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Sol Invictus Nemesis XY400 | Gassit Garage | Long Term

We are coming to the end of our café racer road trip with the long-term Nemesis

Our journey aboard the Nemesis XY400 has taken us from totally geek to totally chic, and we have learned plenty during our bearded, split lens-goggled adventure.

From the outset, my plan was to do all the work myself, using only over-the-counter bolt-on parts. Our regular Custom Cool features are an example of the workmanship that can be turned out by custom shops filled with annoyingly skilled artisans.

These eye-catching creations also have price tags that put them well out of reach of most café racer enthusiasts. Our Nemesis build proves that someone with basic tool-wielding skills can produce a creation that will draw a crowd at the local café hotspot. It also revealed that good looks come at a price – and not just financial.

In standard form, the Nemesis is a great blank canvas for a café racer makeover. It’s a basic design with an upright seating position, high mid-mounted ’pegs and neutral handling from the basic suspension. It’s a great daily commuter at an attractive price.

Fitting the clubman handlebar was reasonably straightforward, although the style positions your hands slightly ahead of the fork legs, changing the feel of the steering. The lower-set ’bar also makes the already high footpegs feel even higher; this was accentuated by the re-upholstered seat, which is not as padded as the original, lowering the seat height.

Wrapping the header pipes with the DEI wrap was also pretty straightforward, but be ready to itch. The Rizoma Club and Club L indicators were child’s play to fit, as were the Bitwell grips that match the seat.

The most eye-catching feature on the Nemesis by far is the Shinko E270 whitewall tyres, and they also make the biggest impact on the motorcycle’s handling.

The first problem was getting them to fit. These old-school tyres have a much larger rolling radius than the standard tyres. At the rear, the axle adjusters on the swingarm are at the maximum. Luckily we had enough slack in the chain to allow the rearward movement. With just a few millimetres to spare at the pivot end of the swingarm, we managed to make it all fit. We then discovered that the licence plate needed to be mounted high to stop it from being chewed up by the tyre.

Up front, the larger tyre meant the removal of the front guard. The additional centrifugal forces of the heavier hoop with a larger rolling radius also affected the handling and braking.

Should we have left it to the experts? Hell no! As a sunny Sunday beach cruiser and café hopper, it’s brilliant. This project was all about style and looks. I wouldn’t do a trackday on it, but I also wouldn’t change a thing.

Now the bike is finished, and the weather is warming up, it’s time to enjoy the fruits of my labour before Sol Invictus asks for its bike back!

Parts list

Clubman handlebar $69.95

www.solinvictus.com.au

Bitwell grips $29.95

www.solinvictus.com.au

DEI header pipe wrap $99.95

www.solinvictus.com.au

Re-upholstered seat $350

www.solinvictus.com.au

LED tail light $45

www.solinvictus.com.au

Rizoma Club and Club L indicators $120/$140

www.bikebiz.com.au

Shinko E270 whitewall tyres $363

www.bce.net.au

What’s next?

Rizoma has sent us a pair of gorgeous Reverse Retro ’bar-end mirrors to replace the affordable EMGO units that I felt didn’t suit the bike’s style. Rizoma’s products are quality made in Italy, so buying the mirrors put a dent in our budget, but you can spot the quality. And, like the whitewall tyres, they’re an important styling cue.

Rizoma Reverse Retro mirrors

$170 each

www.bikebiz.com.au

CHRIS DOBIE