Elcancro Motors builds a 1000€ Café Racer…and Scrambler!
The Yamaha XJ600S Diversion, better known as the Seca II here in the States, appeared in 1992 as a no-frills middleweight commuter with a 61-bhp air/oil-cooled eight-valve inline-four engine and tubular steel chassis. Over time, the “Divvy” earned a reputation for indestructibility among couriers and first big-bike riders.
“The Yamaha XJ600 Diversion was built to endure rather than impress. So steel proliferates over alloy, chunkiness over finery and straightforward, simple mechanicals over high tech. It works, too. Not much goes wrong with the Yamaha XJ600 Diversion and mileages the wrong side of 50,000 are fairly common.” –MCN
There’s something to be said for a bike that, despite its shortcomings on paper, consistently earns the trust and respect of its riders. For instance, Tony Hoare of SBS continues to use his 52,000-mile Divvy as a winter workhorse — a bike he bought from Bike magazine after using it in their Three Divvies Top Speed Challenge over a decade ago:
“Still, it keeps going. The only failure in the 1800 miles we covered together in 2017 was a bust speedo cable, which cost a tenner and took 10 minutes to replace.
The Divvy has now proven itself and I feel like I still owe it something before I could think about parting with it. So we’re off on another mission together.” –SBS
Another Diversion devotee is our friend Armand “El Cancro” Guéant of France’s El Cancro Motors, who built the ’93 Diversion 600 cafe racer you see here:
“This cafe racer, it’s a bit special! It’s the cheapest cafe racer on the planet. I wanted to explain to all the custom enthusiasts out there that you can build and ride a custom bike at a lower cost.”
El Cancro has dedicated the build to all the enthusiasts who don’t have the means to buy a bike customized by a professional, showing them what can be built with a relatively small investment and a little bit of elbow grease.
“What motivated me most was to make an ugly motorcycle beautiful (if one can say beautiful)! It must be admitted that the original Diversion is not very pretty. So I had to start all over again.”
Highlights include the Bandit 600 swingarm with 17-inch rear wheel, double disc Fazer forks, NMB Design saddle, custom exhaust, Concept Moto gauge support and headlight mount, lightweight battery, and more.
What’s even more important might be the attitude behind the bike. As El Cancro says, used replacement parts are still readily cheap and available for this model, so you can ride the hell out of the bike without worries. He’s even mounted a set of off-road tires, creating a Diversion scrambler, and done some serious off-roading!
“It’s fun to ride a motorcycle that you’re not afraid to drop — the sensations are increased tenfold.”
Below, we talk to El Cancro himself for the full details on the build!
Yamaha Diversion Cafe Racer: Builder Interview
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
It’s a 1993 Yamaha 600 Diversion — an inline 4-cylinder inline, air and oil-cooled. A so-called indestructible engine.
• Why was this bike built?
This motorcycle is dedicated to all the enthusiasts who do not have the means to ride a custom bike made by a professional. So this is my motorcycle — it was made for fun and spectacle — it even makes smoke and flames ????☁️???? Who has ever seen a café racer make flames?
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
What motivated me most was to make an ugly motorcycle beautiful (if one can say beautiful)!
It must be admitted that the original Diversion is not very pretty. So I had to start all over again.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
At first I changed the running gear.
• A Bandit 600 swingarm to benefit from a 17-inch wheel. Trashed the original wheel 18-inch wheel.
• The single disc fork is replaced by a double disc fork from a Fazer.
• The seat was completely revisited. A beautiful saddle made by our colleagues at NMB Design.
• I couldn’t get rid of the tank…so I decorated it to make the curves finer.
• The exhaust is custom-made, with a big muffler that makes a lot of noise. I bought a Delkevic collector to complement the changes to the bike.
• I also installed a rev counter support from Concept Moto: This support is made for the cheapest counter on the market (Aliexpress). This support is also a headlight support — it’s a kit.
• Bellows to make the fork bigger.
• A Nikaia Power battery you can put anywhere — the smallest and most powerful battery I know.
• A pair of clip-ons and “Opn Bar” bar ends — surely the coolest item I’ve seen on a motorcycle!
• Does the bike have a nickname?
This Café Racer is called the Diversion Destruction! Used parts are available for this model, let’s take advantage of it to ride the hell out of the machine.
You can find the whole list of parts on my site to also make your low-cost custom: linktr.ee/elcancromotors
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride?
I’m quite surprised, this bike is perfectly balanced in the end. With 60 hp, you are always at full speed! It’s fun to ride a motorcycle that you’re not afraid to drop — the sensations are increased tenfold.
We even pushed the vice with our friends! We mounted the Diversion real cross wheels and scrambler tires. I was able to count on my friend Casey to do the show.