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Common Tread

A free Yamaha winter project bike you can download

Dec 26, 2017

Like the first warm ride of spring, sweaty gear in summer, and switching to Pumpkin Spice motor oil in the fall, the Winter Project Bike is a seasonal motorcycling staple.

I have a restoration lined up for the cold months, but not everyone has the time, space, or disregard for financial responsibility to take on a build. 

If you’re missing that special source of frustration in your life, but can’t justify spending tens of dollars on a Craigslist basketcase that’ll end up costing you hundreds, consider picking up a Yamaha... available for free on their website. Make sure your printer has enough ink, since they’re actually downloadable paper models of iconic bikes.

Detail of Ultra Realistic 2016 MT-10 Papercraft model. Yamaha photo.

The entire collection can be found under the Origami section of Yamaha Global. Because of course Yamaha has an Origami section. It’s right next to the Bento and Sushi section. You think I’m making this up?

Underside of 2014 YZF-R1M Papercraft model. Yamaha photo.
Underside of the Ultra Realistic YZF-R1M. Yamaha photo.

This year marks 20 years of paper Yams, and to celebrate, they’ll soon debut a papercraft model of the 1955 YA-1, the company's first production motorcycle. Their printable models come in two varieties: Realistic and Ultra Realistic.

A Realistic-class YZ450FM papercraft model. Yamaha photo.
Realistic-class 2005 YZ450FM Papercraft model. Yamaha photo.

The “easy” models are no joke, with a minimum of around 170 pieces, but Ultra Realistic kits promise endless suffering with more than 700 pieces. Here’s a comparison between the standard and Ultra V-Max projects:

Comparison of the Realistic V-Max to the later Ultra Realistic model. Yamaha photo.
Filing cabinets take up less space than garages. Yamaha photo.

Good news: you probably have most of the tools Yamaha recommends. To build a bike, you’ll need to gather the following: “ruler, scissors, blade cutter or 'Exacto-knife,' awl or other pointed tool (for making a folding crease), felt pen, pin set, glue, hand towel (for cleaning your fingers), [and] dictionary or other heavy book (to press the papers flat)... Heavy, A4-sized paper (21 x 29 cm) is recommended.” I think a bone folder would be a good investment if you’re going all out on an Ultra. Each download includes some basic papercraft instructions and tips, but you’ll want to look at these guides before diving in.

The SR400 looks pretty much the same from any year, but this is supposed to be a 2002. Or you can pretend its a 500. Yamaha photo.

Sure, your Origamaha will take hours of work and incredible patience, but you’ll probably finish this elaborate model of Rossi’s 2008 Laguna Seca run before my decrepit Honda even gets wheels, so don’t get discouraged. 

Good luck making those tires. 2014 YZ450F Papercraft model. Yamaha photo.

Model I’d Start With: 1997 V-Max (1990)

Model I’d Most Like On My Desk: YZF-R1 (1998) (includes tool box, track stand, and oil cans)

Model I’d Most Likely Give Up On: MT-10 (2016)