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XJR1300 Yard Built by Numbnut Motorcycles

The Yamaha Yard Built phenomenon is going strong but this creation from Amsterdam based Numbnut Motorcycles seriously raises the bar. It’s called the Botafogo-N and it’s drawn it’s inspiration directly from a one of a kind Fiat racing car from way back in 1917. Like all Yard Built machines, it hasn’t seen a single cut, chop, grind or weld: it’s all bolt on goodness and kits are available for order!

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Many a Yamaha has seen a Yard Built transformation but this 20th anniversary special XJR1300 is one of the best we’ve seen so far; it’s a road legal racer that oozes retro cool in stylings and pushes all the right buttons with regard to brute force and speed. The original XJR1300 came equipped with a a powerful, air cooled inline four engine boasting 1188cc and around 98 hp. If any bike needed a race makeover, it was this one. To get the job done, Yamaha Europe turned to Holland based Numbnut Motorcycles, an Amsterdam based outfit with close ties to Yamaha.

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During the planning stage, it was clear that Numbnut wanted to work in a bit of four wheeled racing history into the design and looked to the 1917 Botofogo racing machine from Fiat. A seriously powerful racing car equipped with a World War 1 aircraft engine that had a top speed of 146.01 mph. To start things off, lead builder Roderick Seibert settled on a set of Borrani M-Ray wheels coupled with Pirelli Phantom Sport rubber to give the build a period perfect starting block.

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With aesthetics in mind, Numbnut Motorcycles got to work on creating the iconic ‘Imola’ style front fairing, complete with a mesh headlight cover and brand spanking new LED headlight underneath, and matching custom made mesh side panels. To top it all off, they also fabricated a new rear under-seat panel before sending the bodywork bits off to master painter Mark van Wijk for a stunning paint job.

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While the racing attire was being fabbed and painted, the shocks were updated to a set of serious R1 forks and dual Ohlins units at the back. The front wheel was fitted with radial brake calipers and was topped with a modified R1 guard too. The brakes were also gifted a new set of Tygon 2375 brake hoses at the front and back and also treated with Goodridge steel braided lines.

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Like most Yard Built jobs, engine enhancement was kept at a minimum, the whole point of the Yard Built ethos is to inspire and produce parts for the home modifier, so anything too taxing is left off the table. Having said that, Numbnut upgraded the Yamaha XJR with a few top of the line items to make it sing, including a 520 RK racing chain mated to Chiaravalli sprockets, and a brand new (menacing in matt black) four into two exhaust from MVS Race Engineering. To keep things under control, Numbnut also gave the Yamaha a Stack ST200 tacho, Bike Sport Developments GP controls and Biltwell Grips.

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Of course, the vast majority of fabricated parts came straight from the Numbnut garage, including the clutch and brake levers, foot pegs, seat pan (with alcantara upholstery from Eller Meyer) and a whole host of other bits and pieces. All in all, it’s a fine build and Yamaha agree. Yamaha Europe’s Product Manager, Shun Miyazawa, said: “We are really happy with results of the collaboration. They’ve created a super cool custom machine that clearly shows its inspiration. Importantly they’ve done this through clever use of custom-made and bolt-on parts, ensuring the Botafogo Type-N Special can be shared with our XJR customers either as a whole or with selected parts available from them.”

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The Yamaha Yard Built phenomenon shows absolutely no signs of slowing down and we’re really forward to seeing what happens next. We’ve heard that Winston Yeh of Rough Crafts has nearly finished his Yard Built creation and we can’t wait to put that under the spotlight. Until then, have a look at JvB-moto’s incredible creation, or fawn over this gorgeous machine from It roCkS!bikes, instead! Or simply marvel at the inspiration below…

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Categories: Motorcycles

Joe Appleton
About Joe Appleton

I’ve done a bit of work here and there in the industry – I’ve even ridden a few bikes for actual money but what it comes down to is this: I ride bikes, build bikes and occasionally crash ‘em too. I like what I like but that certainly doesn’t make my opinion any more valid than yours…