The Yamaha SR400 has been selling strongly in Japan for over three decades now, so the locals are well versed in making the venerable thumper look good. This is one of the best we’ve seen: an archetype of the classic Japanese custom style, with perfectly judged proportions and a beguiling mix of old and new.
‘Boogie Single Racer’ is the third and final Yard Built machine from Yamaha’s EICMA display. It’s no surprise to learn that one of Tokyo’s top custom builders—an SR specialist of some 16 years—helped out with this one. The transformation looks simple, but a lot of work has gone into this build. Beautiful vintage Ceriani forks have been grafted on, the tank has been painstakingly cut-and-shut, and there’s a neat rear frame loop that sneaks over the handcrafted fender.
The closer you look, the more there is to see. The front drum brake is a vintage Honda fitment, and the wheel rims and tank and oil caps have been treated to elegant filigree-style engraving. The metalworking throughout is immaculate, contrasting with the slightly rough finish of the paint. It’s an authentic rather than slick result. Adding to the vintage look are curvaceous side panels, a Bates headlight and old-school rubber footpegs.
Like the two other Yard Built customs revealed at the Italian EICMA show, this SR400 is the brainchild of Yamaha Europe product manager Shun Miyazawa. He’s a long-time fan of both the European and Japanese custom styles, and this build has a special significance for him—it takes him back to his younger days and “those crazy summer Sundays spent tearing around a secluded beach or competing in a sand race.”
Yamaha has just put the SR400 back on sale in Europe, and over the next two years, will be releasing several new bikes that also hark back to the simplicity of the past. And we’ll be seeing custom versions of those too.
“Customization is a big part of our story,” Miyazawa explains. “So we’re going to be involving more builders, from both Japan and Europe. As a manufacturer we can only show a few directions, but the builders can provide extra inspiration. That’s the idea behind the ‘Yard Built’ machines, and we’ll also be putting a lot of the custom kit from the show bikes on sale too.”
So … any guesses on which builder helped out with this SR400?