Return of the Cafe Racers - Another Japanese Gem – The Yamaha SR400 (SR500)

Another Japanese Gem – The Yamaha SR400 (SR500)

For a bit of relief from all of this Kawasaki W650 talk (I know, I’m obsessed!!!) I thought it would be a good time to introduce another excellent Japanese bike with true modern Cafe Racer potential, The Yamaha SR400.




Originally modelled off Yamaha’s first true “big thumper”, the XT500 which gained popularity through its success in the Paris Dakar, the SR400 set up has been around since 1978. The earlier SR 500 became a legend as one of the most reliable and easy-to-maintain motorcycles ever built. I was sold till 1999 and Yamaha enjoyed huge demands in Germany and Japan until new noise and emission regulations signalled the end of the big air-cooled single. The SR400’s being produced and sold in Japan today differ slightly from the earlier SR500 versions of the bike with a shorter stroke and heavier muffler to comply with tight emission laws. Powered by a 400CC four-stroke single producing 27Hp (19.73kW) @ 7000RPM the bike is not what you would call an amazing performer but all up it’s a solid set up and a good performer.

Aesthetically the bike hasn’t changed much since it’s conception and as such oozes retro classic appeal in today’s market. The original SR500 look was designed to have a “strong family image and a strong link to our (Yamaha’s) first four-stroke, the XS 650 twin, which was also inspired by British design at first.” Like the W650 the SR400’s classic Brit bike looks have gained it huge popularity in Japan and as such you can find parts for almost any type of custom conversion you may desire. Searching online will return examples of SR400 based Cafe Racers, Boppers and Street Trackers that will make any motorcycle lover drool. Here a few examples of beautifully customised SR400’s I found online…

Here are a few links for those wanting more…

If you’re looking to get your hands on a Yamaha SR400 in Australia, once again the guys at Deus are importing them so get your orders in now!

Omega Racer interview workshop series

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