This year’s Yamaha Yard Build is going to see some pretty impressive builds, but one in particular will stand out for several reasons, not the least of which for being aptly named. Hookie Co. put together a bike that they called the “Grasshopper,” and the bike looks the part with a thick middle that gets elongated in the back.
The handlebars even do a fair impression of antennae.
Of course, the bike will also be quite the jumper. Based on 17-inch wheels with Pirelli MT60 tires, the customised Yamaha xsr700 features a handmade aluminium tank set on the original, un-touched frame and chassis. The seat is also made of aluminium, and uses the original holders (though a new mounting plate had to be made).
Up front, a handmade aluminium lamp mask slides directly over the front fork. Hookie Co. added in a Gilles brake and clutch lever, a seat cover made from waterproof Alcantara, Motogadget glassless rear view mirrors, and an SC-Project exhaust system.
For the rear lights, Hookie Co. went innovative, using a 3D printed acrylic part that has three fins. Inside the part are the turn signals, taillight, and brake light.
All in all, it’s a bike that looks ready to bound down any trail, hopping through and over obstacles—just like its name implies.
Ural Motorcycle and SUP Are this Year’s Odd Couple
The old TV show The Odd Couple put two bachelors that were polar opposites together in the same apartment. BOTE has come up with a pairing that seems like they are opposites, but will no doubt have people clamouring for more. And best of all, this odd couple is a giveaway hat one lucky winner can walk away with.
The pair is a stand-up paddleboard made by BOTE and a Ural Tourist motorcycle with a sidecar. The board is a 12-foot Gatorshell Blackout that is a stylish black and grey—hence the name “Blackout.” The Ural that is being given away is a 2012 Tourist, which is based on the T model and 749 cc, OHV air-cooled 4-stroke with an opposed twin cylinder engine.
The bike has a 40 horsepower and 38 lb-ft output. Like most Tourists, the bike comes with a sidecar, and like the board, bike and sidecar have been blacked out. Of course, the duo wouldn’t make much of a couple without some alterations, and BOTE went to the garage to unite them with a custom rack setup that allows you to transport the board on the motorcycle.
The rack is “a Frankenstein made of resin and steel, paddle and pistons.” It’s tall enough that you can carry a passenger in the sidecar, and there’s a place to stow your paddle under the board.
The drawing for the giveaway will be held May 31, and one lucky winner will walk away with a prize worth more than $15,000.
The Triumph Rocket 3 is “Ultra Limited”
Motorcycle fans always have a Triumph on their lists of favorite bikes, and for good reason. The Triumph is a legend, and is perhaps best known for having the world’s largest and most powerful production engine. Triumph is continuing that legacy with the Rocket 3, but only 750 people will be able to add this bike to their collection. In Triumph’s own words, this bike is “a never-to-be-repeated ultra limited edition.”
Following in its predecessor’s footsteps, the Triumph Rocket 3 will be built around a beast of an engine, a 2500cc powerhouse that delivers 163 ft-lbs of torque and 168 horsepower. The engine’s roar will travel through a tailor-made Arrow muffler with carbon fiber end caps, giving the Rocket 3 a deep growl. It’s not just the end caps that are going to receive the carbon fiber treatment. The material is featured throughout the build.
As you look for that carbon fibre, you’ll also take in the hydroformed three-header exhaust run, as well as the cast aluminum wheels. You’ll probably also notice the premium Brembo Stylema brakes and the fully adjustable Showa monoshock with piggyback reservoir. Up front, you’ll see the twin headlights. As for the saddle, you can choose for a single rider version, or a two-seater.
The Rocket 3 has the power to back up its name, but if you’re wanting to get one for yourself, scrape your spare change together—you’ll need USD$29,000—and get down to your dealer before this limited edition is gone forever.
Two Weeks with Royal Enfield’s Continental GT 650
For a brand that wears the title of “ oldest motorcycle brand in continuous production “, Royal Enfield sure has a lot of history to draw from. Founded in 1901, the English builder produced some of the most iconic models in motorcycle history, including the Clipper, Crusader, Bullet, and Interceptor. In 1955 they partnered with Madras Motors and established “ Enfield India “ an off-shoot which would see Bullets being built and sold throughout India. Unfortunately, the British marquee closed its UK doors in 1971, but the Indian side of things has since soldiered on producing millions of classic Enfields over the decades.
Whilst the look of the old models always turned a head or two, many thought the bikes were a few cubic centimetres short of a good time. So in 2015, Royal Enfield purchased the famous Harris Performance, and the teams started to develop a brand new platform for the global market. Fast forward to 2019 and Australia has just started taking deliveries of the new babies. Based on a new 650cc parallel twin cylinder engine and a classically-styled tubular steel frame, the new Continental GT is one side of the exciting new Royal Enfield coin, and I was lucky enough to have two weeks of play with the cafe racer.
At first glance, it’s clear to see the Continental GT wears its heart on its sleeve. The new 650 shares a similar profile to the old 250 GT of yesteryear but with splashes of modern touches throughout the canvas. My “ Ice Queen “ white fuel tank wore a modern “ R “ logo, doing away with the traditional motif, saving that for the engine casing. Clip-on bars and rear-sets give the GT a classic cafe stance which would do it’s 1960s brothers and sisters proud and the upswept pipes are the icing on a very handsome cake.
Sitting between your legs is the Continental GT’s heart and soul; The 650 Parallel Twin. With minimal components and some clever engineering, the new donk performs as well as it looks. Unlike most modern engines, the lightweight motor isn’t covered in plastic covers or an inaccessible tubular prison, it sits low and proud inviting you to have a poke around. In its standard trim, the fuel-injected motor produces a respectable 47 horsepower, and with a combination of air and oil cooling, you won’t have any issues heat soaking in summer traffic.
Firing up the GT produces a nice purr, which is subtle enough not to wake up the neighbours but deep enough to give you a little grin. Gear selections are surprisingly short and accurate, putting more expensive competitors to shame. Riding through the city is a breeze with the 6-speed transmission, and even riders that are new to the scene won’t find an easier box to navigate. Overall, the engine and gearbox are very hard to fault for this style of bike, especially at this price point. Torque is ample across the rev range, giving you enough wiggle room to overtake, pull away from lights and even take a pillion on the back.
But the Continental GT is not strictly a city bike by any means. With a 24 degree rake, plenty of ground clearance and a tasty lean angle, the cafe chassis is a playful pup. The acquisition of Harris Performance really shines through when you get out into the twisty stuff. Front end inputs are very responsive and on the lighter side, resulting in a sense of agility that gets more addictive the longer you ride. The ABS assisted Bybre brakes (short for ‘By Brembo’) are never too obtrusive under hard braking and while they’re not providing superbike levels of stopping power, they’re a universe apart from the old drum brakes worn by its grandparents. If there was one small area of improvement in the chassis, it would be the suspension. While the rear piggyback reservoirs are adjustable and do a decent job under compression, I found the front to be slightly underdamped, resulting in the occasional jarring on some smaller holes it should have taken care of.
As a commuter, the Continental GT is a no brainer. It’s more fun, looks cooler, is cheaper and more convenient than public transport. It lane filters easily, has enough poke to get you off the lights quickly, and that combination of engine and gearbox is a tango that’s hard to beat. Take it out of the city and it’s just as proficient. Agile, zippy, predictable and enough grunt to pull you up mountain passes.
The Continental GT is the bike that Royal Enfield fans deserve. It’s a happy-go-lucky, leave your ego at the door, keep it simple, kind of fun. When you factor in a 3-year unlimited km warranty and 24/7 roadside assistance, all for $9,990 AUD, it should be a no brainer.
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