Yamaha SR500 cafe racer

Yamaha SR500
A few weeks ago I was in Brighton, on the south coast of England. It’s a spiritual home for the English cafe racer scene, and I was pleased to see the odd custom zipping about—with many riders sporting open-face helmets and goggles. Most of these bikes had a low-key, monochrome look, just like this Yamaha SR500. It’s owned by Brighton man Marc Woodward, and took him nine months to put together.

Yamaha SR500
Marc bought the bike part-finished from the builder Retrograde Mechanica. (It already had light frame mods, the pipes, and the new seat and tank.) Marc wanted to ramp up the dynamics of the bike, so he fitted a shortened supermotard front end and laced a 17″x 4.25″ rim onto the original rear hub. He also fitted 4-pot caliper brakes with a 320mm disc and a Brembo master cylinder.

Yamaha SR500
Other details are neat: Marc refitted the headlight switch and the decompression lever in the holes left in the original top yoke, and has finished the stripped-down loom with cotton braided cable. He reports that the bike is “an absolute joy to ride and will lean and lean—I have already worn a patch in my jeans from dragging my knee!”

Yamaha SR500