When images of this post apocalyptic Yamaha XJ 900 first arrived in the Bike Shed inbox, I naturally began to prepare my Mad Max references; depicted before a decrepit derelict factory, all bare metal, rivets and anger, it seemed an obvious route to pursue. Then I read Stefano Briscolini's accompanying words, and a completely different bike emerged. The story of the build of this beast is one of beauty, loss and inspiration. In Stefano's words. "It 's the story of a journey, a parallel trip, but in opposite directions. Two characters: a young and beautiful friend, the dancer Veronica Spotti, and an elegant lady, a 1983 Yamaha XJ900" When Stefano found the Yamaha it had been lying in a corner of a garage for more than 10 years, "The dust that covers her makes impossible to distinguish its original colours, her upholstery is scaly, the plastic is crumpled. Time has not even left a trace of chrome. But if you look carefully under the engine, the forks, the shaft drive, there are no stains, not a single oil leak... Then you realise that this lady is just waiting to come back to life." But on that cold October day back in 2012 as Stefano was enthusiastically loading the Yamaha aboard his truck he received the tragic news that his friend Veronica had passed away. On the day of the funeral the entire town of Abbiategrasso came to a standstill in mourning. Stefano wrote of her, "She always smiles and when she is on stage she shows power and determination you don’t expect. Shyness becomes fighting spirit. She lives in symbiosis with the music. You hardly see her standing still if only there is a good rhythm in the air. Later, when you look at her, deeply absorbed in her thoughts, you understand that behind her eyes full of light and her smile it lies a world of her own... A world full of desires and dreams that sometimes seem light years away." Stefano's enthusiasm for the project was completely destroyed, the bike was tied so closely with the time of loss that he could not contemplate working on it. Back under tarp went the Yamaha for many months, until Stefano reached a decision, "I dedicated my build to Veronica: to bring the Lady Yamaha back alive helped to relight the memory of my friend. That’s the way “Vero SP900” was born." "I wanted to pull off something that was out of the ordinary, out of the norm, the stereotypes, the usual... something that was a little 'crazy, bringing together elegance and self determination, class and ruthlessness. No plastic, no frills, no bright colours." Stefano set to work in his den of creation. He completely stripped the bike and began modifying the frame, he fabricated a shortened subframe and removed any unused brackets. The rims, fork sliders and swingarm were sent for a matte black powder coat while the crankcases and other engine parts were treated with high temperature paint and marked with his Brisko Garage Emblem. The engine, forks and shaft drive were overhauled and at the rear adjustable Gazi shock absorbers were fitted. The custom rear brake rod and foot pegs were handcrafted out of billet aluminium. Stefano also installed a Z750 brake master cylinder, adjustable clutch lever, Tommaselli throttle command and conical air filters. The exhausts were shortened and fitted with open custom mufflers that were sandblasted and treated with high temperature paint. If the style of Stefano's work looks familiar you may well be trying to recall his previous Bike Shed contribution, an XV 750 with some intriguing engineering solutions and a distinct steampunk style. He revels in the hand forming of metal parts such as the headlight nacelle, dashboard, seat unit and the bespoke aluminium front fender. "living materials such as iron and aluminium, because to mold them you have to put so much physical strength and sweat that the transmitted energy is pure life!" A Yamaha 550 donated its tank which was modified to fit before being brushed bare and sealed. Other everyday items that contributed themselves to the build were a canvas backpack that was transformed into a saddle bag and an Armani leather skirt. Clearly it was a skirt of the appealing revealing variety as the seat is made up of minimalist strips of black leather and suede. Other notable examples of Stefano's handiwork include the Ducati Diavel style muduard/numberplate extension, the repositioned ignition system, the integrated LED lights and indicators and the perforated riveted metal stripe that runs the length of the bike. Also admire the routing of the clutch cable through the aluminium fly screen. Stefano built this motorcycle with sweat, passion and also tears. It was a cathartic journey that has resulted in a unique machine through which Stefano remembers his friend Veronica. Her fighting spirit, power, determination and elegance. Bravo Stefano, thank you for sharing your build and your story.
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