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Yamaha XS Eleven by BlackSilver Customs.

Let's face it.Cape Town has always been Japanese superbike country and before the supers ruled the roads the muscle bikes were at the top of the food chain…course back then they were also called superbikes….you know what i mean.So it stands to reason that there's been many attempts at customizing the plethora of bikes to roll off the big 4 manufacturers lines but unfortunately most are put together with the same care and consideration you might take while making a sandwich for yourself on a Tuesday afternoon…at the end of the month.Fortunately there are exceptions to the rule like Ian Ketterer's latest creation,BlackSilver Customs Yamaha XS Eleven, aptly nicknamed,Stone Cold.

This is Ian's second custom build and before you ask…yes,it has been sold.I was lucky enough to catch the bike at Retro Prestige Motorcycles before it shipped off to the proud new owner somewhere on the other side of the Matroosberg.BlackSilver Customs is Ian's foray into self-employment where he keeps busy manufacturing custom aluminium parts (pegs,controls,triple-clamps etc.) for the Cape Town motorcycle market and,at a slightly slower rate,custom one-off motorcycles like Stone Cold.


Clearly there's been a ton of work on the bike but I'll just touch on the very basics.The front end is a stock Yamaha R1 unit with heavy custom billet clamps (made by Ian of course) mated to straight drag bars,effecting a drop at the front and giving the BlackSilver Eleven it's updated stance.The length has been increased by 120mm with the addition of a Honda Fireblade swing-arm which necessitated what i imagine to be an incredibly complicated conversion from the original shaft drive unit to a chain drive and a wider (180 section) rear wheel…..witchcraft,basically.The tail section sub-frame was modified to accept an aftermarket cafe hump and comfy looking custom seat unit.Then a single-sided twin muffler was selected from the Startline catalog with it's fine up-swept line complimenting the straight cafe back bone beautifully.To wrap it all up,Stone Cold is finished in tasteful black with that unmistakable symbol of the cafe racer,the checkered flag,splitting the bike down the center line.


Ian's current build is a BMW R80 which he saved from the scrap heap…..but that was awhile ago.I got to chat with him a bit during the shoot (there where many interruptions,Retro Prestige Motorcycles is quite busy on a Sat. morning,what with the coffee's and the wraps and the Vincent Rapide up on the lift) and he said that he's set a target of two new customs every year….for this level of detail that is indeed ambitious.

I for one,will be watching closely and if you would like to do the same you can follow BlackSilver on Facebook.He's currently overhauling his BMW 1200GS for an overland trip….not a job for the weekend hobbyist…

Big thanks to David Cade of Retro Prestige Motorcycles for letting us hi-jack his workshop for the shoot…look out for Wednesday's post on David's unique custom builds.


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