Yamaha SR400 Light Tripper Takes the Japanese Commuter to Hardtail Chopper Territory

Yamaha SR400 Light Tripper 10 photos
Photo: Papupa Photography
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The trusty Yamaha SR400 can serve as an excellent starting point for custom projects, but it may not be your first pick when looking to build a chopper. More often than not, you’ll see the Japanese commuter customized as either a scrambler or a cafe racer – the two most common ways to modify the SR. Some builders aren’t afraid to think outside the box, though, and Fo Huang is one such individual.
He goes about his daily business in the port city of Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, operating as NamiXII Design. Motorcycle parts fabrication, furniture building, and custom bikes are all part of Fo’s repertoire, so you may find him crafting a stylish cupboard one day and tinkering with some old twin-cylinder engine the next. Regardless of what he builds, the results are always striking!

Nicknamed Light Tripper, the chopped SR400 shown above these paragraphs is no exception, and it even scored a “Best in Show” award at Taipei’s 12th annual Ride Free fair in 2021. The judges must’ve been just as stoked as we are, because this is simultaneously one of the raddest and cutest choppers we’ve seen as of late. Without further ado, let’s see what the Light Tripper is all about.

Sir Huang started with a 1985 model from Yamaha’s range, but the completed build bears little to no resemblance to its stock incarnation. However, a large chunk of OEM hardware has, in fact, been retained, including the forks, drum brakes, and main frame. After taking everything apart, Fo performed some intricate surgery on the rearmost section of the SR’s skeleton.

Gone are the motorcycle’s shocks and factory subframe, making room for a rigid structure that turns the framework into a hardtail. NamiXII left the oil-bearing backbone section unchanged, though, and he hasn’t messed with the downtube or headstock, either. In the unsprung sector, we now find a fresh pair of aftermarket rims instead of the original 18-inch items.

Yamaha SR400 Light Tripper
Photo: Papupa Photography
The new rear hoop has the same diameter as the previous one, but the front unit measures a much larger 21 inches. Vintage-looking Duro rubber hugs the latter, while a Shinko tire can be spotted at six o’clock with a similar tread pattern. Right above the front wheel lies a drilled fork brace made from scratch, which does double duty as a fender bracket.

In stark contrast to the large, chopper-style rear module, the front fender is so minuscule that it might be bordering on impractical. Fo did away with the standard gas tank, too, cleverly retrofitting a Harley Sportster’s compact fuel chamber in its stead. The replacement tank was then topped with a custom filler cap, and each half was finished in a different livery to spice things up a little.

Right behind the Sportster tank is a bespoke two-up saddle, featuring plentiful padding and black leather upholstery. The whole shebang rests on a fiberglass seat pan that’s been fabricated in-house, but you will also see a faux oil tank placed underneath. It actually stores the SR400’s electronics, keeping them well out of sight for an ultra-clean appearance.

At the back, there’s a handmade sissy bar towering above the rear wheel and fender, as well as a peculiar tail unit of sorts. It houses a circular LED taillight and the license plate bracket, while the rear turn signals are located down low close to the wheel hub. NamiXII could’ve resorted to aftermarket solutions for the front-end lighting, too, but he decided to get creative.

Yamaha SR400 Light Tripper
Photo: Papupa Photography
First things first, Fo decided to base his design around the repurposed lens of a ‘50s Chevy, then he 3D-printed a mockup for the housing. This was used to create a proper mold, before the final part was shaped out of aluminum. Ultimately, the assembly was put together with modern LED internals, so as to keep the way ahead nice and lit.

There’s no instrumentation to speak of in the cockpit area, but what we do see there is a chopper-style handlebar placed above a tailor-made top clamp. Snazzy rubber grips, minimalistic switches, and plain control levers adorn the narrow ape hangers, providing the basic functions while minimizing clutter as much as possible.

In addition, a tiny oil temperature gauge made its way between the fuel tank and steering neck. We don’t see any blinkers at the front, so the rider will still have to rely on hand signals to get the job done. Even though Fo Huang hasn’t revealed what modifications took place in the powertrain department, it’s pretty safe to assume that the old thumper got refurbished inside out.

What’s more, it gained a custom stainless-steel exhaust system to complete the quintessential old-school chopper look. Lastly, we’ve already touched on the Light Tripper’s colorway a bit earlier on, though it won’t hurt to go into a bit more detail. A flame motif covers the gas tank on the right-hand side, while the left flank sports a groovy snake scales livery we can’t get enough of.
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About the author: Silvian Secara
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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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