Yamaha SR400 returns to Europe

Retro Yamaha single makes welcome comeback

A BIG part of Yamaha’s 2014 strategy is the reorganisation of its range – bringing a set of existing models into a new fold that it’s calling ‘Sport Heritage.’

The range includes the existing V-Max, XJR1300 and XV950 but also marks the reintroduction of the SR400 single to the European market.

A descendant of the old SR500 of the late 1970s, the SR400 has been a staple in the Japanese market for years despite its forebear dropping from the firm’s UK range. A simple, air-cooled single – albeit fuel-injected – it’s less a ‘retro’ bike and more an anachronism that’s simply outlived its rivals. According to Yamaha, “Our engineers wanted to ensure that the 2014 model is true to its original character, and so the only way to start the new SR400 is to kick it.”

Yep, it’s kickstart-only. In 2014. Are we wrong in thinking that’s sort of cool? With around 25bhp it’s not a fast bike, but in Japan the SR is many tuners’ favourite – the basis of endless street-trackers and scramblers – and has a reputation for being a cool bike to be seen on. Could the same sort of scene develop over here? Yamaha hopes so, and has shown its own customised versions at EICMA, the ‘GibbonSlap’ by Wrench Monkees and the ‘BSR’ (that’s for “Boogie Single Racer” of course…) to show what can be achieved.