Michael “Woolie” Woolaway’s latest creation ‘BLU RUVIDO’ is the manifestation of those concepts presented in two-wheel form. Yamaha has stepped up as the title sponsor of the Deus Swank Rally and donated a 2019 YZF450FX to the cause. Woolie loved the performance of the modern off-road machine but wanted to throw a Deus vintage vibe the bike’s way. There’s something so beautiful about the simplistic lines of vintage bikes, but as technology has progressed and form has followed function stripping away the plastic bodywork reveals just how far we’ve since the days of simple street machines that were transformed into full off-road capable dessert bombers.
“I wanted to make it look more like a vintage YZ” Woolie explains. “Which ended up being a big challenge, because the old bikes had small tanks and a single backbone frame. The new YZF450FX is literally backward from the machines of yesteryear. The airbox is where the tank used to be and the fuel tank is under the seat” With little budget and lots of creativity Woolie was able to transform the modern marvel into something JN Roberts and Steve McQueen would have been familiar with all without losing the performance and functionality of which the engineers at Yamaha have worked decades to perfect.
In only a few days Woolie was able to embody the soul of the old Desert Sleds in a modern platform. The “gas tank” is a fully custom piece handcrafted after an old YZ Motocross bike design while the actual fuel cell is a complex design hidden under the seat and behind the shock. A completely redesigned and fabricated subframe allowed for a vintage desert racer inspired seat and rear fender, the current YZ forks were prepped by Race Tech and lowered by three inches.
Other modern touches like a Scotts steering stabilizer and Rekluse slipper clutch ensure the only thing vintage is the look.