The XV950 Ultra is a Superhero Masquerading as a Motorcycle

This is a Yamaha XV950, although you’d be hard pressed to recognise it. Dubbed the XV950 Ultra, it’s the first Yamaha Yard Built creation of 2016 and if this is a sign of things to come, we’re in for another great year of amazing custom built bikes. Made by Swiss customer builders GS Mashin with Tom Mosimann taking the lead, the XV950 Ultra is unlike anything we’ve seen recently and we love it.

Sure, it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but you can’t say the XV950 Ultra is playing it safe. Reminding us of a Marvel superhero more than a traditional machine,  the bike is inspired by Gothic architecture. Tom worked to create a low, racy looking machine with big narrow wheels and clip-ons in a stand out colour scheme.

The Yard Built XV950 ‘ULTRA’ fairing is handmade from 1.5mm steel sheet with the mounts cut from a stainless steel pipe. A small Bates floodlight sits inside the fairing with the two Highsider turn signals. The custom fuel tank is also hand crafted from 1.5mm steel with the upper edge made with a trimming press. The lower section is cut from the original XV950 fuel tank. One of the standout elements of the build has to be the super clean prototype rear suspension units built by K-Tech, based on their signature style Bullit units.

The hand crafted steel tail unit wraps around a Shin Yo rear light unit and the seat is again a hand made affair with leatherwork by Jose Rey Saddlery. The beautiful aluminium upper fork crown is machined by Asic Robotics and is super clean without the holes for the risers. The wheels are a work of art, the original hubs were used then 18inch back and 21inch front rims were added with new spokes, with ABS!

I love what Tom has created with the XV as his base,” stated Yamaha Motor Europe Product Manager, Shun Miyazawa. “I’m really happy that despite going for a really radical look, he shares our principles that a custom machine needs to retain the most important function; rideability. He’s kept the soul of the XV950 and wrapped it in a really original look without any cutting or welding to the frame. What is perhaps also very impressive is that 95% of the work he does is completed with just a few tools, an angle grinder, a bag of sand and a hammer!”



Yamaha XV950 ‘Playa del Ray’ and XJR1300 ‘Dissident’ Continue The Yard Build Concept

One of our favorite promotional series at the moment is the Yamaha Yard Built Specials, which sees a wide variety of bike customizers sought out by Yamaha to provide inspirational ideas on how to transform modern Yamaha models for the general public who perhaps aren’t as confident in their ability to modify their pride and joy. The best thing is that once debuted, the parts from each Yard Built Special are available direct from the customizers, allowing interested ones to recreate the bike in full or in part.

The latest builds are the Yamaha XV950 ‘Playa del Ray’ by Matt Black Custom Designs and the roCkS!bike XJR1300 ‘CS-06 Dissident’.

The XV950 build was a labor of love for nearly the entire Matt Black Custom Designs team. Anthony Partridge worked his magic with metal, making the beautiful tank by hand as well as several other trick parts; master technician Kurt Lohse used his electrical genius to ensure ‘Playa del Ray’s’ stunning switch gear is function as well as form; project manager Dom Kelly used his 3D design skills to bring the concept alive on screen before a single part was made as well as machining several of the parts for the build. No Yard Built is complete without a memorable paint job and the Matt Black build is no exception. Paint wizard Ray Hill added the finishing touch with a beautiful co lour scheme and intricate pin striping as well as contributing to the bodywork and finalizing of the build.

Matt Black Customs have made it easy for XV950 owners who want to add some of the Board Tracker style to their rides by providing a selection of bolt-on parts available directly from their website. The Spanish custom team plan to go further and develop an even wider range so the options look set to grow and grow – you can check out what’s available at the moment on

The second new addition, the XJR1300 ‘CS-06 Dissident’, the team works in a small workshop just outside Porto in Portugal since 2013. Osvaldo Coutinho and Alexandre Santos are civil engineers by day and it roCkS!bikes by night. Their engineering skills are plain to see in their builds with precision and attention to detail focused on creating their signature ‘monocoque’ one piece tank, seat and tail units in all their creations.

The Yard Built XJR 1300 ‘CS-06 Dissident’ is no exception, with a single handcrafted metal flowing unit stretching from just behind the triple clamps all the way back to the end of the tail. The build is a masterclass in clean, simple, elegant design with a staggering attention to detail. The rear hides recessed LED taillights in its form.

YZF-R1 upside down forks take the pressure at the front, modified to fit the XJR1300 steering column. A host of Motogadget pieces make an appearance on the LSL clip-on café racer bars, including aluminium grips, M-Blaze turn signals and a hi-tech Motoscope pro dashboard mounted on a custom CNC machined aluminium bracket designed in-house. The stock engine covers have been replaced on both sides of the block by lighter aluminium pieces with glass windows, revealing the heart of the machine.

XJR owners can take any or all of the CS-06 Dissident pieces directly from it roCkS!bikes to personalize their own machines. Contact them here to make the first step:


Yamaha XV950 (Star Bolt) Racer Announced

Yamaha is continuing its run of special editions, this time with the ‘Racer’ version of the XV950, better known as the Star Bolt in markets like the USA. Yamaha have been working closely with many of Europe’s top custom bike builders and the XV950 has in fact been inspired by the ‘El Ratón Asesino’ – a stunning café racer produced by legendary German custom builder Marcus Walz (pictured below).


Inside the new XV950 Racer the same engine is present with the 942cc air-cooled V-twin producing 52 hp at 5,500 rpm and of torque at 3,000 rpm. But other than the engine, this bike has had many tweaks, especially in the ergonomics to make this a truly worthy special edition and not just a cosmetic only release.

The new XV950 Racer has a far more forward leaning riding position than the donor bike. This has been achieved by the use of forged aluminium 22.2mm diameter clip-on handlebars that are positioned 156mm further forward and 78mm lower than on the XV950/R models. Even the diamater of the bars has been reduced to enable slimer handlebar grips.

The clip-on handlebars are equipped with compact new switchgear and clutch/front brake levers that reinforce the sport-oriented feel, and the front brake’s master cylinder has also been reduced in size. The XV950 Racer also features newly developed rear-set footrests that are 150mm further to the rear and 29mm higher than those fitted to the XV950/R and the Racer’s slim new single seat is 75mm higher as well.

The front and rear suspension systems on the XV950 Racer have been modified as well. The 41mm forks offer 144mm travel, 9mm more than on the XV950/R models. The twin rear piggyback gas shocks have also been developed to suit the new Racer model, and give 116mm of rear wheel travel, 6mm greater than the XV950/R.

Colors available will be glacier blue or matte grey, with a release date of May this year. No word on pricing in Europe or whether the bike will be available in other markets. Stop teasing everybody else, Yamaha Europe.