Racers back it in but not...
Racers back it in but not like this. Complete disregard for tire life is a beautiful thing.
The glorious thing about custom builds is how one good idea can become an industry-changing phenomenon. Two months ago, a video called “Motorcycle Drift Insanity” swept across Youtube and sparked wide-spread forum chatter. When Bill D and a Graves Yamaha mystery machine appeared at the core of those comments, SSB got curious.
A collaborative effort between Gary Dean, Graves head mechanic, and Bill Dixon, a three-time XDL freestyle champion, the 2012 Graves Yamaha drift machine is the first purpose-built stunt bike to boast an amalgam of race technology and alternative stunt design.
The idea for this hybrid was conceived early in 2011. “We wanted to break into a different aspect of the stunt world so we came up with this drift project,” said Shane McCoy of Graves. Since this “grace” project had few sponsors, it was left on the back burner until the close of the race season. Once Graves mechanics and suspension techs were given the go-ahead to start full-time R&D on this dark drifter, they spent three to four months getting everything spec’d and built for the initial test run.
Big deal! There’s not even...
Big deal! There’s not even any smoke from the front tire.
At face value, this very special R1 is worthy of attention but not a mind blower. However, the trick parts are simply concealed. Shark Skin bodywork with flat black undertones gives the bike a dark, menacing personality. It’s also equipped with a layered aluminum sub-frame tailored to support a custom R6 tail section. The HT Moto traction seat and tank cover, along with a GPR stabilizer and RSC clutch lever add visible hints that this is no one-trick pony.
One truly unique component is the fuel tank. A custom molded carbon fiber shell masks a custom fuel cell that has been relocated centrally underneath the sub-frame. This puts weight lower in the chassis and creates a more balanced bike, a design inspired by the factory Yamaha MotoGP bike.
Additionally, the Graves low-mount exhaust system weighs in lighter than stock, one of many modifications made to bring the bike’s weight down to a jaw dropping 396 pounds—29 lbs. lighter than Bill’s stunt-spec Yamaha R6.
Runman triple clamps raise the bars to Bill’s preference while a thumb throttle provides complete autonomy over the bike’s massive powerplant. With 190 horsepower propelled to the rear wheel by the Graves factory-spec engine, a three-inch extended swingarm was installed to allow ample grip when initiating drifts.
The Graves engine is complimented by a factory Yamaha YEC race kit computer that can be manipulated at the handlebars with a series of toggle switches, granting instant access to different fuel maps Bill can readily engage while transitioning from standard stunts into sliding. “We used a Dynojet Power Commander, secondary fuel mod and quickshifter to tune the engine above YEC settings,” explained McCoy. With a 17/46 gear ratio, this engine’s explosive power packs a punch early in the rev range with enough stamina to maintain consistent pull to its 13,700 max RPM.
With a 17/46 gear ratio, this engine’s explosive power packs a punch early in the rev range with enough stamina to maintain consistent pull to its 13,700 max RPM. "
With the help of Kyle Guglimetti, one of Graves’ suspension techs, Bill D’s suspension was dialed in on a dyno long before he swung a leg over the bike. “Kyle was on point,” said Dixon. “He made it do everything I wanted it to do and it was perfect the first time I rode it.”
Kyle installed front forks with Öhlins cartridges and Graves valving, enabling the same superior handling that comes standard with a factory superbike set-up. The stock Öhlins race shock was also re-valved to compliment Bill’s tenacious riding style.
The only part of this bike...
The only part of this bike not designed for traction loss. Sliding out of position while pitched sideways is a quick ticket to highside.
So why create such a blasphemous intermingling of moto-genes? Drift mania is picking up speed, literally, and there is no denying it brings the freestyle scene to the average rider’s feet, as Dixon explained: “Who doesn’t love burn outs? Drifting is for everyone. It’s just cool.”
He even confided that the drift R1 was only the Adam of the freestyle-hybrid machines. “I can’t say what or who, but there will be another bike and it’s going to be epic.” ssb
2012 Yamaha R1
Braking USA rotors, Hel Performance s/s brake lines, Runman triple clamp, Dunlop Road Smart tire, Graves WORKS forks
Graves WORKS suspension link, Thrust sprockets, Dunlop Road Smart tire
Graves superbike-spec engine and exhaust, Yamaha YEC Kit ECU, Dynojet PC5, secondary fuel module, aftermarket quickshifter, Auto Tuner module
Thumb throttle, rear hand brake,, RSC clutch lever, GPR stabilizer, HT Moto traction seat and tank cover, Taylor Made carbon fiber stunt tank
Graves Motorsports (gravesport.com