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.