Café Chronicles: YAMAHA TR-1 Café Racer

When something goes wrong with plan A, you have to use Plan B Motorcycles

Throughout the years of studying café racers around the world, I became convinced that some bikes are almost impossible to convert to a café racer. Today I'm going to show you one of these bikes that proved me wrong. Very wrong.

Nowadays, builders are developing a new style of café racers by combining the nimbleness of the old school racers with the perks of modern bikes, namely aerodynamics and reliability.

It is also the case of Christian Moretti, owner of Plan B Motorcycles, a "neo-café" workshop based in Northern Italy. In today’s article, I’m going to present you a 1983 Yamaha TR-1 that was radically transformed from an old school daily commuter to a modern, high-performance café racer.

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The original look of this Yamaha model was outdated and bulky, as you can see in the last photo from the gallery. Christian redesigned the base lines of the original bike and adopted a new stance via a lifted, eye-catching custom made subframe. Along with the leather seat, it creates a robust and dynamic connection between the Norton aluminum gas tank and the backbone frame. 

Check this out: BMW R nine T Cafe Racer

For the rear end, a Ducati 999 swingarm was modified to fit the build and highlight the modern lines of this café racer. It truly changes the way this bike looks compared to the skinny factory swing arm, while also inspiring resistance and rigidity.

N Drew TheVintage 016

But style is not everything when it comes to a café racer. A mandatory condition when building a bike like this is to improve handling over the stock bike. To do that, the front fork was replaced with a Showa inverted unit and a triple-tree snatched from a Ducati 916.

A genuine café racer must also sound good. The massive 1000-cc V-twin engine growl can be heard now through the custom-made, twin-exit, underslung exhaust system. 

TR 010

In the end, I’m going to tell you this project taught me that sometimes you can make the impossible possible, even if it means turning an 80’s old-school motorcycle into a modern, streamlined café racer.

Photo credits to N_Drew & Plan B Motorcycles

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