Originally operating under the banner of “Nippon Gakki Co. Ltd,” the global multifaceted company that we now know as the Yamaha Corporation was founded in 1887 as a reed organ manufacturer before pivoting to produce pianos around the turn of the century. Upon the outbreak of WW2, the Tuning Fork Company retooled its factories to produce wartime machinery — putting it in the perfect position to start producing lightweight two-wheelers in response to the era’s massive demand for economical modes of transportation after the war. Debuting in 1955, the first motorcycle ever produced by Yamaha was the YA-1 — aka the “Aka-Tombo,” Japanese for the “Red Dragonfly” — a plucky little 5.5hp air-cooled two-stroke single modeled after DKW’s RT 125.
For its latest one-off project, Deus Ex Machina’s Temple of Enthusiasm workshop in Indonesia has opted to pay homage to the first-ever model from the Hamamatsu marque — a fitting move considering that of the approximately 90 Deus builds churned out over the years, almost half of the donor vehicles are from the fabled Japanese brand. Appropriately dubbed the “Aka-Tombo,” this DxM build began life as an XSR155, though has since been treated to a slew of modifications and upgrades. The baby XSR has been gifted a full suite of bespoke bodywork with a new tank, side covers, headlight shroud, fenders, fork guards, a tracker tail section, and radiator and engine guards that are all custom, hand-crafted from metal alloy. In addition to a one-off subframe that now sports a custom-cast LED taillight and a ribbed brown leather saddle, the YA-1 homage has also received a custom trellis-style stainless steel swing arm. Other custom work on the Yamaha includes a massive hole-punched skid-plate, a bespoke exhaust system with a one-off header that culminates in a shorty-style SuperTrapp can, a relocated display, Hurricane bars wrapped in Ariete grips, a bespoke removable surf rack, a DayMaker LED headlight, and custom 18” Sprint XD alloy rims with TK Racing spokes and VND billet alloy hubs that are shod in knobby Pirelli Scorpion Rally rubber. Completing the package is a custom burgundy livery contrasted by a slew of exposed metal components — a direct nod to the paint digs on the YA-1.
Though markedly more modern than the machine it’s paying tribute to, Deus Indonesia has managed to deliver a stellar homage to the model that kicked off Yamaha’s two-wheeled legacy. And while this particular specimen is already spoken for, Deus’ Aka-Tombo makes us all the more excited to see what the custom moto and lifestyle brand cooks up next.