Got Torque? 1.7L V-twin from Francesco Paura…
Yamaha’s popular MT series is said to stand for “Master of Torque.” However, one bike in the MT lineage has stood above the rest in that department, the mighty MT-01.
“At 111 shoulder-socket-poppin’ foot-pounds exists the MT-01.” –Revzilla
Introduced in 2005, the Yamaha MT-01 boasted a 1670cc, 90-hp pushrod V-twin from the Road Warrior, stuffed into a sportbike frame with multi-adjustable suspension and R1 brakes. Simon Bradley of Motorbikes Today wrote one of the most entertaining reviews of the MT-01, in which he detailed the madness-invoking power of the machine.
“The bike has a slightly disturbing tendency to make the rider produce bizarre whooping noises while going for the most dubious overtaking opportunities available in the certain knowledge that, regardless of the gear the machine is in, it will make the gap with time to spare.” –Motorbikes Today
And then there’s the sound of the near-as-not 1.7-liter V-twin, which has been compared to everything from a giant, burbling outboard boat motor to a monstrous Rottweiler.
“Small children point and stare when you coast by, and start crying if you accelerate. If you roll off the throttle they get blown over by the back-blast.” –Motorbikes Today
Enter our friend Francesco Paura of Italy, who had a customer in the Salento region interested in a V-Max 1200…until Francesco suggested the beastly MT-01.
“He agreed, so we found the bike in Sicily. Very battered but at a good price.”
Francesco, whose Honda Hornet 600 we previously featured, is a fan of manga and anime who regularly draws inspiration from the design of Japanese mechs — the human-piloted robot warriors of science fiction and film. This MT-01 was no exception, especially when it came to the design of the laser-cut headlight housing.
“Perhaps, for those born in the second half of the 70’s, like me, it was inevitable. Our toys were Gundam, Getta Robot, and Voltron models. Today motorcycles are like adult toys to me.“ -Francesco
Francesco works with his long-time partner Angelo “Low” Caliendo to make his visions a reality, and with this build, he was sure to thank his friends Fabio Zoppo and Salvatore Mattiello for their help with welding, machining, and exhaust work.
Nicknamed the “Cookie Monster” thanks to the monster engine and bronze color (“it reminded me of biscuits,” says Francesco), this MT-01 features a hand-built subframe and saddle, custom fiberglass vents and front fender, digital instrumentation, LED lighting, custom exhaust with LeoVince silencer, and more.
Francesco says the customer also owns a Ducati Panigale and Kawasaki KX500, so he’s well capable of handling the power of this monster muscle bike. Below, we talk to Francesco for the full story on the build.
Yamaha MT-01 Custom: Builder Interview
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
The motorbike is a Yamaha MT-01. With a 1670cc engine, V-twin, 5-speed gearbox. From 2005.
• Why was this bike built?
This bike was built for a customer from Lecce in the beautiful Italian region of Salento. The customer wanted to buy a Yamaha V-Max America. I suggested the MT-01 to him, because I had always wanted to work on it. He agreed, so we found the bike in Sicily. Very battered but at a good price.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
As with my other projects, when I make these headlights, in laser-cut metal, I take inspiration from Japanese Mecha Design. I am a fan of manga and anime. Then I looked for a color palette that could match the particular blue frame of the MT-01. I tried to make it both elegant and aggressive.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
In addition to the headlight, we made the rear subframe and the saddle, all by hand. Mounted digital instruments and LED lights. We created the front mudguard and the final part of the collectors, where we mounted a LeoVince double silencer. Variable section handlebar and rear license plate holder. The vents are made of fiberglass.
We kept the rear footrests, which open like a seagull, because they are a very particular solution that I like.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
Obviously yes. The bike is called “Cookie Monster.” Like the imaginary character belonging to the world of Sesame Street. Because it has a monster engine, and that bronze color reminded me of biscuits. I always put stupid names on my creations, because I’m a joker. 😛
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride the completed bike?
I think it’s really fun. Although the weight of the motorbike is 250 kg, when you get on it and take it out on the road it becomes easy to handle and smooth. I’m not an expert rider, but with the power at low rpm, you could rider on one wheel up to fifth gear. Luckily the owner has a Ducati Panigale and a Kawasaki KX500. He’s definitely more capable than me.
• Is there anyone you’d like to thank?
I absolutely want to thank my historic partner, Angelo “Low” Caliendo, because he makes what I think and plan become real. My friend Fabio Zoppo who works on exhausts, welding, and parts on the lathe. And my friend Salvatore Mattiello who created the extrusion of the lighthouse for me. Obviously all my supporters and readers of this fantastic blog. Follow me on Instagram!