Jam Xia’s Custom Yamaha XSR700: Mega Torque, LAMS-Compatible, and just gorgeous!
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Jam Xia’s Custom Yamaha XSR700: Mega Torque, LAMS-Compatible, and just gorgeous!

By DrJohnWright - 06 February 2023

‘Modern classic styling and crossplane concept twin for fun performance, all built to be uniquely customised’ reads Yamaha’s promotion of the XSR700. But could even the most imaginative of Yamaha Australia’s executives have possibly imagined how those creative dudes at the Gasoline Motor Company in Sydney could take that phrase ‘uniquely customised’ to the next level?Top of Form

We have been impressed with every motorcycle we have seen that carries the Gasoline imprimatur. It really does seem as if no project is too big for this creative team to tackle and the quality and workmanship are invariably peerless. But the company wisely advises customers to think about their budget and double it to cover all contingencies and to ensure perfection in every detail.

Parked in front of this Gasoline Motor Company collection, Jam Xia’s superb XSR700 custom looks sensational.
Image: Gasoline Motor Company

The tank of Jam Xia’s 2016 XSR carries the word ‘Gasoline’ and that pretty much tells the true story here. This one-off motorcycle was completed for Jam Xia’s birthday in 2018 and, as he says, its geometry was tailored specifically for his body, which is always the Gasoline approach.

But before we consider in detail the work done by Gasoline, let’s give the XSR700 some Yamaha historical context.

The extraordinary MT-01 with its 1700cc V-twin and moonshot torque set the template for a whole series of Yamaha MT motorcycles.
Image: Yamaha Motor

Ever since 2005 when Yamaha debuted the phenomenal MT-01, the company has owned the ‘MT’ (‘Master of Torque’) sub-brand. The MT-01 made its debut as a concept at the 1999 Tokyo Motor Show. Yamaha’s designers were keen to create a new series of naked motorcycles where the focus was on ‘Mega Torque’ from a large capacity air-cooled V-Twin.

Although the prototype was an XJR1300 equipped with a Warrior 1700cc V-Twin engine, the only previous Yamaha motorcycle that provided inspiration for the MT-01 was the legendary V-Max. What the two had in common was that in each case the entire bike was designed around its engine. According to Yamaha, the rider’s experience with the V-Max was ‘more akin to riding on top of an engine with wheels’. At the time there was nothing else in motorcycling like it and the V-Max will always be regarded as one of the definitive Japanese muscle bikes.

The MT-01 had such prodigious torque virtually from idle that even five speeds in the gearbox seemed superfluous. (To ride one of these was a completely different experience; having previously owned an XJR1300 followed by a Habayusa, I was unprepared for the brutal torque fest that was the MT-01.)

Noting that not all enthusiasts fell in love with the rather crude – almost OTT – MT-01, the Yamaha engineers resolved to make its future naked bikes somewhat less uncompromising and more city-friendly. But the MT-01 made enthusiasts everywhere take note, just as the V-Max had done decades earlier.

Next came the MT-03 in 2006 and following its sales success Yamaha’s product planners conceived an MT Series, embracing the theme of ‘torquey and agile’. Engines would be a parallel twin with 270-degree crank and a triple. Early thoughts of including a four in the mix were dropped, probably wisely given the ubiquity of in-line four-cylinder Japanese motorcycles.

The 2014 MT-07 was certainly one of the standout new machines and a real head-turner, especially in this livery.
Image: Yamaha Motor

In 2014 Yamaha released the MT-07 with an all-new 700cc twin-cylinder engine. It is this unit which is at the heart of the XSR700 and endows the motorcycle with such distinctive character – even before the dudes at Gasoline get out their magic wands! Yamaha’s plan was to start with the XS650 as the design inspiration and incorporate the modern technology of the MT-07.

Launched in 1968, the XS650 had a single overhead camshaft engine, while almost every rival motorcycle had pushrod valve-trains. It remained in production until 1985.

Yamaha approached renowned Japanese custom motorcycle guru Shinja Kimura to develop the concept. Further work was then performed by a team of Yamaha designers in Monza, Italy. The XSR700 uses the engine, frame, chassis and brakes of the MT-07. Perhaps its closest rival is the Ducati Scrambler 800.

Jam Xia chose the XSR partly because it provided as much power as the Australian LAMS regulations permit (defined in part by power to weight ratio).

Pearl white fuel tank contrasts strongly with the naked mechanicals. Hand-painted pinstripes on the wheels are a nice touch.
Image: Gasoline Motor Company

The Gasoline team also reckoned the XSR700 was a great choice as the basis of an LAMS-compatible custom motorcycle. The pearly white paintwork and Gasoline decal get your attention first. The brightly coloured tank contrasts with the prevailing darker shades of the mechanicals to lower the visual height of the bike. The custom rear sub-frame with embedded LED tail-light, along with Gasoline’s ultra-cool seat base and upholstery, give a lithe eagerness to the Yamaha’s demeanour: it looks ready to hit that road! The wheels were hand painted and pin-striped.

The electrics are by Motorgadget as are the mirrors. An SC Projects exhaust system maximises the distinctive soundtrack of the in-line 655cc twin-cylinder engine.

Cool mini-speedo!
Image: Gasoline Motor Company

There is a custom (CAD) machined top triple clamp and riders. An especially neat touch is the Moto Gadget mini-scope speedo. The headlight is from JVB Moto. Gasoline chose Rizoma foot controls and pegs.

Like every motorcycle that emerges from the Gasoline factory, this Yamaha – of which Jam Xia is extraordinarily proud – has a purposeful stance and exudes a devilish beauty in its details. Arguably, the more compact the bike, the more difficult it is to create a brilliant custom, but this one certainly earns that moniker and would draw crowds at any public showing. Well done, Jam Xia!

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