Any designer knows: sometimes you need to give your client what they need, rather than what they’ve asked for. When Yamaha asked Hookie Co. to customize an XSR700 for the Yard Built program, the brief was “Playful, sporty and classic.”
Not feeling the throwback vibe, the Dresden-based team decided to build something modern—even slightly futuristic—instead. So they took inspiration from current motocross and flat track bikes to create the ‘Grasshopper.’ Two out of three ain’t bad, right?

They sent a concept sketch off to Yamaha Germany, who were immediately hooked on the design direction. With that out the way, Hookie Co. were free to tear into the brand new XSR700.
Hookie got their start building one-off customs, usually with older donor bikes. But lately, they’ve seen the benefit of working on newer machines—and the advantages of being able to produce bolt-on parts and kits.

It’s an approach that matches the Yard Built ethos perfectly. Nothing on the XSR700 chassis was hacked up or welded, and everything you see here uses the bike’s original attachment points. Hookie are also working on putting some of these parts into production.
And it’s an interesting mix of components. In stock form, the XSR700 fuel tank is a steel reservoir, covered by a set of easy-to-remove aluminum panels. Hookie could have simply reskinned it, but they decided to start from scratch instead.

First, they built a nine-liter aluminum fuel tank. Then they shaped a set of translucent acrylic panels to complete the form.
The panels sort of cover the Yamaha’s electronic bits, but they also intentionally leave them partially visible. (And there’s a pair of LEDs to illuminate them.)

Shaping the panels was no joke. Shop boss Nico used stencils to cut the panels with a really fine saw. Then he sanded the edges with super fine sandpaper, and heated them to bend them to shape.
But first, he spent a whole day experimenting with the material—breaking it, melting it and cutting his fingers a whole lot.

To attach the panels, Hookie designed and 3D printed a plate (up top), and mounts (on the sides) from black PLA. According to Nico, this thermoplastic polymer material is not only tough, but also super light: that top plate only weighs eight grams—less than a third of an ounce.
Out back, the crew un-bolted the XSR700’s removable rear loop and pillion supports. Up top is a new seat, built on an aluminum pan and finished with a waterproof Alcantara. Both the seat and tank bolt to a custom-built support structure, which sits on the original mounting points.

The taillight’s a pretty trick feature. Hookie used the same acrylic as the side panels to build a finned structure, then installed LED lighting. The top two fins act as a taillight, and the bottom fin is split in half for the turn signals.
A custom-built headlight nacelle rounds out the new bodywork. It’s been shaped out of aluminum and slides over the fork legs without much fuss. And it’s equipped with a monster seven-inch LED headlight.

The XSR700 has a few sweet parts right out the box. The wheels, suspension, handlebars and speedo all worked for Hookie’s purposes—so those stayed on. They also kept the front fork brace (but ditched the fender), and the OEM side covers, which are a great visual match for the new parts.
Bolt-on upgrades include Gilles brake and clutch levers, a Kedo rear license plate bracket, Motogadget mirrors and Yamaha’s own aftermarket radiator covers. The tires are Pirelli MT60s—good for a bit of dirt road fun—and the exhaust is from SC Project.

True to Hookie Co.’s usual style, the Grasshopper is tastefully finished with a minimalist color palette and slick graphic touches. It might not be classic, but it sure is sharp.
It’s also a breath of fresh air in an industry that can so often be a little too ‘me-too.’ And proof that, just sometimes, it’s good to go off brief.
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