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Garage Project’s Yamaha SR250 – “Lunacy”

Posted on September 17, 2011 by Andrew in Café Racer, Racer. 20 comments

Of all the wonderful things that the internet has given us, you’d be hard-pressed not to admit that anonymous user comments are right at the bottom of the heap. It magically seems to be able to bring out the worst in us and will often turn a calm, rational, intelligent adult into a name-calling, boasting, irrational, long-winded idiot. Of course, the fact that you can do it with almost total anonymity is the main cause of all the trouble – it’s like the 80s equivalent of a prank phone call where you get time to rehearse your lines. In the midst of all this dissing and lowest-common-denomenatorism, it takes a brave soul to stand up and be counted. Our hats are off to anyone who puts their bike where their (keyboard) fingers are. And that’s just what our next builder has done. And do you want to know the real icing on the cake? He’s done it twice in one week. Assembled Pipeburn bitchers and moaners, behold a man who talks the talk and walks the walk. Meet frequent commenter Rex Havoc and his lunatic Yamaha SR 250.

“My shop is called Garage Project Motorcycles which started in 2010 when my W650 cafe racer got soundly hammered by Brad’s (Rex’s partner in crime) W650 Flat Tracker in the cafe racer class at the Perth Jap Bike Show. We got talking during the day and decided we should collaborate on a few projects and see how they were received. Hey, if you can’t beat them, join them right?”

“I was following a build thread on the Perth Street Bikes and Do The Ton forums (as were heaps of other people – they were the most viewed build threads in both forums history) about the transformation of a basket case Yamaha SR250 into beautiful cafe racer. Ben (user name “Lunar_C”) had been working on the transformation for four years when on the 5th March 2011 he decided to swap piston rings for an engagement ring.”

“Ben said ‘It is sad, if you think about the past 4 years I’ve spent working on it… but this year is going to be really tough financially with my clinical rotations (work full time as a nurse for 3 months, but don’t get paid) and I’m moving out… and hopefully popping the question, so working on this bike kept me sane enough to meet the right girl, and now as a final gift, selling it might be able to help me marry that girl'”

“Like everyone else who had been following the build we desperately wanted to see it finished and presented at the 4th Jap Bike Show three weeks later. We picked it up in our matching Red ute and hi ho, hi ho it was off to the garage we go.”

“The bike looked 90% complete but like all partly-completed projects there are always surprises. We also wanted to add our touch to the bike as well so we removed the rattle can silver wheels, hubs and spokes and replaced them with CB350 18″ rims that were powder coated black and laced them with stainless spokes. We replaced the carb with a new Mikuni item and dumped the pod filter for a velocity stack. We moved the ignition to under the seat and replaced the front brake with a twin leading shoe set-up. Then we fabricated a few missing parts, replaced the hardware store bolts, installed new switchgear and totally rewired the bike. We then made the seat and added the graphics.”

“10pm the night before the show and we were still putting the finishing touches to bike but it was all worth it as it picked up 1st prize amongst some really strong competition. Ben, well he proposed the night before the show. He’s riding the bike for the first time this weekend. We are reluctantly selling the bike to fund our best project yet – A 1974 CB750 Street Bobber “Mr Green”, which was named after my 3rd grade teacher who was a right bastard!”

So next time you crack your knuckles and set about to flame some poor sucker because you’re not down with the particular shade of off-white that they have chosen for their pipe wrap, maybe the furious anger you are using to fuel your angry little fingers could be put to better use working on your bike. After all, just look at what can be achieved when you get off your computer and into the workshop.

(Big ups to Mark “Monkey” Hawwa from Sydney Cafe Racers for the tip.)

  • Leroy

    Props for the paint job/graphics, not only would i never have picked it, I never would have even thoguht of it.
    Well done.

    The rest of the bike is rad too.

  • dave in kalifornia

    Nice little bike, Rex. Not much to say about it, myself- Just cool.
    I DO however, have to say the commentary is top notch! Thanks for actually saying what alot of people are thinking. Good job Andrew. Now, where's the Devil Bitch? 😉

  • KG

    There is nothing more beautiful than a single cylinder and drum brakes, you guys nailed it! This is exactly what I want to be seen riding one day

  • revdub

    Yep. I love SR's and this one is great. That seat is perfect. The photos remind me of a technique I've used, because I do not have access to a professional camara or setup: use a white backdrop and "contrast" the hell out of it, until the backdrop is gone. Don't worry guys, with the quality of these builds, you should soon have your pick of photographers wanting to snap pro-shots of these awesome bikes!

  • Sizzler

    Very nice- a vast improvement over the standard SR.

    However, out of respect for web tradition,
    I would be a lot more comfortable if there was something between the back tyre and the open velocity stack.

  • Common Blog Poster

    Man yours bike is carp!
    My dads brothers sister could do a better job yesterday and one time i rebuilt a super rad Harley Guzzi with nothing but a shifter and a hammer. I dont like the way you done anythink on this bike and yoos who like it must all be blind. just wait until my biker bananza rebuild is finished and you will all bow to it like a monk in church becoz it will just burn your eyes.
    If I did that bike it would be heaps better as I noticed you missed a couple of the ultimate build must-haves: Glitter, gold plated sump, the colour purple, fat slicks, ape-hanger bars, ninja star dust caps, spare wheel mounted on the back, twin headlights and so on….. I wont give you all of my secrets becoz yoos arent ready for it.
    I feel sory that yoos wasted your time on this becoz it isnt cool.

  • @sizzler – we had a temporary one and took it off for the photos as it looked crap. We're making a permanent one now and it won't spoil the looks.

  • Great looking 250! Chapeau!

  • Harley Guzzis rock.

  • Gloo

    Here friggin here! (Oh, and the bike is bitchen too!) Most of the critical stuff said about any given build on forums like Pipeburn are usually about personal taste nonsense. Stuff that doesn't make a hill of beans difference to the work spent, the sheer determination to actually FINISH a project (all the way to paint and registration!) or the *idea* of what the builder was after. Frelling worthless minutea (sp? .. I'm pretty uneducated .. sorry). Teensy little opinion-driven nothing issues, that are more akin to making the poster sound cultured or experienced or practiced … "look at me, I used the word pedantic in a sentence". Well, we know you know how to use wiki, that much is certain at least .. um .. good on ya then? Monumental fuddups, the lot.

    So thanks .. Pipeburn and Rex. We The Guilty had it coming. Now then, Rex … about your choices on the black zip ties used on your handlebars to keep the wiring all nice and neat. MORON! Everybody with a lick of engineering sense knows that BLUE zipties, made by magician-owned elves that live in poplar trees in the American Northwest, are the only ones to trust. They'll increase your top end by at least 4mph. I find your use of black ones quite uninformed and it's use betrays your ignorance and inexperience.


    (bike friggin rocks, Rex! Thx man for making a great funbike! Absolute inspiration!)

  • D.

    Like both bikes quite a lot.
    Not a fan of the blinding white background, though. I appreciate it as a photographic technique, but I want bike porn, not bike erotica. 😉

  • Assholewelder

    D. Your comment just made my day. Dont we all just want bike porn!!!!

  • AndrewF

    Very nice. It is especially commendable that you included mirrors, indicators and some padding on the seat – all those things many people on these pages consider un-sexy, but I deem necessary. In my book any bike, before it can make any sort of statement, must be first and foremost fit (and legal) to ride… so well done!

  • Congratulations
    Im working on a similar project. Yamaha SR 250 with abritish RD200 tank. The combination is perfect. In mine, im gonna make a very very light tail, not the bubble type. And maybe try with a rectangular front light…

  • Motorshag

    I like!

  • Totally nailed it Rex!

    Congrats on finishing this awesome machine and giving it this unique feel – I can feel it coming from the photos, i swear!! 🙂

    Respect from! I will post an article about your bike at our's, if you don't mid!

  • I used to comment far more frequently, until it got to the point where my respectfully toned criticism became cause for flame wars. As sad as anonymous flaming has become the really sad thing is that now no one can express any opinion unless it borders on fan-boy-ism. Unfortunately, many people simply can't or won't keep a civil tone, whether expressing a criticism of the bike or of another commenter, and those attempting to shout down other commentators who express a negative feeling towards an aspect of the bike have become as much a part of the problem as those who would have flamed the bike in a crude manner.

    Ok, enough of that, this is a beautiful bike, looks well done, except for the lack of a rear fender and air filter, but not my cup of tea. Now flame me if you will, but that is just my opinion.



  • bartbrn

    Certainly gave me some great ideas — and a tremendous fabrication-inferiority-complex! — for my SR250 Cafe project. Beautiful. It’s a work of art, and artists — unless they’re rank poseurs — do not criticize another artist’s work. That’s what the individuality of art is all about. People make art to please themselves — first, last, and always — and to hell with the audience. It must be said, however, that winning 1st prize at a highly-competitive and well-regarded bike show is a great acknowledgement that your work stirs others, too. Pure icing on the cake — congratulations!

    Just beautiful.

    Bart Brown

  • Hanoisteve

    Nice lines on the exhaust pipe