If you were at the 2012 Australian Motorcycle Expo in Melbourne, you may have seen the Raider RY1.1 being assembled on site, as part of the 'JUST BIKES Build Off'. Raider Motorsport reported that they received a lot of positive feedback on the RY1.1 at Melbourne. Hardly surprising, really, considering this bike looks like nothing else, and has been finished to a high standard. Apart from being uber-cool, RY1.1 is also something of a departure for Raider, whose past custom builds have all been on small capacity (ie. 500cc and under) bikes.
"In 2011, we decided to have a go at building larger capacity bikes more suited to our riding heritage, of high-speed open-road use," Raider's Maurice Rissman explained. "In deciding what to use, we did not want to modify an existing manufacturer's bike, so we set about scouring the globe for something that we could influence and make more uniquely ours."
That search led Raider to the frames built by Manfred Rau in the 1970s and 80s (see more on Rau at bottom of this article). These professionally-engineered, uniquely-styled Rau bikes were the perfect solution for the big-capacity builds that Raider were looking to expand into.
"We acquired six frames and will design a range of different models with different power-plants [for each]," Maurice said.
With the RY1.1 being the first of the six built, the pressure was on to make something spectacular. Factor in that Raider also committed to completing the build and assembling it for the JUST BIKES Build Off, and that ramped the pressure up even further!
"In keeping with our Raider Retro image, we decided upon a café racer," Maurice said of the design direction for what would become RY1.1.
It should be noted that RY1.1 is very much a hand-built custom bike, with the only OEM parts being the Yamaha FJ1100 4-cylinder engine. Slotting the 1100cc four into the lightweight Rau frame, combined with the minimal bodywork, has result in an estimated 70kg weight saving. Re-jetting the carbs, along with some in-house engine tuning at Raider Motorsport, has resulted in power that Maurice understatedly describes as "more than ample".
Power is assisted by the exhaust, which was designed in-house, but received some specialist tweaking from no less an authority in the field of performance than Cosworth Engineering in the UK.
"We were concerned about the end result producing too much 'bark' and not enough 'growl'," Maurice said. "After many years of working in car racing, we are lucky enough to have friends in many of the world's most respected technical centres, and one such friend is an engineer with Cosworth.
"He reviewed our design and confirmed it should produce a deep throaty exhaust note, and also provided methods for increasing/decreasing the particular frequency range required."
The RY1.1 frame, with its distinctive single-sided rear suspension, rolls on a pair of Suzuki GSX-R wheels, which Raider stripped, machined and finished to their high standards. The combination of painted and polished sections on these rims ensure they are one of the standout items of this build. Brakes are Nissin 4 pot magnesium units, modified up front to fit Yamaha FJ600 forks, which are lighter than the FJ1100 units. The sprockets and chain are also of lighter spec, with further weight savings achieved through the use of a hand-made wiring loom, which Maurice said is around one third the weight and mass of an equivalent factory item.
The RY1.1's café-style fuel tank is an original Rau unit, hand-formed from aluminium. The seat was designed and built in-house at Raider, and incorporates detail like the trade-make Raider Motorsport logo embossed into the pad. Every other component was either fabricated by Raider or obtained from European specialist suppliers.
The paint and detailing of RY1.1 was a talking point at the JUST BIKES Build Off, and was the subject of much thought by the Raider team, too. Obviously, the unique nature of the Rau frame means you don't want to 'camouflage' it, so Raider chose to paint it, and the rear swingarm, in bold red. The tank and ducktail was finished in a blend of satin two-pack black and flattening agents, with all the paint done in-house. Raider's attention to detail is evidenced in the 'flying R' logo, which is reversed for the near side of the bike, and chequered striping on the tank & ducktail.
Finishing touches include exhaust wrap, bar-end mirrors, rearsets, custom grips, and an LCD instrument panel. While the finished result is undeniably stunning, RY1.1 is no show pony. "This is one café racer that will truly be a racer!" Maurice said of the performance credentials that Raider has engineered into the build. Want it to be YOUR racer? See the 'for sale' information at the end of this article to find out more.
With RY1.1 completed, Maurice confirmed that work on Raider's other Rau-framed customs is already underway.
"We have five Rau Raider frames already, and will source more as they become available," Maurice said. "Current frames use Kawasaki ZZ-R 1100 and Suzuki GSX 1100R powerplants, including one with 165HP at the rear wheel. We shall be designing not only café racers, but naked streetfighters and possibly even an off-road/on-road design much like the Ducati hypermotard."
Additionally, one of the truly unique benefits of a Raider Retro is the ability for customers to have input into the design and build of their bike, which extends to the Rau-framed models, too.
"Once a customer pulls the trigger on a build, they can - if they choose - become an essential part of the design & construction of the bike," Maurice added. "We've had customers fly in for an afternoon, try out the ergonomics and add personal touches. It really makes the bike 'theirs' and, of course, adds to the final product being exactly what the customer had in mind."
At the Australian Motorcycle Expo, Raider Motorsport announced that the RY1.1 will be for sale. Maurice recently confirmed that this stunning one-off high-powered custom is now available for purchase, with an asking price of $27,500. Considering it's hand-built and loaded with bespoke touches, that's a very, very affordable price.
For further details, contact Raider Motorsport on (02) 6651 2405, 0433 559 656. Go to http://raidermotorsport.com.au to see more of Raider Motorsport's 'Raider Retro' custom creations and bikes for sale.
The 'Rau' factor
In the 1970s, a very talented German motorcycle tuner by the name of Manfred Rau designed his own frame to accept the big 4-cylinder Japanese engines. Rau combined the design principles of the world's two most respected frame builders, Fritz Egli and Bimota. Rau soon earned healthy respect for his creations, with many winning on racetracks throughout Europe.
In 1985, Rau's minnow of a business was acquired by the significantly larger PS-Schuppan (PSS) organisation who, together with Manfred, set about putting the unique Rau design into much larger production. The partnership was extremely successful, but in 1991 Manfred died at the young age of 48, and the entire PSS-Rau concept disappeared soon after.