Handbuilt: Yamaha “XSTT 750” Street Tracker

Big-Bore Yamaha XS650 “Steeplechase Champion” by Will Bastas…  

From April 12-14, our friends at Revival Cycles hosted the 2024 edition of the Handbuilt Motorcycle Show in Austin, Texas, paired as always with MotoGP weekend at Circuit of the Americas (COTA).

From the show’s inception, Revival Cycles used the event to encourage a real revival of physical craftsmanship — a culture increasingly lost in the shift toward “digital abstraction.”

“We at the Handbuilt Motorcycle Show believe something has been lost and it is time to revive the culture of physical craftsmanship. Although in today’s modern mass-produced world few young people are taught how to do physical work or are encouraged to embrace a trade, there remains a universal attraction to the beauty that can only be formed by human hands.”

“The Handbuilt Show presents an exciting and rare opportunity to see custom builds, meet designers, and experience art created by some of the most knowledgeable and skilled builders worldwide, creating one-of-a-kind, truly handbuilt machines. The expo displays the beauty of what can be created by hand, from welders to leather makers, engine gurus, and metal tinkerers.” -Revival Cycles

For 2024, our man on the ground was once again Kody Melton, a Texas native, Harley-Davidson road racer, and incredibly talented photographer whose shots will bring you so close to the show you might think you’ve teleported!

Yamaha XS650 TT Scrambler Tracker

One of our favorite bikes Kody captured this year was this Yamaha “XSTT 750 Steeplechase Champion” from Will Bastas of Del Valle, Texas. Steeplechasing originated in Ireland, where participants would race horseback from church steeple to church steeple, hurdling fences, jumping ditches, and splashing through streams — overcoming whatever obstacles might stand in their path.

Yamaha XS650 TT Scrambler Tracker

This evolved into the modern discipline of steeplechase, where riders jump fences of plastic, steel, pine, and live hedge over a race of 3-5 miles.

Yamaha XS650 TT Scrambler Tracker

Though few builders have made the connection to motorcycles, we’ve always thought the steeplechase an interesting metaphor for a TT-style street tracker or scrambler built to tackle flat track, jumps, and a little pavement.

Yamaha XS650 TT Scrambler Tracker

The Yamaha XS650 makes a great donor for such a build, based as it was on the British twins of the 1960s that tore across the Southern California desert toward distant tire fires, raced flat track and TT, and slogged through the mud and mire of the ISDT.

Yamaha XS650 TT Scrambler Tracker

Will Bastas obviously made that connection and built this handsome specimen of an XS along those lines. We’ve been unable to track down Bastas as yet for the full details and backstory of the build, but we loved the bike so much we decided to go ahead and share it.

Will, if you read this get in touch!  We’d love to hear more about this Steeplechase Champion!

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Yamaha XS650 TT Scrambler Tracker

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