The Yamaha 500 singles are some of our favorite air-cooled thumpers ever built. The street-oriented SR500, introduced in 1978, was available in the US until 1981 and Europe until 1983, though it remained available in Asia all the way up until 1999. The 499cc, 2-valve, SOHC motor was also used in Yamaha’s legendary XT500 dual-sport and dirt-only TT500 — machines that, alongside side the SR, have earned a reputation for rugged reliability and solid punch.
Enter our friends Jerome and Yvan, the two-man team behind Le Motographe of Montpelier, France. You may remember these guys from their Yamaha WR450 Skeleton build — including the second iteration, the Skeleton V2, which competed in all three races of the 2019 Wheels & Waves festival, swapping between supermoto, enduro, and flat track setups. We had the pleasure of watching the Skeleton rip through the motocross portion of the Deus Swank Rally, clearing tabletops and cutting ruts on the way to a sixth place overall finish — pretty incredible for a custom machine.
While at Wheels & Waves, we also had the privilege of seeing Le Motographe’s newest creation in the metal, this Yamaha SR500 scrambler / desert sled, nicknamed the “Dusty Classic.” The customer wanted a “classy off-road” version of the mono 500 they built last year.
We were impressed not only by the overall lines and style of the bike, but by the high level of execution, including subtle details like the tiny, high-power LED turn signals and brake lights — “Atto” prototypes from Kellermann, mounted flush in the handlebars and frame.
What’s more, Yvan and Jerome have managed to trim the bike down to a lithe 130 kg (286 lbs) — some 50 pounds lighter than the factory version. Below, we get a few more details from the builders themselves.
Yamaha SR500 Scrambler: In the Builder’s Words
This SR500 was built for a client who wanted a bike that looked like the SR500 we built last year, but a classy off-road version of that bike. So we called this one the “Dusty Classic.”
For that bike, turn signals and brake lights are from Kellermann; they sent us a prototype of a new version of their “Atto” series of parts that we included directly inside the frame tail, fully handmade, and inside the handlebar in the front.
The gas tank is made in aluminium and the seat with red leather. The bike is pretty light (almost 130kg) and with a really efficient TM 36/68 carburetor and our handmade unique exhaust it sounds and run pretty well! 😉