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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Welcome to my XSR 700 Café Racer Build thread .

Well to begin, as you can tell by the title of the thread, this is my build thread for turning a brand new 2018 XSR 700 into an epic little café racer inspired motorcycle. Here goes.

Well, a little background first. (You can skip this part if you don’t care about the backstory).

I used to ride about a decade ago. I was in high school and I actually bought a Yamaha Enduro instead of my first car. Don’t ask me how I convinced my parents to let me do so, but by god I did. However since it rains here in the PNW from September until June…. I didn’t put a lot of miles on it. I eventually sold that bike and bought a Ninja 650, and ended up selling that to pay for college. I didn’t really think about getting a bike again until a few months ago, when I went go kart racing and remembered how much I really loved strapping on a helmet and ripping around corners. Signed up for my MSF class the next week and ended up buying a bike less than a month later.

The XSR was a clear choice from the beginning. Reliable platform, manageable but fun power, great looks and a good measure of parts. I was pricing it out against a Ducati Café Racer, but couldn’t justify the extra costs of the Ducati when I knew I wanted to customize the bike. So off to the dealership I went. But alas! No bikes in my area. It was the off season, and I was told the 2019 models wouldn’t be in for another month or two unless I wanted to order one. So I browsed the internet until I found a dealership a few hours north of me that had a closeout special on one for $7000. Walked OTD with the bike for $7880, and right into a snowstorm. By the time I had the bike strapped into the uhaul, there was a half an inch of snow on the ground. We headed south, and after 3 hours of literally outrunning a snowstorm, I unloaded the bike into the garage. Phase 1 was complete. On to Phase 2….







First modification – Remove the stock headlight and turn signals and replace with ones from Purpose Built Moto.
PBM Headlight - https://purposebuiltmoto.com/product/flashpoint-led-headlight-7/?v=7516fd43adaa
PBM Turn Signals - https://purposebuiltmoto.com/product/hollow-tip-3-in-1-blinker-turn-brake-run/









Unfortunately the stock headlight brackets didn’t really work to my liking. The hollow space left by the stock turn signals is clearly to big to mount the tiny signals, and I didn’t like the idea of leaving that space blank. So off to Brogue motorcycles I went, and ordered a set of their headlight brackets, which I had seen another user on here use. In hindsight, I could have just made these, but I was impatient. Live and learn….

Brogue Headlight Brackets - http://www.broguemotorcycles.com/xsr700-parts/xsr700-headlight-brackets



Sketchy soldering station…. Check


 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Next up was an order from Revzilla for Frame sliders, mirrors and a fender delete. I loathe the stock fender and mirrors and knew it had to go. I chose these frame sliders since they don’t ruin the lines of the bike, but still provide some protection.

Fender Eliminator - https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/new-rage-cycles-led-fender-eliminator-yamaha-xsr700-2018

Frame sliders (2 parts) - https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/woodcraft-frame-slider-base-yamaha-fz-07-mt-07-2015-2018
https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/woodcraft-frame-slider-puck

Bar End Mirrors - https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/bike-master-oval-clamp-on-mirrors











The rear fender was slightly confusing, as is noted in many reviews, but I was able to get it on and wired in within an hour along with the frame sliders.

Now the mirrors. These mirrors come with adapters to supposedly fit on different sized bar ends. Unfortunately the XSR has a strange sized bar end, and so I had to sand the adapters down to then be able to slide them on and clamp them down. I had to sand them REALLY thin to make them work, and so I can’t recommend these unless you want to do lot of work.







Bike looks darn good at this stage, but with winter still in full swing, I had plenty of time to keep modifying. Next up was the seat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I looked all over for a café racer style seat I liked. C Racer, S2 and others had options, but none of them struck my fancy. Luimoto coincidentally then released their seat cover for the XSR 700 and I was hooked. They were even nice enough to help me customize with a diamond pattern that looks fantastic. I opted for the rider gel upgrade, which doesn’t seem to be a bad idea by any means, but I don’t know if I would shell out the cash for it again. Maybe on longer rides it will really make a difference.

Luimoto Seat Cover - https://www.luimoto.com/?my=551&p=990











The weather was nice enough after the seat upgrade that I finally got to take her out. I was a bit nervous at first, but we quickly found our groove and were out ripping my old runs soon enough. Man it felt good to be back!





After searching around this forum, looking at clip on options, XSR 900 clubman bars, etc – I finally settled on the Hurricane bars from Webike Japan. I also ordered some Biltwell grips that match the seat pretty well.

Clubman Bars - https://japan.webike.net/products/21996666.html
Biltwell Grips - https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/biltwell-thruster-78-tpv-grips


Unfortunately installing these was not as easy as I had hoped and read from other users. The brake and throttle lines would jam in the stock position (where the holes line up). We tried sanding the underside of the throttle body in order to loosen the body up (it was tight) but it didn’t help. Eventually we found the exact right spot where we could have full bar turn and not jam up the lines. The bars do however put you in a nice sporty position, without going too far forward like the 900 clubmans do. Not as comfortable for long rides, but for the price and the looks, it’s a good deal.



 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Foolishly, I forgot to order bar ends as well. The Japan website does not detail if the bars were threaded like the stock ones, and so I hoped they would be. Alas, they are not, and so I ordered some Rizoma bar ends.

Rizoma Bar Ends - https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/rizoma-bar-ends-series-534

While waiting for the bar ends, I look the tank off. I liked the red on this bike, it really does look good. But I wanted it to be unique, and I’ve always loved white bikes. So a local friend painted the tank panels gloss white, and the center panel a matte black. I had him try to match the same sheen as the black plastic parts on the bike, and he did a fantastic job. Unfortunately, that also means there isn’t as much hardener in the black, and no clear coat, so it scratches easily. I may go to a gloss black later on. Once that was done, I installed some Tech Spec tank grips.

Tank Grips - https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/techspec-snake-skin-tank-pads-yamaha-xsr700-2018-2019







Once I had the bar ends back on, I took it to my local shop to have Michellin Road 5’s put on. I wanted something with good wet grip and good dry grip, since it rains here so much. While I don’t plan in riding in the rain often, I didn’t want to feel hindered if I had the bike out on a cloudy day. That is one of the things that really kept me from putting lots of miles on my first few bikes, was not being able/be confident in the rain. No pics of this since I didn’t do the work myself.





At this point I was able to actually take the bike out and really start to ride. The weather eased up and I was able to put on almost 500 miles in a few short weeks, only riding on back roads. The bike is smooth, extremely agile, and just feels great. I was basically done with this build, until I happened to stumble upon a really good deal on the exact exhaust I wanted. The Leo Vince Underbody Exhaust - https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/leovince-underbody-evo-ii-exhaust-system-yamaha-xsr700-2018

After watching a bunch of sound comparison videos, I had determined that I really loved not only the sound, but also the looks of this exhaust. I’m not a fan of huge cans out the side, and this sits nice and tight under the bike. Installed it with no problems, and it sounds great!

 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Now at this point, I had taken my panels off once again. I was searching around for vintage decals/emblems that would top the tank off and add a finishing touch. I stumbled across an ebay seller that did vinyl kits for vintage dirt bikes. I reached out to their website to find that they were a short 20 minutes away from me! I called them up, discussed what I was looking for, and dropped off the tank panels the next day. After a few weeks, I had my panels back, with some great looking decals on them. In the mean time, I added a RAM grip and a usb charger for my phone so I can actually navigate.








So here she is. I took her to work yesterday morning for the first time and she looks amazing, sounds amazing, and rides amazing. “Revs the heart” as Yamaha likes to say. I’ve had quite a number of compliments on the bike already, and she certainly turns heads. Now I’m no professional builder, but if this doesn’t exemplify what “Yard Built” is… I don’t know what can. ;)

 

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Very impressive build, Steak.Sauce. Your tank/seat/lighting set up looks great. I'd like to hear the sound of your Leo Vince exhaust system.
 

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Thanks for posting the details of your build progress! Does that exhaust bolt directly to the frame rather than on the stock exhaust hanger with the vibration-damping bushings? If so, do you experience additional vibration over stock?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Very impressive build, Steak.Sauce. Your tank/seat/lighting set up looks great. I'd like to hear the sound of your Leo Vince exhaust system.
I'll see what I can do to get a recording. :)

Thanks for posting the details of your build progress! Does that exhaust bolt directly to the frame rather than on the stock exhaust hanger with the vibration-damping bushings? If so, do you experience additional vibration over stock?
The exhaust bolts in the same places the original exhaust does. Haven't noticed any difference in vibration.
 

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Thanks for the detailed write-up! A very enjoyable read. And I think this is what Yamaha wanted - a bike you can work on, personalize and enjoy without having to pay someone else to do the customizing. Well done Mr. Sauce (unless you prefer rare, of course)
 

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What a great post.
This was the reason I signed up to this forum.

Hoping to follow in your footsteps and customise my XSR.

I like the forest green it came in so will work around that.
 

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Hi That’s an impressive work you have done and very detailed . Thank you for sharing.
I was planning to upgrade my headlight to 7” size and saw the one by purpose Built Moto. My question is can we mount the light in the stock bracket? I understood u didn’t like the stock one but is it possible to mount on the stock bracket with the stock indicators??
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hi That’s an impressive work you have done and very detailed . Thank you for sharing.
I was planning to upgrade my headlight to 7” size and saw the one by purpose Built Moto. My question is can we mount the light in the stock bracket? I understood u didn’t like the stock one but is it possible to mount on the stock bracket with the stock indicators??
Indeed you can, the picture right before I swap to the new brackets shows the light on the stock bracket. Should look very nice with the stock indicators. I believe I had to slightly drill out the bracket to allow for the screw shaft to pass through the hole, since it is a little tight. Had to do it on the Brogue ones as well.
 

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I think the left side of the "side carters" looks fine, but the right side still exposes the brake reservoir, just as ugly as stock.
The SW-Motech covers the right side better.
 

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Hey @steaksauce, Can you tell me how those mirrors perform when they're flipped upside down like that?
I currently have the bee antenna stock mirrors and they don't really help with filtering (or lane splitting as other countries call it) and looking for alternatives.

Thanks
 
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