Blue Ghost: A Yamaha R1 inspired by Pac-Man

Custom Yamaha R1 by Pit Works Design
We’re always curious about where custom motorcycle builders find their inspiration. But the creator of this aggressive Yamaha R1 cites an unlikely source: the beloved 80s arcade game, Pac-Man. More specifically, Inky—the blue ghost that chases the game’s eponymous hero.

This is the personal ride of Ted Lee, who runs Pit Works Design in Taipei, Taiwan. Pit Works is an industrial design house with a focus on motorcycling, and uses modern processes (like 3D printing) to create custom bike parts and other moto-related products. Custom motorcycles form part of their repertoire too.

Custom Yamaha R1 by Pit Works Design
Not many people would customize a 1998 Yamaha YZF-R1 quite this drastically, but Ted was working with a donor that had already been molested. “It had been remodeled before, without success,” he tells us. “Its subframe was cut off, and the wires were exposed and full of dust.”

With more than enough power from the R1’s 998 cc four-cylinder engine, and running gear that was up to the task, Ted saw no need for expensive upgrades. Instead, he simply overhauled the stock stuff to make sure everything was tiptop, and focused on cosmetics. The idea here was to show off Pit Works’ know-how of materials and composites.

Custom Yamaha R1 by Pit Works Design
The only piece of OEM bodywork left on this R1 is its fuel tank—but it’s not quite original any more. Ted cut-and-shut it to tighten up the proportions, then converted it into a cover that sits over a custom-made steel reservoir. It’s topped off with a cast aluminum fuel filler cap, done in the style of classic endurance racers.

“My enlightening mentor, Nic, an Italian industrial designer, said ‘This bike’s original design was very elegant and beautiful, you should seriously think about how to redesign it’,” Ted tells us. “So I kept the basic fuel tank shape, and some classic elements of the first-generation R1 superbike.”

Custom Yamaha R1 by Pit Works Design
Behind the tank is a new boxy steel subframe. Pit Works actually designed it in CAD software first, to make sure they could package all the electrical bits in it, then fabricated it using traditional metal-shaping techniques. There’s a 3D-printed box hiding inside it, carrying a small gel battery and the electronic bits.

Ted turned to 3D printing for the seat pan, too, by creating a mold over which to shape the final fiberglass part. It’s topped off with the most barebones of racing pads.

Custom Yamaha R1 by Pit Works Design
Up front, the Yamaha’s original fairing has been replaced by a small, transparent nacelle, complete with a small pair of lower ‘wings.’ Pit Works actually designed it using CAD software, and 3D printed it using a photosensitive epoxy resin, which was then clear coated and polished to achieve transparency.

The screen’s held in place by a pair of elegant, hand-made steel brackets. A pair of LED lights tucked under the bottom yoke handle headlight duties.

Custom Yamaha R1 by Pit Works Design
Peak behind the fairing, and you’ll find a custom top yoke with a tiny integrated Koso meter. The cockpit also features custom clip-ons that combine carbon fiber bars with CNC-machined clamps, Koso grips, and racing switches.

Pit Works also designed a carbon fiber radiator guard and rear wheel covers. The exhaust is custom too, using a mix of aluminum and carbon fiber parts, with a 3D printed badge to top it off. New parts include Frando brake pads, HRC brake hoses, a DMV coolant temperature gauge, and foot controls from Over.

Custom Yamaha R1 by Pit Works Design
A splash of cyan paint on the tank adds a final nod to Inky, along with a set of suitably cheeky graphics driving the point home. Pit Works’ ‘Blue Ghost’ is just the right mix of brutality and irreverence, and we’re all for it.

Pit Works Design | Facebook | Instagram | Images by Johny Wu

Custom Yamaha R1 by Pit Works Design

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