A Brotherly Bullet from Red Hot Chili Customs (RHCC)…
In 1984, Yamaha introduced the XJ600 (designated the FJ600 in the US), which featured a 72-bhp air-cooled DOHC inline four engine. For the first nine months after its release, the XJ600 was the fastest machine on the market under 750cc, and it would help introduce one of the motorcycling world’s most competitive classes:
“In the history of motorcycling, these deserve a few lines…for being the first Japanese in-line 4 with a 600cc capacity. From this bike, came the 600 super-sports of today.” –Source
Recently, we heard from Redu of Poland’s Red Hot Chili Customs (RHCC), who began customizing his boyhood 50cc bike into a road racer and never quite stopped:
“Since 2009 I’ve built more than 100 bikes for customers all over Europe. In 2012 my girl, Marta, joined the team and we’ve launched a lifestyle shop, which perfectly fit with the custom bikes we’re building.”
The bike you see here is a 1989 Yamaha XJ600 51J that Redu built for his brother, who lives in Berlin:
“Because of his job he needs a fast vehicle that allows him to move pretty fast through traffic jams. A bicycle was OK for short distances but there are days when he rides more than 100km a day. Riding a motorcycle he makes up a lot of time…and has more fun, naturally! :)”
Redu’s brother provided a few photos for inspiration, a Kawasaki KZ tank he wanted to use, and left the rest up to Redu, giving him full creative freedom — brotherly trust!
His faith was well placed, as the result is one sweet café racer, running a one-off seat cowl and saddle, Fehling clipons, Marving 4-into-1 headers, YSS rear shock, Dunlop Arromax rubbers, mirrors with integrated turn signals, custom wiring harness, speed-block paint, and more.
Redu says the bike’s nickname, “Fast & Furious,” says it all:
“Check the nickname — it tells the story. The bike is really fast and riding it is a pure pleasure!”
Most importantly, this custom café racer is street-legal in Germany, so Redu’s brother can slice and dice through Berlin traffic, sparing himself a lot of time in the process:
“He passed German TÜV a few days ago. It’s not so easy with their crazy inspectors and their sick rules!”
Below, we talk to Redu for the full story on the build, and share more photos courtesy of photographer @fotogutekmoto.
Yamaha XJ600 Café Racer: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
I’m Redu, founder of Red Hot Chili Customs. I’ve been connected with motorcycles ever since I can remember. My grandpa had a small 50cc Romet Pony on which we rode together with my younger brother. Yep, three people on a pocket-bike — that was possible those days 🙂
Anyway. Since then I was dreaming of my own bike. A few years later I had this 50cc monster which I customized a little in an enduro style. After a day on the MX track I decided to customize it again but in a road racer style (with a 1,5 HP engine, it was not able to ride up the hills). That’s how it all began.
Twenty years later I opened with my friend a motorcycle shop and workshop. After almost three years, we decided to split and I’ve focused only on custom bikes. Since 2009 I’ve built more than 100 bikes for customers all over Europe. In 2012 my girl Marta joined the team and we’ve launched a lifestyle shop, which perfectly fit with the custom bikes we’re building. Even with corona, we’re still on the wave and have a lot of work.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
The bike you see in the pics is a 1989 Yamaha XJ600 51J (known as the FJ600 in the US).
• Why was this bike built?
This bike belongs to my brother. He always was more of a bicycle-guy than motorcycle-guy, but the times have changed. The past few years he’s lived in Berlin, Germany, and because of his job he needs a fast vehicle that allows him to move pretty fast through traffic jams. A bicycle was OK for short distances but there are days when he rides more than 100km a day. Riding a motorcycle he makes up a lot of time…and has more fun, naturally! 🙂
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
My brother found some photos on the net and gave us creative freedom. One thing he delivered with the bike was a Kawasaki fuel tank, which he wanted on the bike.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
The XJ is a cool bike as a donor for a café racer. Four inline cylinders with DOHC camshaft produce enough power to ride fast, and the engine sounds cool if you change the exhaust system.
I’ve used the Marving 4-into-1 headers and an aftermarket silencer, which gave the perfect look and sound. Like I said, the fuel tank is a Kawasaki KZ unit. Small mods were required but it fits the frame.
Seat cowl is a one-off part. Clip-ons are made by Fehling, speedo is MMB unit.
Highsider turn signals are integrated with mirrors in the front and on the back is a 3-in-1 combo mounted in place of passenger footpegs.
New Dunlop Arrowmax tires and gold DID chain kit. New also is the YSS shock out back and DNA power air filters.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
“Fast & Furious.”
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride?
Check the nickname — it tells the story. The bike is really fast and riding it is a pure pleasure!
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
I’m proud of every part of this bike, but the most important thing is that this bike is street legal in Germany. He passed German TUV a few days ago. It’s not so easy with their crazy inspectors and their sick rules!
Yamaha XJ600 51J 1989
- Fehling clip-on handlebar
- MMB speedo
- YSS custom rear shock
- DNA air filters
- RHCC seat cowl
- RHCC seat
- Highsider mirrors integrated with turn signals
- Aftermarket rear turn signals & taillight combo
- Marving x RHCC exhaust system
- Dunlop Arromax tires
- Custom wiring harness
- Highsider headlamp holders
- Aftermarket headlamp
- Braided steel brake lines
- New Age grips
- Kawasaki fuel tank x RHCC
- KEDO fork covers
- KEDO alu number plates
- Stock front mudguard x RHCC
- RHCC license plate holder
- Full TUV legal bike
Follow the Builder