Amongst all the slick pro builds, the edgy new-wave customs and the oddball art-moto machines, it’s good to show a clean home build now and then—the kind of bike built over several weekends in a backstreet garage.
This neat Yamaha SR500 is one such build, by Eric Stafford—an industrial designer from Toronto, Canada. “I wanted to build a bike that would be fun for short commutes around the city,” says Eric. “I first heard about the SR500 six years ago, and instantly fell in love with the idea of a single-cylinder half-liter bike.”
After a yearlong search for the right SR500, Eric found one that had sat unused for a decade. “It didn’t take much effort to get it on the road,” he recalls. “I rode it semi-stock for a season, until I was rear-ended by a taxi.” The unfortunate shunt provided Eric with the impetus to put his design ideas into practice.
Last winter, Eric and his father tore the SR500 apart, fabricated a rear loop for the frame, bobbed both fenders, and made a custom seat pan. They did everything themselves, including the upholstery work and paint job. The knurled aluminum pegs and grips are custom-machined, and Eric fitted tracker-style bars and a Bates headlight. He upgraded the brakes to drilled rotors, and tightened up the handling with new 13” shocks.
“The design was mostly influenced by what was already on the bike. I didn’t want to sink a lot of money into it, so I found ways to modify and simplify what I had already had. Since the bike was a street tracker, it felt right to paint my own interpretation of a number plate onto the gas tank.”
Eric’s now working on a new custom motorcycle project, a 1999 Harley Davidson Sportster. You can follow the progress via his blog. If the Harley turns out as nice as this Yamaha, it’ll be worth keeping an eye on.