14 Mar Yamaha XV920 Caferacer
Written by Martin Hodgson from www.Pipeburn.com.
Stuck in an office cubical with phones ringing, people yelling and a boss standing over your shoulder it seems a strange time to daydream. But it takes you away to a different place, a once abandoned warehouse in the industrial part of town where the enormous doors and the shop truck both sport the logo of your custom bike shop. Here you wrench on the kind of machines that fuel your passion, share a bourbon or beer with a customer to discuss their next project before picking up the tools again to finish off your latest creation. This is the world of Daan Borsje, the main man at Moto Adonis in the Dutch city of Roosendaal, that bizarrely enough is also home to the official ABBA fan club and hosts an annual festival in honour of the Swedish super group. But there’s no Fernando, Mamma Mia or White jumpsuits here, just quality custom creations and Daan’s latest is a red-hot 1982 Yamaha XV920.
While most builds start out in consultation with a customer, Moto Adonis machines have become so sort after that to keep up with demand Daan also does complete builds alongside his customer bikes for those who want to walk in the door and ride off that day on their new machine. With his XV builds always proving popular the discovery of a reasonable condition stocker was just too good an opportunity to pass up and with the folding stuff handed over he quickly had the bike back at Moto Adonis HQ for a full make over. While those $200 barn finds can seem appealing, there is a lot to be said for starting with a running bike in decent nick and having made such a choice Daan could get straight down to customising without having to deal with piles of rust, a seized engine or jammed on brakes. Up on the lift the XV was stripped of its seat, tank, side covers and many of the ’80s chrome to expose the back bone and rear subframe.
Then it was time to fire up the grinder, the 920 might have left the factory looking like a Euro Tourer crossed with a Cruiser but Daan was envisioning a bare butt Cafe Racer. The entire rear end has been cut off back to the main frame and the stock grab bars and their mounts thrown to the wolves. In their place Daan fabricated an entirely much smaller and more compact subframe that is welded on the underside to the frame and affixed at the front to the standard subframe mounts. While he had the welder and metal out he fabricated a small box to sit between the frame and the underside of the seat to hide some of the electrical components and also fab’d up a number plate support. With the ultra-minimalist look at the rear end a second box was fabricated to store the battery just in front of the rear tyre to enable a direct route upward for the wiring. With the bulk of the fabrication work done the pressed steel backbone frame, swingarm and all the new pieces that Daan had created were sent out for powder coat in black.
With a customer’s XV750 to work on, it was Yamaha heaven at Moto Adonis and with work wrapping up on that build the frame and components were back from getting their new clothes having had the powder wand waved over them. Although the XV is a popular model for Daan to apply his trade on, like many other builders the one aspect of the factory setup he almost always changes out is the stock tank that has a distinctly ’80s feel, and not in the good way! In its place is a Honda tank from a CM400 with smoother, more rounded lines sharing much of its DNA with the ever popular CB line-up. The goofy filler cover has been given the flick with the small cap left exposed and the tank body worked to perfection until it was arrow straight. With the right modifications made so the tank sat the way Daan wanted it was then time to apply the paint that he describes as “red devil gloss” with the company logo sprayed down the sides in black. Completing the aesthetic the bobber style seat extends up onto the tank for a comfortable ride and is wrapped in black leather and diamond stitched.
If there is a second part of the factory bike that often comes in for attention when customising any XV it’s the factory, pogo stick-esque, front suspension. The long stanchions not only flex to an excessive level, they also cause the big twin’s mass to rock and roll back and forth on the brakes and provide a less than confidence inspiring ride at speed. So it shouldn’t surprise then that Daan had always planned to rectify the problem and taking care of business is a low mile front end from a 2005 Yamaha R1. The trees were adapted to fit the ‘ole XV frame before receiving the 43mm Kayaba inverted forks with compression, rebound and dampening adjustment so the bike can really be dialled in. The other big benefit of the conversion of course is the switch from a dodgy old brake setup to the brutally powerful twin 320mm discs that are clamped by four piston calipers on each side. Rather than adapting the inferior front wheel from the XV to fit the modern forks with the complications of a custom axle and other headaches the lightweight modern wheel is retained and both ends get a coat of black paint.
Powering the party is the classic Yamaha V-Twin packing 920cc of capacity, in a 75° configuration with SOHC and two valves per cylinder. All of which results in a torque feast of seriously fun proportions and the now considerably lighter bike will pull hard in any gear. Although not a high revving four, with a stroke of 69.2mm she’ll still scream harder than most Vee engines with the extra cubes over the more popular XV750 coming strictly from a bore increase. While the engine was an excellent runner when Daan picked it up he still treated it to a full inspection and service to ensure trouble-free motoring for its new owner. A K&N air filter takes care of breathing duties on the inlet side but it’s the new exhaust that does all the talking; the two into one stainless system neatly wraps around the engine before heading rearward. Daan’s beautiful TIG welds on the 45mm pipe work are left on display with retaining springs holding on a new chrome GP muffler. The exhaust change and new air filter required a tweak of the Hitachi carbs and painted side covers ensure the big twin looks as good as it goes.
Getting the party started is a Shido LTX14-BS lithium-ion battery hidden in the box below the frame but there is a little party trick adding some custom cool. The ignition is now keyless with a Motogadget m-Lock wired in providing contact free digital ignition that provides an extra level of security and more importantly in this writer’s opinion is sure to impress the ladies of Roosendaal! Determined to keep the stripped down look Daan then went on a mission “We deleted all instruments and put back the bare essentials, such as a kill switch, startbutton, blinker and flashlight buttons and put a two in one Acewell speedo/tachometer in place of the originals”. Other than the Reno headlight with LEDs the remainder of the lighting is kept as simple as possible with the taillight a tiny, yet power LED frenched into the rear subframe and the indicators as small as you are likely to find both front and rear. The R1 clip-ons wear a new set of grips and bar end mirrors while the foot controls have been swapped out for quality Tarozzi rearsets.
Literally wrapping up the show is the new rubber, a Pirelli on the front and a meaty Continental Conti Tour in a 130 section out back. With everything buttoned up, fuel in the tank and the small circular key waved over the m-Lock the XV920 fired straight up for Daan to take it out on its maiden voyage, “The bike is extremely fun to ride and a real head turner”. With the customer orders flying in and new bikes being built this red devil Yamaha awaits its new owner and if you stroll into Moto Adonis for one of their coffees, a beer or bourbon (neat) and slap down €9,500 you too can be part of the Moto Adonis dream and escape the stresses of the office life and that barking mad boss on your own piece of custom motorcycle cool.