Introduced in 1984, the Yamaha XT600 would become one of the most venerated big-bore “trailies” of all time — a rugged, no-nonsense dual-purpose machine that performed equally well on grocery runs and trans-African expeditions.
“The Yamaha XT600E is about as straightforward, reliable, and solid as an old school trail bike gets…. Don’t expect any frills or motorway plushness. But you won’t find a more honest workhorse than the Yamaha XT600E.” —MCN
When its 20-year production run ended in 2004, it was the end of a long line of four-valve air-cooled Yamahas that began with the legendary TT500 / XT500 singles — multiple winners of the Paris Dakar Rally. In many ways, the XT600 was a trail bike with a license plate, which suited most owners just fine:
“Many riders felt this was a better dirt road than pavement machine, as it had kept the heart, if not the soul, of the original TT machine.” —Rider
This week, we heard from our friend Francisco Alí Manén of LDK (Lord Drake Kustoms), a mountain climber turned customizer whose creations have garnered interest all over the world. This is the third XT600 to roll out of his workshop — in fact, we featured LDK’s XT600 “Army Scrambler” in 2021.
Now Fran is back with this Yamaha XT600 “Blue Scrambler” built from a late 90s donor. Though the original bike was in decent shape, it had sat idle for many years until LDK breathed new life into the old brute. Highlights include a new 19-inch front wheel, custom subframe and saddle, matching upholstery, battery and key switch relocation, and beautiful blue paint with cream accents and gold pinstriping.
The result is a simpler, more streamlined XT — something of a “retro-mod,” which harks back to the Yamaha enduros of yesteryear.
Yamaha XT600E Scrambler: In the Builder’s Words
After completely disassembling this bike (by the way, this bike is like new, but it had been standing still for many years), we began by modifying the entire rear and replacing the original 21-inch front wheel with a new 19-inch wheel. Regarding the front fork, we have opted on this occasion and at the request of the client to keep the original one, which has been somewhat modified.
A new fuel tank, a Biltwell tracker handlebar, and a metal headlight mask are some of the highlights of this Yamaha XT “Blue Scrambler.” In addition, the exhaust system is the result of modifying the original collectors and adding a new silencer.
The custom-made seat has matching brown upholstery on the grips and footrests, and the bike is running Continental TKC 8 tires, a 5.75-inch headlight, a custom-made front fender, and a new rear bracket license plate.
New odometer, mirrors, turn signals, and LED headlight. Other small details include the lithium battery relocated under the seat, relocation of the ignition key, conical air filters, and the engine guard.
As for the finishes, matte black throughout the bike, except for the fuel tank, which has been painted electric blue with cream teardrops and gold pinstriping.
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