Yamaha Hosts Yard Builds And Family Time At IMS

Visitors to Yamaha’s area in the Progressive International Motorcycle Show may feel like they’ve visited a garage from yesteryear with the manufacturer focusing as much on family events as 'yard-built' bikes this weekend.

As Clutch and Chrome has reported over the last few days the Progressive International Motorcycle Show (IMS) is kicking off its nationwide tour with its debut in Long Beach California.

Blending in nicely with a theme established earlier this year by Yamaha, its presentation not only offers a schedule full of motorcycle and family focused events, but rides along with ‘Faster Sons’, a slogan established for its category of Sport Heritage models. Descended from the heritage of motorcycling’s past, today’s ‘Faster Sons’ represent both the motorcycles and the riders who respect iconic Yamaha designs while continuing to push performance forward.

In this spirit, Yamaha also established an initiative to support custom bike-building globally. In garages and back yards all over the world, Yamaha owners dream of creating their very own customized motorcycles. Yamaha’s ‘Yard Built Project’ seeks to enable these dreams by asking talented customizers to provide inspirational ideas on how to transform modern Yamaha models into ‘Yard Built’ specials.

This initiative helped builders from both the West and East coasts of the U.S. to deliver stunning interpretations of Yamaha’s Sport Heritage models. These custom builds have included the scrambler styled Bolt from Florida based builder Greg Hageman of Hageman Cycles, Californian Roland Sands’ multiple Yard Built creations, like the XSR900 ‘Faster Sons’, and the SCR950 “Checkered Scrambler” from California-based builder Go Takamine of Brat Style.

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Known for his legacy of cool custom Yamaha motorcycle creations over the past 20 years, Southern California-based builder Jeff Palhegyi and the team from Jeff Palhegyi Designs have become quite adept at developing conceptual artwork into functioning machines.

Starting with a customized Royal Star from the Star Cruiser Line by Yamaha line-up back in 1995, Jeff Palhegyi Designs has envisioned and produced everything from radical Raider cruisers to dirt track Bolts to a ‘TT’ SR400. Over 70 custom motorcycles have been built by the company since their initial collaboration with Yamaha in 1995, and the introduction of the 2017 Yamaha SCR950 made it a natural choice for customization by Jeff Palhegyi Designs.

“The SCR950 is a motorcycle that provides its owner with multi-function capability,” explained Yamaha Motorcycle Research and Development Product Planning Manager, Derek Brooks. “It’s a bike that makes it easy to commute to work or school, but at the same time, it’s a lot of fun to ride on the weekends. You can head to the outskirts of town where the pavement ends, and have a blast sliding around on gravel or dirt roads.”

“Another great component to this motorcycle is the fact that it was developed around the opportunity for personalization,” Brooks continued. “An elemental design that uses aluminum and steel as much as possible lends itself well to customization potential.”

It is Palhegyi’s diverse conceptual skillset that drives his current projects, based on 29 years of research and development experience with Yamaha Motor Corporation that has included ATV and side-by-side projects in addition to motorcycles. He owns and regularly shows several rare Yamaha vintage motorcycles, including TZ750’s and XS dirt track racers. With this passion and heritage in mind, the latest Yard Built project from Jeff Palhegyi Designs drew inspiration from a 1966 YDS3C Big Bear Scrambler.

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“After seeing the SCR950 for the first time, I knew that it would be a really cool bike to customize,” said Palhegyi. “But there have been a lot of scrambler builds lately, and we wanted to do something really different. It was during the press introduction ride that I saw the Big Bear Scrambler displayed next to the SCR950, and it ultimately became the inspiration for the build.”

The finished project clearly pays homage to the Big Bear Scrambler, with features like the inlaid Yamaha logo and rubber knee grips on the fuel tank, two-tone paint and a custom exhaust system with heat shields that harken back to the days of do-it-all motorcycles.

Other custom features make this ‘Faster Son’ truly a motorcycle for modern times. From the Renthal handlebars wrapped in Duane Ballard Custom Leather that matches the seat and front fork tool pouch, to the shortened swingarm suspended by Fox RC1 Podium 14-inch performance rear shocks, contemporary specialty components blend with style from the past.

The shot glass rear taillight lens exemplifies this blending, along with the custom sub-frame and side panels, custom vintage off-road style front and rear fenders, chunky Shinko Adventure Trail tires mounted on Ride Wright 40-spoke aluminum soft lip wheels, custom aluminum headlight bracket and skid plate, steel braided brake lines and a “Faster Sons” custom logoed aluminum cover for the K&N air cleaner.

“I’m really pleased with this build,” commented Palhegyi, “and I really want to thank my team for working with me to pull it all together from artistic concept to what you see today.”

This work of motorcycle art can be seen at Yamaha’s corner of the IMS world this weekend along with several other “Yard Built” custom creations including a reimagined VMAX, XSR900, and SR400.

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