The big news for the European custom scene right now is the official return of the Yamaha SR400. The icon of the Japanese ‘brat style’ scene will be available through Yamaha’s European dealers in fuel-injected form, providing a ready-made platform for pro and amateur builders alike.
Yamaha announced the news a few hours ago at the EICMA motorcycle show in Italy. To celebrate, they’ve also taken the wraps off three new Yard Built customs. This SR400, nicknamed ‘GibbonSlap,’ comes from the Wrenchmonkees, who are in Milan to help launch the bike.
It’s what you might call a factory custom: the Wrenchmonkees have added their own understated style to the machine without making major structural modifications. “The challenge was to keep the rebuild simple,” says Per Nielsen, “by not cutting the frame, and using only bolt-on parts—or universal parts that would need only minor modifications.”
It’s an urban bike, built in collaboration with the German custom parts company Kedo, and outfitted with scrambler-style tires, a titanium megaphone exhaust and stubby polished aluminum fenders. “It’s light, lean, loud and loads of fun. Makes you wish for gravel roads everywhere you want to go,” says Per. (And it sure sounded good when he revved it up and rode it onto on the Milan stage.)
There’s also a single-seat conversion, and the extra space has been used to mount a luggage rack with soft panniers. In keeping with the Wrenchmonkees’ design ethos, the paint is matt black—which also extends to the forks, frame, tank and even the top yoke. The new shocks and the engine cases are also blacked out, contrasting with the chrome bars and polished fenders.
The Wrenchmonkees view the SR400 as a cost-effective route into customization: “The purchase price is low and maintenance costs are low as well. You can do most of that yourself, if you can use a spanner. And there are a huge number of rebuilt SR400s all over the world, for inspiration and encouragement.”
Great to see the return of an all-time classic—and another factory-fresh bike that can be easily customized as soon as it’s out of the box.