When you’re a custom bike builder in countries like the UK or USA, the competition might be stiff but there are also endless opportunities to show off your wares to an adoring public. Monthly big bike shows, well-known hangouts, an established media presence, and even the chance to partner up with other builders and major companies. But many smaller nations only have a handful plying the trade and to make a splash on the global scene means you really must be doing extraordinary things. Based in Sofia, Bulgaria, Tossa R falls easily under that banner and has been releasing epic new bikes in rapid-fire succession. Now they’re back with their latest build, a tough as nails Yamaha TR1 that adds a little brutality to the cafe racer cause.
The man behind the brand is Asen Zahariev, at first many assumed him to be a BMW specialist and there is no doubt his Bavarian bikes are absolutely brilliant. But then he came out swinging with a pair of Honda CXs, a 500 and a 650, both of which lit up the internet like a young Mike Tyson in the first round. His prolific nature also meant that among the many bikes to roll out of the workshop was also a Yamaha XV750, many might have missed it but the faithful XV crowd definitely didn’t. So, to do with the XV/TR1 platform what he did with the CX, Mr Zahariev decided it was time to turn things up a notch and get the whole world watching once again.
With fans of his work making orders from around the globe, this particular bike was built for a customer in Germany. And like so many of the Tossa R creations, the brief called for a cafe racer with a touch of mean. To achieve this goal, a stock TR1 was acquired, and the headstock bearings changed to allow for the fitting of a full front end from an MV Agusta Brutale. Everything about it is big, from the huge stanchions to the beefy three bolt lower triple clamp and an axle that is of car-like diameter. The MV also donates the excellent stopping power of its Brembo brake calipers and wave pattern discs.
Fans of the Italian marque will also recognise the front wheel as coming from a Brutale and it’s been finished in the same flat black paint as much of the rest of the bike. That includes the smoothed-out frame and the swingarm and all of the engine bracketing. To keep the standard rear hub in the rear and not have a rim that looked tiny compared to the front end, Asen converted the wheel to a moon disc like finish and coated it in black. The rear hub has been completely rebuilt to provide good braking performance and the rear shock is a fully adjustable YSS unit, that allows both ends to be dialled in.
When it comes to the looks, there is definitely a Tossa R style and aesthetic and that is exactly what the customer was after, and Asen was more than happy to oblige. One thing that has made his previous bikes stand out is the big beefy tank with a small seat look and this bike would be no different. The TR1 tank therefore wouldn’t work, nor would the usual swaps fit the bill, so going back to what he knows, Asen cut out the top skin from a CX500 fuel tank. Clearly from one of the later model bikes, the squared off edges have been reworked to create a style all of its own, that also has the built-in clearance for the new bars.
The underside is then built from scratch and has to accommodate the pressed steel frame and the all-new mounting locations. The rear of which is incorporated into the front of the new subframe, and if the tank is about bulk, this is minimalism personified. Cut from steel, the two pieces rise up and meet an all-new seat base that forms the bulk of the frame itself. Then it was out with more of that flat black paint and this is also then flowed onto the front of the tank. Picasso Moto Design was in charge of this process and added a fork matching gold, red pinstripe, and custom Yamaha logos.
With the bike out for paint the engine could be given the once over and the fresh heat coating that is matched to file finished fins, really makes the V-Twin engine pop. The standard frame fed intake remains, with an all-new filter pocking out of the side, and the fuelling gets a big upgrade for more power and superior throttle response thanks to a set of Mikuni carbs that have been dialled in for the job. The jets on these had to be bigger to allow for the extra fuelling requirements that come with such a free flowing exhaust, and the full stainless system is a standout feature of the build; hugging the engine tightly before spitting the gases out of twin turned out end pipes.
With the machine being pieced back together, an all-new wiring loom was laid out and the fresh battery sits in a custom box. The rest of the kit is almost exclusively Motogadget, their m.unit control centre keeps things simple and additions like the bar end indicators and LED flush fit headlight keep the whole bike looking clean as can be. A Motogadget speedo mounts perfectly to the top clamp and to give the rider a sporty position, custom footpegs and mounts were fabricated.
The build is finished out with that trick looking Oldman custom leather seat and here function has to take one for the team in favour of form. But it really does work, and there is no denying the presence and impact that a Tossa R machine makes; whether standing still or speeding through the backstreets.