Every now and again I receive an email that stops me in my tracks. Another day another inbox packed with awesome bikes but one jumped out, 22 year old Jona Wong was so keen to be part of the custom scene that he packed his bags and flew all the way from Taiwan just to visit the Bike Shed London 2017 show.
Having become dissatisfied with school and a predetermined life path Jona dropped out, and in the familiar tale decided to follow his heart rather than his head. A chance meeting with Alex Chan, founder of 1996 Biker Custom in New Taipei City, led to Jona joining the company to live, learn and breathe the dream.
Upon returning from London, Jona and Alex let their inspiration loose on a seemingly unlikely but very accomplished donor, an MT09. They wanted to embrace the Yamaha’s modernity and engineering excellence and concentrate on their interpretation of what makes a custom motorcycle look good, rather than dwell on the glory days of a bygone era.
This bike, Type95TT, is a bitsa in a positive sense. A distinctive SRV250 fuel tank left over from a previous project was modified to accept the MT’s internal pump. The bare steel painstakingly sanded and brushed prior to many coats of lacquer. The seat and tail is from Motone’s catalogue and originally destined for a Triumph T100. Made from fibreglass and not from alloy as these photos suggest, Jona added the angular number boards and reinforced the base before priming and sanding with very course paper. A highly reflective silver paint was then applied and lacquered to achieve a deceptively metal-like finish, matching the tank perfectly. Hidden beneath is a box containing a Motobatt lithium battery and the guts of the wiring harness and ECU.
The cantilevered subframe is made from 6mm stainless steel which took five hours of hand-sanding to meet Jona’s high standards. Stainless rod was also used for the rear fender mounts and licence plate bracket, the fenders themselves though are beaten and rolled aluminium. The front numberboard is also aluminium. Despite the lack of obvious lamps there are in fact hidden, high-output LED lights front and rear, with barend indicators serving both ends.
The stock MT speedo is a compact unit with quite a cool display so that was kept, the rest of the cockpit was altered with some high-end bling. Rizoma fluid reservoirs, Frando clutch and brake master cylinders mounted to Pro Taper bars with Oury grips and steel braided lines are a definite improvement over the stock bike. The plastic sheath has been removed from the lines to maintain the raw metal theme. One part of the original MT that is a bit of an eyesore is the blue anodised fork legs, a simple wrap makes that problem go away. The stock shock however made the bin, in it’s place sits a remote reservoired, fully adjustable unit from RPM Hi/Lo.
A host of CNC parts add to the racing aspirations of the Type95TT, up front a steering damper, and down below an engine guard, rear sets, sprocket cover and chain adjuster. Out of the crate the stock engine is an absolute banger, with little needed in the way of mods. The guys decided to have a slight dabble though. Exhaust headers were custom-made from titanium, running to an SC Project Ti silencer. Stainless mesh filters take up less space than the original airbox and will sound great once the 847cc triple starts singing. An ECU remap of the A-mode setting ensures things don’t get too lean.
The final job was to paint the original wheels and fit track oriented Nankang WF-2 rubber. As for the ride, Jona describes it best, saying “with a wet weight of under 170KG and huge torque the experience sure gets the adrenaline pumping. I’ve been riding Type95TT a lot recently and the excitement never diminishes. The upgrades give a lot of confidence and offers sports bike handling which is great in the mountains, yet tame and controllable in the city. And we think it does the job in style.”
Hopefully Jona and Alex are buying lottery tickets as we’d love to see them exhibit their work at Bike Shed London 2018, what a fitting full circle to the story that would be.
Images by Jyun Chang and Freebiker Magazine