Dec 29, 2012

Thiago Vidal's Yamaha XJ 600

Saw this amazing café some days ago at Inazuma Caféracer. The bare aluminum tank & tailpiece grabs my eyes at 1st sight. It's really a nice piece of art.
"My name is Thiago Vidal and in 2010 I came across this Yamaha XJ 600. It was sitting in the back garden of someone I found online who ended up selling me the bike for £300. I knew I had to do something completely different with it and not just something run of the mill. I’ve always loved the café racers and so that was the direction I wanted to follow. Which is a sharp contrast in style to my first bike.
I stripped the whole machine down and then chopped the back section of the frame, in the process changing the mountain bracket for the mono shock because I wanted to build a unique swing arm out of aluminium. So, I built a jig for the swing arm with just a few adjustments in dimensions. Once I had the swing arm constructed I could fully visualise the whole bike. Next I constructed the tank in aluminium leaving the weld to give integrity to the piece. After that I built the seat, battery and headlight cove, also leaving the weld. As for the handle grips, clutch levers, foot pegs, rear brake oil chamber and cover for the front suspension, I decided to machine them out of aluminium, which was pretty easy to make, instead of buying them all.
I wanted to leave all the aluminium parts in bare metal, having just a red race stripe painted on the tank and seat. The frame and a few other parts I powder coated in texture black, which I’ve done myself at my place of work. The managers were very kind letting me use the equipment in my spare time. I sand blasted the wheels and then powder coated them in texture black too. I had this mash at work that was ideal for the radiator cover. The engine was in pretty good condition, so I just cleaned it up and sprayed it black. I’ve only had to build a new buffer for the exhaust, because I wanted short and loud. It was then wrapped in heat tape. Somewhat inevitably, I also had to clean the carburettor.
Putting the bike together was relatively easy until it came to the wiring, which is where I enlisted a friend of mine to help. Once the bike was wired it was just a matter of putting the tank on to the bike and then setting the carburettor. Surprisingly she started the first time. I took the bike for a couple of test rides and she handles like a dream. Ever since I finished the project, feedback from people who have seen the bike has been great. The first time I took it to an official show it came first place in it's category! It was an amazing feeling and when I asked the judges why they chose my bike, they said that it was obvious that the bike was unique and handmade. Which for me, made all the hard work and long hours worthwhile!"

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