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Yamaha's Yard Built projects have led the way in the revival of the custom motorcycle world. Developing relationships with the rock stars of bike building, the project has delivered an incredible line up of unique and breath-taking one-off Yard Builts based on the Yamaha Sport Heritage line. Legendary builders from across the globe have brought their skills and expertise to show how easy it is to customize Yamaha's modern and adaptable retro-style bikes. The project has given inspiration and set new trends in the motorcycle world, making it a reality for everyone to make their Yamaha their own.

Back to the Dirt

2019 sees the Yamaha custom world explore new 70s and 80s rally-inspired creations in Back to the Dirt. Yamaha challenged the best motorcycle builders to customise the XSR700, with emphasis on changes that harness and enhance the stock bike’s off-road performance while retaining its character and demonstrating the ease of modifying it. 2019 has been the year of Yamaha XT and off-road-inspired projects which have laid the foundation for the exciting range of Back to the Dirt bikes.

“XSR700” by Capelo’s Garage & Elemental Rides

Portuguese builders Capelo’s Garage & Elemental Rides are bringing their charismatic flair to the project with their custom XSR700. Capelo’s founder Nuno Capelo is an architect-turned-designer renowned for his simplified approach and meticulous digital design, while Ricardo Santos of Elemental is celebrated for rejuvenating bikes through sublime engineering. Together they have produced a new version of the XSR700, bringing out a neo-retro, off-road feel and injecting vintage vibes into the stock model.

Leaving the lightweight steel ‘backbone’ frame untouched and retaining the enjoyment of riding that the XSR700 was built for, Capelo’s Garage & Elemental Rides made excellent use of the bike’s easy-to-modify sub-frame, and could simply bolt-on many new parts. They adapted the bike’s geometry for enhanced off-road use by installing new suspension, the length and travel of the forks and rear spring were increase adapting ne Showa suspension units. These raised the bike and gave it at least 100% more travel with greater ground clearance. The front wheel had the original double discs removed in favor of a new single caliper with an upgraded rotor, meaning significant weight reduction at the front without sacrificing braking performance. The rear brake is unchanged and sports a new custom rotor. The wheels were then given added resilience to cope with rugged off-road conditions, with 18- and 19-inches front and back, both laid on a spoked wheelset.

The XSR700’s reliable 689cc 2-cylinder engine is already a powerful unit and was largely untouched, with the builders fine tuning it for dirt use. A larger rear sprocket was added for powerful torque delivery alongside a heavy-duty chain, while the entire exhaust system was switched out for a one-off, custom made 2-1 stainless steel unit. The ABS system was stripped out to pump the feel in off-road conditions. The lighting is a one-off retro design with high powered LED components inspired by late 70s and early 80s rally machines, amplifying the retro-inspired XSR700’s original design.

The bodywork was designed and built from scratch in sheet metal. The teardrop-shaped tank is a stunning homage to classic 1970s Yamaha enduro machines such as the XT500, but with the added blocky feel of 80s beasts like the XT350. The body design allows two varieties of seat to be fitted, one for rough terrain and one for road riding, giving the rider greater freedom to adapt the bike to their comfort.

Other additions to the XSR700 by Capelo’s Garage & Elemental Rides include:

  • High-strength alloy skid plate
  • Acewell speedometer
  • Minimalistic handlebar push buttons
  • High-rise handlebar
  • Dual action throttle grip
  • One off Toughened footpegs and control levers

Together these customisations and additions are mated perfectly to the stock XSR700 frame that makes modification so easy. They deliver a brand-new take on the popular XSR700 that honors some of the greats of rally racing and enduro days gone by, but with the power and control that makes Yamaha’s Sports Heritage line so enduringly loved.

"XSR TT 700" by Capelo’s Garage & Elemental Rides