Find or Sell Motorcycles & Scooters in USA

The horrendous reality of restoring a 'classic'

Tue, 31 Aug 2010

It was with much excitement – displaced or not – that my freshly rebuilt 1976 SR500 Yamaha fired into life at the second kick this weekend.

I say second kick.

It was actually the thirty second kick – thirty of those spent frothing up a heady sweat until I realised the main fuel pipe was kinked to buggery. I can still feel my right thigh muscles protesting at such a violent Sunday morning workout.

The ‘excitement’ at it starting first kick, ticking over at a ker-thump-thump 800rpm and pulling cleanly through all the gears was magnified by the simple fact that I’d rebuilt the motor all by myself from a box of vapour blasted parts.

I stripped it all down in 2005 intending to do nothing more than blast and two-pack paint the frame and swingarm. As it happens, I got a bit carried away and it turned into a last-washer micro-detail rebuild. Damn you, eBay and your crooked talons of temptation.

If you’re unfamiliar with this make and model, it’s hardly surprising. Thirty years ago they were massively unpopular and three decades later things are no different. It is effectively an XT500 enduro bike but with a bigger inlet valve and street tyres.

It might be a pile of worthless crap that I don’t even particularly want to ride but the satisfaction gained has been priceless…I think

By mark forsyth

See also: Yamaha 350LC ProAm, Mallory Park 1981, And it's goodbye from him, Massive clearance sale, Sunday 15th August.