Yamaha XV950 by GS Mashin

Beauty isn’t necessarily eye-catching. A perfect shape doesn’t inevitably etch itself into your memory. Let’s take a look at James Bond movies for an example; over the years there were 65 different Bond-Girls mingling with the main character but how many of them can you actually remember, or even recall their name? Not many, don’t you? But on the other hand everybody remembers the big asian guy who sliced up people’s throats with the brim of his hat or jaws, the primeval looking giant with its solid metal set of teeth. Both of them didn’t comply with any common ideal of beauty.

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To some extent this applies to custom motorcycles too. We get presented new bikes every day and although the quality is constantly rising we’ll eventually end up some day, after the umpteenth Honda or BMW Bratstyler with a flat seat and no tail, getting bored from the monotony of the usual pabulum.

Monotony is the biggest misnomer one could think of in relation to GS Mashin’s motorcycles. Tom Mosimann, founder of the Bern based workshop in Switzerland, regularly builds motorcycles that don’t fit any mold. A few months back he caused a stir with a Twin Cam Harley he wrapped in a spectacular sheet metal dress. That bike might have been the trigger for Shun Miyazawa, product manager from Yamaha Europe, to give Tom a XV 950 in order to build a bike for their famous Yard Built program.

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Loyal to the Yard Built guidelines that ban any cutting or welding to the frame, Tom does what he knows best and creates a unique body from 1,5mm sheet metal. He shapes a fairing that houses a Bates headlight and two Highsider turn signals while the handmade tail section gets an integrated Shin Yo tail light, the same turn signals and a handmade seat by Jose Rey Saddlery. The upper half of the gas tank is shaped on a break forming press while the lower half is made out the original tank. An impressive fact is that Tom does most of his work only with a few tools, an angle grinder, a bag of sand and a hammer.

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The sole changes to the chassis consist of shortening the fork, upgrading it with a very clean upper fork crown machined by Asic Robotics and fitting prototype rear suspension units by K-Tech. The lowered visual appearance is emphasized by LSL clip-on’s. For the wheels, Tom fits a 21” spoke wheel to the front while a 19” spoke wheel turns in the back. By customizing and reusing the original hubs the GS Mashin’s Ultra is still equipped with its factory ABS. A Two Brothers Racing exhaust is fitted to the bike and blends in perfectly. Horacio Tunez is in charge for the colors and applies a minimalistic but very suitable black, yellow and white paint job as a reminiscence of Yamaha’s classic racing livery.

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With the Ultra, GS-Mashin again delivers a polarizing bike that seems to have come straight out of space while keeping the driveability of the stock XV 950. Building a custom bike is one thing, building a custom bike you can use as a daily ride is an entirely different matter. Same as for the Twin Cam Harley, a first glimpse at the Ultra raises eyebrows. A second look warms you up and sooner or later you cannot help but be completely amazed by it.

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But one thing is certain; in a few months we’ll all have seen, appreciated and forgotten a lot more custom motorcycles but GS Mashin’s Ultra will still be remembered by many among us. Tom Mosimann knows how to build bikes that stand out from the rest. And that’s probably the hardest part in the whole process.

So if you want to see more from GS Mashin including the Twin Cam you can do so here, on GS Mashin’s website.