Mid Life Cycles has almost a decade’s experience working on the most popular base bikes for Custom and Café Racer builds, and top of the list has to be Yamaha’s ageless SR400 and SR500 Singles. We’ve built café racers, trackers, scramblers and a few that defied description. And we’ve helped owners get their bikes running properly and through that all-important roadworthy inspection.
There’ve been a few favourites along the way – and not necessarily the big-budget builds or the bolt-on copies of the work of other custom shops. One of those all-time favourites is our BK500 – built for Brian, to his specification for a true, old-school café racer look and ride.
Like all good builds, this was a collaboration between Builder and Owner. Brian came to us with a vision and a few key requirements. This bike had to look good and be up for a few long country rides.
We sourced the base bike (a low-km and essentially standard imported SR500, complete with gorgeous drum-brake front end) and pulled a few choice bits off the parts-shelf – not least the curvaceous alloy fuel tank.
It was a patient build, with details that many observers might miss, but that ensured this bike met the owner’s vision and his riding expectations. Brian flew down from Sydney, checked the finished bike over, and rode it home. It was everything he’d wanted, and more. He came back a year later to ask us to build an XV1000-based custom. But that’s another story…
PS: The badge on the side cover? That’s the finishing touch. BK500. Brian’s initials incorporated in a stylised SR500 logo.