Published on May 21st, 2014 | by Boris
2014 YAMAHA XV1900 PROJECT BIKE – The Grey V-Train, Part One
Some of you may remember this bike. It was the most fondled two-wheeler at last year’s Sydney Motorcycle Exhibition. It followed up that stellar appearance when Yamaha took it to the recent Brisbane Motorcycle Expo, put it on its stand and watched the touchy-feely process repeat itself.
There’s no doubt about it. It turns heads and causes people to get all tactile. It’s like they can’t believe the finish until they touch it.
It was, until recently, a project bike I was doing under the auspices of Australian Motorcycle News (AMCN), but since the feeling there was that the project had run its course, I handed the bike back to Yamaha.
A day later, I got a call from Sean at Yamaha.
“How about we take all the customised bits from the 2013 model you just gave back, put them on a brand new 2014 XV1900 and hand it back to you, and Bike Me! can carry on the project?”
“I think that would fill me with joy unto the ages of ages,” I replied.
Because I am not finished and I really do like the XV1900.
It is a glorious cruiser. That magical Warrior engine, the great brakes, handling and comfort, tick all my cruisery needs.
As luck would have it, I punted myself into the side of a car a few days after that phone-call on another bike altogether, broke my neck and my arm, and screwed up my shoulder.
It was going to be some two months before I could even think about riding. And to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t about to come back on a sportsbike. It was all I could do to pull a helmet onto my head without screaming in pain, so folding myself into a racing crouch was still a little way off.
The Roadliner was just perfect for a gentle, stress-free return to the road.
Three days after picking it up from Yamaha HQ with one kilometre on the clock and emanating that glorious new-bike smell, I’d stuck 300km on it and was casting about for someone to do some riding shots.
Fortune was still bestowing blessings upon me. I found Nick Edards, a tall, refined, middle-aged English bloke, whose amazing images of riders I had found on Facebook.
Nick, who is a wildlife photographer and cut his teeth shooting flying foxes in the dark, took up snapping bike on the Old Pacific Highway as a bit of a laugh only a few months ago. You can see his work here, and contact him if you want some stuff like this done.
His work is astonishing. The man has an eye for a great image, works quickly and with a minimum of fuss, and comes up with some truly great shots. Any of you who have attempted to shoot a moving motorcycle will know how hard this is.
I initially wanted to do a bit of a story on Nick and his hobby, and that is still very much the go, but then I asked him if he would mind taking a few ride shots of me on the XV1900.
“Sure,” he said over the phone. “Meet you at 2pm.”
An hour later we were done.
Those images you can see here.
I shot the detail shots. They are shit compared to Nick’s artistry.
So, the bike…
It is a 2014 Yamaha XV1900 Roadliner, Yamaha’s flagship cruiser, and deserving of every accolade it gets.
Thus far, it has been extensively vinyl-wrapped by Brian Bollard at RIP Graphics. You have to see this in the flesh to believe it. People still wanna know who made the carbon-fibre oil tank for the XV and where I had the rest of the carbon-fibre made up. After a year of wear and tear, it still looks brand new and I am a believer in this vinyl-wrap stuff.
You can find Brian here.
The magical exhaust wizard, Dennis Foran made the one-off custom exhaust. I have done business with Dennis for 25 years, and I think he does some of the best stainless custom motorcycle exhaust work in the country.
Sure, you can take the easy route and stick on an aftermarket slip-on, or even a full system. Or you can get one custom-made by one of the best craftsmen in the business for around the same money, and look down your nose at the lesser aftermarket-loving mortals. The proof in this pudding is in the symphony that comes out of Dennis’s stainless masterpiece. This is one of the best-sounding bikes I have ever ridden. And everyone knows how important it is to have a bike that sounds the goods.
Dennis is here.
Finally, there’s the seat. The whole snakeskin thing was hatched by George Metzekis and I during a Korean lunch of beer and chilli which sent George’s affronted bowels into meltdown. Still, he did come through with the seat we’d agreed on in record time and for a price I found ridiculously cheap. The original seat is still under George’s re-cover, and I still tell wide-eyed girls that I personally fought, killed and skinned the snake whose hide now warms my arse.
George can be found here.
What’s next for the Roadliner?
The handlebars need attention, as do the mirrors and grips. I’m also a bit hard about the pants when I look at spoked wheels. And I need to get it to Sydney Dyno and get my mate, Dave Holdforth to do some of his magicking with making it breathe in a little better.
Then maybe a golden statue of Ganesh somewhere prominent…
My gratitude to Sean and the Team at Yamaha. It’s always a joy to do stuff with you blokes.
Brian, Dennis and George – it’s a pleasure working with fellow motorcycle fanatics.