This is not our most favourite XJR Special (that would have to be this XJR13 Racer), but the Skullmonkee is not too bad either. That yellow headlamp looks rather cool...
These days, as part of their "Yard Built" project, Yamaha are milking their retro-styled UJM, the XJR1300, for all its worth by showing various customised special edition versions of the bike, some of which are actually quite good. The latest to join the Yard Built line-up is XJR 1300 Skullmonkee, built by the Wrenchmonkees. A shortened and cleaned-up frame, narrower fuel tank and smaller headlamp are the Skullmonkee's key attributes.
"We worked hard to ensure we made no radical design changes for the build. Instead, we focused on adding our clean style and silhouette with no cutting or welding to the framework," says Wrenchmonkee Per Nielson. "We looked to strip the bike back and removed some pieces to make it look like they had never been there, then from the beginning we were looking to work with other companies to find bolt-on parts that we could modify to create our style," adds fellow Wrenchmonkee Nicholas Bech.
The W'monkees have made some judicious use of aftermarket bits to transform the standard XJR, including their own CNC-milled aluminium triple trees and engine covers, black aluminium clip-ons and Biltwell grips, MMB mini digital speedo with yellow illumination and a unique custom-made yellow headlight. The brake system gets a complete overhaul, with a full Beringer setup, including Hypersport brake discs, and Beringer calipers, brake master cylinder and matching clutch master, along with black steel-braided hoses. Matt-black aluminium rearsets have been customised in-house for a more aggressive riding position, and Öhlins STX 36 shocks have been added for improved handling. The standard XJR wheels remain, but are now wrapped in Michelin Pilot Road 4s for improved grip.
Other notable bits on XJR1300 Skullmonkee include an LSL Titan steering damper, a Wrenchmonkees custom rear bracket with LED light and a custom 4-into-2 stainless steel exhaust system. A gloss-black paintjob with Skullmonkee tank emblem and a few simple gold touches complete the package, which is a fitting tribute to the 20th anniversary of the Yamaha XJR1300.