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‘Sunmaster 14’ Yamaha SR400 – Omega Racer


Posted on July 11, 2016 by Andrew in Racer. 50 comments

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Written by Martin Hodgson.

There was a time when only two things wore raw shields of smoothed out aluminium, UFO invaders cutting through the sky to attack earth as narrated by Orson Welles and the race bikes of the big manufacturers that were as equally alien to the visuals of a real road bike. It was a time when the imagination was the only limiting factor, rules and regulations not strangling the mind as they do today and allowed the likes of Isaac Asimov to amass a portfolio of more than 500 science fiction works. It was while reading Asimov’s famous Foundation Series that Markus Pintzinger came across the name of a micro food exporting Mycogenian known as ‘Sunmaster 14’ and decided it would make the perfect name for a future build. As the head honcho at Omega Racer in Thailand, Markus finally got a chance to use the name on a build befitting the era as he turned a ‘98 Yamaha SR400 into an aluminium shielded racer ready to descend from the skies and take over the Bangkok streets.

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The name is perhaps even more befitting given that Omega Racer is a parts supplier offering the very best components for the Yamaha SR, Kawasaki W650 and Triumph customs just like on this build, whose name sake did the same with micro foods on Asimov’s fictional planet of Trantor. Back on planet Earth Markus has been living in Thailand for the past ten years and when he picked up the SR five years ago and began adding custom parts he was constantly being asked where he got them. At the suggestion of a friend he opened an online parts store and so successful has the venture become it’s now his full-time job. At first the bike was a Tracker build but 18 months ago it was taken off the road for a full overhaul. “People are quick to label everything out of the ordinary as café racers these days, but my bike is definitely not one. My inspiration comes from the racing bikes of the 60’s and 70’s, where every part had the specific objective to make the bike go faster.”

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So just like a racer the bike was pulled down to the bare bones and built up with the best parts available and components built by Markus and the finest craftsman in Thailand. Well to be honest it didn’t get off to such a smooth start, with the bike in pieces the SR frame was sent off to be powder coated, a process that would occur three times. The first shop did a terrible job the first time around and equally as poor when they tried to correct it, so it was off to Cog’n’Roll, a powder coating shop in Bangkok who finally captured the look Markus had always envisioned. “I think this satin dark bronze colour looks great and matches the dark brown leather parts on the bike.” As Omega Racer offers aluminium tanks for the SR, that part of the build wasn’t going to be an issue but to truly take it to the racer level he desired, Markus had his supplier create the full body fairing that graces the Yamaha today.

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Totally unique to this build the polished aluminium retains the hand crafted look of UFOs and Dust Bin Racers from decades ago with soft lines and lightweight creating a perfect balance of form and function. Clearly a great deal of work went into shaping the body panels to neatly tuck up against the SR’s mechanical components that while faired still retains a slender profile. In true racing style the belly pan is removable with just a few hex head fittings to allow for easy access to the mechanicals and a hand crafted opening lets the yellow lensed headlight peak through. The aluminium tank is the perfect addition for the build, a standard item would have looked totally out-of-place and the raw brushed finish and industrial fittings further enhance the overall theme. The seat cowl finishes out the larger parts of the body work, not prepared to accept the standard cafe look, the unit Markus required has the ultra-minimalist hump and side plate design just like the machines that once took off down Bray Hill at the Isle of Man.

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But if the body work is brilliant it’s all the little touches that take it to the next level, as it might be race inspired it still needs the quality finish to serve as a rolling advertisement for Omega Racer. The stunning fittings on the tank and the aged leather tank strap are all works of Markus who wanted classic touches of quality to offset the incredible fabrication work. He also made the engraved plexiglass fender that shields the bike from anything flying off the rear tyre and the Roman coin like Omega Racer tank badges. The leather seat was done by the guys from The Sports who do some of the best work in Thailand and the brown diamond stitched leather is finished off with a recessed Yamaha badge. To match the yellow and bronze accents, the in frame oil cap is colour coded and along with a rear number plate and a classic tail light perched at the back of the seat, the visuals remain clean with no turn signals or anything at all unnecessary poking out the sides.

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What had attracted Markus to the SR all those years ago and is arguably the reason so many others around the world love the model, that engine. “I got my SR and I fell in love with its simple mechanics, the classic look and the beautiful thumping sound of the big single.” So to ensure Sunmaster 14 made the most of its mechanicals Markus tore down the engine, gave it a thorough clean and rebuilt the internals back to factory specs. To give the thumper some extra power and snappy throttle response he then fitted up a Keihin FCR39 carburettor that draws air through a meshed off velocity stack. Creating a nice rumble is the all new exhaust that gives a nice snap, crackle and pop thanks to a polished megaphone muffler. While dealing with the hot and humid conditions of Thailand that can be both power sapping and lethal to any engine a big oil cooler and large cooling fins have been added.

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But what makes a lightweight single really quick is not the engine, it’s all about mid corner speed and no expense has been spared in making sure this Yamaha has the very best. The front forks with the lower legs finished in frame matching powder coat may appear standard but inside they hold the very best WP progressive springs. But it’s out the back where things get serious, straight from the Omega Racer catalogue is a lightweight and polished aluminium swingarm that is controlled by a set of Ohlins adjustable shocks with progressive rate springs. The drum brakes on the front definitely give the period racer look and new spokes lace them front and back to quality Akfront rims. Even the tyres are the way they should be, classic yes, but no compromise as the Dunlop TT100’s were the first to lap the Isle of Man TT course at over 100mph average speed.

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To finish off the build in style Markus simply turned to a host of the parts he has in stock, from the lightweight clip-ons, to the raw and precise alloy rearsets. One of the unique pieces that gives the commuter bike SR a big dollar race bike look is the clear side covers that use a shatter proof plexiglass and a fully integrated seal to ensure the look doesn’t come at a nasty expense. Simple toggle switches and grips dress up the bars with purpose and a single Daytona clock provides the vitals. Perhaps the one compromise is the single mirror, but it would be insanity to ride in Thailand without one. “A special mention should go to Nose at Paknam 2 Wheels, the only guy I trust to work on my SR. He got me out of an electrical nightmare and I’m forever grateful for that.” To many on the hustling humid streets of Thailand, Sunmaster 14 must appear as alien as any of Asimov’s creations, but if the old Tracker version turned Omega Racer into a full-time business it literally is sky’s the limit with the all new racer version.

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[Photos by FAT Pictures]








  • Junior Burrell

    I like the clutch window…cause it looks just like mine 😉

  • Hardley T Whipsnade III

    Is anyone else lately beginning to feel like one is reading a J.Peterman catalogue when reading both Pipeburn as well as its antipode competition [ BE ] with about the same effect ? e.g. A whole lot of hyperbolized text and rhetoric in the vain search of a non – existent story about an inane item barely worthy of a sentence . Which pretty much sums up my opinion about this bike .

    PS ; The metal work on this motorcycle is at best atrocious .

    • John Wanninger

      Hideous. Like a wavy toaster.

      An SR lump should never be hidden with a fairing. Especially one that looks like aluminum cellulite.

    • Ben Ddn

      “at best atrocious.” Seriously? You clearly have no idea. Go read something else if you don’t like it.

    • the watcher

      I say it again; it’s not the quality that’s the problem, it’s the material itself. If all you need is a cigar, a bucket, a bathtub, or a wedge (i.e. old Trumpets and salt-racers), you’re fine with ally. Anything more sophisticated always looks like shit.

    • Jim Stuart

      HT,

      Where in the hell do you come up with these bat-ass crazy ideas? Was it the urban sombrero that tainted your cranium?

    • foiled again

      “A whole lot of hyperbolized text and rhetoric in the vain search of a non – existent story about an inane item barely worthy of a sentence”

      You’ve done a terrific job of describing your own horseshit.
      Go fly a fucking kite, whydon’tcha?

    • That’s Hardley banned.

      PLEASE keep the comments civil and constructive. Remember – this is not your own personal soapbox. The builders read these remarks and mindless negativity from guys who spend more time at the keyboards than in the garage aren’t welcome.

      Feel like making a nasty comment? Go outside. Get on your bike. Go for a ride…

      • Len Farquharson

        Andrew, thank you for removing that perpetual blight from the Pipeburn community. We have all been long suffering and you have been exceptionally patient. Your site has always been an inspirational place for the creative builders to share their personal projects with us, including the bike featured above. Keep up the great work!

        • revdub

          I second this. Thanks, Andrew.

        • the watcher

          How can you thank someone for censorship? When did we all become such moral weaklings? In the words of Genesis P. Orridge, “This ain’t California”. Nobody forces anybody to submit their work any more than anyone forces a response, good, bad, rude or sycophantic, or forces you to read it. Freedom does not come with responsibility, politicos tell us that to keep us docile. Freedom entails the risk of irresponsibility and if you don’t like it you don’t get it. End of! BTW, is that you, Artie K?

          • Racing Enthusiast

            He is still perfectly free to express himself and say whatever he wants.

            On his own website.

          • the watcher

            I didn’t realise that ownership was the issue. The law prevents the voicing of certain opinions for reasons of civil unrest and all else is fair game. Nobody ever tell you about sticks and stones?

          • Racing Enthusiast

            While free speech is a civil right, nobody is obliged to provide that right for anyone else.

            I disabled comments on my website and Youtube page for that reason long ago. No free speech for you! Then again, I don’t depend on hit counts for anything, either; trolls can express themselves elsewhere at someone else’s expense.

            The only one who sounds hurt is . . . you. Embrace those sticks and stones!

          • the watcher

            Of course you did, and the only one who sounds triumphant is….you. Every cock is king of his own dung-heap. “No free speech…” is not a proud boast in my circles.

          • Racing Enthusiast

            Your struggle = your problem.

          • the watcher

            Makes no sense. But at least you can afford to say it cos your not paying, eh?

          • Racing Enthusiast

            Well, in other words, I am, indeed, not buying your argument. And lose the taunts – how drippingly pissy do you want to come across?

            But back to that whole “Free speech” bit: My page – my expression. Not yours, not anyone else’s – mine. When others demand the right to dilute/pollute my expression, they are demanding the right to censor me, passively or otherwise.

            And what is the expression of this page? I’m guessing the “About Pipeburn” corner down there pretty much spells it out. Do pissbots like the recently banned help or hinder that purpose? Does serving up online one’s work to a bunch of fanbots accomplish anything or expand one’s horizons? Of course not – I hope it never comes down to that. Yet while growing a thicker skin never hurt anyone (At least not in the long run…), what does submitting one’s work to some Narcissistic personality disordered/Dunning–Kruger effected troll accomplish? Why bother?

          • the watcher

            Wow, “drippingly pissy”? Thank goodness for free speech, no-one would pay for this drivel. Your vitriol seems real enough but your argument leads nowhere, except to the sound of your own voice, patently your favourite thing. Put as much effort into coherence as you do to proselitising and in a few years you might have something to say that has both relevance and sense. Why bother, indeed, when any semblance of discourse has left the building?

      • the watcher

        It’s a dangerous precedent, you know. Nobody wants too read uniformly positive feedback any more than negative. Hard to know where positive critique ends and “nasty” comments begin. What about sarcasm, irony, humour; none of these can be positively defined or objectively understood. We don’t want another EXIF, do we? Surely HTW is entitled to post his opinion in a free society even if it is only so everyone else can call him a turd. I must say, I personally allow that freedom of speech means that there is always some fool who’ll yell “fire” in a public place (when there isn’t one, obviously) but the alternative? Does Hardley REALLY hurt a grown man’s feelings? Heat? Kitchen?

        • JayJay

          It’s about respect, he just doesn’t show it. That’s the problem. Others are able to be critical about a bike, without being nasty, so why can’t he? I doubt in real life you can express your feelings like he does, without getting punched in the face..

          • revdub

            Exactly.

          • the watcher

            Punching someone in the face is illegal, voicing your opinion isn’t. And he might be hard as nails. Doubt it, though. Anyway, respect, like tact, is often just a euphomism for bullshit.

        • brownroundtown

          TOTALLY agree with you on this one Watcher. You’ve summed it up nicely. One of the reasons I turn to Pipeburn first over EXIF is the freedom of expression makes for interesting reading. Now it seems we’re on the same dull homogenised trajectory. Booooo. I don’t remember HTW’s comments ever being truly offensive in terms of race, religion, sexuality etc, so are we really shutting him down because he said nasty words about another mans metalwork…c’mon guys, this is lame. Man up, seriously.

      • ElectroBaby

        I feel that posts should be in the “compliment Sandwich” style – Start off with something(s) you like about the bike, Put in some constructive criticism (if it needs any), and then end with a positive comment. If you flat out don’t like a bike, then don’t comment, I say. No need to be nasty about it.

      • Giantsfan

        Thank you, Andrew. That kind of obnoxious BS is uncalled for and disrespectful. We don’t need it here.
        p.s. It was overdue.

        • the watcher

          Who decides what counts as (dis)respect? You? I prefer to make up my own mind, which I am no longer free to do. People who set themselves up as moral arbiters are condescending at best, dangerous if encouraged. Motorcyclists are traditionally freedom-lovers, I’m starting to wonder about this new crowd.

          • foiled again

            You need a new soapbox, chief. Go find one soon.

  • the watcher

    Piggy-back Ohlins look out of place, the seat unit is odd (but that’s subjective), and the fairing should have finished in line with the bottom of the tank. A few simple mods and it’s a nice little ride.

    • Fantome_NR

      I have an 86 srx600, the direct descendant of the sr400, which came stock with piggy back shocks, so it doesn’t look odd to me.

      • the watcher

        Well, a 70’s bike harking back to a 50’s/60’s racer wearing a pair of shox that cost more than the original bike did new, seems a bit anachronistic to me is all. I’m no “period correct” OCDer and they’re good shocks so…

  • ElectroBaby

    I would love to see this carving up some Thailand road. I may not be a huge fan of the cowl set up, but the amount of labor that went into building this (especially in Thailand), is mind blowing. That is some impressive work on the front fairing, and all of the colors and accents tie in together beautifully. Real love went into this bike.

  • Nice dolphin fairing (not a dustbin). Lots of cool details. Reminds me of the racers of the 50’s.

  • Hardley literate 111

    After this post I am going to unsubscribe. I have repeatedly read the various negative comments of bigotted armchair critics whose opinions are unsubstantiated by thier own work. They risk little and cause only offence. This is a great piece of work whether you like it or not and well done to those that put it together.

  • Fantome_NR

    I love this, everything about it. Including the hammered fairing. Great job.

  • Rex

    It is a darn shame that most of the comments are reacting to a commenter instead of the bike. Markus deserves better. (Good call on removing that particular problem Andrew.)

    I think it is a sweet little bike that I would be proud to be seen on in any company. It is totally not my style, but I really like it none the less. It is unique and well proportioned.

  • “People are quick to label everything out of the ordinary as café racers these days.” How true!

  • that’s all kinds of badass awesome body work win !

  • Omega Racer

    Thanks guys for the (mostly) positive comments. I really appreciate them.
    I don’t mind the negative ones, because after so much heart and money invested, there’s nothing that can take away the satisfaction I feel when looking at the result.
    It doesn’t have to please everyone’s taste, that would be impossible.
    It pleases me, and if someone else finds it cool too, even better.
    Safe rides everyone!

    PS: If you’re in Bangkok, go check out the bike in the flesh at Siam Discovery for the next 4 weeks, as part of the exhibition “Art on the move” by Thailand’s most famous bike photographer Nikkasit Wongsawas.

  • cagivarider

    ““People are quick to label everything out of the ordinary as café racers these days, but my bike is definitely not one. ”

    Have to admit I don’t get it – if this ain’t no caferacer, what is it?

  • JT

    So i have followed Pipeburn for a very long time from the safety of my couch. Every time a bike is posted there’s a bombardment of negative comments. I can not for the life of me understand why anyone would take the time and effort to completely decimate another’s reputation, skill and enthusiasm. A build is subjective and perfect to it’s owner, a build is not built to please the masses. I can appreciate the work and craftsmanship in just about any build, even if only out of respect to the builder. But to completely “diss” a build is just beyond me.

    • guvnor67

      I’m hearing ya!!

  • Davidabl2

    Several have asked “if this isn’t a café racer then WTF is it.” Or words to that effect.
    No,it isn’t a café, it’s a ‘replica period road racer’ evocative of both racing motorcycles and race cars of a certain era. Cafés of course emulate racing motorcycles of their era…Just not ones with full fairings 🙂 i’ll take credit for the term RPRR 🙂

  • Davidabl2

    I must also say that I cannot understand how anyone could NOT appreciate this little bike.

  • Eric

    I love SR’s, and this is one of the best I’ve seen. Great work!

  • Randall Bush

    I am also very pleased that you banned ‘lil Hardley. I suggest that you un-ban him when (and if) he posts a few pics of HIS latest custom bike build. I seriously doubt that he even owns a motorcycle.

  • Luke Hughes

    To Martin: This is an fantastic piece; very well written and thoughtfully composed; much of what you shared in the piece was exactly what I experience when viewing this build. Well done. To Markus: Your build is simply fantastic. The combination of material, textures, lines and the hand-built quality all combined is very inspiring. If you dont mind, photos of this build will be clipped and placed into my reference file for sure. Well done.

    • Omega Racer

      Thank you for the compliments.
      You’re so right about the article. When I first read it I was surprised at how many details were spot on, even though I never talked about them.