Yamaha's Yard Built projects have led the way in the revival of the cool custom world. Developing relationships with the rock stars of motorcycle customising, the project has delivered an incredible line up of unique and breath-taking one-off Yard Builts based on the Sport Heritage range of motorcycles. Legendary customizers from across the globe have turned their skilled hands to proving how easy it is to customize one of Yamaha's very flexible retro machines. The exercise provides inspiration and has 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 Yard Built world explore new 70s and 80s rally-inspired creations in Back to the Dirt. Yamaha challenged the world’s backyard engineers to customise the XSR700, with emphasis on changes aimed at improving the bike’s off-road performance and creating a motocross-oriented riding experience. 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 “BW Tribute” by SLCDR
Located in Brittany, France, Sur Les Chapeaux De Roues (SLCDR) was founded by Manuel Juan, a bike builder trained as both a motorcycle mechanic and a boilermaker. Since 2013 his workshop has customised over thirty bikes in a range of classes and styles, his skills in metalwork and bike preparation producing some truly sublime and memorable machines. With the popular and adaptable Yamaha XSR700 as the base for Back to the Dirt builds, SLCDR projected his vision of a scrambler-type XSR700 that paid homage to the Yamaha BW200 “Big Wheel” of the 1980s with a retro aesthetic and a bike designed to be used for pure dirt fun.
The XSR700’s lightweight steel frame was left as stock, its flexibility allowing SLCDR to make use of original mounting points to add new parts without any cuts or welds to the frame, a mark of how easy it is to customise the XSR700. The front and rear of the bike now sport high and enlarged scrambler fenders, housing the chunky, studded Dunlop tyres that SLCDR added to let the bike be used comfortably on road and off-road terrain. New suspension and a lower, flatter seat give the rider extra feedback, with the increased handlebar height bringing the stock XSR700 closer to a modern scramble bike that affords comfortable rideability in all conditions.
Extra protection was added to the forks and stock radiator for off-road use, with front and rear steel rebars adding to the bike’s inherent robustness and affording extra illumination to be mounted. The front of the XSR700 carries a new headlight and casing that takes inspiration from the boxy light fitting of the BW200, with a new tail light integrated into the fender. The stock fuel tank was left on the bike, and given a new red, white and black livery that blends colours carried by the standard XSR700 and classic Yamahas of the 1980s such as the XT600 and YZ125.
The refined, torquey and emotive CP2 engine of the XSR700 was untouched in the customisation, with a new side-mounted scrambler-type exhaust system from TYGA Performance that lets all of its power to be used while adding a classic dirt bike sound. An additional bodywork panel protects the rider from the exhaust and continues the iconic livery from the tank.
Other Sur Les Chapeaux De Roues additions to the XSR700 include:
- Spoke wheels
- XT660 hubs
- Akrapovič muffler, stainless exhaust line
- Öhlins suspension
- Renthal handlebar
- Aluminium rear and front fender
- Steel fuel tank with genuine speedometer integrated
- Steel fork head with Highsider headlight
Together this array of playful design flicks, retro lines and scrambler-styled parts make the SLCDR XSR700 the ‘two-wheeled toy’ that Manuel envisaged. It is a bike made to be ridden on beaches, dirt paths and the road, one that embraces its beloved ‘80s heritage while utilising the modern technology that makes the Yamaha XSR700 a perfect choice for the intrepid customiser.