Certain types of racing, be it on the flat track of Dust Hustle or the drag strip of the ’70s, allow for the personality of the driver and their vehicle to truly come alive. Half the fun is not just the racing but the name of the vehicle, the back story of the pilots and the rivalry it creates. The machines are alive and sometimes, as hard as you try, you just can’t tame the beast. So when Italian clothing and motorcycle accessory company HolyFreedom set out to build a bike to fling around the dirt track, they wanted to capture that rich essence of racing. So step aside Swamp Rat, Snake and Mongoose, and say hello to Tweety. A tricked out for the track Yamaha XT600, which is a ‘tweet little bird’, that Sylvester and his friends have no chance of catching.
Part of giving a race vehicle a name and not just a number is to give the fans something to relate to and allow the owner to show off their alter ego. It also has the desirable effect of allowing convention and rules to be thrown out the door, as the character is allowed to fulfil the creative desires of those who inject themselves into the project. And this particular custom creation has been a collective effort, with all involved not only embracing the Tweety name but the ethos behind such a build; allowing them to push past barriers of convention that have previously stood in their way.
That is no more evident than in the visual design, but first, the head of HolyFreedom Mr Arnaldo Upali had to find someone who could take care of the technical side of the build. In Corrado Savazzi he found the perfect partner with whom to work, and the hunt was soon on for a suitable donor. With its powerful and yet reliable single-cylinder engine, and basic layout, the XT600 makes for a perfect base and the guys soon had it stripped down. The more they thought about what they wanted to create, the more they threw away the unsuitable stock parts until they were left with just an engine and frame.
That frame has then been well and truly cut up, with the headstock, down tube and portion of the backbone all that remains. From here the swingarm pivot point has been very well strengthened and this area of the chassis smoothed out and filled in for a much neater aesthetic. Next on the list was to craft an entirely new subframe and rear end, and the crisscross support bar layout not only looks cool but allows for a narrower seat section. The whole frame has then been painted up in a rich brown and with new bolts used throughout, the guys had a solid foundation.
Now to let the creative juices flow, and Arnaldo tells us the visual design was conceived through a somewhat “ad hoc” process, but this was vital in allowing the machine’s character to shine fully. The almost low poly art inspired look of the bodywork is like nothing we’ve seen, with the lines and dimensions instantly drawing in the eye in such a way that you forget to notice that this is all of a monocoque design. Shaped largely from steel, the tank, seat base and rear cowl all share a common supporting base, with each section flowing to the next.
The tank holds just over 1.5litres of fuel, plenty for racing, and the billet filler cap exits just above the line of the uniquely shaped tank cover. The theme is continued across the shaping of the rear cowl and then it’s all covered in real gold leaf. There is an extravagance to it all that I instantly love, and both form and function flourish in this absolutely unique environment. Being an all-out racer, the front clear number board is finished in colour-matching graphics, and Wild Hog took care of upholstering the seat with gold ‘Tweety’ lettering.
Instantly this is a machine that’s going to get the fans talking, so on track performance couldn’t be ignored. The front end has been completely rebuilt and it starts with a set of custom machined triple clamps made by Luca Venturini. Through these are slotted an all-new set of forks, that have been rebuilt to suit the application and lowered by 15mm. The stock hubs are now laced to a set of lightweight Excel rims and the combination is wrapped up in Maxxis flat track rubber. With the rear shock rebuilt and painted, and the swingarm nicely polished up, the boys had their little bird rolling. Adding old-school racing bars on custom risers, built by Sami Garage gives the rider maximum control.
The engine has been left relatively stock, it already produces great torque and there was no need to compromise reliability. But, that doesn’t mean some clever techniques couldn’t be employed to chase some extra power and a fully 3D printed air intake is one hell of a cool addition. Zard took care of crafting an exhaust, with the high mount Spark muffler cleverly mounted to clear the rider’s leg.
And to show just how committed to the design and character HolyFreedom are, they’ve even crafted a range of helmets in a tank-matching geometric polygon style. Maybe someone will greet the challenge and craft a sideways slayer called Sylvester, but that puddy tat will have to be one amazing machine to match up to this enigmatic Italian.