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Fine Tuning: The evolution of Auto Fabrica’s new SR500s

Two new Yamaha SR500 scrambler customs from Auto Fabrica
In the custom world, stagnation is terminal. Which is why top outfits like Auto Fabrica are constantly evolving. And their new Yamaha SR500 ‘Type 7’ builds testify to this.

There’s a clear progression from their first Type 7 to the exquisite Type 7X. Now they’ve taken another step forward, by taking a small step back.

Two new Yamaha SR500 scrambler customs from Auto Fabrica
The new Yamahas pictured here are the Type 7D (metallic black, above) and 7E (gloss white, below). Like the 7X, they’re both built on SR500s—but they’re devoid of the 7X’s complex bespoke tank, and its integrated exhaust heat shield.

Why the simpler design? “The Type 7X was a concept,” explain Auto Fabrica. “The idea of running the pipe high and integrating it into the bodywork was always appealing, and building around obstacles offers great opportunity to design and create something awesome.”

Two new Yamaha SR500 scrambler customs from Auto Fabrica
“The Type 7D and 7E are built as a more cost effective option to the Type 7X, taking the off-road adventure theme into adventure reality.”

Both these bikes started out as 1980-model SR500s. AF started by stripping them down, and rebuilding their motors with new bearings, high-compression pistons and gas flowed heads. Both are running Mikuni VM34 carbs with foam filters too.

Two new Yamaha SR500 scrambler customs from Auto Fabrica
The engines look brand new too. That’s because they’ve been aqua blasted, and the bare aluminum treated to protect it from the elements. AF also stripped out all the wiring, replacing it with fresh, modern components. (The ignitions are now hiding under the tanks.)

The frames were de-tabbed, and then cleaned up at the rear with a new loop to match the new seats. Like the 7X (but unlike earlier Type 7s), the rear light is a petite LED embedded in the frame.

Two new Yamaha SR500 scrambler customs from Auto Fabrica
Both bikes wear their stock tanks, but they’ve been liberated of their seams, and treated to custom filler caps. This sort of consideration for small aesthetic details is rampant throughout Auto Fabrica’s work.

It’s especially reflected in the seats: the 7D’s is wrapped in black suede, and the 7E’s in a dark navy, water resistant canvas. Both are capped off with metallic AF badges.

Two new Yamaha SR500 scrambler customs from Auto Fabrica
Then there’s that scrambler-ific exhaust design. “Like The 7X, the bikes have bespoke, hand-made sand-bent exhausts,” AF tell us, “running up high, so the bikes can wade through high rivers and greatly improve the ground clearance, making this a real go-anywhere machine, as well as a distinctive design feature.” Custom heat shields and black ceramic coating help to reduce heat.

Taking the off-road theme further, AF have wrapped the SR’s stock 19F/18R wheels in Mitas trials rubber. Look closely, and you’ll spot drum brakes up front—a particularly classic touch, thanks to the addition of Yamaha XT500 hubs.

Two new Yamaha SR500 scrambler customs from Auto Fabrica
The suspension’s had a bit of a boost too, with Hagon shocks out back and stiffer springs up front. Hand-made aluminum mudguards at both ends keep muck out of the rider’s face and away from the intake.

Up top, each SR500 is sporting a super-sano cockpit, with Renthal bars, leather grips and a min speedo on a custom bracket. All the switches sit on single, left-side switch clusters. AF have even added oil temp gauges for day-to-day practicality.

Two new Yamaha SR500 scrambler customs from Auto Fabrica
Sprinkled throughout the bikes you’ll find neat details like tiny barrel turn signals, upgraded rider and passenger pegs, and leather wraps on the kick-start levers.

The new SR500s are as classy as we’ve come to expect from the London shop—right down to the subtle black and white paint jobs. But they also look like they’d hold up pretty well to some off-road shenanigans.

Two new Yamaha SR500 scrambler customs from Auto Fabrica

And while the 7D and 7E might not be as elaborate as the 7X, they’re just as cool. Which leaves us with only one question.

Would you take the black one, or the white?

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