Written by Ian Lee.
With a hot sun beating down, 45 degree Celsius heat just outside my front door, last week my thoughts drifted to the beach and how nice it would be to live near the ocean. Cool breezes, the sound of waves and a sweet ride to experience it all on. Then this bike appeared in my email inbox. Must be a sign. A sweet thumper, built with the surf in mind, this 1985 SR400 has been made over to suit the beach bum lifestyle. With a build brief that appeals to both form and function, this is definitely a bike I would be happy to ride on a sunny day. Or any other day for that matter.
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.
Being in a kind of retro mood, I just dug deep into the dusty recesses of my browser’s bookmarks folder. The one I was interested in tonight was the collection marked ‘motorbikes.’ See, contained in this folder are all the bookmarks I have kept from the very earliest days of my addiction, and looking back into it is akin to opening a time capsule that I buried some time in 2005. So what do you suppose the links there lead to? I’ll tell you; Yamaha SRs, and lots of them. And that’s because it’s the SR that we all must thank as the vehicle that reinvented what it meant to say the words ‘custom motorbike’ and ‘café racer,’ in the same way Nirvana reinvented ‘rock’ and Ansel Adams reinvented ‘photography.’ And what better way to illustrate my point than an SR that encapsulates everything that’s right about today’s custom bikes. Please welcome Mr Nick Blaxell and his wonderful Yamaha, ‘The Addict.’
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By guest writer Ian Lee.
Here at Pipeburn we have a soft spot for thumpers. The thud-thud-thud of a single cylinder is music to the ears… and when wrapped in a custom motorcycle, it is even better. Based in Sydney, Australia, Zoku Motorcycles are also fond of single cylinder power – especially in the form of the legendary Yamaha SR. These bikes make for an easy starting point for custom builds, easy for any novice to try it, as the boys from Zoku found out when commencing the build. But it was worth it in the end, as they have produced a great build, with that thumping sound to boot.
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Isn’t it weird how one little addition to an object can have seemingly untold benefits to it’s aesthetics. Take, for instance, your common, garden-variety Martini. Now you could argue that a Martini is simply a slug of gin (or vodka, if you’re having childish delusions about being a spy) and some vermouth. But I’d argue that what in fact makes the Martini is the garnish. Without that twist of lemon, olive, or whatever new-fangled hoopla they are currently adding to the glass, I’m betting that it would have disappeared without a trace into the ocean of nondescript cocktail wannabes a long time ago. The message you’ll need to take from this, my little pickled pipers? One single inspired touch can make a good bike great. And in the case of Farmer’s Racer, there’s no free drinks for guessing just what twist we are talking about.
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The Yamaha SR400 is still one of the most common bikes on the streets of Japan. It’s as Japanese as Sushi, Karaoke and Girl Pantie Vending Machines. Yamaha has been building these indestructable little thumpers for mucho decades, hardly changing a thing – until recently when they introduced the fuel injected models. I have a huge soft spot for these single cylinder SR’s, not just because I own one but because they can be easliy transformed into pretty much anything. We’ve seen most incarnations here at Pipeburn, mostly they’re turned into cafe racers, trackers or less commonly even bobbers. But we don’t usually see anything like this chrome creation built by Motor Rock. The guys from Nagoya have really taken this SR to the next level, building something truly unique. Sure, it has influences from Shinya, Zero and the samurai chopper, but Moto Rock have still managed to make it uniquely theirs. And we really love that.
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Can’t type. Brain melted by amazing bike. Must copy and paste thesaurus instead. Admirable. August. Best. Breathtaking. Choice. Elegant. Elevated. Exalted. Exquisite. Fine. Glorious. Gorgeous. Grand. Great. Lofty. Magnificent. Majestic. Marvelous. Matchless. Noble. Optimum Optimal. Outstanding. Peerless. Prime. Proud. Resplendent. Solid. Splendid. Splendiferous. Splendorous. Standout. Stunning. Sublime. Super. Superior. Superlative. Unrivaled.
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Just a quick update – we thought those of you who enjoyed the Raider Motorsports/Moz Rissman article we posted recently might be keen to hear some news concerning the latest creation from the Coffs Harbour shop.
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A few months ago we featured another SR400 built by Raider Motorsports in Coffs Harbour. Well, it looks like they’ve been up to their old tricks again – turning stockers into rockers. Their latest bike is the black sheep of the family and is appropriately named The Varkian – which is Finish for “By Stealth”. “As with all our motor-sickles, the Varkain is 100% designed and hand-built in our garden shed” says Maurice from Raider Motorsport. “The frame has been stripped, all the ugly OEM brackets and mounts hacked off before a trip to the sandblasters and then over to the powder-coaters. The engine has been disassembled, all clearances and OEM tolerances checked and/or refined prior to reassembly and some trick heat-proof coatings and making of lots of shiny bits and pieces. Engine side cases are powder-coated, as are the rims and hubs. The Varkain has a stack of custom and handmade accessories, far to many to mention and more than you can see in the pics, plus the usual neat bits and pieces our customers have come to expect, like new wiring loom, LED warning lights, new vintage Firestone tyres, new seat from our Nitro-Bed range, new custom paint, blah blah blah and stacks more!”If you want to view more pics of the Varkain build, from “stripped and naked to all dressed up and ready to play”, visit the Raider Motorsport gallery. The bike is for sale and is currently at Chidiac Motor Group showroom in Sydney if you want to check it out in person.
Raider Motorsport are based in Coffs Harbour, Australia, approximately halfway between Sydney and Brisbane – it’s famous for having a giant banana and also where Russell Crowe owns a farm. Raider Motorsport have built this SR400 completely from the ground up.