Rob’s Yamaha R1 Cafe Racer

I hate to say it however there’s a draw back to driving a basic British cafe racer. Certain you’ll revel within the feeling of nostalgia every time you get on it, be intoxicated by the scent of oil and gas permeating from the engine and end up awkwardly aroused by that unmistakable, twin-cylinder exhaust be aware. However your hopped-up Triton/Norvin/Tribsa won’t ever be the street-dominating beast that the Rockers of the ’60s wished it to be.

Again then, riders could be fortunate to crack 100mph and at these speeds, the suspension and brakes have been barely able to maintaining. Today 100mph is barely a brief twist of the throttle away on any bike over 650cc. The truth is, most fashionable 250s can comfortably crack the ton with out the worry of them shaking themselves to items. Add to that the massive enhancements we’ve seen in chassis design, suspension and brakes over the previous 60 years and people previous Brits merely can’t sustain.

Yamaha R1 Cafe Racer

There are in fact exceptions to the rule; just like the closely re-engineered bikes constructed by the professionals, however these sorts of upgrades don’t come low cost and neither do these bikes. So in the event you’re an on a regular basis motorcyclist whose dependancy to hurry ranks as extremely as your love of retro styling you’ll want to seek out your self a extra succesful fashionable donor.

Robert Catanese of Chicago, Illinois confronted such a conundrum when contemplating his personal cafe racer challenge. The 53-year-old blames Evel Knievel for his childhood obsession with 2 wheels. Since then he’s completed the whole lot from motocross to tug and avenue racing and says he’s nonetheless as “bike-demented” as ever. These days he’s not obsessive about the death-defying stunts of Knievel although. As an alternative, it’s legendary racers like Agostini, Roberts, Lawson and Rossi that he blames for his infatuation with GP bike and cafe racer tradition.

Yamaha R1 Cafe Racer

On account of Rob’s bike affliction, he’s constructed a detailed rapport with some very proficient {custom} bike builders. Amongst them is the daddy and son group behind Framecrafters with whom he teamed as much as realise this considerably unhinged cafe racer challenge.

“This bike was a private challenge and constructed as a result of I consider I watched Mad Max means too many occasions together with GP racing,” says Rob. “It needed to be retro-looking however imply as hell with all of the expertise that the twenty first century gives. I wanted one of many quickest bikes on the road disguised as a ’70s cafe racer.”

The donor Rob elected best suited for his challenge was a 2012 Yamaha R1. With its full fairing bodywork, Deltabox alloy body and 4-cylinder 1000cc engine the YZF-R1 has just about nothing in widespread with the cafe racers of previous. However with 182 hp on faucet, the power to finish a standing quarter mile in below 11 seconds and a prime velocity of 185 mph it supplied exactly the type of performer Rob had in thoughts. So whereas 1 of his necessities had been met attaining the opposite meant that the R1 would want to bear a critical retro makeover.

“We simply wanted the donor bike for the motor, ECU and a few geometry factors. So I offered all of the leftover elements on eBay,” says Rob. “The gentleman that had owned this R1 handled it like extra of a trailer queen than something. He truly bragged that it had by no means seen rain. It was principally model new and had been spoiled its entire life. When he came upon what we have been planning on doing, he nearly backed out of the deal!”

Yamaha R1 Cafe Racer

Rob’s design strategy to this cafe racer challenge was as unorthodox as its donor. “I’m a dinosaur in the case of 3D or CAD however I may all the time draw freehand. At some point my pal Walter and I designed the R1X on a serviette over a few beers,” he recollects. “I have a look at that tough sketch right this moment and actually my bike appears similar to it!”

After drawing up his dream and tearing down the R1, Rob headed to the Framecrafters workshop in Union, Illinois to share his imaginative and prescient with store homeowners Randy and Karsten. Step one was designing a brand new chassis to deal with the R1 motor, which simply so occurred to be their speciality.

The 1000cc inline-four now sits in a wholly bespoke chassis. Framecrafters steered effectively away from utilizing any boxed aluminium as you’d discover on a contemporary sports activities bike. As an alternative, all the construction is shaped utilizing Aviation Grade Chromoly Metal tube. Designed utilizing a confused member configuration, the brand new body is constructed to race requirements to make sure it may possibly deal with the output of the R1 motor and Rob’s aggressive driving fashion. The swingarm is Chromoly too and the tubes have been bonded to billet aluminium axle carriers on the rear. To finish the basic look Rob, requested that the entire meeting be nickel plated as a hat tip to the frames produced by Rickman within the Nineteen Seventies.

Yamaha R1 Cafe Racer

Subsequent got here the bodywork and as soon as once more there isn’t a touch of contemporary sportbike styling to be discovered.

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Up entrance, Framecrafters put in an iconic bubble fairing. The Ducati 750SS duplicate unit sits degree with the brand new bone line and has been modified the go well with the R1’s front-end geometry. The tail unit is a 750SS duplicate too fitted with {custom} rear-end lighting and a diamond-stitched leather-based saddle. As for the gas tank, it’s been hand-beaten from aluminium and holds an ample 5 gallons of gas. Tucked away beneath it’s an alloy air consumption that feeds the airbox and there are numerous hand-made alloy brackets and mounts holding the whole lot in place.

Yamaha R1 Cafe Racer

With the R1 confidently satisfying Rob’s retro requests the construct may have been referred to as completed, however he had greater plans for its efficiency. “I used to be making an attempt to make use of the identical or related elements as right this moment’s MOTO GP bikes however didn’t need to sacrifice reliability. Mainly, it’s a street-going model of a Moto GP bike,” he explains.

To tremendously cut back unsprung weight Rob has put in a set of premium BST Diamond Tek carbon fibre rims. These have been wrapped in Dunlop Sportmax sticky Q4s and fitted with ceramic bearings. Stopping energy comes by way of Berenger 6-piston entrance callipers and a single-piston rear and so they all chew down on Brake Tech rotors. The rear-end suspension acquired an Ohlins improve within the type of a TTX totally adjustable mono-shock. The forks sit in an Assault Triple Clamp Equipment and the clip-on bars put on Australian-made Moto GP controls. The GP Shift foot controls are by Vortex and there’s a protracted record of upgrades from Lightech and Motogadget too. Then, as if 182hp wasn’t sufficient Rob fitted a {custom} titanium exhaust with a Bologna mid pipe and had the ECU chipped and tuned for optimum output.

It’ll come as no shock that Rob’s Yamaha cafe racer is an actual performer. “The Chromoly metal body has a nimble nature completely different from the inventory body which I consider helps to propel you quicker into and out of corners. I’m positive the light-weight BST wheels have one thing to do with that too!” he jokes. “Mainly, my bike is approx 50 lbs lighter than a inventory R1. Energy to weight is the whole lot with simply over 400 lbs and 200 HP. She’s gonna be arduous to beat, and I haven’t misplaced but!”

All-up Rob’s R1X took 2.5 years to finish because of the easy proven fact that the whole lot needed to be custom-made or modified to suit this ground-up construct. That’s a very long time to attend to get to understand all of the arduous work and cash that’s gone into the challenge, however Rob is now taking advantage of it. His R1 is not a fair-weather trailer queen. As an alternative, it has change into his day by day steed and will get put by its paces at each alternative.


   Yamaha R1 Cafe Racer