Yamaha are expected to reveal a new model based on their phenomenally popular MT-09 at next week’s Milan show, and all the indications are that this Roland Sands special is part of the story.
The firm have plenty of form when it comes to showing Yard Built specials that are followed closely by a production model, and in this case it’s Roland Sands following in the footsteps of Shinya Kimura’s Faster Son – which spawned the XSR700 – and the Deus Eau Rouge – seen just before the XJR1300 Racer was released – creating the next chapter in Yamaha’s Faster Sons story.
The Faster Wasp boasts more than a hint of Kenny Roberts Snr in its design, with the yellow and black speed-block paintjob clearly paying tribute to Kenny Roberts’ iconic TZ750 colour scheme, and recognising his flat-track roots.
Beneath the bespoke aluminium bodywork and paintjob is Yamaha’s 847cc in-line triple and lightweight aluminium frame from the MT-09, while the Wasp gets a whole host of cycle-part updates that are unlikely to be found on any resulting production version. All the indications are that this could bolster the new XSR family ranks, and become an XSR900 to sit alongside the newly-released 700.
“Roland did a fantastic job with this build,” says Yamaha Motor Europe Product Manager, Shun Miyazawa. “The Faster Wasp has given us a huge confidence and, as with Shinya Kimura’s concept, has again confirmed our direction and bike-building philosophy. We are working on future Faster Sons products and this concept is going to help us to accelerate bringing future products to the market.”
As you’d expect, Roland Sands Designs (RSD) parts abound, including the hand-fabricated aluminium petrol tank, tail section, intake scoops, radiator covers, front number board and front mudguard fender. There’s also a prototype Clarity timing cover, rearsets, rear brake reservoir and case guards, plus chain guard, timing plug, axle sliders and fuel cap. Presumably most of these items will be available as official, or RSD, accessories for the new model.
The Faster Wasp also gets RSD Morris forged aluminium wheels, while the visceral soundtrack is courtesy of a Two Bros Racing stainless steel header with an RSD Slant muffler. Renthal sprockets replace OEM Yamaha fare, and the front brake discs are also from the RSD catalogue, gripped by Performance Machine radial brake calipers, an RSD radial brake master cylinder and Spiegler brake lines. The custom leather seat is made by the well-named Bitchin Seat Co.
RSD Nostalgia handlebar risers, Renthal Fatbar handlebars and RSD Traction grips give you something to hold onto, while the Öhlins fork cartridge kit and rear shock should provide all the control you need.
“I go way back with Yamaha,” said Roland Sands. “We’ve built quite a few bikes together already. This Faster Sons concept brings my racing heritage together with Kenny Roberts, one of my heroes and smashing it together with the triple has made a fun project to work on and I’m really happy with the end result.”
You can see all the Yamaha 2016 line-up as it’s unveiled next Tuesday (November 16, 8pm) on MCN.com, and see the Faster Wasp in action and Roland Sands talking with Shun Miyazawa about the Faster Sons project below.