rough crafts xsr700 cafe racer

Rough Crafts XSR700 Corsa Scorcher & Soil Scorpion 2-for-1 Yamaha Yard Built Project

Two is always better than one and Rough Crafts XSR700 delivers

Imagine commissioning one of your favorite builders to build you a custom bike; you have a few rounds of back and forth, come up with a plan, and then anxiously await the finished product. Time seems to stand still because you simply can’t wait. Then, finally, the day arrives. The truck pulls up and as the doors swing open, you start to see double. While you might need another espresso, you’re eyes aren’t totally deceiving you. You see two sets of tires. Two sets of bodywork. Two exhaust systems. What’s going on?

Winston Yeh of Rough Crafts certainly knows his way around a custom bike and when he got a second chance to build a custom for Yamaha’s Yard Build project, he wasn’t messing around. Stuck between building a café racer or a scrambler, Yeh decided to go for both, delivering Yamaha pretty powerful 2-for-1.

rough crafts xsr700 scrambler

Winston knew he was going to utilize the XSR as his platform, but was stuck between the 700 and the 900. After speaking with Shun Miyazawa, Product Manager at Yamaha Europe and the man behind Yamaha Yard Built, he reminded him,

"It's not always about more power, it's the power/weight ratio that counts."

From that point on, Winston knew he was going with the 700.

rough crafts xsr700 Corsa Scorcher

Working with the newly designed XSR700’s shorter frame and detachable rear frame loop, the Yard Build strategy of "no frame cutting" was made possible Yeh got to work on the shape of his bodywork. It was at that point where he found himself struggling with whether he should go with clip-ons and make it a cafe racer, or to go with flat bars and make it a tracker. Que lightbulb above the head and his “ah ha” moment was deciding that he could create the bodywork as a kit, allowing customers to mix and match, creating the bike they want. So, he molded two sets of bodywork, got two sets of wheels and tires, different sets of handlebars, and 2 unique exhaust systems, and managed to create two bikes out of one project.

rough crafts xsr700 Soil Scorpion

Wanting versatility, Yeh designed a set of triple trees that can run a complete R1 front end and by matching the same brand/design rear wheel sized for the for 700/900 one can obtain a direct bolt-on front and rear custom wheels with inverted forks.

rough crafts xsr700 cafe racer front end

To make 2-for-1 concept work further, Yeh went to Shark Factory for their X2E fully adjustable remote control digital suspension, so you can adjust on the fly for street or dirt.

The café racer version is dubbed the Corsa Scorcher and the scrambler version goes by the name, Soil Scorpion. Both bikes got their names from the Pirelli tires provided for the build(s): the Super Corsa and Scorpion Rally.

rough crafts xsr700 cafe racer

The cafe racer version features ultra-lightweight carbon fiber wheels from Rotobox and clip-ons from Gilles Tooling, and an Akrapovic titanium tail pipe for R1, whereas the scrambler version features lightweight forged wheels from Wukawa Industry Co., a handmade flat bar, and Akrapovic titanium XSR700 high pipe modified for a little more tracker flair. The cafe racer version runs velocity stacks, while the scrambler one runs Sprint Filter waterproof filters to allow for stress-free fun when the going gets dirty. Both variations run top-notch Beringer brakes.

Rough crafts XSR700 scrambler in action

The body kit was made with a full carbon fiber mono body with a small aluminum tank underneath.

Rough Crafts XSR700 custom tank

The whole thing is fully bolt-on without any modification, the only thing cut out from the stock frame is 4 tabs that held the now nonexistent airbox. They didn’t weigh the Soil Scorpion version, but the Corsa Scorcher version with the R1 fork and Rotobox wheels went from a stock 410lbs to 370lbs – a 10% reduction of weight with most of the electrical and the ABS system retained.

While we can't speak for Yamaha, we have to imagine they're pleased with this one!

Rough crafts XSR700 cafe racer in action

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The fine folks at The Bike Shed in London spent some time with Winston and the Rough Crafts XSR700 and put together a cool little video showing both sides of the bike. Give it a watch!


CX500 street tracker

Honda CX500 Street Tracker by Chris Kent

A corn-fed CX500 street tracker

Chris Kent has had a passion for motorcycles since age 10 when he discovered a rough Honda MR50 in his shed that his step-dad took in on a trade.

"It was the first bike I ever threw a leg over and I was convinced it was the greatest thing I’d ever experience in my life – I was hooked."

As the years went by, Chris' love for motorcycles grew and he finally decided to try his hand a building a custom bike, resulting in the killer CX500 street tracker you see here.

CX500 street tracker by Chris Kent

Initially, his plans involved starting with an older Triumph Bonnie turned café racer and explored some expert builders in that arena - he actually had reached out to us years ago - but wanted to ensure it was hands-on process and ultimately chose Iowa builders, Redwood Cycles, right in his backyard as his go-to builders.

The Redwood boys sourced a 1979 Honda CX500 Custom sitting in a barn in northern Iowa. It was rough but running. With a CX on the chopping block, Kent had come up with a dual sport / café setup which naturally morphed throughout the process, ultimately landing on a street tracker stance with a little cafe racer flair. The build spanned about 2 years, and during that time, unplanned involuntary dismount gave them a ‘do-over’ opportunity.

After getting the bike complete and on the road, a number of electrical issues reared their ugly heads, frying the halo headlight, melting the gel battery, and damaging a bevy of top-notch Motogadget goodies. The regulator/rectifier ended up being the primary culprit for the trouble and after experiencing the stress with a bad charging system first hand with our Bullitt OG, it’s safe to say we know the pain they went through!

Going through the bike more thoroughly with the 2.0 version, Kent decided to not cut any corners this time around. A full motor rebuild was done by Smith Brother’s Classic Cycles & Customs, boring out the cylinders .250 over, and adding new pistons, rings, and rod bearings.

Setbacks included, the overall process was enjoyable from beginning to end, do-over included, and has teed up 2 more custom builds of similar caliber with Smith Brother’s. For Kent, the best part of the project has been reconnecting with old childhood friends and having a good time wrenching.

Throughout the process people kept saying “Man, you aren’t cutting corners. All top shelf!” Being a BMW fan and having a German wife, the CX was affectionately named, “Obersten Regal” (or  Top Shelf to us non-German speaking folk). And they're not kidding. Kent's attention to detail is borderline obsessive - and we love it. We'll be keeping an eye our for his next work and know they'll be sure to impress, just as this one has.

Photos: Deke Morrow

Obersten Regal CX500 Specs:

• Removed front fender
• Extended rear fender 4 inches
• Complete motor rebuild and improvements
• Chopped off back end and fabricated a new tail section and swing arm support
• Penske 8975 custom mono shock
• 2012 R6 front end
• GSXR wave rotors
• Ducati Brembo rear brake caliper and rotor setup
• Excel Warp 9 wheels with custom hubs from Cognito Moto
• Shinko 005 Advance rubber
• Street tracker bars, Outlaw risers with ASV stubby levers - Motogadget m-switch mini(s)
• Tomaselli grips
• Full Motogadget electronics
• Speedhut GPS Speedo/Tac
• CX500 Deluxe tank
• Custom seat with Buffalo hide from Steamboat Springs, CO
• Mikuni carbs from Speedmoto - bronze powder coated velocity stacks
• Custom SS exhaust with dual 12” stubbys
• Fabricated new rear set mounts
• Custom paint by Scott Takes of Underground Art Studio