BikeExif Presents: Bunker Mentality, a Brilliant XSR700 From Istanbul

Ever since Yamaha threw the wraps off the XSR700, we’ve been dying to see it customized. We’ve ridden it and love it—but admit that its design can be polarizing. The real test is to see how well it responds to wrenching. Now Yamaha have answered the call. They’ve slotted the XSR700 into their Yard Built program and turned their focus to Turkey, home of Bunker Custom Cycles. The Istanbul-based Uzer brothers have a keen eye, and a knack for crisp styling. Their backgrounds could have something to do with it: Can is a top skater with the Vans Turkey skateboarding team, and Mert was in digital advertising before he switched to bike building.

It was Bunker’s Yamaha SR500 (below) build that caught the Yard Built team’s eye. Its hand-made feel, clean finishes and built-to-ride vibe ticked all the right boxes. Contact was made, and an XSR700 delivered for surgery.

One thing we really loved about the XSR700 was its torquey yet manageable parallel twin motor. It’s the perfect engine for a dual-purpose machine—something that Yamaha is rumored to be working on. And the Uzer brothers agree.

“We went for the tracker style, because we really wanted to capture the spirit of freedom,” they say. “The twin motor is the perfect base given its engine characteristics, and the bike inspires you to create something light, agile and free.”

The Uzers have not only nailed the scrambler aesthetic, but also made some well-judged practical changes. At a first glance you’ll notice the spoked wheels: Super Ténére items that take the front wheel up to 19 inches. They’re wrapped in Goldentyre GT201 rubber for all-round usability.

Then there are the upside-down forks, borrowed from a MT-09 Tracer. Together with the new wheel set, this set-up should give a more compliant ride on rough terrain (with improved ground clearance too.) Bunker have also improved the XSR700’s ergonomics, with some traditional dirt-bike sensibilities. Up front are Renthal bars with a rise to match, with grips from Biltwell Inc. A speedo taken from an FZ-07 sits neatly on top of the bar clamps.

The new suede seat (which uses the original locking mechanism) is high and flat, giving the rider space to move around. It sits six centimeters higher than stock, thanks to a bolt-on extension that can be fitted to any XSR700 frame.

To match the attitude to the new stance, the XSR gets a full complement of new bodywork. The fuel tank covers, side panels, fenders, radiator covers and seat plate are all custom-made, using 2-milimeter aluminum pieces. The plastic spine running atop the XSR700’s ‘tank’ has been replaced by a CNC-milled aluminum piece. The retro-meets-futuristic vibe is superb, with shades of Husqvarna’s brilliant Vitpilen 701 concept in the styling and stance.

This build was begging for a high-level exhaust. But rather than lean on Yamaha’s aftermarket catalogue, the Uzers decided to piece their own system together. It’s a stainless steel affair, with an Akrapovič catalytic convertor installed where the headers join. The lads did open the catalog for some running gear though. The billet clutch and brake levers, foot pegs and side stand riser are all Yamaha bits.

Other parts include a 5.5” halo headlight—sitting in a custom bracket—and a tidy LED taillight. It’s a truly remarkable build—rugged, purposeful and begging to be ridden. And we can’t take our eyes off that fresh, 80s-inspired livery. Bunker have set the bar high, and made us want an XSR700 even more.

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