In May of 2016, at the Portuguese event Art & Moto, we asked Luis Figueiredo, Yamaha's marketing director, to try out the new XSR700. We always like to try out new bikes to have a diversified experience and improve our technical knowledge and that bike had just been recently released.
It was a 50 Kms very technical track with a lot of curves and it was really surprising how agile and fast the bike was.
It seemed like a really fun bike to have and perhaps to modify - those were our secret thoughts!
In January 2017 we were surprised by Yamaha Portugal with an invitation to participate on Yard Built, with a XSR700 as a base. Of course we accepted and felt very happy and proud. "Yard Built" is a program we respect a lot, since it was conceived with a great attitude and spirit and gave birth to so many amazing creations by the best builders around. It was great to take part in it - even knowing that it would be very difficult for us to manage the show with all the other projects we had in the pipeline for the next few months. In the end it took us 4 months to build the bike, ready for it's premiere at the Wheels and Waves.
From the beginning it was our idea to make something very different from the original motorcycle. It should be either a one pilot only race bike, with a big fairing, or something like a very aggressive off road bike. The last option was the path Yamaha liked the most, so we went for it.
We started to develop the concept further: we wanted a bike to have fun with, since the XSR felt so agile and easy to handle, but we wanted it to be different from the usual dirt bike/scrambler that we thought was becoming too vulgar. We then thought about building a vehicle we could use for road tracks on Mars, or like a moon bike, something to ride unexplored fields and territories. That's were the name "Orbiter" came from. At the end we settled with kind of a mix between a space exploring vehicle and a moon flat track race bike. It makes sense, right?
The color scheme inspiration came from the race tracks but we wanted a monochrome look kind of like a spaceship.
Our main idea was to get rid of almost everything that connects people to the original XSR look.
The tank and rear frame were two of the main parts we had to change for sure.
We didn't mention that part of the project's challenge was to make it without chopping any part of the bike. As Yamaha told us, our kit should ideally be "plug and play".
So, we started the most difficult part of the project which was to build the tank and rear. Since we didn't have much time, we thought that making a single piece would give us more time and it would be easy to fit on the bike. We built it in aluminum with the tank, seat and rear merged in one whole part. We fitted the fuel pump and that was it. All the front went to the trash too and we changed it for the Yamaha MT-09. Inverted forks, with a slightly longer course and a much better radial breaking system, new triple trees and discs.
The front headlight is a simple, small bates headlight. Our idea at that point was to have almost no light at the front, so it would look more aggressive and large to the eye. The same went for the front fender. For us it made sense to have a very special designed piece, since this would command a lot of attention.
A pair of Kineo wheels were used instead of the original alloy wheels by spokes and the front wheel was upgraded to a 19” wheel for better performance off road.
Tires are Michelin Anakee models.
The handlebar is a twinwall model from Renthal, like the grips, and the levers are from LSL.
The ABS system was thrown away so we could have the best experience possible off road.
Turn lights were changed for very little ones, almost undetectable, from Motogadget.
The exhaust was handmade in stainless steel and the straps were installed to protect the driver’s legs.
Other final touches were the number plates and the radiator side panels with vivid colors.
The seat is made in leather and alcantara so you don´t slip when riding it.
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