Yamaha’s SR500, a modern incarnation of the legendary British singles of old, debuted in the U.S. in 1978, but slunk off the stage a few years later, thanks to the riding public’s apathy toward a slow, vibey bike that required a master’s degree in kickology to start. But back in the SR500’s native land, a 400cc version that was unveiled the same year thrived until it was discontinued in 2008 because of emissions regulations. In 2010 the SR400 rose from the ashes equipped with fuel injection and a bigger muffler. Now Yamaha is releasing the 2013 35th Anniversary Edition SR400.
The Anniversary Edition comes with a two-tone seat and a silver frame, styling licks that harken back to the SR400’s early years. The tank and side covers are painted a deep green with gold lettering, and the instrument faces have “35th Anniversary“ printed on them. Spoked wheels, with a front disc brake and a drum rear, carry tires only a little wider than those on a mountain bike.
The Anniversary SR400, like the standard SR400, will be sold only in Japan. Last year a reported sighting of an SR400 wearing California distributor plates gave rise to speculation that Yamaha is considering bringing the SR400 to America. The news had some riders reaching for their wallets, but cooler heads pointed out that the SR400, virtually unchanged from its 1978 specifications, was no match for the latest crop of small-displacement bikes like the Kawasaki Ninja 300 and the Honda CBR250R, both of which give away displacement to the SR400 but can still eat its lunch in every performance category––and can be started with the push of a button.