A Vinduro-Style Scrambler for Film Star Chloë Moretz…
Sometimes an unexpected heartbreak can be a blessing in disguise. Case in point: When Seba Achaval‘s beloved blacked-out KTM 950SM was stolen from outside his Brooklyn apartment, it set the Argentine-born motorcyclist down a fortuitous path:
“Refusing to have a nice bike on the streets, I just bought a trashed out ZX6 and got rid of all plastic and started to build something to commute but with some style, and it came out good enough that somebody offered some good $$ for it, and then I bought another one and the same thing happened, so I started doing more and selling, until finally I decided to do this for living, building my shop little by little.”
Today, Seba hand-crafts custom machines out of his Brooklyn-based workshop and design firm, oneYedeer. Recently, he was asked to build a bike for none other than Chloë Grace Moretz, the Georgia-born actress known for her roles in Kick-Ass, Let Me in, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Greta, Shadow in the Cloud, and more!
“It…was exciting to learn that she wanted me to do a custom bike for her. And she found me through my other bikes that have been published.” -Seba
Chloë was interested in a vintage enduro / scrambler style build — great taste, Chloë! Together she and Seba decided on a Yamaha SR400 as the perfect donor. We love the modern SR’s, as their overall design has remained remarkably unchanged since their introduction in 1978. These are air-cooled, twin-shock, single-cylinder machines built like the bikes of the 1970s — vintage in style and design, only with fuel injection and few previous owners.
“So I found a pristine, very low mileage SR and we started to ruin it (as she said), meaning we gave it a rough-up patina, worn-out and older look. The SR comes kick-start only, but this was not an issue for Chloe.”
Seba built up the bike over the course of four months, giving the bike taller Triumph Bonneville shocks, rear frame loop, custom saddle with yellow stitching, scratch-built exhaust with recycled / repacked Ducati silencer, and an intake manifold that holds all the sensors for keep the fuel injection running properly.
The style and paint have the character of a run-what-ya-brung enduro racer:
“I basically stripped the paint only to do the race detail on top of the OEM Yamaha paint to keep some originality, as if it were made by a guy in his garage after deciding ‘I’m gonna race this thing’ and putting a number on it.”
Seba says the new intake and exhaust really woke up the bike, making it a lot more fun on the street:
“Now it’s much more spicy and responsive, and it sounds dope!”
All in all, this is one sweet little “SRambler,” and we hope Chloë has a lot of fun on the bike. Below, we talk to Seba (@oneyedeer) for the full details on the build, presented along with more shots courtesy of photographer Iason Sarris (@sarrisx).
Yamaha SR400 Scrambler: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
My name is Seba Achaval, born in Argentina living in Brooklyn, NY. My first bike was a Honda MB100 two-stroke and I restored it when I was 17 as a final project test for my last year at technical school in Argentina. After I finished it I sold it for three times what I bought for it, and with that $ and a bit more my dad gave me, I bought a Yamaha FZ400 with dual headlights and full fairing, and that was the starting point on my love and passion for motorcycles. Of course I did some modifications to that one as well.
After years of having bikes (not working so much on them just riding more) in New York, my all blacked-out KTM 950sm was stolen from my apartment — a heartbreaker — so refusing to have a nice bike on the streets, I just bought a trashed out ZX6 and got rid of all plastic and started to build something to commute but with some style, and it came out good enough that somebody offered some good $$ for it, and then I bought another one and the same thing happened, so I started doing more and selling, until finally I decided to do this for living, building my shop little by little.
I rent a space in another shop with more tools. In the shop it’s me only — I do pretty much everything, except for big powder coating pieces and high end paint jobs.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
2015 Yamaha SR400.
• Why was this bike built?
It was a commissioned bike for actress Chloe Grace Moretz, which of course was exciting to learn that she wanted me to do a custom bike for her. And she found me through my other bikes that have been published.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
So after talking with her and finding out the style she wanted (vintage enduro / scrambler), engine size, and also her physical specs like height / weight, etc., I started to look for a vintage looking bike but with more modern features, well-kept and low mileage to avoid failure down the road.
The 2015 SR400 came with fuel injection, not carbs, and other specs that will make a reliable and enjoyable bike with no hassle — important because she was taking the bike to LA, away from my shop. So I found a pristine, very low mileage SR and we started to ruin it (as she said), meaning we gave it a rough-up patina, worn-out and older look. The SR comes kick-start only, but this was not an issue for Chloe.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Tires, handlebars, rear shocks. I gave it Triumph Bonneville shocks — taller, but not too hard. I painted the rims only, not the spokes, and painted the engine and scuffed out the edges for that older patina look we were looking for.
I chopped the pressed frame on the tail section and add a loop to close the frame, custom seat pan and cushion, wrapped with real leather and yellow stitching.
The tank paint was so good I didn’t wanted to repaint but to reuse it, so I basically stripped the paint only to do the race detail on top of the OEM Yamaha paint to keep some originality, as if it were made by a guy in his garage after deciding “I’m gonna race this thing” and putting a number on it.
The most challenging thing was taking out the airbox to clear up space and give the bike a more minimalist look. That box has most of the sensors for the fuel injection to work correctly, and the the fact that we’d got a modern bike was going to go out the window if we didn’t care about that, so I made a pipe (air filter manifold) that houses all the sensors that make the bike run well. In fact, with the new exhaust and intake configuration, the bike woke up big time and runs much stronger, more torque and power.
It was a casual build because I had other projects and she wanted to have it for the end of the year, four months in total. Full exhaust was made also from scratch. Also the muffler. I kept the speedo (the speed sensor inside it communicates with injection), but I dismissed the tacho and created a custom console where she can work the lights, dummy light, etc.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
Not that I’ve heard from her, but at some point I thought about “SRambler.”
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
Like I said before, when I test-rode the original bike, I was impressed at how slow and unexciting the bike was, really slow with poor throttle response. Now it’s much more spicy and responsive, and it sounds dope!
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
Chopping the electrical for a cleaner look is always tedious and makes me feel good once it’s done. The exhaust came out pretty cool and sounds good (given that I recycled a Ducati pipe for the muffler, with an aftermarket core and packed with Vance & Hines material). Also, the intake with the housing for the sensors was a piece that I’m particularly proud of.