Matt Black Custom Designs Create Yard Built XV950 ‘Playa del Ray’

In a workshop just outside Malaga, Spain is the latest Yard Built creation. Tucked away in the sun soaked streets of San Pedro, Matt Black Custom Designs have been busy building their first ever Yard Built project. The result is a true showstopper, paying tribute to the board track racers of 100 years ago. An impressive mix of custom, one-off and bolt on parts are beautifully crafted together to become the Yard Built XV950 ‘Playa del Ray’.

The build required all the skills and creativity of the Matt Black team; Anthony Partridge worked his magic with metal, making the beautiful tank by hand as well as several other trick parts; master technician Kurt Lohse used his electrical genius to ensure ‘Playa del Ray’s’ stunning switch gear is function as well as form; project manager Dom Kelly used his 3D design skills to bring the concept alive on screen before a single part was made as well as machining several of the parts for the build. No Yard Built is complete without a memorable paint job and the Matt Black build is no exception. Paint wizard Ray Hill added the finishing touch with a beautiful colour scheme and intricate pin striping as well as contributing to the bodywork and finalising of the build.



“Inspired by the custom bobber scene, the Yamaha XV950 is a really fun bike to ride with its punchy v-twin motor. The design is timeless, paying tribute to the cool custom machines of the bobber scene but complemented with modern components for reliability and class leading performance. This combination of new and old mixed together is something we saw in the work of Matt Black’s previous builds,” commented Yamaha Motor Europe Product Manager, Shun Miyazawa. “As a result we knew they were the right people to take on the latest XV950 Yard Built project and the result is amazing. They’ve kept all the fun of the standard bike, but shown you can use it as a base to easily build something iconic with a perfect blend of vintage and modern without compromising the ride.”

Matt Black Custom Design were determined that no matter how crazy the build, they still wanted XV950 owners to be able to have a taste of ‘Playa del Ray’ for themselves. As a result an impressive list of custom machined billet Matt Black Custom Designs bolt on parts were created. These include the stunning front and rear 21inch rims (also available in original size), the rear pulley with cush drive system, the plexi-glass see through cam gear cover, left side crankcase cover and right side generator cover. The small right side cover and front pulley cover were also machined and an air filter adapter plate was created to go with a cool Crime Scene Choppers air filter cover.




Of course as a one-off Yard Built project there are also some unique, bespoke parts created by Matt Black Custom just for the build. These include the beautiful handmade fuel tank, both the electrical and battery side panels and the rear fender, all built in-house. The standard Yamaha XV950 headers flow into a one-off custom collector before making noise at the end with a modified MIVV Ghibli Silencer. A custom battery box is hidden internally and the XV handlebars were modified to deliver a genuine board tracker look. The Matt Black custom work continues with stunning custom foot peg adapters, a front bash guard and a modified wiring loom.

Continuing the theme of Yard Built concepts that can be created at home, the ‘Playa del Ray’ build is completed with a selection of the finest custom aftermarket parts. The show stopping springer front fork comes courtesy of Rebufini with some minor modification by Matt Black Custom whilst the rear gets a set of Ohlins shocks to settle the ride. The fuel cap was custom made by the legendary Crafty B in the USA and the rocker cover was hand engraved locally by Tony the Engraver! A Vitys headlight and grips add attitude at the front and mini hand controls and switch housings by Rebuffini set it off. Rizoma make an appearance with Bullet indicators and foot pegs and a Motogadget speedo and housing take centre stage. Stopping power gets an upgrade up front with PM calipers and a set of risers by LA Choppers adds to the west coast vibe.


Matt Black Customs have made it easy for XV950 owners who want to add some of the Board Tracker style to their rides by providing a selection of bolt-on parts available directly from their website.

Tony Carter

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