How easy is it to transform a relatively indifferent – for our era – bike into a standout Cafe Racer? The Yamaha XJ600 (FJ600 to U.S. buyers), first introduced in 1984, was a standout then as it was the first Japanese 600cc in-line four and one of the first four-cylinder bikes with rear mono-shock suspension.
The Adrenaline Junkies team have made an attempt at the transformation. Judging by the result, we would have to say that they pulled it off. Further down are the details of this endeavour made by the Salonica-based Greek custom builders.
The specific XJ600 is an ’85 model, originally purchased in Holland by Giannis Tamtakos (of Adrenaline Junkies Netherlands) which was then brought to Greece to become a project for one of the members of the Greek Adrenaline Junkies team.
The XJ was chosen for its reliable 72hp (54Kw) engine and initial dimensions regardless of the fact that these changed radically during the course of the project. Let’s take things from the beginning….
The Yamaha XJ600 Café Racer project started in the Winter of 2013 with a few initial layout plans and plenty of inspiration from racing of years past, something which is apparent (more likely, obvious) in the chosen colours and graphics utilized. The main input for the graphics was contributed by Akis Kalentzis of “All About Design”.
Judging from this decision regarding the graphics, the XJ600 could suitably have been called Yamaha XJ600 “King” Kenny Roberts Replica.
Before reaching the external embellishment stage, however, several other milestones had to be achieved with regard to the manufacture of the bike. The frame and front suspension as well as the wheels were kept stock, naturally following plenty of tlc from the A.J. (cleaning, sandblasting, powder coating for the frame and wheels, full service for the front suspension).
The sub-frame was modified in order to fit a rear end of a Suzuki GS400 which was then, in turn, fitted with a taillight off a Suzuki XF650. The seat was created totally by the A.J. as was the rear suspension support brackets which were created in order to fit onto the rear swing arm donated from a Yamaha FZ400.
The XJ engine was in good condition and not much was required apart from a good cleaning, service and carb adjustment topped off with a coat of paint.
The headlight was sourced from a Suzuki GS400, the bikini fairing from a Yamaha RD350 and the clip-on handlebars from a Yamaha SRX250. The instrument panel came from a Honda CB650C.
The fuel tank’s life started on a Suzuki GS500 (1978) before being re-located to the XJ which with the loving care of the A.J. was fit with a stylish and discreet top compartment used to house the tool kit.
More detail was added in the form of modified footrest supports and footrests from Arrow’s aftermarket Yamaha R6 range.
A few final “Cafe Racer” strokes include the handlebar end rearview mirror on the left and the minimal black peashooter muffler as well as the racing number plate on the side.
The Yamaha XJ600 Cafe Racer has been clocking up miles on a daily basis for the last few months in Northern Greece.
Text: Nicholas Kypriotis
Photos: Adrenaline Junkies