Vintage lovers motorcycles to have the chance to own something special. Crossing Is the Mecum auction block in January 1981 Yamaha SR500 which is so new it’s still in the crate. Baby motorcycle. Never mounted. Is there any sadder news?
The shiny machine hidden under the original packaging is the road version of the Yamaha XT500 enduro. Like Silodrome Remarks, the XT500 is famous for its durability and endurance. The motorcycles, with their 499cc single-cylinder thumpers, have won African rallies including the Dakar. And the XT500’s dominance didn’t end there as the late Swedish motocross racer Bengt Åberg took a modified one to the 1977 500cc Motocross World Championship and a 1977 500cc Luxembourg Grand Prix victory.
This proven rally bike would be the basis for the SR500 road bike.
According to Silodrome, when Yamaha produced a prototype in 1975, designer Atsushi Ishiyama noted that the inspiration for the bike was the Yamaha XS 650, itself inspired by British motorcycles. So the SR500 had good bone structure and a look that would melt the heart of any vintage bike nut.
I mean, it definitely makes a number on my heart.
This brilliant formula has apparently worked quite well for Yamaha. The SR500 was sold in various markets from 1978 to 1999, with its slightly smaller twin, the SR400, running until this year.
And the SR500 isn’t just a turn signal rally bike.
Ease of use was a goal and although the SR500 does not have an electric start, it does have an indicator light to help riders know the optimum cylinder position for starting. It also has a decompression lever that lets out some compression to make it a bit easier to tip over.
This single thumper makes 31.5 horsepower; not quick but more than enough for a fun ride or a side road getaway.
Yamaha has changed these motorcycles so little over the years that the SR400 didn’t even have fuel injection until 2010.
This 1981 SR500H represents the last year the SR500 was sold in the United States and Mecum doesn’t really explain why it was never unpacked and assembled.
The list simply indicates that it was previously owned by Charles Hardin of Empire Cycle in Spokane, Washington. Regardless of why it was never even unpacked, the buyer gets a new vintage SR500 that has been waiting to come home to be ridden for 40 years.
At the bare minimum, I would say put the thing together and enjoy its fantastic beauty. I could definitely see it being the centerpiece of a vintage cycle collection. Hopefully its new owner finally assembles it when he buys it at Mecum in Las Vegas on January 27, 2022.