The Yamaha SR500, introduced in 1978, was an air-cooled, big-single street bike powered by a 32-hp version of the XT500 engine. In order to make the SR as easy to use as possible, the bike had an electronic ignition and automatic decompressor to aid with kick-starting. According to the SR’s designer:
“Our choice was to design the new SR500 with a strong family image and a strong link to our first four stroke, the XS650 twin, which was also inspired by British design.”
The SR500 was especially popular in Germany and Japan, where it would remain available until 1999. While the SR is legendary for its reliability and ease-of-maintenance, it could never be called a performance bike.
Enter the team of Hilt’s Chopper’z, located in Hiroshima. Despite the name, the shop handles more than just choppers. In this case, the owner wanted an aggressive “fighter” that would marry the classic big single with super bike performance. The engine has been punched out to 534cc with Wiseco piston and Yoshimura camshaft, active oil cooler, and full titanium exhaust system, while the suspension has been retrofitted from a ZXR400, with upgraded brakes, wheels, rubber, and more — plus custom paint from Takemaru Art.
Below, we get the full story on this SR500 “cafe fighter.”
Yamaha SR500 Cafe Fighter: Builder Interview
・Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
We are Hilt’s Chopper’z, located in Hiroshima, established in 2007. We do motorcycle customizing. We handle of variety of motorcycles not only choppers — cafe racers, off-road, street bike, etc.
・What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
Yamaha SR500, 1998 1JN.
・Why was this bike built?
・What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
The concept of this motorcycle is the integration of the “super performance” and “big-single.” The power, braking, riding position, and other factors that are “NOT” standard for the SR are integrated at a high level, without any disorder.
・What custom work was done to the bike?
Enough to say “fully customized.”
- Engine: 534cc Wiseco Piston 90Φ / Yoshimura camshaft ST-1 / Active oil cooler kit / enhanced oil-line kit
- Carburetor: Keihin Yoshimura FCR 39Φ MJN
- Exhaust: Thruxton Full Titanium exhaust system
- Front fork: Cannibalized and modified from ZXR400
- Triple tree: Cannibalized and modified from ZXR400
- Front Wheel: ZXR400
- Front caliper: Brembo 65mm 4pot double caliper
- Front brake disc: Arashi 310mm ZXR400 Double disk
- Front fender: Coerce wet carbon fender
- Gauges: VELONA48 speedometer / VELONA48 electric tachometer / Yoshimura Pro-Gress1
- Steering damper: NHK ODM-2000
- Swing arm: Cannibalized and modified from FZR250
- Rear wheel: Cannibalized from RGV250
- Rear caliper: Brembo 84mm
- Rear break disc: RGV250 210mm
- Suspension: YSS G-series
- Rear sets: Bore-Ace
- Tire: Dunlop α14H
- Exterior: Stock tank / Dell-Sara tank cover kit / J seat / Daytona half side cover / Paint by Takemaru Art
・How would you classify this bike?
Cafe racer, Street Cafe Fighter.
・Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
Red anodized Upside down fork. It’s pretty common to cannibalize the USD fork from the FZR, TZR, sometimes ZEP400 — but, it’s rare to see the ZXR and also red anodized. The owner wanted the motorcycle as a “fighter” — and the aggressive color, riding position, power, and all other elements that compose this motorcycle represents it.