanese Ducati.” In contrast to the shaft-driven Virago, the TR1 had an enclosed chain drive, and the US market received a slightly smaller displacement version, the XV920R.
While the TR1 never sold well, the bike has found in the decades after production ceased:
“Its final model year was in 1984. Since then the basic virtues of the TR1 have been better appreciated in racing and custom circles where the simplicity of the frame offers great opportunities for improvements. Some say it’s a cult machine.” —Sports Cycle
For instance, Jesse Davis has had great success road racing his US-spec XV920R “Lurch” in the AMA Vintage Superbike class, and builders like Olivier Ortolani of Nice’s Ortolani Customs have transformed these big twin machines into wild custom creations.
You might remember Olivier from the custom Avinton “Black Swan” we recently featured. This ’83 TR1 came to his shop by way of a client who’d been riding and enjoying the bike in the mountains for several months:
“His attention turned to a little powerful two-cylinder engine that played well on our mountainous roads: a 1000cm3 Yamaha. After riding this bike for six months (to detect potential mechanical problems), he left me his recent acquisition with the slogan: ‘I want an Ortolani!'”
Olivier set out to create a race-inspired, aggressive custom from the rather humble machine. He swapped in the Öhlins suspension and forged wheels from a Triumph Ducati 675 R, while shortening the swingarm 25 centimeters and repositioning the shock mount.
As for the bodywork, he modeled it in dense foam before producing it in aluminum, including the custom tank with velocity stacks, front fairing, and tail section. The taillight is a particularly neat element, featuring an LED-illuminated plexiglass blade.
Possibly the most striking element of the build is the “Turbofan” front wheel, as used in rally and racing cars such as the Lancia Delta HF and the Audi Quattro DTM:
“Turbofans were a wise solution for extracting the hot air from the wheel space, with many advantages, not only on the cooling side but on aerodynamics…” —WRC Wings
It required a lot of work to adapt the turbofan cover to a motorcycle wheel, but it was well worth it to Olivier:
“The real usefulness of this adaptation is more aesthetic, but it works perfectly while accentuating the aggressive and racy side of this build.”
Olivier also swapped out the carbs for a set of Mikunis — known to make a big difference on these bikes — and fabricated a MotoGP-inspired stainless steel exhaust. He even did the paint in-house:
“That’s a little of something that characterizes me: trying to do everything myself to achieve as faithfully as possible my vision of customization.”
Below, Olivier gives us the full story on this Yamaha “TR1-R.”
Yamaha TR1-R Cafe Racer: Builder Interview
Following the visit of a client to my workshop, Ortolani Customs in Nice (France), he went back in search of a motorcycle he would enjoy riding. His attention turned to a little powerful two-cylinder engine that played well on our mountainous roads: a 1000cm3 Yamaha. After riding this bike for six months (to detect potential mechanical problems), he left me his recent acquisition with the slogan: “I want an Ortolani!”
After a complete disassembly of the beast, the first big work was the adaptation of the suspension from a Triumph Daytona 675 R (swingarm , rear Öhlins shock absorber, and Öhlins forks. The swingarm has been shortened by 25cm with a change to the a shock absorber mounting position. Up front, we had a set of yokes made to measure (with a widening of track of 2cm) by USV Racing.
Once the bike was on wheels, the bodywork could start. In order to provide a concrete overview of the final design, I created a dense foam body. This not only shows the shape in three dimensions, but and points out any possible technical problems that will be encountered during the manufacture of the final aluminum elements.
The first task was the manufacture of the tank with the integration of the horns (the frame serving as an air box). Then came the rear cowl, sheltering a complete system motogadget M-Unit.
Then came the cockpit with a Motogadget Motoscope mini, the front fairing with full lighthouse optics, and a front mudguard that gives way to a major element of this build: the front rim and its Turbo Fan (used in racing cars like the Lancia Delta HF or the Audi Quattro DTM).
The real usefulness of this adaptation is more aesthetic, but it works perfectly while accentuating the aggressive and racy side of this build.
A complete Brembo braking system was installed with Bonamici remote braking adjusters. The original carburetors were replaced by Mikuni carbs (distributed by Mikuni Australia), and the stainless steel exhaust line was inspired by MotoGP.
The taillight is another creation of my workshop. It involved cutting out a plexiglass blade, which is illuminated by a Kellermann LED fire, which gives it a minimalist appearance much like a “light saber.”
The final touch was the paint (always done in-house). It has a racing pattern, and we tried to break the codes with a di-symmetrical design.
I tried to make a motorcycle that’s racey and aggressive with a donor that’s not very special, but still very common in the world of the modification, hoping to have been innovative enough.
The swingarm comes from a Triumph Daytona 675 R, which I shortened by 25cm and modified the shock absorber mount.
The wheels also come from a Triumph Daytona 675 R (17-inch) mounted with Continental rain tires.
For the front wheel, it was a big modification because I made brackets to affix a turbo fan (that I had to send to the CNC because it was designed for a car wheel with a central nut).
The whole braking system has been custom made by me.
That’s a little of something that characterizes me: trying to do everything myself to achieve as faithfully as possible my vision of customization.
Follow the Builder: @ortolanicustoms