Tarmac Custom MCs' XJ900
By Anthony van Someren - 20 Nov 13
This chunky Brat/Scrambler painted in old-school Yamaha colours is the work of Javi & Co from Bike Shed favourites, Tarmac Custom Motorcycles in Vigo, Spain. All their builds are high quality and they're more than happy to mess with more modern late eighties machines, like this 1986 Yamaha XJ900. The original bike was a competent commuter and went on to become the fugly Diversion, but beneath the ugly plastic there was always a solid 900cc in-line Japanese four with a double cradle tube frame and all the elements you might need for an uber-cool large capacity custom - but you need a good eye and the right skills... The bike arrived with Javi and the guys in horrible cosmetic condition, but it was sound from an engineering point of view, and a good runner. As with all the TCMC builds it was initially completely disassembled before being sand-blasted, painted or powder coated. The original tank was an ugly lump that sloped down at the back and tapered down towards the side panels, so it had to go, to be replaced with a much prettier old-school Kz650, which was wide enough for the engine and frame. It was airbrushed in retro Yamaha livery and fitted with an adapted Monza style cap. A Yamaha R1 kindly donated the front forks, discs, calipers and front master cylinder, so expect a plush ride and very good braking - a major upgrade on the original bike. Piggy back shocks were fitted at the back to even up the ride. The handlebar is Renthal with CNC risers and running a quick-turn throttle, while the headlamps and speedo were swapped out for smaller items. Fenders are handmade aluminium and guard the chunky Heidenau tyres which have been fitted to the original three-spoke XJ wheels. Carbs were re-jetted to work with a pair of megaphone exhausts and free flowing air filters, making the most of the already-decent 900cc powerplant., while the electrics were replaced completely with new battery, CDI & regulator box in stainless steel behind the stainless sidecovers. "Go Jonnny Go" was added for the new owner, Juan (John in English) - a classic bike and car aficionado. The end result is a very complete and well-put together bike that ticks all our boxes; good looks, aggressive stance, decent powerplant, suspension and brakes, and well executed retro paint. That's a full 10 out of 10 in our book. The final word comes from Javi - "Now the bike sits really lower than stock, a lot shorter 'cause of the front forks. It's very comfy, and handles pretty well. Best of all is the engine, it's plenty of power and sounds loud and wild!" Thanks to Javi from Tarmac Custom Motorcycles for sharing with us here at the Bike Shed. See more builds from TCMC on their Bike Shed pages, or head over to their Website.