EICMA: Yamaha’s SR400

Yamaha introduced several new models at EICMA, one of which was the MT-07, which we touched upon here. We’ll continue to bring you new models from Yamaha, but since we know CMGers are a bunch of old curmudgeons who cling to bikes that hark back to their more joyous youth, we’ll begin with a bike they’ll certainly take to heart.

Not word on if it will come to Canada, but if it does we think it will do well with the CMG readership
Not word on if it will come to Canada, but if it does we think it will do well with the CMG readership

Many readers — and some CMG contributors — have probably at one time owned a Yamaha SR500 of yesteryear, and the bike has since become somewhat of a collectible classic. This affection for these simple singles has not been lost on the Tuning Fork company, so behold the 2014 SR400.

“The return of a legend” reads the press literature, and goes on to claim its “genuine heritage” and “pureness of design” sets it apart from other retro bikes. Well, the bike looks like it was crated up sometime in the late 1970s and put into storage until now.

Fuel injection but no electric start. Who'd have thunk it?
Fuel injection but no electric start. Who’d have thunk it?

From its steel fenders, fork gaiters and wire wheels to its long, flat seat, single-downtube frame and single-cylinder engine, this bike reeks of 70s nostalgia. Other classic-bike items include 18-inch wheels and narrow tires, and a drum rear brake.

And don’t look for to many modern touches either, because the engine is a 400 cc, dry-sump single-lunger with two valves and a very conservative 8.5:1 compression ratio. The low compression was probably used because — get this — the SR400 has a bona fide kick starter. And it’s not just a fashion accessory; it is the only way to fire up the bike.

We're guessing that the old 500 piston would fit for an easy big bore upgrade.
We’re guessing that the old 500 piston would fit for an easy big bore upgrade.

The only modern touch on the bike — added because of necessity — is electronic fuel injection with a catalytic converter and oxygen sensor, which should be a relief to those who buy the bike because it is claimed to drastically ease starting.

We have no word yet if it’s coming to Canada but us old bastards at CMG are crossing our fingers.


Check out all the pics that go with this story! Click on the main sized pic to transition to the next or just press play to show in a slideshow.


  1. yes well I have an old SR00 best bike I ever owned; I can hardly wait for the SR400 and will buy one in a heartbeat. Hopefully I can figure out how to convert my 500 to fuel injection. I have had the opportunity to drive lots of different bikes and the SR was and always been my favorite bike, I can’t wait for the 2015’s I will be on the waiting list

  2. Old SRX driver over here. Looks like a neat bike… I should NEVER have gotten rid of the SRX. I would like to have one of those again. While this is interesting as an exercise, an injected version of my old 595 cc lump would be great. I miss the old torque beast. Had a LOT of discs in the Supertrapp…!

  3. Yoshimura lists an 89mm piston for the SR400, which takes the SR400 up to 418cc. That’s just under a 5% increase in displacement, with no change in compression ratio (8.5:1). Don’t know if the engine would be more powerful enough to make a real world difference, but it may make it feel a bit more torquey.

    There’s also some 90mm overbore kits out there, (see: http://japan.webike.net) for a 7% displacement increase. Those all seem to be about 11:1 compression, so that will make for a very different engine: For street use it probably makes a lot more sense to buy a faster bike than try to make an SR400 into a rocket ship.

    I still would like to see the engine out of the SRX-600 in it: 45hp instead of 27. Yummy!

  4. Seems to me they could bring back the XS650 just as easily, with cheap upgrades like EFI and a 270 degree crank to make it civilized. I’d think it would be a lot more desirable.

  5. That is a gorgeous little bike. If they bring it to Canada, I’ll be rushing to the local Yamaha dealer. I had a very beat up 400 when I started riding 20ish years ago. It would be great to have a rust-free injected bike.

  6. “Return of a legend” sure makes it sound as though it’s heading to North America. After all, the bike has remained in the Japanese lineup since, like, forever in exactly SR400 guise. (400cc is an important displacement division for the tiered licensing structure riders have to put up with here in Japan.)

  7. I like this bike a LOT, but I’m 284 pounds so it’s a bit small for me. Apparently the SR400 is destroked from the SR500, so it’s not just a straight piston/cylinder swap to get the added displacement.

    What would be fun would be the SR400 with the engine out of the old SRX-600. That would be big enough to pull my fat butt, but still with that cool SR look and nimble handling. Drool… I don’t know if they would sell 2, but they would definitely sell 1 (to me)!

  8. She hasn’t aged a bit since high school. As for myself, my blonde hair and plump cheeks have been replaced with dark hair and saggy cheeks, at least on the bottom end.

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