Is it really fair to say these three custom Yamahas from UK-based Auto Fabrica are XSR900s? They look very little like the venerable MT-09-based modern classic. In fact, one of them isn’t even powered by the 847cc three-cylinder beast that serves as the keystone to the MT-09 empire (it is the same engine the powers the Tracer 900 and Niken). But we’ll get to that in a second.
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For the past few years, Yamaha has been driving interest in its so-called Sport Heritage range through its Yard Built series, which encourages customizers to look at the company’s bikes in new ways.
Essex-based Auto Fabrica was established in 2012 by Bujar and Gaz Muharremi. For this series of builds they teamed with designer Toby Mellor. The team produced three very sexy bikes, demonstrating they are wizards when it customization, but apparently they don’t quite understand how numbers work. The bikes are known as the Type 11 Prototype One, Type 11 Prototype Two, and Type 11 Prototype Three, but they weren’t designed in that sequence.
Three came first, then One, then Two. Hey, I guess if it works for Star Wars to do things out of order, why not bike builders?
Prototype Three was designed around a 1977 XS750. With a design the seemingly sees the front wheel rubbing against the fairing it looks like the quintessential custom bike that places looks over usability. As was the case for all three bikes, the fairing was hand beaten in homage to car design from the 1950s and 60s. Performance parts added power and Brembo calipers brought modern levels of whoa.
Prototype One, meanwhile has an even more futuristic feel and actually is driven by the XSR900’s powerplant. I’m not sure how much of the original bike remains beyond that, though. Auto Fabrica went deep into the Expensive Parts catalog by adding Öhlins suspension, Brembo calipers, PFM brake discs, BST carbon wheels, and all kinds of carbon-nylon 3D printed, CAD-designed elements.
What they didn’t do, however, was give it a headlight. Which means that in the bike’s native UK you could only ride it for about 14 minutes in the winter. I mean the whole winter – that’s about how much actual daylight we get from November to March.
Realizing the error of their ways, Bujar and Gaz took everything from the first two builds and combined it into a road-going machine. The Prototype Two was built on the Yamaha XSR900 base. A round headlight, conventional fueling, trimmed seats, indicators, road tires and matching metallic silver paint finish tie the Prototype Two to the classic style of the Prototype Three.
“Seeing this project evolve has been something really special for all of us,” said Antoin Clémot, Yamaha Motor Europe motorcycle product manager. “This went from a beautiful idea with a great bike to three incredible creations that speak to everything Yamaha’s Yard Built platform represents. That the Prototype Two is going to find its way into enthusiasts hands is thrilling as well. So often these are one off pieces and knowing that this bike will be ridden out there in the real world, by people with a love for unique design, is something we can all get a kick out of.”
Wait. Stop. We can actually ride the thing?
Yes, if you’re willing to pay for it. Auto Fabrica has announced a limited run of Type 11 Prototype Two bikes, which will be tailored to order. First deliveries are expected in autumn this year. No word on price, but we assume it’s one of those things where if you have to ask you can’t afford it.
We can’t afford it. The question is: could this bike be the harbinger of something to come? Might Yamaha one day offer an affordable bike “inspired” by this custom? Only time will tell, but we kinda hope so.