YAMAHA has revealed the 2012 version of its age-old Japan-only SR400 – making us wonder whether such a bike could be the solution to some of the firm's problems outside its home market.
While the 2012 SR is basically unchanged, other than a couple of new colour schemes, it's a bike that's still fairly unfamiliar over here despite decades of history.
The SR can trace its heritage back to the late 70s and the SR500. Although reduced in size for the Japanese market and reborn with fuel injection a couple of years ago to meet modern emissions limits, it's different to the usual retro bike as it's the real thing rather than a modern pastiche.
While for much of its life the SR has been out of step with fashion, looking at it afresh it slots rather neatly alongside retro machines like Triumph's Bonneville (itself one of the few bikes with sales figures that are virtually untouched by the financial crisis). And the small, simple engine fits neatly with the current downsizing trend, making 26bhp it could easily be an alternative to more high-tech 250cc machines like the CBR250R.
The down side is its price. The unfortunate exchange rate between the Japanese Yen and UK Pound means that while a couple of years ago the Japanese price was the equivalent of about £3500, now it's around £4800.