For the past few weeks, I’ve had a KTM Freeride 350 in my garage—a press bike on loan. The most striking thing about the KTM is its weight, which is a smidge under 100 kg (220 lbs).
My own Moto Guzzi V7 Classic is no heavyweight either, at 182 kg dry, but the KTM feels like a toy in comparison—in the best possible way.
Having been introduced to the delights of riding a superlight bike, I cast my eye over this new build from Auto Fabrica with interest. It’s based on a Yamaha SR250, and almost certainly weighs less than the 130kg of a stock SR250. Which can only mean one thing: it’s easy and fun to ride.
Auto Fabrica are based in the unlikely location of Southend-On-Sea, a resort town sitting on the Thames river, east of London. Shop boss Bujar Muharremi and his crew have a passion for SR250s, with this being their fourth build.
This time, they’ve changed the stance of the bike—ditching their usual 16/19” wheel combo for a pair of 18” rims and matching Mitas trial bike tires. “This enabled us to re-lace a bigger and better front twin leading shoe hub, which was a much-needed upgrade from standard,” says Bujar. “The rear has slightly higher shocks and we’ve lowered the front end to give the correct side profile.”
The focal point of the build is the aluminum tank, which was fabricated in-house.
“We reduced the visual weight by making it shorter than OEM, but with a bit more roundness to match the lines of the engine. It means that the seat can be relatively thick without dominating the tank.” The fabrication is first-class, with scalloped knee indents on the tank and a black suede seat covering, complete with a little orange triangle to give a hint of color.
The engine was dispatched to legendary tuner Bob Farnham for a full rebuild with new piston and rings. It came back with a slightly bigger bore and a gas flowed head, and was promptly hooked up to a custom stainless steel straight-through pipe, also created in-house at Auto Fabrica.
“The bike is extremely fun to ride, due to its light weight and small size,” Bujar reports, and I don’t doubt him for a second. The classy looks are just the icing on the cake.