Custom Yamaha SR400: Well underway

Date 01.4.2015

Presented by
  • Motorcycle Trader

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Yamaha SR400

The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting,” Andy Warhol artfully said. As we motorcyclists know all too well, it’s also about the journey, not the destination.

Fact is, the journey of transforming our Yamaha SR400 into a gritty little street scrambler has so far been smooth sailing. If anything, time has proved the only challenge thus far for Mid Life Cycles amid their commitments to other customer bikes. Between us, we’ve even avoided spoiling the broth.

As the colourful Campbell’s soup-loving pop artist expressed, it’ll certainly be worth the wait when we unveil the finished bike at the Penrite Broadford Bike Bonanza in Victoria over the Easter weekend.

So as another artistic visionary, editor Groff, says, “Do as I say, not as I do” and subscribe to Motorcycle Trader and earn 100 entries, complete the entry form in the magazine for 10 free entries or enter online here for one entry. This thing goes off on June 30.

Between stripping, fixing and restoring all sorts of classic road machinery ranging from the modest to the exotic, Mid Life Cycles bike builder, Hayden Catchpole, has yet to really get his hands dirty on our Yamaha. Even his work shirt is suspiciously clean. It’s not that he hasn’t been busy with the bike, but it isn’t every day a motorcycle mechanic gets the pleasure of tinkering with an oil-tight, gremlin-free bike that is brand-new.

There’s little left of the original standard bike as you can see, and by the time you read this, it will have dramatically changed again, so rapid is the pace of progress.

The wheels are with Lightfoot Engineering and will come back with tough, black, anodised rims, stainless steel spokes, and shod in chunky Heidenau K60 Scout tyres. The meaty hoops will be suspended by appropriately matching Ikon 7610-SP14-series rear shocks which feature a four-position external rebound adjustment, progressive springs and, importantly, they’re rebuildable.

The combination of a slim and ribbed Nitroheads brat-style seat and classic motocross-style ’bars have already transformed the bike’s stance while significantly reducing the bike’s visual weight. One look at Hayden’s big grin tells you this thing’s gonna be fun to ride. As the lucky winner, it won’t matter where you live because this light, agile and staunch street scrambler will rip through tight city traffic as easily as it’ll rip through rolling pastures. We’ll leave it to you to perfect jumping barbed wire fences.

Typical of a custom-bike conversion, Hayden has stripped a heap of weight from the bike, including the comfy and cumbersome seat, front and rear guards, rear rack and even original lighting, all of which always weigh a staggering amount.

In their place will be sole-destroying bear-trap footpegs, an engine guard and a sweet stainless steel megaphone exhaust for better breathing and maybe a few more ponies. We’re also keeping a few surprises up our sleeve…

So remember, you’ve gotta be in it to win so get cracking. Subscribe to Motorcycle Trader for 100 entries, complete the entry form in the magazine for 10 free entries or jump online here for one entry.

As Marco from Tropoja said and as the suspicious Gestapo agent said to Bartlett and MacDonald as they attempted their great escape on a bus, “Good luck”.