Yamaha SR500

An Aussie idea

Old Bike Australasia - - NEWS - Story Jim Scays­brok Pho­tos OBA ar­chives, Bren­dan van­deZand, Nick Shaw, Phil Ver­gi­son.

Back in the late ‘seven­ties, the band Men­tal As Any­thing had a big hit with “The Nips are Get­ting Big­ger’, which was about Scotch Whisky, not mo­tor­cy­cles. But with a lit­tle imag­i­na­tion, it could have ap­plied to a trend em­a­nat­ing from Nip­pon it­self, specif­i­cally Ha­ma­matsu and Tokyo, where first Honda, and later Suzuki and Yamaha, were steadily evolv­ing a new breed of four stroke sin­gles. Sin­gles that did not leak oil, started rea­son­ably eas­ily, and even sounded right. By 1972 these mod­els in­cluded the ground-break­ing four-valve Honda XL250 and a year later, the rocker-arm break­ing XL350, leav­ing Yamaha with but one choice if it were to steal a march on the op­po­si­tion – a 500 sin­gle. That sin­gle was the TT500C, first dis­played at a deal­ers’ con­ven­tion in Septem­ber 1975. Now this was a quan­tum leap – backwards. Back to the days of the big, bad old Bri­tish sin­gles, in as much as the TT500 was not a small or mid-sized buzz-box, but a full-on 500 sin­gle with in­ter­nal di­men­sions that could have come straight from Birm­ing­ham. A real thumper. True, the new Yamaha was strictly an off-roader, and in most mar­kets, such as Aus­tralia, could not (legally) be reg­is­tered for road use, although quite a few sub­se­quently man­aged to get around this. But it was a beauty, make no mis­take; a free-spin­ning en­gine with heaps of torque,

Yamaha fac­tory ren­di­tion of the new-for ’78 SR500.

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