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‘79 Yamaha SR500 – Volts Mechanix

Posted on February 19, 2014 by Andrew in Brat. 10 comments


Most bike builders who are lucky enough to have more than a few projects under their belt will likely tell you the same thing; they’d love to have their own shop. Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like not your home. So you’d think that once you have a shop on the go, you’d be a happy camper. But not for Tony and Clive from the UK’s Volts Mechanix. See, they currently have two shops. Yes, two. One for summer and one for winter. We’ve heard of the English landed gentry, but this is ridiculous.


Here’s Clive, or Sir Reeve as we like to call him. “Tony and I have been collaborating on projects, both large and small since the nineties. Our initial foray was custom longboard skateboards, both of us lived and worked in Zürich for extended periods and developed a unique cross-culture view on life. We had arrived at the same point in time through a love of music, bikes and general chaos.”


“A couple of years back we decided to join forces on a bike build. Initially it was foreseen as a step into road racing, Tony being the idiot to take the seat. However we came across a 1979 SR500 and decided to rebuild it to our own specifications. The main goal was to make a bike that would be fun to ride in town and out on the open roads. Low seat height to make it comfortable to cruise, modern brakes and ignition to help stopping and starting the beast. We stripped off anything that wasn’t needed and polished up the rest.”


“We both had the misfortune to buy modern bikes quite recently and found that apart from pumping up the tyres there was little ‘do it yerself’ work to be had on them. We had enjoyed the old carb-based bikes that you could tune and mess around with. Once the SR was underway we received lots of admiring glances and a couple of commissions. So we thought ‘why not’ and Volts Mechanix came into existence.”


“it’s on a farm and we can mess ‘round on trial bikes during lunch”

“Since then we have worked out of two workshops, one in East Grinstead the other in Uckfield” And no, he didn’t make that name up. “The Uckfield one is bigger and better, but the damned roof leaks so we only use it in the spring and summer. It’s a shame as it’s on a farm and we can mess ‘round on trial bikes during lunch. We aim always to use local firms when we need to outsource (powder coating, MOT’s etc) so have built a little community around us.”


“We make all our own seats and leather work, so saddlery seemed like a natural addition to our mechanical endeavours. We have an XL600 on the bench at the moment which we will make into ‘FrankenTrail’ a.k.a. the worlds most terrifying custom built trail bike; we want it to look good both muddy and shiny in the high street. There’s a couple of tiny two strokes that are going to get the full early ’80’s treatment too. One muddy, the other just fast and loud!”


Downtime with the Power Rangers

  • Eli Park-Yanovitch

    Wish we could see a pic from the top. Is that a split tank? I love the stance and the overall shiny-ness but think there’s something a little off about the gap between the tank and seat. Overall, very lovely build.

    • Volts Mechanix

      Hi Eli, Thanks for the comments, The customer who ordered this liked the tank/seat set up so we went with his choice. I know what you mean about the gap and the XL600 we have on the bench will have a close fit seat. The tank isn’t a split one. We have a top down pic on our website Cheers

      • Eli Park-Yanovitch

        Excellent. Love it. Thanks for the response!

  • revdub

    That’s a very clean SR. I dig the chrome swing arm, nice little battery box, and modern brakes. Cool bike for sure.

    • Volts Mechanix

      thank, we appreciate the comments,

  • Tom

    Nice bike with some cool bits on it, but unfortunately Deus has saturated the SR custom scene for me. Glad its doesn’t have Firestones…

    • Volts Mechanix

      Hi Tom. Thanks for your comments, We know what you mean about the DEUS saturation, this was a customer bike built to very specific parameters. We currently have a rather more British feel for the new builds. an XL600, a completed XT500 and a couple of strokers and an old BMW. XT is in the website and the XL is on the bench

  • Bultaco Metralla

    At first, I thought it was just another ‘by the numbers’ SR but a closer look reveals a lot of great detail. I agree with Eli about the seat gap but it’s what the customer wants. I do like the touches of red; allen heads, velocity stack and all the shiny.bits. Overall a really nice bike.

  • cagivarider

    A lot of nice details for sure, but all in all untidy in my eyes.
    The bottom of the tank is a lot higher than stock, which not
    only gives a better view on the engine but also on a mess of
    cables and thingies and way too much anodized bolts.

    Kind regards

  • IsuzuGeek

    That dragpipe has got to be an ear splitter. I have a Nitroheads straight pipe just like that on my custom TW200 and it HURTS, even with the baffle. Cool bike.