We’re going off road this week, with a stunning Paris-Dakar R nineT from Switzerland and a pair of Yamaha dual sports: an XT600 Ténéré from Italy and a TT600R from Greece. We’ve also got the latest news and specs of the Honda GB350 about to launch in Japan.
BMW R nineT ‘Paris-Dakar’ by VTR There’s a flavor of R nineT for all tastes these days, and one of the best is the Urban G/S. Inspired by the original R80G/S, it’s essentially a restyled R nineT Scrambler that’s more at home on backroads than dirt tracks.
The stock bike looks terrific, but if you want something more exclusive, you can get BMW’s new black-and-gold ‘40 Years GS’ limited edition. Or give VTR Motorrad of Switzerland a call, and get them to build you something even wilder.
This VTR ‘Paris-Dakar’ build looks heavily modified, but is deceptively simple. It uses a kit from Unit Garage, which includes a shorter tank, a new seat with a removable rear section, and new side panels.
To this VTR have added new mirrors and a license plate holder from Rizoma, tiny Kellerman Atto LED blinkers, and a killer paint job and decals.
The result is seriously in-your-face, but also supremely practical and TÜV approved. And it can be reverted back to stock at any time. If you want your R nineT to stand out from the crowd, this is an intriguing new option. [VTR Motorrad]
Japan gets a new Honda GB350 Exciting news from Honda: it’s tweaked the Indian-built and awkwardly named H’Ness CB350 and will launch it in Japan in July. It’ll be called the GB350, there will be an up-spec ‘S’ version [below], and it’ll be keenly priced too: the MSRPs currently equate to $4,970 and $5,370 in American money.
In its home market, Honda expects to sell 4,500 GB350s a year, and is pitching the GB350 as a ‘basic roadster’—the latest in a lineage that goes back to the GB250 Clubman and the GB400TT/500TT of the mid 1980s.
Like those bikes, the GB350 is refreshingly simple: it’s an air-cooled single cylinder ‘standard’ with appealingly classic styling. But it hides modern doodads, such as ABS, switchable traction control and a slipper clutch.
The ‘S’ model retains the 20 hp engine, but drops the rear wheel down a size to 17 inches, has a different seat and blinkers, and a slightly more forward riding position.
Anyone who feels a kinship with the 1970s Honda CB series is likely to feel a pull on the heartstrings at this news. We’re hoping the bike will be exported to more markets, and suspect that it might be.
The GB series was popular as a grey import in the UK, and there has to be room in the US and European markets for a low-priced commuter bike to compete with Royal Enfield. Fingers crossed that Honda can keep the pricing low if it does decide to make the GB350 available in the West. [More]
Yamaha XT600 Ténéré 3AJ by North East Custom Builder Diego Coppiello describes this third-generation XT600Z (3AJ) as a “daily bike with a desert soul.” It’s also probably the most distinctive of the Ténérés, thanks to the full fairing with twin headlamps.
“When it arrived in our workshop, it wasn’t in good condition,” Diego recalls. “Its years were very visible. But the Ténéré is a former glory from the 80s, and deserves a restyling. It’s an agile and simple-to-ride bike.”
North East added a couple of inches of height to the front fairing for extra emphasis, and reworked the back end thoroughly, with new aluminum side panels and a fender. The indicators are smaller than the originals, and the padding of the re-covered seat has been trimmed a little to reduce height. It’s a big improvement on the slightly clumsy look of the original.
The new medium grey paint has just the right amount of stealth, with extra pop coming from red and black highlights. It’s laid out in a design that’s akin to the second generation (1VJ) Ténéré. [North East Custom]
Yamaha TT600R by Billy Tziatas Greek photographer Billy Tziatas specializes in fashion, but he likes his bikes to be purely functional. He’s just finished rebuilding this TT600R, and it’s ready to take him to the dustiest corners of Thassos, the island he calls home.
“I’m no certified engineer or anything, I just like learning new stuff and experimenting,” he tells us. He’s done an amazing job nevertheless, making the rugged single-cylinder more stylish and even more practical than usual.
The engine and suspension have both been rebuilt, and there’s a complete new wiring loom with waterproof connectors, powering new LED lights. Billy then installed a 20-liter Acerbis tank to give him more range, and wider bars on new risers.
The front fender is from a YZF450, and the rear fender (and lighting) is a modified KTM EXC unit. Right above is a custom tail rack and hidden underneath is a toolbox [below], designed in CAD and 3D printed in thermoplastic polyester.
The star of the show is the ‘rally tower’ though. “I designed it in CAD, and a friend who has a machine shop plasma cut the aluminum parts for me,” says Billy. “The windshield is made from 3mm thick Lexan/polycarbonate, and the lights are two pairs of Cree U5 and Cree U7, modded to disable the strobing features and to emit a broader beam than stock.”
The mounts (and the GPS/phone mount) were designed in CAD too, there’s a built-in USB charger, and a Trailtech Endurance II tachometer replaces the stock instrument.
Next on Billy’s list are upgrades to the forks and brakes, an oil cooler, and a steering damper. But we’d happily take this Yammie just as it is. For a self-professed amateur, Billy has excellent skills. [Billy Tziatas]