Bringing you the world's best cafe racers, trackers, scramblers, bobbers & custom motorcycles.

Yamaha SR400 – Gasoline Custom Motorcycles

Posted on January 10, 2014 by Andrew in Brat, Café Racer. 22 comments


The most recent of Gasoline’s two-wheel custom work, taking the title “Tomahawk”, manages to transform one of the world’s most popular motorcycles into a custom dream machine worthy of any garage. The Yamaha SR400 has been toyed and tampered many times before. It’s an old favorite to work with, being one of Japan’s biggest selling motorcycles for over three decades. So you’d think that the platform might just have been exhausted. If so, it looks like no-one has told these Aussies; they have pushed the boundaries to create a classic thumper with a streamlined, modern edge. At first sight the transformation looks deceptively simple, but peer deeper and you can see the beautiful details that has been included by the team in their East Sydney workshop, Gasoline Custom Motorcycles, run by Jason Gasoline.


Starting from the ground up, the wheels are clearly the outstanding feature that sets off the look for this build. Straight off a totaled Yamaha XS650 from a US motorcycle wrecker and based on the old-school red line BMX bicycle, these ‘tuffs’ have been powder coated in a killer matt finish. They were then hugged with a set of 18″ and 19″ Shinko Trials tyres, which Jason says were strangely difficult to source in Australia and finished with black-coated disc rotors, which resulted in a super tough look.


Taking the on-trend concepts of ‘recycle’ and ‘reuse’, the fabricated metalwork throughout the bike is inventive, stylish and purposeful by contrasting a scuffed, raw finish with a simple chrome headlight and a neat silhouette. The hand-fabricated rear seat base and tail spoiler has been thoughtfully placed to hug a LED shark tail light and accommodate the LED satin black mini-bullet indicators.


The thought behind the brake system was also reusable and rustic. This included sourcing calipers and master cylinders from the U.S. and Australia. What couldn’t be sourced was either made with a clever improvisation of parts from Gasoline’s stockroom or cool finds from swap meets. The crew at High Tech Mufflers were instructed to fit a superb hand-crafted exhaust to hug the contour of the motorcycle, delivering a low, deathly rumble on the streets of Sydney.


The freedom of lightness, typically found on classic café racers, was achieved by stripping most of the heavy steel out of the rear-end and eliminating the ugly standard heavy exhaust. This starkness is typical of the very first café racers who realised that making bikes lighter also meant making them faster – something that never goes astray in the world of two-wheel customisation. And top to it off, the side stand gives you that awesome lean-over stance when the motorcycle is parked on the street. In fact, if it was any lower you’d probably have to turn it upside down to drain the sump.




And for those of you in or around Sydney, we’d strongly encourage you to drop by the Gasoline store. Jason’s love of all things two-wheeled makes for a pretty interesting way to pass the time; whether it be bikes, Vespas, fixies or even risqué 1960s velvet paintings, Jason’s your man. Just tell him we sent you.

  • docschops

    Nice simple machine

  • Brad H

    Very, very nice!!!

  • SamSense

    Interesting to be sure. I am not in tune with the cafe seat and clip-ons guiding a bike w/ semi knobby tires, and for my taste if I have to choose a single instrument for on or off road work it would be a tach. As a scruffy little noisemaker, however, it seems to match the owners demeanor judging from his pose. Yeah, I think they go together well.

    • Slicckka

      Isn’t that a Tach?

      • SamSense

        Nope, at first I thought it was, also from the display being all in double digits, But read the line below the needle that says “x10 km/hr” That means multiply the needle reading by ten, and then that’s your kilometers per hour. Seriously doubting the SR400 is gonna push 220 km/hr (136 mph) amd I wouldn’t recommend it on semi knobbies, but there’s nothing wrong with dreamin and trying to psyhc looky-lookers at the pub.

        Also, notice the cable running from under the speedo to the drive gear on the front wheel…dead give away.

    • nathas909

      I always wondered that, as I would prefer a speedo. With the amount of fixed speed cameras in Australia it is essential. I could always feel my bike and listen to it when I needed to change gear, not look at the tacho. Not sure if that was right or not, but it worked for me.

      • SamSense

        In south Floreeduh we also have a ton of cameras, and cops here (even the ones that ride bikes) are not known for being forgiving to a speeding biker. A tiny ten mph over gets you $150 fine, court costs and points.

        The way I look at it, I am either riding slower than traffic and pzzg off the soccer mom in the van behind me, or I am keeping up with traffic and safe from tickets, or I’m passing the crowd at my own risk of fines and points. Don’t need a speedo for any of that.

        On the other hand a couple of my bikes are performance modded and I enjoy the friendly face-off of other like-minded riders that want to know who’s got the bragging rights. Sure, you “know” when to shift in general terms in every day riding, but when it comes to precisely shifting to get into the next gear at the sweet spot of tq or hp (depending on whether it’s a torqer or a screamer between your legs) a tach can and does make all the difference. The best at the dragstrip and even world class racer Valentino
        Rossi depend on the tach and shift lights, not their senses.

        Also, in those friendly face offs, bouncing the motor into the rev limiter will definitely make the other guy know you are a noob and not in his class as he blows on by while your motor spits and tries to come back on the cam. If there’s anything that curls my toes more than not looking cool, it’s looking like the fool.

        That’s where my thoughts are, with a little humor, of course!

      • AndrewF

        I would prefer both! But if you have to chose one I agree – speedo is absolutely essential on our roads. Of course to be of any use it needs to clearly display speeds in the 0 – 100 km/hr range so this one is just stupid, but at least it’s there as required by road rules. And that’s important because this is pure road bike for posing around eastern suburbs, knobbies notwithstanding. Actually given the state of our roads, knobbies might be just the thing for posing around eastern suburbs… I’d like to ask – if anybody knows, what are they really like to ride on the street?

  • BigPeeWee

    Clip ons and offroad tires? Dirt roadracer? I wanna be there on the first fast road ride so I can get the salvage rights.

  • Bert Macklin

    Is there something wrong with the left side of the bike?

  • knobblies on a café !! must be built for outback roads

    • Or for the look…
      It’s called ‘tire-fashion victim’… 😀

  • seanziggysonter

    nice build but don’t be claiming anything u only built a copy on an sr frame

  • HelveMike
  • lehlend

    hey man, you oughtta head over to germany and give HOOKIE their build back. im all for emulation, but i think you owe them an apology.

  • Paradisexs650

    I think it’s cool. Don’t people ride Enduro bikes where you’re from? How do they stay on the road with knobbies? Not that they are usually trying to carve the corners…

  • Pingback: Wind-blown()

  • If you want to register it in New South Wales, Australia…
    IF (and it is a matter of taste) you want to have only one gauge, then it has to be the speedo.

  • Brock Wilborn

    Where can you get an up swept exhaust for the SR 400?

  • Lara Christie

    **Tomahawk Custom for Gasoline Photography by Lara Christie. Contactable at

  • Pingback: 「トマホーク」という名のSR400 : The SR Times()

  • Rodrigo

    Awesome! I live in Brazil and I really like these kind of motorcycles! Congrats!