El Solitario Turns Yamaha XJR1300 Into “Big Bad Wolf”

October 21, 2015
Courtesy of Yamaha Motor Europe

Yamaha’s Yard Built program has gone from strength to strength, showcasing an impressive lineup of customized creations built in collaboration with the world’s best custom motorcycle builders. This summer Yamaha teamed up with Spanish custom house El Solitario for the final XJR build of 2015, celebrating 20 years of the iconic street machine. The result is an awe-inspiring creation, a race-inspired track monster that more than lives up to its name, ‘Big Bad Wolf.’ The bike broke cover for the first time at the Glemseck 101 show in Germany in September, taking to the 1/8-mile race track to bring an end to the reign of the defending champions Lucky Cat Garage.

El Solitario’s ‘Big Bad Wolf’ wraps up a year of incredible XJR builds celebrating the bike’s anniversary, a year that includes creations from Danish builders the Wrenchmonkees with the ‘Skullmonkee,’ Portuguese builders itroCkS!bikes with the ‘CS-06 Dissident’ and Dutch builder Numbnut Motorcycles retro endurance racer inspired ‘Botafogo N.’

Big Bad Wolf Yamaha XJR1300 by El Solitario

Spain’s El Solitario put its unique spin on this XJR1300 as part of Yamaha’s Yard Built project. 

Despite the complete transformation from street machine to pure race predator, El Solitario stayed true to the Yard Build ethos and created the ‘Big Bad Wolf’ with no cutting or welding to the frame of the standard bike. The build highlights just how far you can go with a little imagination and an XJR1300.

“We are really happy with the collaboration with El Solitario,” commented Yamaha Motor Europe Product Manager Shun Miyazawa. “The timing was just right as we believe they were ready to push out in a new direction from their previous work and break new ground. We wanted to challenge them with the Yard Built project to show a different side to El Solitario and push them to see what they are capable of. The result is impressive! With no cutting or welding to the frame of the XJR they have proved that the bike continues to be an excellent base for customization, no matter what direction you choose to build in. We’ve seen a number of amazing builds this year, taking different looks on the XJR and this is again a new approach. The level of detail is fantastic, and we are proud of the collaboration, showing not just a new face for the XJR but also new ground for El Solitario.”

El Solitario’s David Loner agreed. “El Solitario is not familiar with 4-cylinder bikes so at first we couldn’t understand the challenge. For months we tried to answer the same question: How could we take it further? Ground Zero would be to ask the correct question. Asking what scared us the most, the answer was performance and technology! Both were unknown and expensive paths for us. Suddenly aversion turned into curiosity and we had our challenge. We are motorcycle poets not engineers, so countless hours of research, and the love of our friends, made it possible to find the best partners in the world of fast bikes, and with their help, we developed one of the gnarliest muscle bikes ever to be seen in recent years.”

El Solitario's Custom XJR1300 Big Bad Wolf at Glemseck

El Solitario’s Big Bad Wolf debuted at Germany’s Glemseck 101 show where it took to the track to demonstrate it’s a real runner. 

Key to the success of the project was the collaboration with Mauro Abbadini from Classic Co. as technical director of the build who brought with him the confidence and knowhow of a veteran racer and winner of many battles. Last but not least an army of racing industry experts, all keen to collaborate with El Solitario.

The end result, the ‘Big Bad Wolf’ AKA: BBW, has almost everything custom-made with the exception of the frame, the tank, the handlebars and the rear light, reducing the wet weight to just 183 kg (403 pounds).

The motor was blueprinted and the heads were ported and flowed. The intake port flow was increased by 50%. Compression was raised from 9.7:1 (stock) to 10.7:1. The combustion chambers were reshaped and the squish areas increased. The rods were reinforced with titanium bolts and the crankshaft was rebalanced. All the electronics were removed and state of the art Lectron 42 Carburetors were added, developed specifically for the BBW by Lectron Fuel Systems on their flow bench to be plug-and-play on delivery. A Dynatek Programmable Ignition was installed. The work takes the power up to 148 bhp at the rear wheel.

Lectron 42 Carbs for Big Bad Wolf

Big Bad Wolf’s row of Lectron 42 Carburetors is a thing of beauty.

Classic Co. then fabricated a carbon fiber tail section, motor air rams and the belly pan, as well as all the aluminum brackets for the needed modifications. UK-based Dymag developed the carbon fiber wheels especially to fit not just BBW but also the stock XJR1300. Acke Rising from ISR in Sweden did a lot of machining. El Solitario designed the custom triple trees, disc rotors and the incredible rear brake caliper bracket. ISR hand controls were added along with ISR front 6-piston calipers and rear 4-piston caliper.

K-Tech Suspension collaborated with Novatech to develop the impressive front fork and the rear shocks. The screaming custom titanium exhaust was made by Asahina Racing in Japan, designed to fit not just the BBW but the stock XJR1300, also. Moto GP oil cooler supplier, Taleo Racing in Madrid, created the custom semi-circular oil cooler and EMD in France machined in aluminum the prototype motor covers which will be available to buy from El Solitario for the stock XJR1300 in the foundry version.

A TWM custom gas cap sets off the tank and a stunning custom aluminum swingarm by Over Racing in Japan finishes the rear along with a set of their rearsets. The BBW was wired using the Motogadget M-Unit & uses the M-Lock for on/off. Corona supplied the super cool quick shifter and PIAA supplied the intense headlights.

The BBW stays stuck to the tarmac with Michelin street, slick and rain tires to maximize the fun whatever the conditions. Last but by no means least the beautiful custom graphics and paint was the work of London artist Death Spray Custom.

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