All Tests – Yamaha SR400 Review: the return of the grandmother – The charm of the old Yamaha

Yamaha SR400 test: the return of the granny

All Tests - Yamaha SR400 Review: the return of the grandmother - The charm of the old Yamaha

Evicted from the French catalog in 1982, the SR400 reappeared in 2014! With its good old single-cylinder motorcycle, Yamaha intends to vibrate the nostalgic chord of French bikers. Site was able to test it for a day. Contact !

The charm of the old Yamaha

The Japanese, who have never been deprived of SR, even celebrated with great fanfare the 30 years of the model in 2008. To mark the occasion, Yamaha had published an extremely excellent – but incomprehensible for those who do not master Japanese – .

Foolishly wasting his time thoroughly searching the global Yamaha site, we even find a copy of the 2002 model of the (like the memorable one), accompanied by its kit showing the different colors of tanks classified by years !

French fans of the SR400 are not totally left out, since a long page of the "Design Cafe" has recently been devoted to their idol in the language of Molière. Entitled, this article reveals some interesting information…

"For the XT, the emphasis was on reliability and simplicity, and his career proves the merits of these choices," says Yamaha. "For the SR, another important criterion was added: ease of use. This is why the electronic ignition and an ingenious automatic decompressor device were developed, subsequently used on all large single cylinders 4 -time".

"For the record," says the engineer responsible for the mechanics of the XT, Shiro Nakamura, "this brilliant device was born from a nasty sprain that Mr. Morinaga, technical director of Yamaha Motor, by starting a prototype. .. Priority was immediately given to ease of starting and the anti-kickback system! "

It should be noted that on the SR400 of the year 2014 the decompressor is manual, which does not go without complicating the task of the neophyte … But we will come back to this a little later, when starting this charming little single cylinder.

Continuing his tour of the owner, MNC noticed the presence of a rear drum brake, an element that has become extremely rare these days. At the front is a simple disc: first placed on the left side, it had been ousted between 1984 and 2001 by a drum before returning – on the right – to the current version.

Vintage, the SR400 still had to make a concession to pursue its career: in 2009, grandma Yamaha underwent a small "injection" … electronic. But the operation, carried out in a hurry by Japanese engineers, left scars that no makeup make-up conceals….

Thus, the injection system is much less crisp than the small carburetor which fitted the old SR, and less elegant than the false carbs which feed the current Bonneville. We expected better from an ultra-cushioned model – we want it for Yamaha! – and offered 5999 euros.

Small originality of the SR400: the front part of its frame acts as an oil reservoir. The level is monitored via the long tab of the cap which is located just behind the steering column: easy and practical.

A few centimeters away is the other cap, that of the gasoline tank that can hold 12 liters. Equipped with a lock – it’s safer -, it does not have a hinge, which is not very practical when it comes to refueling at the gas station..

Still on the subject of fuel, it is good to know that the SR400 has a tap to cut off the gasoline supply, the injection taking care of itself to switch to the reserve (indicator on the meter). It will also allow little pranksters to trap the owner of the bike and see him run out on his kick … Yes, because the SR400 only starts with the kick !

Just like the inner tubes or the drum brakes, the kick start is brought up to date! It requires some helping hand to handle the decompressor trigger … and a serious kick to launch the 399cc mono.

The demonstration of the mechanic from Yamaha France happily shows that with a little practice, starting is only a simple formality – "whether the engine is cold or hot", he guarantees us. !

In addition to its convenience when greasing the chain, the center stand is very useful and reassuring when starting the SR400: it allows you to perch upright on the bike and "kick" effectively. Also well seen: the top dead center indicator housed to the right of the cylinder head.

Once started, the engine shakes happily and transmits its "good old vibrations" to the rider via the saddle and the fine tank which is easily enclosed between the thighs. Come on, in car on motorbike, Grandma Simone … It’s Site that drives, it’s the reader who honks !

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