If you’ve been to Istanbul, you’ll know that it’s riot of color. The bazaars and basilicas are an assault on the retinas, in the best possible way.
So it’s surprising to discover that this cool and understated Yamaha SR500 comes from the city formerly known as Constantinople. It’s the work of brothers Mert and Can Uzer of Bunker Custom Motorcycles, and was commissioned by a kite boarder.
“After the first conversations with the client, we decided on a primitive but robust machine. The SR500 was the first to pop into our minds, but it’s really hard to find decent bikes in Turkey—and finding an SR500 is even harder.”
Mert managed to locate an SR500 for sale a whopping 330 km away, in the mountain city of Eskişehir. And as soon as the bike was back in the shop, the Bunker crew set to work. “We’ve aimed for a scrambler-style setup,” says Mert. “The bike will spend time on the rough roads of Alaçatı, one of the best surfing spots in Turkey.”
The look is handmade and raw, with the custom tank dictating the style. “Although we love the original SR500 tank, we always thought it could have been better.” The new tank has a more geometric design, and it’s also a little shorter—to suit the new riding posture and ergonomics. It’s finished with a brushed effect and stark brown and blue stripes, with a clear coat to protect it.
To keep weight down, Mert and co. have used aluminum wherever possible. The fenders and engine guard are hand-made, and there’s a new loop at the back of the frame—fitted at an angle to allow for longer-travel, 14.25” Progressive Suspension shocks.
The engine has been rebuilt with big valves and now breathes through a 38 mm Mikuni Sudco racing carb and a K&N filter. Gases exit via stainless headers hooked up to a Dime City Cycles muffler. “It’s tuned accordingly,” says Mert, “and the torque is amazing.” High flow, dual feed oil lines from Motolanna help keep temperatures down.
Bunker have hand-sanded the frame down to the metal, to accentuate the raw look, and added a coat of electrostatic clear paint for protection. There’s a new CNC-cut handlebar clamp, engraved with the model number and year, and a rack on the side of the frame for carrying a large kite. The electrics are now under the custom brown leather seat; they take up minimal room, thanks to a battery eliminator kit.
It’s a clean and beautifully detailed build—with a cool elegance that will stand out amidst the hustle and bustle of Istanbul. Top marks to the Uzer brothers, and expect to hear a lot more about Bunker in the future.