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Interesting article about The much loved Yamaha SRX400 motorcycle
written by Andrew Preece

There are many strange things about motorcycling: for instance I had owned a Triumph 900 Sprint
from new for six years. A fabulous beast of a bike with a lusty and tuneful triple engine at
the heart of itís appeal, but something was missing. Canít really put my finger on it, but the
link between the big Triumph and me simply had not been forged. The result of this was less
than 3,000 miles covered in those years and when somebody came along and offered me a
reasonable price for her I took it. Now what is worse than having a bike that you havenít
ďclickedĒ with? Thatís right, having no bike at all!
An old mate pointed out an add in UBG for an SRX400, it was a local number so what the hell?
Before I knew it a 1986 Yamaha SRX400 grey import was sitting where once my mighty Triumph had
resided. So a 16 year old (and somewhat frayed around the edges), single was to be summer
machine. The bloke selling it had wanted over £800 but after a bit of haggling we settled on a
price somewhere well south of that! So my superbike was gone, but there was a smile on my face,
Like I said, biking can be a strange thing.

The SRX 400 is a light and nimble almost cafť racer style of road bike, with more than a whiff
of ďspot the RD common cycle partsĒ about it. Its heart is a lovely single developed from the
XT500 lineage, which is superb around town, and also the twisty lanes.
 

       


A closer examination of my new steed revealed an essentially sound bike with a few little
extras like twin disc front brakes fed fluid via stainless hoses. Only a single disc was
standard so an upgrade had clearly gone on its murky past at sometime. The speedo didnít work
either, and the exhaust note was not exactly legal on account of rather more holes that
intended in the collector box. Sounded good though!
The previous owner had made a few attempts at giving the single a little extra style with
interesting results to put it kindly. So over the next few weeks various bits of the Yamaha
Srx400 got stripped off the bike then cleaned and painted before getting stuck back on. I
really enjoyed seeing the bike improve and even the boss (Hi Bev!) got involved with some of
the spraying and polishing. I fixed the speedo drive, the lads in the fabrication shop at work
worked their magic on the exhaust in their lunch break, and I even lashed out on a rather racey
new mirror too (I hate riding without mirrors). After all this TLC the SRX was looking pretty
smart even if I do say so myself.
However on to the important stuff, what is it like to ride? Basically great fun and I am not
alone in thinking this. One evening a series of my so called friends tried out the poor thing,
all came back smiling. Surely that is what any motorbike, irrespective or size or type, should
be all about isnít it? Over the summer of 2002 I had a brilliant time ďgiving it largeĒ at
every opportunity. The aircooled, 30 bhp single was a willing partner albeit somewhat strangled
at the top of the rev range. I expect the UK spec 600 version would be significantly better in
this respect. Sometimes I rode on my own locally, just appreciating being out there, but many
longer thrashes in company with much faster machinery were also tackled. For instance I went to
Matlock Bath one Sunday morning with a couple of friends, one on a Thundercat and the other
aboard a Ducati 748 of all things! Well the SRX400 was ridden to the max and put up an
honourable show as I exploited the nimble handling on the tight stuff. Flat out I could just
squeeze out a tree figure top speed according to the lad on Duke, but can you trust an Italian
speedo reading!?

We all swapped bikes about on this run too and when the Thundercat rider was on my machine we
came across the surreal sight of a Harley owners club run. They were decked out in the full
regalia, Chips outfits, American flags fluttering in the breeze, the full nine yards. The whole
thing looked like a break out from a Village People Video shoot! All on the outskirts of
Lichfield, weird. They were riding in convoy and people were lining the side of the road to
wave at them. All jolly good for the image of biking and no mistake. So does my mate allow this
procession to go on unmolested? On no, he hacks past on the SRX400 with the (as yet un-welded)
exhaust blaring out, and dived past the lot into an island at a crazy speed! If he wasnít too
busy keeping the bike on the road I am sure he wound of given them a suitable digital salute
too! Laugh, I nearly fell off his bike!



The hard pressed Yamaha srx400 also endured several thrashes around Shropshire and up into
Wales, again trailing people on much faster bikes. To itsí credit the brave machine took this
treatment in itsí stride and you canít knock it for that. The good ground clearance and light
weight allowed me to push hard in tight and twisty stuff. The straight bits were a different
matter altogether though, so in the end my Thundercat owning friend had mercy on me and bought
an ancient Honda CB250RS that he could ride to keep me company. We had an absolute ball on the
two old singles hammering around the north Midlands and generally being way too committed. It
was like being 18 again, but without the acne this time!

As for all the practical stuff like mpg, chain and tyre wear Iíve had no problems, but this
wasnít what the bike was bought for. Call it 60+ mpg and the tyre wear has been slight in the
2,000 miles or so I have put on the Yam. With 30 bhp on tap it was never going to shred tyres
like a Busa was it? But as a practical commutor, and some thrashing fun of a weekend, its very
rewarding.

The SRX400 has given in a lorry load of pleasure in one summer. Crucially it has made me
question why so many of us bother with superbikes, and all of the hype that surrounds them. If
biking is about fun, which I think it is, then the SRX400 deliversÖ

So, summing up,
You donít have to be single to have fun, but it helps!

Up-date I have sold the SRX400 now, in fact about 10 months ago,
and since then I have owned a Kawasaki Z550, GPz500, and ZR550 Zephyr, all
of which I have enjoyed, but guess what I have now.........
Yes, a lovely SRX600 !!!
Can't beat 'em can you!

HERE are some pictures of the Srx400

      

This article was written by Andrew Preece. The original article can be found Here

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