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79′ Yamaha SR500 by Motofactory X See See

Posted on July 24, 2015 by Scott in Tracker. 31 comments


Words by Ian Lee.

The Yamaha SR is a staple in the diet of the custom bike world. Easy to work with, reliable and carrying that thumper note, they have made many a solid platform for a custom ride. These days, most seem to end up as café racers or brat styled trackers. Not this one. This SR500 was built with something different in mind – a vintage looking dirt bike with upgraded components. Built as a collaboration between See See motorcycles and Motofactory PDX, this 1979 SR500 has been built for kicking up dust and picking up the odd trophy.


This build actually came into existence because Thor from See See got talking with Sean from Motofactory and let slip that there were a few SR500’s gathering dust in the See See basement. As Thor was under the pump on another build, Sean decided to take the lead on this project. “I think excitement got the better part of him” says Thor. “Because this was less than 1 month before The One Motorcycle Show and the date we would debut the bike to the motorcycle world.”


Sean got to work taking the bike back to bare bones, the SR was stripped of its rear suspension. A new handbuilt swingarm and chain tensioner was mounted, allowing for extra travel for the 14″ Progressive Suspension shocks. To keep with that dirt bike stance, the front end now sports an XR400 front suspension mounted using custom triple trees, fitted with universal supermoto guard. Brakes both front and rear come courtesy of a YZF450, with the shouldered rims coming in at 21″ at the front and 18″ at the rear.


The thumper powerplant has been given simple yet effective upgrades, the fuel system is now a Mikuni 36mm ‘Pumper’ carb, while the exhaust is the product of a Cone Engineering builder kit. The CDI was one of the benefits of using an SR for the build, while the bigger inlet and cooling fins on the SR gives it a slight advantage over it’s XT/TT stablemates, ‘allowing it to soak up more gas and cool down quicker’. Power is put to the ground by a 50 tooth sprocket, allowing ‘enough torque to pull a wheelie after every stop’.


To give the bike a more sporting and lightweight look, the aesthetique of the bike has been worked over. An MX80 fuel tank has replaced the factory unit, the seat is a Gopher Glass unit that has been retrimmed by Northwest Auto Interiors. To help clean up the electrics, the original harness has been updated, and mounted up with a Digital Directiv battery eliminator. See that front number disc sitting in front of the Renthal bars? Hidden behind that is the LED lightbar that is used as the headlight, another simple yet effective mod to the thumper bike.


Drake McElroy getting some sideways action

All this work paid off, with the bike finished in time for the The One Motorcycle Show. Taking out the ‘Single and loving it’ award – an award given away to a single cylinder bike chosen by the Ornamental Conifer. When Sean got up on stage he had been celebrating the completion of the build and his words were drunkenly delivered something to the extent of: “This award was appropriately given seeing as how I may be single now I have spent the last three weeks ignoring my wife.” So worth it.


[Photos by Ray Gordon]

  • MayDayMoto

    I’ll take it!

  • John Wanninger

    1- It is/was an SR500. Thats a good thing.
    2- It has pipe wrap. That sucks.
    3- Why in the hell would you wrap a pipe on a dirt bike.
    4- Why in the hell would you wrap the pipe on anything.
    5- Should have just used a TT or XT. An SR got wasted.
    6- True dirt bikes should be 2 strokes
    7- Hope you plan on standing all the time, because that seat…
    8- When will people realize that pipe wrap is the lamest shit ever

    Other than that, it’s pretty neat, I like the swingarm and I bet its fun to ride such a torque monster dirt bike.

    • If the welds on the exhaust are anything like the welds on that swing arm they used the wrap to hide the poor fab job. Looks like they used bubble gum to hold it all together. Poor weld quality aside I would thrash it! Looks like a blast!

    • Steve Guttenberg

      1- You are very astute
      2- This response may be as worn out as pipe wrap
      3- Surprised this wasn’t a “at least it doesn’t have Firestones” comment
      4- Do you tell the same stories over and over again and still think they’re funny?
      5- Because it’s a custom. They wanted to make something into something else.
      6- Weird, because no current motocross riders are riding 2-stroke dirt bikes. When I’m not riding my police motorcycle I do ride a 2-stroke in the dirt, but that’s because it’s more fun. Not because it’s better.
      7- Could be worse, there could be a Steely Dan poking up, now that’s custom
      8- Maybe when people look at bikes as a whole they won’t need to point out one thing 4 f’ing times (that could be changed in a matter of minutes).

      • John Wanninger

        Thank you. Glad someone is listening.

        – “When I’m not riding my police motorcycle I do ride a 2-stroke in the dirt, but that’s because it’s more fun. Not because it’s better”

        More fun = better, no?

        The only reason 4 strokes have overtaken 2T motors off road, is because of the EPA.

        As long as there is pipe wrap covering a “fabricator’s” inept welds I’ll be here to point out it’s place in the world. the trash.

        People do like my stories. or maybe they just feel sorry for me and laugh along. I don’t care. It’s fun. more fun, more better.

        I actually like Firestones. Well, the way they look anyway.

        • Hardley T Whipsnade III

          You can add to the argument for two strokes by pointing out that four strokes are ; Heavier , more complex , more time consuming to tune , more expensive to repair , give less power per pound o , have more hp than torque which is perfectly suited to the dirt ( as well as road ) etc not to mention ever since the enforced demise of the two stroke everybody and his/her brother has been trying to engineer a new kind of two stroke that can meet the emissions standards of the EU and EPA . FYI I hate Firestones but thoroughly enjoy your comments . So rock on and ride on brother !

          • Coton

            But sound soooo much better 🙂

        • Fast2Furious

          “More fun = better, no?” No. Some prefer 2 strokes others prefer 4 strokes.

      • Hardley T Whipsnade III

        I was going to refrain from posting on this one completely but I’m afraid your comment left me no choice . So ;

        1) Methinks you kind of missed the point
        2) What can I say ? The man is right as well as correct in pointing it out regardless of how many times it take to get the message across
        3) At least it doesn’t have Firestone [ I hate them ] Feel better now ?
        4)Who cares ? Most of us enjoy them
        5) If this is a custom then I’m the Pope ! Its at best a ‘thrash ‘ job !
        6) Excuse me ? History and the facts somehow passed you by ? The 2 strokes demise was all down to the EPA and EU mandates period !
        7) Actually that excuse for a seat would have a hard time [ pun intended ] being any worse than it is . And just what in the [ bleep ] is wrong with Steely Dan and what do they have to do with M/C saddles pray tell ?
        8) Maybe if we actually looked at this bike as a whole we’d all come to the conclusion that its pretty much an example of bad craftsmanship poorly conceived and poorly executed in a vain attempt to call itself a custom . Again , its a thrash job at best !

      • Jello

        “When I’m not riding my police motorcycle” -You mean when you are not going to the nearest coffee shop to eat donuts, right Steve??
        Give us a break dude, and by the way don’t troll John.

    • Coton

      Someone needs to relax a little bit?
      This bike was built in 4 weeks, it has clearly not the pretension of being super well finished bike or a “true” dirt bike. True dirt bikes are made of plastic now.
      This is made to look good, to the taste of the builder, not everyone of course.
      This is made apparently to have some fun in the dirt too, which it seems the guy riding it is having plenty.
      And that “precious” SR was so brutally removed from the dusty future she had in the basement she was rotting in.

    • MayDayMoto

      I agree with you re: pipe wrap, not really much else though. These guys seem to be having a lot of fun with their 1000cc 4 bangers:

      • John Wanninger

        Those things look heavy and lumbering. I love how they slo-moed every time it had a miniscule bit of wheel-spin.. “Did you see that!!!!” Wow.

        • MayDayMoto

          Uh. Slow and lumbering? The part where they are catching huge air over a roller? I think at this point you are just being a pain in the ass and arguing for the sake of arguing.

          • John Wanninger

            Uh- I said HEAVY. I’m sure they go plenty fast. Also, your opinion of huge air differs from mine.

            You are correct, I am an ass, and arguing occasionally is a good time for me, but if your are going to call me on something, don’t put words in my mouth.


    • Novak Tomovic

      I must agree with you on pipe wrap… and whole pipes to be honest… but even more – that fender is hideous…

    • Fast2Furious

      True dirt bikes? Wasted SR’s? You must be a street rider. In which case stick to the pavement we don’t need your ‘tude off road.

      • John Wanninger

        Butthurt much? Is this your bike? The anger really shows though your tears.

        You need my ‘tude. You just don’t know it yet. It’s ok. You’ll callous up.

    • Travis Decker

      Pipe wrap is great on covering ugly exhaust. It also keeps your leg from getting burnt.

  • sethasaurus

    Hooray, we got pics of someone riding their machine!
    Looks cool and a lot of fun. It sits there calling “jump on, sucker!”.
    Btw, there’s mud up your back..

  • I like the bike just fine but what I really like is seeing a guy having fun in the dirt – makes me smile. What also makes me smile are the comments – keep them coming, the more inane the better.

    • revdub

      Perfect use of the backhanded compliment, Manx.

  • Ross Have A Scone

    The pipe wrap is wrapped in the wrong direction so that it catches dirt and frays easily. Just sayin.

  • guvnor67

    Don’t really like this bike at all, except the muffler, aaaaand, sorry, really not loving the wrap either. Having had a KTM525 for dirt and Supermoto kit for road, and years ago a Maico 490 I reckon both camps are worth pitching at!

  • Fast2Furious

    This is a dirt bike seat it is on my Honda XR600R it features 145mm of padded bliss.

    • arnold

      I do ride sitting down a lot now and my padded seat appreciates a padded seat.