Old Speed Factory

Yamaha SR500 chopper
I’m finding it harder and harder to get excited by the Japanese custom scene these days. Along with checkered stripes and the whole Ace Café aesthetic, it’s starting to feel a little tired. This is the first Japanese bike that’s caught my eye for a while, and ironically it’s that old standby, the Yamaha SR. It’s from a new shop called The Old Speed Factory, based in Nagoya—which is also home to Motor Rock and An-Bu.

This particular SR appeals to me because the lines are in perfect balance: the seat and rear fender just work beautifully with the sinuous exhaust system. The wheels are 21-inch at the front and 18-inch at the back, adding to the poise of the bike, but I’m not sure the drum brakes will be up to the job. Granted, an SR500 thumper is not the quickest of bikes and not the easiest to tune, but Old Speed Factory has taken the brute force route: the motor has been bored out from 87mm to 95mm, hiking capacity from 499 to 623cc. This is one SR that’ll show a clean pair of heels to most of its namesakes.

Yamaha SR500 chopper
Yamaha SR500 chopper

  • Tinman

    We all knock drum brakes but the truth is they work just fine in day to day riding. Maybe on a race course they will be quicker to fade and they are not as good wet, but aside from the poor drums on old Triumphs they work just fine. Heck the new Honda Shadow has a drum brake again, What other manufacturer could get away with that??

  • Buzz

    Just asking but if these guys want 600cc or better why not use a Suzuki Savage or DL650 powertrain? It looks cool, I think this is the Brat look someone told me about recently.

  • http://www.wilkinsonbrothers.com Corey

    Very clean and successfully monochromatic; shows restraint, but still inventive. Cool. Also, in a land where the average dude is 140 pounds (63kg), drum brakes are probably pretty functional. :)

  • D

    I like the cut of this machine’s jib!

  • Andy Carter

    Nice looking bike. I t looks light and fun. I wonder though, with the fashion for thick front tyres and large diameter wheels, what these bikes feel like on the road. After decades of manufacturers and competitors getting down to 17″ wheels for sports bikes I bet these customs feel like they’re on rails. Mind you, I quite like that in a bike though.

  • http://canberrariders.org.au Lurch

    Gotta agree with a Chris a little on this one.
    There seems to be a it of a rut these days of ‘how can we make an old Japanese bike into an old British racer’. Dont get me wrong, the work that goes into these bikes is mind blowing and all credit for that should be paid… but its kinda been done to death now.
    I much prefer a good restoration these days.

  • PeteP

    As to why they used the SR instead of the Thavage, it’s probably because there are lots of SR’s in Japan. They sold them there for almost 20 years.