We’ve developed a bit of our own style when it comes to MX inspired scramblers over the years, blending new and old styling seamlessly and creating a look that is unmistakably Purpose Built Moto. As we were finishing up Phil’s 2022 Harley Davidson FatBob he came in for a shop visit and a DT400 Scrambler happened to be on the bench being finished up. It instantly caught his eye and he became very curious about this build that seemed to be the exact opposite of his plush HD Fatbob build.

After a quick chat, and a run through his other bike build, Phil left.  I had a call about a week later saying that there were 2 old farm bikes on their way to my workshop that needed to be built in the Style of the DT400. So we’d started 2 more projects for the same client before we had even finished the first. All we needed to do was get to work.

Having sat for a long time dormant in a shed, the engine was inspected, tested and pulled out for rebuild. We’ve gone through the motor top to tail and given it a significant bump in the right direction. The power plant has been upgraded with oversize valves, megacycles street cam, port and polish work, high compression big bore kit, performance coil and a high performance clutch. To make sure these upgrades weren’t in vein the XT500 scrambler wears a Mikuni flat slide pumper carb that sucks through a DNA performance filter and a custom stainless steel header that’s kitted with an FMF powerbomb and Aussie made Staintune muffler.

Generally XT motors come painted black, but we wanted to style this one up a little more so the engine was blasted and some select parts polished or chromed. The custom exhaust would get the same treatment. Next on our list was wheels and  suspension. The bike has been fitted with a set of polished Excel rims 17” laced to the factory hub on the rear, and 19” laced to the later model KTM front hub. The KTM front hub was part of our suspension upgrade. Using a whole front end from a KTM 250SX including wheels and brakes. 

To set our ride height and have the suspension operate properly we’ve gone with a set of 40mm extended rear shocks from YSS Australia, and enlisted the help of our mate Charlie Costanzo to lower the front forks, and tune them to suit bike and rider. 

As it sat, we were looking at one very well laid out XT500 rolling chassis and engine, now we needed to hand some sheet metal off it. Early in the piece we decided to run the factory side covers, which are a really well styled piece. The whole idea of these VMX inspired scramblers is always to create our version of what that motorcycle should be. This XT500 was no different, we’ve fitted an aftermarket XT500 tank and modified it to sit a little lower over the engine to create a more streamlined top line. The new tank came into the picture as the one supplied with the bike was a wreck and not really worth repairing.

Next on the list was the hand made fenders and headlight shroud. Starting on the front we’ve shaped an aluminium front fender, with smooth lines that’s big enough to serve its function but styled in a way as to not be overbearing on the tight and tidy front end of the bike. Up front we’ve used a 4.5” flashpoint headlight, and a set of auxiliary button lights that serve as a DRL/low beam. Either side of our headlight we’re running a set of Omni lights as indicators fitted nice and tight over the hand shaped aluminium shroud. Rounding out the fabrication on the front end is a set of aluminium fork shrouds to better fit the new lowered suspension.

On the rear we’ve again hand made an MX style fender from aluminium. The design includes rubber mounts, bracing the tail tidy and integrated lighting mounts for the 3 in 1 hollow tip tail lights. The rear set up on this bike is a real favourite of mine. Using a cartoonishly oversize muffler to break the line of the fender on the rear like so many of our favourite old classics. And the sound it turns out is magic as you thunder through the heavily forested valleys of the Gold Coast hinterland. 

Finer details of the fabrication include a set of off road pegs, a custom made inner rear fender, battery box and electric tray under the seat and a small bash plate under the engine cradle. The seat has been trimmed out by our mate Jamo at Timeless auto trim in a gripper leather with matching red detailing. 

Upfront on the newly fitted renthal fatbars, the XT500 is controlled by a set of upgraded KTM levers, using 3 button switches for everything that flashes and beeps running through its very own Black Box control module. And to watch your tail we’ve fitted a set of our scrambler mirrors that sit underslung on the handlebars. 

As I mentioned at the top of this article our goal is to create a Purpose Built version of the XT500, staying true to the era of Yamaha that gave birth to these icons. The colour choice was key in making this vision hit home. Using a number of polished aluminium pieces, we’ve designed the paint scheme around the iconic white, red and black Yamaha colourway relying on Justin from Popbang classics to lay the colour down and bring the idea to life.

The XT500 is always a crowd favourite and when you ride a well built one you’ll understand why. The simple reliability, and visceral thump of the single cylinder delivers a crisp ride that’s an instant reminder of how most of us learnt to ride. This experience coupled with the Iconic styling and you’ve got a bike that just about any red blooded rider would live to throw a leg over for a bit of fun down a gravel track. 

These builds, although not as challenging as some of our larger undertakings, are just as much fun to build, test ride and then hand over for our clients to enjoy. I get why they want these bikes, and I can fully understand and enjoy their first reaction when they jump on that kickstart and hear the XT500 thunder to life. 

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Purpose Built Moto is home for unique custom motorcycle builds. We offer a unique motorcycle customizing experience in the heart of the Gold Coast.