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Custom Yamaha SR400 Is Elegance Embodied, Comes From Japan’s Finest

The SR platform produced by Yamaha is, without a doubt, one of the most popular choices when it comes to customization. Its simple anatomy and classic looks are great for builders to work with, which is why you’ll encounter more SR-based projects than you can shake a stick at. Not all of them are made equal, though, with some being neater and more visually appealing than others.
Custom Yamaha SR400 10 photos
Photo: Wedge Motorcycle via Instagram
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On the positive end of the spectrum, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something that looks better than this elegant SR400 from Japan. Built in 2022, it is the work of the talented Takashi Nihira, who’d been operating as Wedge Motorcycle in Tokyo for many years. This isn’t the first time we discuss his endeavors on autoevolution, and you can bet your bottom dollar that it won’t be the last.

Nihira-san's starting point was a 2008 variant of Yamaha’s SR400 lineup, which would be kept closer to stock than many of his other builds. There were a few crucial aspects for him to consider, as the commission came from a petite lady fresh out of riding school. Consequently, a manageable seat height was of utmost importance, but so were things like relaxed ergonomics and, of course, the bike’s appearance.

As for the donor itself, the SR400 is often praised as a fantastic motorcycle for beginners, and a 2008 model provides up to 27 hp from its 399cc single-cylinder mill. It pairs this with a modest dry weight of just 335 pounds (152 kg), so one can’t complain about its handling characteristics despite the rudimentary suspension and brakes. With this in mind, many of SR’s factory components have been retained for ease of use.

Still, that doesn’t mean that Takashi hasn’t gone to town, modifying exactly what was needed to make this machine a true one-off. After taking the Yamaha apart, he found its air-cooled thumper to be in pretty good shape, only requiring some simple maintenance to run like a charm. Whereas the hardware on the intake side of things remained virtually unchanged, the same can’t be said for the exhaust.

Custom Yamaha SR400
Photo: Wedge Motorcycle via Instagram
Wedge came up with a shiny new header, which was manufactured from scratch using stainless-steel and subsequently mated to a SuperTrapp muffler. The SR400’s thumper was finished off with a coat of wrinkle black paint on its lower covers, a neat little touch adding just the right amount of contrast. With the powertrain-related work out of the way, Takashi turned to the suspension.

In order to make the ride more suitable for his customer’s height, he shortened the forks by around two inches (50 mm) and got rid of the OEM shocks altogether. In their stead, you will now find a shorter pair of aftermarket substitutes matching the forks’ reduced height. With these mods performed, master Nihira assures us the owner’s feet will have no trouble reaching the ground. His next job took place in the unsprung sector.

The standard 18-inch wheels are still in play, but their hubs and rims have been repainted, then reconnected to each other via fresh stainless-steel spokes. Moreover, both hoops were wrapped in retro-style E270 tires from Shinko’s catalog, offering a nice balance between functionality and visual appeal. Speaking of aesthetics, let’s see what Wedge’s transformation meant for the bodywork.

Custom Yamaha SR400
Photo: Wedge Motorcycle via Instagram
It is now a delightful mixture of custom and original garments, with the stock fuel tank and side panels remaining in place while everything else was replaced. The gas tank wasn’t just left alone in its initial place, though, because Takashi tweaked the front and rear mounting points to get it repositioned ever so slightly. He did so with the intent of making it sit more or less parallel to the ground as opposed to slanting downward.

At the back, the Japanese artisan shortened and looped the creature’s subframe, thus tightening up its rear-end proportions. A bespoke seat pan was then placed up top, covered in generous padding, and ultimately wrapped in premium leather upholstery. Right behind the saddle, we come across a handmade fender whose southernmost tip supports the taillight and license plate bracket, both of which are new aftermarket parts.

We’re greeted by replacement turn signals all-round, yet there’s no front fender to speak of on this reworked SR. Wedge installed a tiny Bates-style headlight in between the forks, with its diameter measuring a mere four inches. In the cockpit, the project’s author ditched the factory handlebar in favor of a chrome-plated unit with Vans x Cult grips from ODI.

The OEM control levers and switches were seamlessly incorporated into this new setup, while an analog aftermarket speedo finishes off the rider’s view. Last but not least, Takashi picked a color scheme that is both striking and fit for a delicate young woman like his client. A red base found its way onto the gas tank, side covers, and rear fender, along with white pinstripes and gold Wedge Motorcycle tank graphics.
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About the author: Silvian Secara
Silvian Secara profile photo

A bit of an artist himself, Silvian sees two- and four-wheeled machines as a form of art, especially restomods and custom rides. Oh, and if you come across a cafe racer article on our website, it’s most likely his doing.
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