Bunker Custom Cycles
You may not have heard of Bunker Custom Cycles, to be honest, neither did we. Until our eyes caught something on social media, that was so intoxicating, that we had to find out more about it! So, who are these mystery men? Bunker Custom is a two-man operation run by Mert and Can Uzer. They are two brothers based in Turkey, who started their journey back in 2009 when they couldn’t find what they were looking for in modern bikes. Since they couldn’t find anything that satisfied their needs, the brothers decided to get their hands dirty. As the saying goes, if you want something done well, you gotta do it yourself. The goal since then, has always been to meet specific rider’s needs mixed with Bunkers own aesthetic taste. They seem pretty enthusiastic about what they do, and at the end of the day, that’s what really matters, right?
This project was made for a customer living in Adana (Turkey), where the temperatures can reach up to a scorching 53 celsius degrees in the summer. The upside of living in this city is that it is surrounded by the Toros mountains, covered with beautiful pine forests and laced with twisty mountain roads. Their customers’ wish was simple; he needed a reliable single cylinder bike, tuned and trimmed, to escape the summer heat for camping and exploring the high-altitude mountains from the East to the West, and as his daily commute in Adana when he is back for the winter. Ample storage was an absolute must.
The choice was made to start off with a 2007 Yamaha XT660R. The specs look good: 48hp, 60Nm torque, water-cooled single, weighing about 180 kg wet. These Yamaha’s have an incredibly good reputation and are considered by most as being bullet-proof. They started their work by preparing the engine first. A K&N high-flow air filter was added as well as a SC Project exhaust, mated to a tailor-made 2-1 exhaust pipe. Combined with a Power Commander module that was tuned for this bike, and gone are the jerky low-revs. As an additional bonus, the bike got smoother in the mid-range as well as quicker acceleration. One of the more notorious problems with these XT’s is that somehow all of them seem to have left the factory with a minimum of grease on all the bearings. Environmentally friendly? Perhaps. But also, really annoying if you own one of these bikes. So, all bearings got replaced with sealed versions. Maintenance done!
Now that the weak points of the XT had been tackled, some of the old rusty components got sandblasted and all metal parts received a fresh coat of paint. The plastics of the Yamaha got thrown out; they didn’t fit in the plans the Bunker builders had in mind. The undressed XT was a bit complex but promising. The main obstacle however, was the tank. With the Power Commander the XT was consuming a bit more fuel, so they had to make sure that no compromises with the fuel tank’s capacity were made. A smart solution was found by modifying the original fuel tank in a way that unnecessary space got used, allowing for a remodelling of the tank to a slimmer shape, without losing tank capacity. A new outer shell was made from aluminum, et voila, an optical illusion. Additional radiator covers were created to fit the bill.
After these major changes, some more, smaller yet subtle changes had to be made to finish the bike in the desired look. A seat pan and side panels were beaten from aluminum to carry the line under the tank. The seat can even be removed by using the original locking mechanism. They trimmed down the tail end of the frame and turned a loop to finish the frame, reminiscing of Yamaha XT500’s from yesteryear. Not-coincidently, this also provides all the mounting points for the rear removable top rack. This is probably as utilitarian as it gets. The front and rear fenders are beaten from 2 mm gauge aluminum. Another piece of aluminum can be found underneath the Yamaha, were a 3mm thick bash plate protects the engine. The brake and turn signals are eBay pieces bought for pennies to keep the costs low. Again, utilitarian. The headlight is a Bike Master 5.5 inch unit with a halo pilot light. And the headlight cowl is an aluminum custom made piece, to match the rest style. To meet the customers storage needs, the top rack and the left side rack was a must for all the storage needed for camping. Soft dry-bags for the left side and a GIVI mono-key hard case for the top that allows for helmet storage.
Editor’s note: how is it that motorcycle manufacturers fail to see that it is exactly these kinds of dual-sport motorrcycles that people want? Good looking, plenty of torque, low fuel consumption, acceptable weight, low costs, reliable, multiple-purpose. My deepest respect for the Uzer brothers, you guys nailed it with this one!
Photo credits: Onur Aynagoz