In 2021, Yamaha ended the incredible 43-year production run of the SR400 — a bike that’s remained remarkably unchanged through those four decades of production. Introduced to the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) back in 1978, the SR400 had been developed under the credo “easy to use.” It was a simple yet enduring design: a bulletproof single-cylinder two-valve air-cooled engine with no electric starter, a kickstart with decompression lever and sight glass, a high-strength steel frame that doubled as oil reservoir and cooler, and 18-inch spoked wheels.
In terms of the design, there was more than a little British inspiration in the Japanese single:
“Small in stature but big in heart, the SR400 won a legion of fans both at home and abroad in its 43 years of manufacture. Launched at a time when Japanese motorcycles were ruling the global motorcycle sales charts, Yamaha took the brilliant idea of using classic British machines as the bike’s inspiration. It may seem strange to start building a bike with the look, feel, and performance of the exact same bike they are trying to kill off, but there was something about the old-school charm of the SR400 that just seemed to tick so many boxes.” –Visordown
While most bikes undergo a redesign every few model years, evolving into newer and “better” models, the SR400 would remain all but encased in amber, virtually unchanged while whole other motorbiking lineages were born, lived, and died off around it.
It’s a testament to the bike’s original design, based as it was on the go-anywhere, bulletproof XT500. That’s right, the SR was developed from the Dakar-winning Yamaha XT500, as was the longer-stroke SR500, which was available Asia/Oceania from 1978-1999, Europe from 1978-1983, and North America from 1978-1981.
In 2014, the SR400 was introduced to the Americas, Europe, and Oceania with only a few concessions to modernity, including fuel injection and a catalytic converter to pass stricter emissions guidelines. For riders who missed the simplicity, charm, and design of the 1970s, but didn’t want the worries of a 40-year-old vintage motorcycle, it was a perfect.
Recently, we talked to Instagram user @tuchihumazu0930, whose gorgeous photos of his 2010 Yamaha SR400 caught our eye. Much like the SR400 itself, Tuchi’s taste in motorcycles has been long-running and relatively unchanged:
“The SR400 has been my favorite bike since I was a kid. I’ve been riding this for over 10 years now. My taste in bikes is surprisingly consistent.”
Like many customs, this one started with a single bespoke element — a rear fender made by one of his friends.
“This is the only one in the world.”
The fender pointed toward a scrambler-style bike, and Tuchi conveyed his vision to the shop that’s been taking care of him for 10 years, working with them to bring the concept to fruition. Some of the highlights include the traditional-style Öhlins forks, Brembo brakes, inline oil cooler, high-mount exhaust, black spoked wheels with Metzeler Karoo 3 70/30 adventure tires, rear rack with leather luggage, and gorgeous 70s-inspired paint.
Whereas some customs are built by workshops and sold to clients who mainly ride them on nice Sundays, here’s a bike developed by the owner with his lifestyle in mind. While the bike is gorgeous to look at, if you follow @tuchihumazu0930 on the ‘gram, you’ll see that he rides his SR all the time, all over the place, on both short jaunts and longer adventures.
He likes to call his SR400 a “café scrambler”:
“I like going to cafés on my bike. If I go to a café with a scrambler, I think it’s a café scrambler.”
Below, we talk to @tuchihumazu0930 for the full story on his build.
Yamaha SR400 Scrambler: Owner Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
The SR400 has been my favorite bike since I was a kid. I’ve been riding this for over 10 years now. My taste in bikes is surprisingly consistent.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
Yamaha, SR400, 2010.
• Why was this bike built?
I was given a fender that a friend had made, and I decided to customize the bike to fit the fender. So it’s a personal custom.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
I saw the fender and thought this bike should be a scrambler. That’s why the design concept is a scrambler. Maybe it was because I liked the scrambler style myself.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
There is a shop that has been taking care of me for over 10 years. So, I conveyed the concept and content of this time and cooperated with the shop to proceed with the custom.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
SR400 Cafe Scrambler. I like going to cafes on my bike. If I go to a cafe with a scrambler, I think it’s a cafe scrambler.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
It’s a rear fender made by a friend. This is the only one in the world.