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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Volts Mechanix SR500 Custom


With all the interest shown by our readers (200+ comments and counting) in the 2015 Yamaha SR400, this 1979 SR 500 Custom built by Volts Mechanix in England caught our eye. A beautiful piece of work, we think, and perhaps even higher quality than the Ichiban Moto Cafe Racer we highlighted a while back. It looks the part, doesn’t it? Stripped to the bone, polished custom bits and a serious front brake. Other than that, we don’t know much, so see the following description from the Volts Mechanix web site.


Possession is nine points … Paid for but as yet uncollected. Well, it’s going to be heart breaking to see it go but one day a life beckons in the scenic alpine grandeur of Lichtenstein. If this sounds rather emotional, as if we’re putting a championship racehorse out to pasture, it’s because it is. But it gets weirder than that. Having been commissioned in 2011 to create a high-end custom based on a 1979 SR 500 supplied by our anonymous client from the elegant principality next door to Switzerland, we were over the moon to be given a large part of the budget required up front. The bike was delivered and we got work, stripping her down and cleaning her up for an inspired look that was cutting edge for the time. Having got a fair way along the line with the build we received part of the remainder of the costs in exchange for photos and correspondence with said client’s office. All well and good, it’s encouraging and rather life affirming receiving anonymous transfers from numbered accounts. After 10 months of hard work and mutual back patting it was finished. Along the line we had: Cleaned the engine, renovated the frame, fitted a new swing arm, Buttered a scone, fitted new shocks, found some RD wheels and restored them, new electrics throughout, replaced all the bearing and bushes, modified the frame lugs, new carb, braised hoses and control lines, fitted a nice brake thing. One detail was to enamel ‘Made in Japan’ panel on the crankcase in a pantone specified purple colour. Was this a clue to the identity of our mystery customer we wondered? Actually, it was more rewarding to assume that it was definitely certain that we were building a bike for rock royalty and we still do. With the bike finished, tested and ready to ship we received reports of our man’s ecstatic appreciation from the office and a further final payment with a healthy tip. We were instructed to pack it up for dispatch to the land of snowy peaks and anonymous tycoons. We were then told to await details for shipping …. We waited … waited and still wait … then some considerable time passed and we got on with other things. After a while we didn’t take a lot of notice of the crate in the workshop and various items were deposited on it and a few calculations and design ideas were scribbled on it. One day, when the place was filling up we noticed the elephant in the room as it were and one of us said, ‘Is that SR ever going to go?’ or something so we called the office in the alps. No answer. We emailed the office. No answer. We wrote, in joined up, to all the addresses we had and again no answer. We took it out of the box under the pretext of checking it was still in one piece and had a look at the thing again knowing that now it wasn’t ours any more but as yet was unclaimed and that’s how it’s been for 18 months We call the office in Lichtenstein every now and then … it’s not registered in any country, a bit like a refugee from some war torn era in the 70’s. We calculated that if we charge storage by 2036 the bike would rightfully be ours. We could then use the parts to put on a nuclear powered BMW Kawasaki cross from 2021.


  1. Provologna says:


  2. skybullet says:

    Volts Mechanix, please accept my apology. I have been preoccupied with commissioning my new yacht and the uniforms of our Formula 1 team. I will forward my ship to address immediately.

    • stinkywheels says:

      Good one. Can I take it for a spin when it arrives? I’m not royalty but I read about them.

  3. Ricardo says:

    I dig it, but is probably an over priced bike…better to buy the Royal Enfield…

  4. RJ says:

    You can’t do any serious riding with dirt flat track tires on a street bike. Change those and I like it !!!

  5. nickst4 says:

    In my biking youth, we always reckoned that a special hell was reserved for bike owners that painted all their nuts’n’bolts red. Good to see that that deviant behaviour still survives!

    As to a nice air-cooled single for 2014, Yamaha might have reintroduced the superb monoshock 3SX version of the SRX600; a model that never officially got outside Japan but a few of us lucky Brits, at least, got our hands on as grey imports. Mass-centralised before the term was invented and even equipped with electric start for traditionalists who now have less flexible legs, it beats the SR400 and SR500 above in all respects. Missed opportunity I reckon, even if these admired singles never sell enough to make a profit!

  6. skybullet says:

    Volts Mechanix, please accept my apology. I have been preoccupied with my Formula 1 team. I will forward my ship to address immediately.

  7. RD350 says:

    Yamaha .. please consider introducing a retro street scrambler utilizing the existing SR400/500 motor (or similar) and closely resembling the 1970s TT/XT or DT “Enduros” of yesteryear.

    Low seat height, lite weight and with good quality suspension. Not a “finish it yourself” bike .. and not a parts bin budget bike. Most retro enthusiasts are older and have money. They aren’t looking for economy .. they are looking for “awesome”

    This is a formula that is timely and that would sell well imo.

  8. Stratkat says:


  9. Gpokluda says:

    Beautiful. One of the nicest bikes to grace the MD pages in a long, long time.

  10. Jeremy in TX says:

    Now, if Yamaha were getting ready to sell THAT SR…

  11. paul246 says:

    Nifty bike and an interesting story. Wonder what happened to the rightful owner?

  12. ABQ says:

    OK it’s not designed for going any distance. Just down to the cafe and back. That sort of thing kept racers entertained for decades..Good times. What concerns me is that the pegs may be a bit high.

  13. MGNorge says:

    Can’t look at anything here anymore because of the flurry of dislikes for this or dislikes for that. We’re not robots, well, perhaps not most of us, and isn’t it enough to just let your eyes wash down over someone’s creation without tearing it apart?

    • mickey says:

      Seriously? 50% of marriages end in divorce and this involved 2 people that promised to love each other forever. You want thousands on individual motorcyclists to agree on all the features on any particular motorcycle whether its custom or not? You are dreaming MG.

      • Dave says:

        Never said anything about agreeing, just having the decency to not spew vitrol at a builder’s work because they didn’t manage or think to build exactly the bike of the reader’s particular dream.

      • MGNorge says:

        Just for a change it would be nice to hear comments that offer constructive criticisms rather than just centering on the negative. When I first saw this bike my eyes centered on the engine, as it does with most bikes, then they spread out. When I came upon the tank the first thing that came to mind was, “Here we go again!” It’s not just here though, I see it everywhere in blogs. Maybe the anonymity that the Web offers lets people be other than their normal selves? It gets tiring.

    • stinkywheels says:

      I’m with you. Sometimes you see a couple and wonder how they put up with such an ugly spouse. If you get to know them you can usually see the attraction, while still having faults, they’re not that important or the pleasure is worth the pain.

  14. bikerrandy says:

    What a perfect example of a bike made for a POSEUR ! Small gas tank, next to no fender protection, a seat made by a chiropractor, small speedo/headlight, no tach, a gold chain, no air filter, or battery? does have blinkers and a sidestand, what’s not to like?

  15. Gabe says:

    It’s nice, but the level of craftsmanship is nowhere near Ichiban moto. Where’s the hand-applied patina on the carburetor? Where’s the swingarm-mounted taillight? And you don’t have to spend all that money on new parts if you build yourself an Ichiban ultrasonic(ish) parts washer. And are those BRAND-NEW tires? When there are piles, literally piles of fashionably distressed, 100% FREE tires behind every motorcycle shop in the USA free for the taking? Such wanton spending seems criminally wasteful.

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