Jul 12, 2008

My Top Ten Bike List #4: Yamaha SRX Series (250, 400, & 600)

I'm pretty sure I'll hear that I should be embarassed about this selection: Yamaha's SRX Series (250, 400, & 600cc) .

The 1988 600cc version is pictured on this page, but I love 'em all. Probably, knowing my state of motorcycle perversion, I loved the 250 the most. The single-cylinder, balance-shaft-smoothed, single overhead cam motor has a kind of mid-tech simplicity that really tripped my trigger. The two stage carbs (like the XT dirt bikes of that period) was a bit of high (for the time) tech engineering that added bandwidth and performance to the SRX bikes. The sturdy but lightweight metalic-painted steel frame and cool looking alloy wheels created a striking, functional bike that has yet to be beaten for trick-ness. I'd buy one today if I could find one. In fact, when I was unemployed a few years back, a 600 SRX showed up on Craig's List and I went after it as if I actually had money. I still regret that someone beat me to it.

Yamaha made the SRX models from 1985 until 1997, but the 400 barely appeared in the US and the 250 was only bootlegged here. The 600 was available (and ignored by the buying US public) from '85 to '89, sort of. The dealers I knew had '86 bikes until '89 and relabeled them if they bothered to try to move them at all.

The specs are underwhelming:

Detailed Specifications:
Type: 4-Stroke, SOHC, 4-valve, Single Cylinder
Displacement: 595 cc
Bore and Stroke: 94.0 x 84.0 mm
Compression Ratio: 8.5:1
Maximum Torque: 34 ft·lbf @ 5500 rpm
Maximum HP: 40 hp (30 kW) @ 5700 rpm
Carburetion: 2KY27PV
Oil Capacity: 2.5 Quarts
Transmission: 5 Speed

Overall Length: 82.1 inches
Overall Width: 27.8 inches
Overall Height: 41.5 inches
Wheelbase: 54.5 inches
Ground Clearance: 5.7 inches
Seat Height: 30.3 inches
Dry Weight: 329 lb.
Wet Weight: 375 lb.
Fuel Capacity: 4 Gal.

But the bike outperformed the sum of its parts. Anyone who owned one expected a fortune in exchange for a title. The SRX6 sold for $2495 list in 1988, but if you can find one for less than $3k today, you are scoring a big one.

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