Custom Yamaha XJ600 Looks All Business Restyled as a Retro Endurance Racer

Custom Yamaha XJ600 16 photos
Photo: The Foundry
Custom Yamaha XJ600Custom Yamaha XJ600Custom Yamaha XJ600Custom Yamaha XJ600Custom Yamaha XJ600Custom Yamaha XJ600Custom Yamaha XJ600Custom Yamaha XJ600Custom Yamaha XJ600Custom Yamaha XJ600Custom Yamaha XJ600Custom Yamaha XJ600Custom Yamaha XJ600Custom Yamaha XJ600Custom Yamaha XJ600
For almost two decades, Carlos Ormazabal has made a living in the photography industry working for Nikon. He was a part of the Nikon Professional Services team and has therefore attended many high-profile events like the Olympics and FIFA World Cup. Motorcycling has long been his true calling, though, as he remembers having a fiery passion for two-wheelers ever since the age of 15.
Carlos owned countless bikes over the years, from a humble Piaggio Vespino (his first ride) to the BMW R 1150 R and Suzuki’s tried-and-true SV650. As a recurring trend, he would always tinker with his machines and look for ways to customize them to his liking. Things took an exciting turn in 2011, when the man established The Foundry MC along with a group of like-minded friends.

Some of them have since moved on while others stayed, and The Foundry is still going strong today. What we’ll be looking at today is one of the latest projects pieced together by Carlos and his crew – a Yamaha XJ600 Diversion with classic race bike vibes. Since 2013, the donor had been sitting around the shop as a pile of rusty parts, which were picked up for free and stashed aside for a future build.

During this time, Carlos owned a 1999-model XJ600 as his daily rider, so he used it as a testbed for the various ideas he had in mind. He also purchased a few aftermarket parts meanwhile, including a Yamaha TZ250 replica tail unit and an endurance fairing originally designed for the TRX850. With a plan drawn up and all the bits and pieces delivered, The Foundry’s specialists were ready to get the ball rolling.

They first cleaned up the frame and had it covered in a fresh layer of silver paint, while ditching the standard swingarm altogether. In its stead, we find the sturdier module of a YZF1000R Thunderace, neatly adapted for the XJ600 and finished in the same silver hue as the framework. This new swingarm is coupled with an adjustable shock absorber from Hagon.

Custom Yamaha XJ600
Photo: The Foundry
The same brand also makes an appearance at the front, with upgraded internals bringing the XJ600’s forks into the 21st century. In addition, the front suspension was also blessed with premium oil and lowered by 20 millimeters (0.8 inches) to achieve the desired posture. Things remained mostly unchanged down in the unsprung sector, where we still find the Diversion’s original three-spoke hoops.

Carlos wrapped their rims in grippy Dunlop tires fore and aft, but he decided to retain all the stock braking equipment. Obviously, the rear party takes place in the bodywork department, with the bike’s rear end experiencing some serious modifications to accommodate the TZ250 replica tail. The subframe is now shorter and narrower, allowing the boxy tail to fit up top like a glove.

Right behind it lies a full suite of LED lighting components, as well as a custom license plate holder to keep things street-legal. The Foundry used simple foam padding for the seat, while stashing the electronics in a handmade box underneath. Moving northward, we come across a replacement fuel tank that’s been transplanted from an unidentified commuter and adapted to suit the old XJ.

Custom Yamaha XJ600
Photo: The Foundry
Then there is the superb fiberglass front fairing, held in place via bespoke brackets and fitted with a yellow-tinted headlight. A new front fender can also be seen a bit lower down, and there’s a lot going on in the bike’s cockpit area, too. Clip-on handlebars bring about a sportier ergonomic package, featuring plain rubber grips and a Suzuki GSX-R's front brake master cylinder. A high-grade digital dash is also present in the center.

You won’t have an easy time finding the front turn signals, because they’ve been installed further back on each side of the oil cooler. Hard to spot unless they’re turned on, these bad boys help to keep the motorcycle’s front end as clean as possible. Now, Carlos’ original plan involved retaining and refurbishing the standard engine found on the 1992 Yamaha XJ600 Diversion.

He gave it an extensive top-end rebuild, which saw items like the pistons, valves, and rings either reconditioned or replaced altogether. However, it was eventually decided that it would be better to perform an engine swap, bringing the fresher powerplant of a 1999-model XJ600 into the picture. Gassy combustion by-products are now expelled via a custom exhaust system topped with a Yoshimura silencer.

Last but not least, the motorsport theme makes its presence felt in the specimen’s livery, as well. The colorway is a Marlboro-inspired affair combining white and red on the bodywork, brought to the forefront by the black and silver finishes used elsewhere. We see the number 62 on the fairing and tail section, done in white over a black background. All things considered, The Foundry’s custom XJ is an absolute stunner from every angle!
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About the author: Silvian Secara
Silvian Secara profile photo

A bit of an artist himself, Silvian sees two- and four-wheeled machines as a form of art, especially restomods and custom rides. Oh, and if you come across a cafe racer article on our website, it’s most likely his doing.
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