Yamaha XT600 cafe racer
This sharp-looking custom started life as a 1992 Yamaha XT600E, of all things. It’s owned by Australian Mark Wotherspoon, who wanted a fun bike for his daily commute and weekend blasts around the hinterland backroads. His objectives were to reduce weight, increase horsepower and improve the handling—to “turn corners, not heads”, as he puts it. So builder Evan Bowling upgraded the motor with a 640cc big bore kit, plus enduro-spec cams and valves. The front end is from a Kawasaki ZZR600, with progressive springs to tighten the handling; at the back is a 5-way adjustable shock. “The suspension is bone-jarringly firm,” reports Wotherspoon, “and after the first 400km, it became very clear that this bike is not a tourer.” Grip is unlikely to be a problem though, with Michelin Pilot Road 2 tires on 17” wheels. The bodywork is hand-made, including the alloy fuel tank/air box, duck tail, and front and rear fenders, while the headers and mufflers are stainless steel. The next step? New Keihin CR33 smoothbores to tweak the engine still further. An inspiring approach to a cost-effective cafe racer, don’t you think?
Canon EOS 550D | 1/60s | f/5.6 | ISO 100 | Focal length 29mm