Yamaha SR400 was introduced in 1978 and hasn't changed much since. Throughout the years there have been some minor modifications but the overall design is basically the same now as it was in the late 70s.
Going through the reviews of SR400 owners I discovered that many guys who never kick started a bike, have issues with that routine (not that it's difficult to figure out, it just seems like to much unnecessary work otherwise done by the bike itself). Some folks also found out that 399cc wasn't enough and turned to the aftermarket for the displacement increase.
Despite these and some other small complaints, Yamaha SR400 is usually described as a practical and well-balanced motorcycle with good handling and affordable price. The bike is also one of a few air-cooled, minimum electrics, 4-stroke singles that can be purchased new.
When it comes to building a Cafe Racer, SR400 might be just the right choice. SR400 Cafe projects are usually very decent and solid motorcycles. Light weight and simplicity of SR400 model combined with a talent and inspiration can transform into something that will easily blow your mind.
So, below I've picked 10 remarkable SR400 Yamaha Café Racers built by various workshops in the last few years.
This 1983 model was built by Carl Johansson from Sweden. Dorotea was the first custom project of the Swedish builder. As he said, he had been riding motorcycles all his life and the day came when Carl realised he wanted something new. That new was a challenge to build a Racer. Afters days of thinking of what he actually wanted from a newly bought SR400, then planning, designing and working on the bike, Carl turned it into a very nice Yamaha Café Racer.
Number 9 was customised by Top Sports Custom workshop. The bike has a little longer seat than you would expect from a Cafe build and the rest is typical and done well. Shiny cherry colored tank looks amazing with black parts.
We've already covered one story of AN-BU garage here. Although I called this Yamaha a Cafe Racer, the bike doesn't really fit in a Cafe category but that's alright. Fujita Koichi - the man behind "Grace Racer" and AN-BU Custom Motors - tends to make his custom bikes stand out from the crowd by producing art through motorcycles he works with and this SR400 is a good example. The workshop also works with classic cars.
This SR Cafe Racer bike from 1988 was half way done when Pat, a guy from Sydney, bought it on the Internet. He wanted an upgrade from his old Honda VTR250 model and this bike was a good fit. With some help on the side Pat managed to put together an old school classic motorcycle - just as he wanted. Now the bike not only looks great, but it also unlocks many possibilities traffic wise. City traffic becomes more of a game than an annoyance, Pat states.
At first glance, this one is very simple, yet the details and quality of the build are breathtaking. Meant to represent the basics of the bike, Belgian built Krugger's SR400 racer's got clean lines and authentic touch along with the lightness and simplicity of a stock Yamaha SR400. That's how amazing things are done!
The magnetism is all over the bike above. Built by Jason Gasoline and his team at GCM in Sydney, this Yamaha Cafe Racer features a pair of chunky tires complemented by a metallic design. The rear was extremely lightened, fenders moved off and the front reworked. If you by any chance got the impression of this SR400 Café being simple looking, hence an easy build - you're quite mistaken. Many beautiful details were included and many changes were made by the Australian team during the transformation.
585cc Neo Cafe Racer is based on the SR400 model. The bike was modified and re-engineered by Japanese garage Motor Garage Goods. The amount of work that went into this bike is worth great respect. Every bit and detail had to be reconsidered, parts carefully chosen to fit the design and to achieve the desirable result. Moreover, Neo SR400 was pieced together using elements from other Yamaha models and Kawasaki.
Ok, I admit it's somewhat unusual look but that's what makes Type Zero exceptional and surprisingly appealing. The bike is one of those that makes some people grimace while others adore it immediately. SR400 based TZ Cafe Racer is a project of the brothers at Yamaguchi Ringyou from Yokohama. Curvy forms on both ends of the bike were inspired by helmets. I personally like Type Zero bike very much, that's why I left it to be featured in top 3.
Omega Racer - a Thailand-based workshop run by Markus Pintzinger, is the place where this 1998's SR400 was covered in aluminium shields making the bike look like a futuristic vehicle. At first, it was a Tracker project but Markus decided to turn it into something else. Don't get confused by some distinctive Cafe features, Omega Racer owner doesn't really call this bike a Cafe Racer. However, this is definitely a racer as inspiration for this build came from 60's and 70's racing motorcycles.
Old Empire Motorcycles guys have produced some very fine builds over the course of the last years. A few have been featured by me and of course, there are many others that would catch your attention instantly. I admire how every bike is thought through well and extremely balanced in details with an appealing design. "Snipe" Yamaha 400cc Cafe Racer isn't an exception.
OEM started with a new SR400 intending to improve right away rather than deal with worn and broken bits. The team went through an amazing adventure modifying the bike, resulted in one-off outstanding Racer called Snipe.
There are for sure many more stunning Yamaha builds based on this particular model. Feel free to share your thoughts on the bikes above in the comments. Meanwhile, for those who stuck with me to the end, I've got a little bonus. Enjoy!
Snowy white Yamaha Café Racer