It’s not all about road-rac­ing race repli­cas – off-road sport has its own icons. Reader Russ Purdy set about re-cre­at­ing one. On the cheap…

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics - - READER’S RESTORATION - WORDS: BER­TIE SIM­MONDS

The race replica has al­ways been a big draw to se­rial re­stor­ers. Of­ten we have a favourite racer or race ma­chine colour scheme and – should the op­por­tu­nity arise – we con­vert a bike to look like that. Some­times the man­u­fac­turer wises up and pro­duces a lim­ited run it­self.

You only have to look at the num­ber of Ed­die Law­son Repli­cas that ei­ther Kawasaki built, or keen spe­cials builders have made them­selves, or even the Kevin Sch­wantz Pepsi Suzuki and Lucky Strike Suzukis (there’s one on page 60). But what about off-road? Road-rac­ing may seem to have the glitz and glam­our, but off-road rac­ing has its own he­roes and iconic mo­tor­cy­cles. Russ Purdy felt the same. You may re­call Russ from our pages back in 2016. He found and re­stored a fine-look­ing Suzuki GS1000S but soon af­ter com­ple­tion he felt it was time to take a dif­fer­ent tack al­to­gether. “I’d been look­ing for a new project soon af­ter fin­ish­ing the GS1000S,” ex­plains Russ. “I was yap­ping to a cus­tomer and he said he had a 1988 Yamaha XTZ750 sat in a barn and that it had been there about 10 years. Ba­si­cally, he hadn’t done a thing with it and I was pretty in­ter­ested as I liked the idea of putting to­gether a Su­per Ténéré as I had liked these ma­chines since the 1980s. What I wanted to do, was make a nice Stephane Peter­hansel replica.” So, Russ set out to find­ing just how the Yam had fared af­ter more than a decade in a barn. Russ says: “I went to take a look at it. It was buried at the back of a con­tainer un­der a se­lec­tion of Tri­umph Her­ald bits that the guy has been work­ing on. We pulled it out and it didn’t look too bad – it was all in one piece, but pretty tatty. The fella also men­tioned he had another XTZ in bits plus some parts he had pur­chased to use when he started the project, which of course he never got around to start­ing. We even­tu­ally came to a deal at £800 for the lot which I was pretty pleased with.” Not bad Russ, but what was it like un­der the skin? “I got the Ténéré home and started to look a bit deeper. I took the tank and pan­els off, con­nected a bat­tery and a re­mote fuel tank and turned her over: she fired up af­ter a few turns but only ran on one cylin­der. On re­mov­ing the carbs, I no­ticed one of the jets was blocked so gave them a clean and re­fit­ted them. Whoopee! She sud­denly ran on two cylin­ders with no nasty noises so it was all good!” Hav­ing got the bike(s) and spares for £800 all in, Russ wanted to keep the costs of the build it­self down. He ex­plains: “To do that, I re­ally had to keep all the work in-house. So I started the strip-down, dropped the engine out then stripped it back to the bare frame. The engine was the first task and af­ter hav­ing it run­ning I knew it was okay me­chan­i­cally, so I stripped it down, re­mov­ing all the an­cil­lar­ies. I spent many hours re­mov­ing the flak­ing paint and strip­ping it back to bare metal; I then primed it with etch primer and painted and satin lac­quered the mo­tor to fin­ish.” Next up was the frame. He says: “With the frame, again it was a job of clean­ing it up, prim­ing and paint­ing then fit­ting the com­pleted engine back into the frame.” With the chas­sis came the ben­e­fit of hav­ing two bikes to work from. “I re­fur­bished the forks us­ing the best from the two bikes fit­ting new seals etc. These were re­fit­ted with new bear­ings – the same with the swingarm. I then got started on re­fur­bish­ing and re­fit­ting all the other parts such as the ra­di­a­tor, oil tank, wiring loom etc.”

With the bike hav­ing suf­fered for a decade, it wasn’t sur­pris­ing to Russ that the spoked wheels were in a pretty poor state. “With money an ob­ject,” ex­plains Russ, “I fig­ured that I would have to have a go at the dark art of wheel build­ing! “Af­ter watch­ing many tu­to­ri­als on Youtube I cut the old wheel spokes out and stripped the old hub down, re­paint­ing and fit­ting new bear­ings. I fit­ted the new spokes and rim and made a jig to true-up the wheel. All-in-all it went very well so I or­dered some new spokes for the rear and sorted the best rim from the two I had. I re­fur­bished all the brake calipers and re­fit­ted them, so I now had a rolling chas­sis.” Things were look­ing good – but now it was time for the body­work. Again, costs were an is­sue so Russ went ahead and did his own thing with the paint­work. “I de­cided to do it my­self and use aerosols in the Yamaha rac­ing colours of the era,” ex­plains Russ. “I also found some de­cals in Latvia for the Dakar So­nauto team. I then ap­plied the de­cals af­ter paint­ing and fin­ished with a lac­quer. The fin­ished items look great if I say so my­self.” Fir­ing up the par­al­lel twin for the first time since the strip-down showed that the bike ticked over well enough, but it was back-fir­ing a bit. Russ says: “I had read that there was an is­sue with the main jets wear­ing on this model so I re­moved the carbs and stripped them again. I had a sec­ond bank of carbs and stripped them to find that the jets and tubes looked brand-new, so I fit­ted them, reinstalled the carbs and it ran per­fectly from then on.” From there it was a case of fit­ting the DIY Dakar-look body­work and get that vi­tal MOT. “The test ride showed ev­ery­thing was okay,” says Russ. “All told, I spent about £600 on the build which did in­clude new stain­less bolts and parts through­out, but I did my best to save what I could. For ex­am­ple, the bike came with a Laser ex­haust and the down­pipes were in poor con­di­tion but – as they were stain­less – a lot of el­bow grease and they came out pretty well. I’m pleased with the over­all out­come!”.

All done on the cheap!


The YZE750T was Yamaha’s rac­ing ver­sion of its Su­per Ténéré. In 750 and 850cc ver­sions it is the most suc­cess­ful bike in the his­tory of the Dakar Rally, tak­ing wins in 1991-93, 1995-96 and 1997-98.

THE BUILD: 1/ Orig­i­nal bike had suf­fered af­ter a decade in a barn. 2/ Mo­tor was sound in­side but needed a good sort­ing out­side. 3/ Engine and chas­sis fi­nally come to­gether.

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