Back in 1976, Yamaha released the XT500, the company’s second attempt at a four-stroker. It was the first in a long line machines that can trace their roots back to the Dakar-winning half-liter XT. One of said machines was the MT-03, and though it’s now based on the R3, early versions of the bike (2006-2014) were powered by the same 660cc single found in the Tenere and XT660Z. “You could view the MT-03 as the odd stepbrother of the family,” says Roy Holtman of ARE AGE (or “RH”) Motorcycles. (For anyone interested in learning a little more about the history of the XT500, I highly recommend checking out Cas Vanderwoude’s extensive writeup on the model.)
This connection is what sparked Roy’s idea for an MT-03-based XT tribute. Starting with a 2008 model of the naked 660 thumper, the Dutch shop got to work stripping the Yamaha down to the frame. The subframe was hacked off prior to being replaced with a custom, upswept, hooped unit, and the stock suspension was binned to make room for Wilbers units fore and aft.
The MT’s engine now inhales via a DNA intake, and spits burnt fumes from a custom two-into-two RVS exhaust capped off with Supertrapp cans — both of which have been paired with a DynoJet Power Commander. The Yamaha also received new Bosch injectors and a Dynamo throttle assembly. In an effort to shield the thumper from physical trauma a custom bashplate has been fabbed up and tacked into place as well.
The MT-03’s cockpit has been thoroughly revamped, receiving Nekken clamps and handlebars, new grips, folding CNC-machined levers, and an Acewell digital speedo sitting just above the build’s old school number-plate. On the other side of said number plate is a guarded headlight borrowed off an unspecified 1980’s enduro bike, and a pair of RVS fenders were added front and back. Though the “MT660 Heritage Scrambler” retains the MT’s stock fuel-cell, Roy has opted to paint the thing in a livery based on the ’76 XT500. The stock footpegs were jettisoned for a pair of shark-teeth enduro pegs, and the braking equipment has been updated via some Brembo hardware.
The MT’s bespoke subframe has been capped off with an awesome, one-off suede saddle courtesy of Miller Kustom Upholstery. The seat’s stitching pattern is reportedly based on the knobby rubber (Continental TKC 80) adorning the wheels too. Just behind the custom seat is a nifty little “utility saddlebag” — a nod to the factory tool-kits found on off-road bikes of the ’80s and ’90s — which can either house a tool rollup, or can be fitted with a small piece of custom-shaped foam, allowing it to act as a passenger pillion. A set of passenger footpegs are also included with the build too. The build’s rear end also boasts a one-off luggage rack, dual side/number plates, and a single, round, vintage taillight.
Though RH’s “MT660” was completed roughly a year ago, it wasn’t until more recently that it finished making its rounds at various custom bike shows. Even more recently the Heritage Scrambler was featured on BikeExif’s Bikes of the Week (124), as well as getting a full writeup on BikeBound. While this example’s price is admittedly a bit steep, it’s a professional-grade build that’s been beautifully designed and expertly executed.
You can find this 2008 Yamaha MT-03-based XT500 tribute entitled the “MT660 Heritage Scrambler” for sale here on TheBikeShed in Arnhem, Netherlands with a price of $13,500 (or €11,500).