Is any confirmation needed that a large sector of the motorcycle-buying public is bored with anodyne, plastic-clad offerings? This is it: The venerable Yamaha SR400 goes on sale in the USA in June, following its relaunch in Europe.
Yes, we’re talking about a simple mid-capacity roadster with a narrow frame, a kickstart, old-style switchgear and a flat bench seat. For some folks, that simplicity is reason enough to buy an SR400. But for many others, the biggest plus is getting instant access to a staggering number of custom parts from around the world—and owning a bike that is remarkably easy to work on and personalize.
Jeff Palhegyi has managed to get his hands on one of the first SR400s to land in the USA, and he’s shown what’s possible with relatively simple mods. Even better, he built this bike in eight days flat.
“An old-school TT500-style custom was the plan,” Jeff explains. “On Day One we installed the cool Heidenau tires, and measured the chassis for custom shocks from Racetech.” Next came the chassis work, but even that was easy.
“Chopping off the rear of the chassis—along with the excess tabs and mounts—was a breeze. Then we formed up a new rear frame hoop, mounted custom fenders, and mocked up new side panels.” While the side panels were being fabricated, Jeff installed a new headlight from Dime City Cycles, a Koso instrument, and bars from Observe Design Innovate. To clean up the back end, a new aluminum Omega Racer swingarm was installed, and Howard McKee fashioned an ultra-simple old-style seat.
Jeff then mocked up a new exhaust system, using little more than offcuts of stainless steel tubing. That used up the rest of the week, but still left time for Benny Flores to craft the immaculate paint job.
The result is a lightweight, timeless urban scrambler that should put a smile on the dial of even the most hardened biker. We’re sold on the idea, and betting that the USA market will be too.
Images by Ryan Hagel.