Love Language: A Yamaha SR500 flat tracker by Hombrese

Yamaha SR500 flat tracker by Hombrese Bikes
Most guys can’t think beyond a box of chocolates or a bunch of flowers as a gift for their significant other. But Uwe Kostrewa is a true romantic. He’s just built this peachy Yamaha SR500 flat tracker for his girlfriend, Steffi—and it’s not the first custom bike he’s built for her either.

Uwe works as Hombrese Bikes out of his workshop in Cologne, Germany, and regularly races and builds custom flat track motorcycles. He has a knack for creating machines that are low-key handsome, trading polish and pretentiousness for high doses of retro charm.

Yamaha SR500 flat tracker by Hombrese Bikes
Having already built a Honda XL500 flat tracker for Steffi, Uwe made the mistake of letting her test his Yamaha SR500 on the track. Naturally, she fell in love with it. So when the couple decided to both enter the beach race at the Wheels and Wake festival in Germany a few months later, they ended up sharing Uwe’s SR500.

That worked well enough in the early heats—but trouble came when Uwe and Steffi both found themselves in the final. Uwe borrowed a bike from a friend, only to be beaten by his girlfriend, riding his bike. There was no question; Steffi needed her own Yamaha SR500.

Yamaha SR500 flat tracker by Hombrese Bikes
Back at the workshop, Uwe took stock and realized that he had enough spare parts lying around to construct a worthy contender. Starting with a 1979 Yamaha SR500 donor, he stripped it down and began cutting off all the superfluous bits.

“I first asked Steffi what color scheme she wanted,” he tells us. “But there was an old Yamaha DT50 tank that had been in my workshop for two years, with nice patina and a few little dents. It was clear that the tank had to stay original—so for the rest, Steffi chose black.”

Yamaha SR500 flat tracker by Hombrese Bikes
With a little persuasion, Uwe managed to get the skinny DT50 fuel tank to fit the SR500’s wide frame backbone. A custom seat sits behind it, upholstered with a delightful quilted stitching pattern. Uwe shortened the subframe underneath it, terminating it in a new kicked-up loop.

Since this is a pure track bike, the rest of the bodywork is minimal. The SR500 wears number boards at the front and sides, with a shortened aluminum rear fender finishing off the tail.

Yamaha SR500 flat tracker by Hombrese Bikes
For the suspension and wheels, Uwe kept things simple and practical. His race bike uses a set of Yamaha R6 forks, but he actually prefers the geometry of the SR’s stock forks and yokes for flat track racing. So he decided to improve the OEM setup on Steffi’s bike rather than swap it out.

The forks were shortened a touch, then stiffened up with heavier oil. A pair of modern YSS shocks sits at the back.

Yamaha SR500 flat tracker by Hombrese Bikes
The wheels are a mixed bag. The 19” front is straight off of an Aprilia Pegaso adventure bike, while the rear features a 19” Excel rim laced to the original SR500 hub. Uwe picked a Dunlop DT3 tire for the front, with Maxxiss rubber out back.

Of course, with no need for a front brake, Steffi has to rely on engine braking and the original SR500 rear drum brake. Take a closer look though, and you’ll notice that Uwe’s cleaned up the front end so that it doesn’t look like the front brake is missing. Tidy work, as always.

Yamaha SR500 flat tracker by Hombrese Bikes
Higher up you’ll find a set of Tomaselli flat track handlebars, fitted with new grips and only the bare essential controls. Under the hood, Uwe rebuilt the engine with a new 500 cc piston, and bigger and better valves. A custom exhaust header flows into a blacked-out Supertrapp muffler.

Steffi’s new flat track whip is as svelte as it looks, tipping the scales at just 122 kilos [269 lbs]. And since her and Uwe now have matching race bikes, they can share spare parts at the races.

Yamaha SR500 flat tracker by Hombrese Bikes
The downside, though, is that Steffi couldn’t keep both of her flat track bikes.

“She loves both of them, but she had to choose between the two—there’s not enough space here for all the toys,” Uwe tells us. “In the end, she chose the SR500, because it works a little better on the track.”

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Yamaha SR500 flat tracker by Hombrese Bikes