Quick read, July 24, 2022
We kick that This week’s edition of Speed Read off with further proof that Yamaha SRs make great cafe racers. We also cover news of Guy Martin’s latest exploits, as well as a custom Yamaha RD400 and Honda CB750.
Yamaha SR250 by deWolf Moto Co. Built in his hometown of Zaragoza, Spain, this is Santi deWolf’s third build under the Wolf Moto Co. banner. Santi started with two Yamaha SR250 backers; the first SR to go under the knife was turned into a bobber, the second patiently awaiting his turn. It’s that second SR, and the end result of a lot of hard work.
Yamaha’s SR platform is perfect for custom builders, and it looks like Santi has taken full advantage of it. Small, light and lots of fun, deWolf has transformed the little commuter bike into a full-fledged neo-classic cafe racer. When he’s not building bikes, he’s a mechanical engineer working for a major appliance company. So he put his engineering skills to good use.
“Why can’t small bikes be fun, perform better than stock, and be stylish?” Santi asks. “The goal was to build a very different cafe racer with a modern twist on a very tight budget. It was a non-racer – castaway but cheap.
With this philosophy in mind, Santi set out, tackling every aspect of the build himself, except paint and upholstery. The front fascia and seat were modeled using foam blocks before being made out of fiberglass. Everything has been rebuilt, including the engine, suspension and wheels.
The rear subframe has been modified to accommodate a new seat unit, with the electricals cleverly hidden. The frame was powder coated and the bike was completely redone, as the donor bike arrived in terrible condition.
Santi has proven he has what it takes to build a great looking machine, and even landed an invite to this year’s Bike Shed Motorcycle Show in London. The bike is currently for sale, so Santi can move on to his next project, a Honda SLR650.
We will follow with great interest. [deWolf Moto Co. Instagram]
Guy Martin on the Crighton CR700W Guy Martin is there Again. No, he’s not building another Spitfire, he wants to break another land speed record. This time he’s aiming to double the ton (200 mph) on the rotary-engined Crighton CR700W.
Brian Crighton is the man behind the machine, and the same guy who worked for Norton all those years ago, when they led the rotating load onto the race track with the iconic JPS Nortons. Working out of a garden shed on the grounds of the Norton factory, Crighton took it upon himself to prove to Norton superiors that rotary power and motorcycles were a perfect match. Quickly making inroads, Norton was, all of a sudden, back at the top of the timelines.
The Crighton CR700W is the direct descendant of those early rotary engine Nortons. As if the aluminum frame, swingarm and carbon fiber bodywork weren’t impressive enough, the engine is the standout feature. An excerpt from their website puts it all into perspective:
“220 bhp at 10,500 rpm from the CR700W’s fuel-injected 690cc twin-rotor engine means 319 bhp per litre. By comparison, the most powerful naturally aspirated Formula 1 engine, the Ferrari F2004, generates 309 hp per liter at a blistering 18,500 rpm, and the very latest MotoGP bikes deliver around 300 hp per litre.
Piloted by Martin, the team has already cracked 188mph, 16mph faster than the previous record. With a myriad of options to choose from (like different gearing and fairings), it looks like another record will soon be added to Martin’s already impressive resume. [Via]
Yamaha RD400 by Coti Sanders Moving on to another bike that benefits from lubricated fuel, it is this: a 1976 Yamaha RD400 built by Coti Sanders. Originally from southern Maine in the United States, Coti grew up riding dirt bikes and two-stroke quads. When he got his first classic, he was always going to be a smoker.
Picking up the RD400 12 years ago, it was around the time a certain global epidemic hit that Coti seriously tore the bike up. The party started with a full front-end swap, courtesy of a Suzuki GSX-R.
The spoked front wheel is from a Suzuki GT750, spinning in front of a bespoke engine skid. The engine uses Banshee pistons, with the work to fit them being done by Coti itself. He also did the entire exhaust system.
The tank is original, although it has been given a new coat of Jaguar ‘Underhood Blue’ and a recessed tank cap. The flat track style seat is new and sits above the swingarm and rear wheel of a KTM. Coti, an avowed “cheap bastard,” found parts for the bike from everywhere, the aforementioned KTM parts coming from the local dump.
Even though the bike is literally a special parts bin, I think Coti did a great job. I’m not the only one impressed with his skills either – Coti landed an invite to the Handbuilt Motorcycle Show in Austin, TX.
With his first build under his belt, I’m excited to see what he comes up with next. [Via]
1975 Honda CB750F by Mile Zero Racers When I first started riding bikes all those years ago, there was an amazing Honda CB750 that was listed on Bike EXIF. It’s lived rent-free on my mind ever since, so to this day I have a soft spot for Honda’s legendary inline-four.
Thomas Manno of Mile Zero Racers has the same love for CB. He saved his from being a seller on Facebook Marketplace in 2020. That means he has no problem finishing what he starts, as evidenced by two things. First, the bike itself. Second, the fact that it followed the first “Hi, is this still available?”
To top it off, Thomas was in college when he started his custom motorcycle journey, and also had little experience in tearing or building. Teaming up with Honda CB guru Mike Rieck of Cycle X to rebuild the top end, Thomas tackled the bottom end himself. Talk about jumping into the deep end!
The front end comes from a Suzuki GSX-R (this week’s front end of choice for custom bike builders) that would do wonders for the ride. The bike has been rewired with a full suite of Motogadget gearing, and it looks like every nut and bolt was replaced at some point along the way. I particularly like the sporty-looking engine spoiler that barely conceals the new four-into-one exhaust.
Traditionally, motorcycles are more metal-focused, but from the start of construction, Thomas wanted to add wooden details. The tank badges and seat hump were made with the help of a friend with experience in woodworking. They really look the business, especially with the way the taillight is recessed into the hump.
Thomas was also inspired by Porsche Clubsport racing cars but wanted to keep the CB as much as possible. All my CBias other than that it’s a good build and proves you can do anything you want. [Via]