According to headman Zeljko of Retro Bikes Croatia, his nation doesn’t have much in the way of a small bike culture. Instead, he says, people tend to buy the biggest bike they can get.
Zeljko and team are hoping the Yamaha SR250 you see here, styled with a vintage enduro vibe, will inspire Croatians to build and ride smaller bikes. We certainly believe in leading by example, and this SR250 is a powerful example indeed. Below, we get the full story on this 250cc scrambler.
Yamaha SR250 “Kokon”: In the Builder’s Words
They say that the SR is a legendary model, that all the major customizers build at least one… They say that SR has a cult of followers in Japan… I’m not sure, maybe 400 or 500cc versions, but they all are an exotic breed here in Croatia.
People here have the tendency to buy bikes as big as they get, if they cannot afford a 750cc at least, they buy a Burgman. No small bike culture here but hopefully that will change in the future.
So, when this 1997 SR250 appeared for sale, with 9000kms on the clock, ugly green paint scheme and a rusty gas tank, we didn’t think twice.
The bike was in stock condition but in need of a good service and gas tank rust issue. Also, the front suspension seemed poor and the look of the rear one was not that far.
The idea was to make it visually as light as possible and give it a retro, vintage enduro vibe, which we thought it would suit. So, the rear was looped, custom seat base made and foam cut, complete seat finished in genuine leather with diamond stitching. We made the seat base tight to the frame so it really looks as it should.
The airbox and battery box were ditched and the wiring remade to position it elsewhere, because we wanted a clean frame triangle. A Li-ion battery was purchased, very small and lightweight but stronger than stock, and it’s in a new tray under the swingarm.
This model wasn’t equipped with a kickstart, although it is possible to install it, we found the original parts too expensive and no used alternative was on the market at the moment, so it’s electric start only as it left the factory.
The gas tank was renewed from inside so it’s like new now, the carburetor was completely overhauled and rejetted as the air comes through UNI open filter now. The engine was cleaned and painted, generally serviced and is good for decades to come.
We did a major upgrade to the suspension, with progressive springs at front (and a fork complete service), and a new set of YSS shocks at the back. It is nice and firm now and the suspension works.
New spokes were installed onto freshly powdercoated satin black hubs and rims with a pair of Heidenaus to match the overall appearance. Front caliper was overhauled, new pads and brake shoes and a steelbraided hose in front.
We installed chrome mudguards and positioned the front one high, like on old enduro models, so the bike has a completely different vibe now, compared to stock. The rear end is raised to match the new stance.
An LSL six days headlight was installed, all in black with clear glass and a smaller diameter than stock. A TRW low black handlebar was fitted, with the new alu dash/plate and a small speedo with integrated idiot lights, Biltwell Kung fu grips close the deal. Also, new mini led blinkers with a suitable relay were installed, they look great and they are extremely visible despite their size.
The frame was detabbed, cleaned of unnecessary stuff and together with the forks, hubs and rims, powdercoated in black (hubs and rims in satin black, all other matte). The tank was painted in semi gloss beautiful paint and it looks and feels superb.
I named the bike Kokon because the word in Japanese is translated as an ancient and modern, which I think suits the bike; it is relatively new but we think we gave it that retro, oldschool vibe…
All in all, we are very pleased with the end result, and we hope builds like this would inspire people here to start riding smaller bikes rather than scooters. We’re convinced that this is the perfect size for a city crowd, with a non demanding base, low consumption and cheap insurance. Never the less, it has 20HP, you can have a blast riding it; we sure did!
Photo credit: Vuri Matija Photography (www.vurimatija.com)