New Yamaha SR400 confirmed for USA

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by HondaFanatic, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. conchscooter

    conchscooter Long timer

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    The well-worn points Brett and Jerry keep making are valid, but like the saying goes you trap more flies with honey than vinegar and their preachy tones tend to overlay the validity of the points, and preaching alienates. I like the idea of the brand new SR for same reasons as the nagging twins, while recognizing ours is a niche market. However I also see value in the transformer type bikes that don't appeal to me. Mind you, if I got a ten thousand dollar refund from Uncle Sam, first I'd spank myself liberally for over paying this year then I'd run down to the Honda shop and get an ABS free CB1100. Whoa! What about the Kawasaki Ninja 1000 with saddlebags? Hmm...It really is uncomfortable sitting on the fence!
  2. Bud Tugly

    Bud Tugly Gnarly old curmudgeon

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    It's cool to see the 250-500cc segment starting to fill back in with new models. This was once a very popular size of bike and has been neglected for a while.

    These bikes, in both on and off road forms, can do just about everything anyone ever needs with a motorcycle with the exception of cruising long distances at interstate highway speeds. IMO that's about the most boring thing anyone can do on a bike anyway. If you mostly avoid long streetches of superslab, then a bike that can cruise comfortably at 65 or so with a bit to spare is all you need, and it only takes about 15-20 HP to manage that.

    Sticking to singles and twins keeps these bikes fairly simple and their weight (mostly under 400 lbs.) makes them tons of fun on winding secondary roads where they can keep up with traffic. They're also mostly economical to buy and run which makes them practical everyday transportation.

    I love the retro look on the Yamaha SR400 and Suzuki TU250 and hope it isn't just a fad. To me, if you can't see the engine and most of the mechanical components it isn't a real motorcycle. And I can't see why any bike up to 500cc ever needs the added weight and complexity of an electric starter.
  3. conchscooter

    conchscooter Long timer

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    And don't forget it really is more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slowly.
  4. Davidc83

    Davidc83 Been here awhile

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    I had a 2006 suzuki gz250 which I put 11,000 miles on in 6 months, include 2000 mile trip on the interstate-no problem.
    I never want an exclusive kick start, even on a small bike. You must be young if you cant see why anyone needs an electric start on a small bike. I am 54 years old and even on a small cc bike, my knees would be killing me if I kick started any bike. Our joints wear out as we get older, even if we work out, knees are shot. I have no problem holding up my 500+ lb cruiser but my knees would be screaming if I even had to kick start a 90 cc bike.
  5. MZRider

    MZRider Neo-Luddite

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    I'm only 4 years younger than you and have had no problem kick starting my '77 XT500 for the last 3 years. Even when it decides to be "ornery", it's still not a problem - I run out of breath long before my knees hurt. Heck, even my 79 year old riding buddy can still kickstart the one bike he has so equipped (BMW R60/2).
  6. ferrix

    ferrix Been here awhile

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    Since this seems to be such a big deal to the defenders of kick start, I have to ask: just how much does an electric starter weight?
  7. Navin

    Navin Long timer

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    Nothing. The current KTM 450SXf under Dungey in SX has an air spring shock and E-start only and is rumored to be the lightest bike on the gate.

    Older KTM/DRZ DS singles commonly added at least 14 lbs to add E-start. Once you delete the kicker, gears, springs and case accomodations the weight difference is negligible, if at all.
  8. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    I think the sr400 is 335 pounds.
    Just a little bit more then my TU250.

    I do not need any memory of how the old bike were, I still ride them.
    The wife and I rate the bikes I go through, and the 2 best were old Triumphs.
    The TU does well also.

    My wife would be happy on an old cb350, but not the ninja 300...
    I do not think I could spend all day on the cbr or the ninja.

    Electric start adds about 14 pounds sounds right, starter, wires, bigger battery, bigger charging system.
    Water cooling likely adds the same.



  9. Navin

    Navin Long timer

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    You never know till you try, I fear your mind is made up by the body work not the actual riding position.

    Still, no shortage of CB350s you could buy for $5-6,000 which is where the SR400 would probably have to live. I have no doubt it would be dead on the sales floor though, mostly for the same reasons it failed in the 1970s. I like the style, but want 40-50 HP and wide ratio gearbox with good brakes front & rear. Forget trying to sell anyone on how great a drum brake is. They are sinple, they are cheap and they are dead because disc brakes are far superior despite added complexity and cost.

    And I'll bet that SR is much closer to 350-370.
  10. Navin

    Navin Long timer

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    <TABLE style="BORDER-SPACING: 3px; WIDTH: 22em" class="infobox hproduct" cellSpacing=3><TBODY><TR><TD style="TEXT-ALIGN: center" colSpan=2>Yamaha SR500</TD></TR><TR><TH style="TEXT-ALIGN: left" scope=row>Manufacturer</TH><TD class=brand>Yamaha Motor Company</TD></TR><TR><TH style="TEXT-ALIGN: left" scope=row>Also called</TH><TD>SR Thumper</TD></TR><TR><TH style="TEXT-ALIGN: left" scope=row>Parent company</TH><TD>Yamaha Corporation</TD></TR><TR><TH style="TEXT-ALIGN: left" scope=row>Engine</TH><TD>4-stroke 499 cc air-cooled, SOHC, single-cylinder, 2 valves per cylinder</TD></TR><TR><TH style="TEXT-ALIGN: left" scope=row>Transmission</TH><TD>5-speed</TD></TR><TR><TH style="TEXT-ALIGN: left" scope=row>Suspension</TH><TD>F: 35 mm telescoping fork, 150 mm travel

    R: 104 mm wheel travel, 5-way adjustable preload</TD></TR><TR><TH style="TEXT-ALIGN: left" scope=row>Weight</TH><TD>158 kg (350 lb) (dry)</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

    Bet on it being the same wet weight as a Ninja 250-300.
  11. Navin

    Navin Long timer

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    That cherry one bid up to only $2500 and didn't meet the reserve. To me that makes it worth about $2500! Probably less than half the price of the 400 version we will never get. :1drink
  12. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    I'm not preaching, just stating my opinion. Though I have to admit I'm somewhat disgusted by what is coming out of Japan these days. Just because a motorcycle is new, why does it have to be ugly? I saw drawings of "futuristic" bikes, like the 700X, in magazines 30+ years ago, and wondered who would buy such a thing. I can see young people raised on Transformers and video games liking them, they never got to experience what I call "real" motorcycles. But it surprises me that older guys also like them, guys who probably rode bikes much like the SR400 in their youth.

    As for the kickstart thing, I am almost 54, with bad knees, and cannot rid any bike that does not have at least a 90 degree knee angle without severe pain. But I can kickstart a small bike all day long. After putting a kickstarter on my Yamaha XT225, I almost never use the electric starter anymore. Something very satisfying about going out to the parking lot, getting on your bike, and kicking it to life. Sometimes I get really tired of living in a pushbutton world. For me, motorcycles are an ESCAPE from that kind of thing, a chance to do something for myself, and enjoy it.

    As I have said a few times, I used to own a '66 Bonneville. After about 3 years I sold it, because it was so unreliable (though it was easy to work on. It was a beautiful bike, absolutely gorgeous. By far the best looking bike I have ever owned. And it had character. It vibrated and it made noise. I would give anything for a modern version of that bike, with modern reliability, but with the exact same looks, vibration, and sound. With todays manufacturing technology, that is totally possible, and it wouldn't even be expensive to do. Just measure an old Bonneville, and make everything on the outside the same size and shape. The new Bonneville is just a shadow of what it used to be. It looks good compared to most of what is out there, but it could have been made to look so much better. And it could have had vibration and noise. New Harleys do, why not Triumph? Anyone ever heard a rephased XS650? What a beautiful sound.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOITE_aSkXw This is what a new Bonneville COULD sound like. And notice the vibration.
  13. Süsser Tod

    Süsser Tod Long timer

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    Jerry just go and buy a cheap Chinese bike, you'll get tons of vibration, frame, swingarm, fork flex, plenty of stupid things will go wrong for no reason... They just ooze character!

    Just think how lovely it will be to troubleshoot electrical gremlins in the middle of nowhere. The magic of wrenching 1 hour for every hour spent on the road!


    In the meantime I'll be out there doing "nothing" as I get to see the world in my 2 wheeled appliance.
  14. Bud Tugly

    Bud Tugly Gnarly old curmudgeon

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    For better or worse, bikes are becoming more car-llike. Just push the magic button and away you go and it runs reliably for many thousands of miles with nothing more than routine maintenence. Fuel injection, water cooling, computer-contolled ignition, and anti-vibration systems make the engines smoother and more dependable than they used to be and all those ugly mechanical bits are hidden away behind sleek and colorful bodywork.

    For many people that's the modern ideal essence of motorcycling, and while I see the appeal I respectfully disagree. To me a finned air-cooled engine is a thing of beauty and hiding it away behind a cooling jacket and bodywork is sacrilidge. Electric starters, liquid cooling, and electronic controls add weight and complexity and while they are becoming more reliable add components that have to be replaced when they do fail rather than adjusted or repaired by the home mechanic. ABS is becoming a rouitine component of modern bikes and how long will it be before someone comes up with other things like some sort of air bag system for added safety and hybrid technology to improve gas mileage?

    For others (and we're probably a dwindling group), a motorcycle is a more visceral and visual experience. We favor simplicity over the ultimate in efficiency and actually enjoy tinkering once in a while to fine tune components, although reliability is certainly a huge plus. We get the appeal of bikes llike the SR400, the TU250, the Honda 1100, the new Triumph twins, and even (gasp) Harleys. They are efforts to make use of some of the good things from modern technology without losing the essence of what motorcycling is all about (at least to us).

    Let's face it, the inernal combustion engine as we've know it has had a long and glorious run but its days are numbered. All it's going to take is a breakthrough in battery technology and most cars and motorcycles will be going over to electric power. Bikes like the Stealth and Zero models are nearly there already. Inside 20-30 years gas-powered engines will be becoming relics of a bygone era, and many of us will miss it.
  15. plugeye

    plugeye mc caregiver

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    drum brakes: so what, engine braking works very well on my xt500
    no brake fluid leaks, seized calipers, warped rotors, pinched lines, blah blah blah

    but the bottom line is this bike needs priced around 4k max. to have a chance of competing
  16. Süsser Tod

    Süsser Tod Long timer

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    Yamaha, sensible pricing? :rofl

    If it does make it to the USA Yamaha will charge a premium for their "retro" bike not being "retro", just the real deal, a 30 year old design.
  17. rider33

    rider33 Long timer

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    On the other hand the Super Tenere and FJR are at attractive price-points relative to their competion, I would be surprised if Yamaha would depart much from that approach here.
  18. Dabears

    Dabears --------------------

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    The SR400 sounds like a very nice bike with or without electric start.

    If you think 400cc's is too small for you, you are correct.

    Those who ride scooters who think 400cc's would be a nice size small/medium displacement, you're right too.

    I'd love to see Yamaha bring this in to the US, just as I'm happy Honda is bringing the 500s, and the neat little CRF250L.

    For once we're starting to get some variety in the cycle market that isn't focused on the 800cc and above market.

    I'm grateful, and hope we see it here.
  19. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    I would love a modern version of my 1969 Daytona, 340 pounds, 500cc air cooled twin, nice seat, good size bike for a normal size adult and his wife, very low center of gravity, but they could make it vibrate much less with lighter pistons and a balance setup, give it at least a 5 speed trans, make the clutch work right, eliminate oil leaks, and even save weight by using plastic and plated bores instead of cast iron cylinders.
    Real electrical connections, a disk brake on the front to save weight, it would be easy to get more power out of a 500 twin then they did in the 60's.

    I do not want lots of problems and vibration, I just want a light simple bike with old styling, and my TU250 is exactly what I want, but in a 350 or 400 cc size.

    I can spend a LOT more and get a 550 pound 883 Sportster, a bike made for dwarfs, or a V7 classic 750, or a 550 pound new Bonneville 850, and unlike the old bikes, none come with a decent seat, and the suspension they chose to put on the new bikes is NOT better then the old stuff, its worse.

    So modern retro bikes are worse in many respects, better in some.
    They are reliable, do not leak, brakes are better, but they are heavy, have thin seats and crap suspensions.

    The w650 was the closest they came to a good modern classic I think.
  20. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    "The SR400, the TU250, the Honda 1100, the new Triumph twins, the W650 and W800, Royal Enfields, Suzuki S40, and Harleys are all my type of bike, but Harley has by far the most character still left. You need to change the pipes to get all that character, but it is there. Sitting on a Harley at idle feels like using a jackhammer, and they sound like a top fuel dragster. And the look of the ancient air cooled pushrod v-twin has no equal. I would consider RE, but they are just to unreliable. That 30+ year old Yamaha would not be unreliable. The original SR500 was very reliable, way moreso than the Harleys of the time, and it would be still be just as reliable today. No reason it would be any more unreliable than a Honda XR650 or Suzuki DR650. Honda and Suzuki should put those engines in a retro styled bike, no make that a real retro bike, like the SR400. Kickstart and all.