You never forget your first motorbike, no matter how good or bad it was, that machine opened up your life to a whole new world. For most a limited budget and a young age means riding something that looks terrible, breaks down often and leaves oil up your leg. So you save your pennies for something better. Or maybe you have a little more cash to play with for your first ride. Sure you could buy one of the many characterless, learner legal “sportsbikes” offered new by any of the manufacturers. But there is another option and the UK’s Auto Fabrica have got it just right; a Yamaha SR250 known as ‘Type 4A’ that’s custom cool, a perfect first motorcycle and means nobody else on learner plates will be rolling just like you.
“Requests come in daily regarding the SR250 based bikes we have built, Type 3 series and Type 4 series, since we have built a few they are great donors, extremely light and a lot of fun to ride around, they always put the biggest smile on our faces when we ride them as they capture what essentially riding is about, especially with the ability to take it off piste” explains Bujar, who along with his brother Gaz are the heart of the AF Team.
The call came in from a Prague-based customer who had obviously seen the brilliant work the North East London shop turns out. The Type 4 scrambler based on the Yamaha SR250 makes for a perfect learner bike. At just 130kg it’s lighter than almost any modern street bike making it easy to handle. It’s got far more character and charisma than you’ll ever find for similar money on your nearest dealers show room floor. And to top it off it has a raw mechanical personality that will teach you to be real rider and not just twist the throttle and go like Granny on her mobility scooter.
Like all their builds the AF team take the bike back to its bare frame to be built up with only what it really needs. The smoothed out and now painted in black frame is all business and features a new subframe that gives an ultra-clean finish. Mounted on top is a well-padded and brilliantly stitched seat made with reverse horse hide trim. The colour palette was a choice made before the build started with the hide a perfect match for the white with a hint of grey painted finish.
“The tank is made in-house out of 2.5mm aluminium with a custom pop up filler cap, we introduced knee dents also to help with the riding position as well as break up the tanks visual mass, Filip wanted to create a simple on the eye motorcycle and this meant we chose a relatively safe but on trend colour and trim.” While the only other metal work is a handmade rear fender that provides some protection for the rider when the throttle gets pinned.
The neatly sculpted fender is left in raw metal and was constructed to support a vintage tail light. It’s simple and clean and this was the theme for the rest of the lighting. Custom mounted indicators front and rear are tiny for minimal clutter, but being LED more than get the job done. While a simple and stylish bottom mount Bates headlight means there is no deviation in the plan.
For both form and function the entire scrambler has been rewired, leaving nothing exposed and ensuring years of trouble-free motoring. A Motogadget Motoscope Tiny Gauge feeds back the vital information. While the factory switchblocks have been given a total overhaul for a new lease on life. Along with period correct levers they sit atop meaty Renthal bars with custom grips.
For the bars to fit the top yoke had to be modified and the entire front suspension is rebuilt and refurbished. Like the rest of the build it’s all bolted back together with the very best stainless steel bolts and fasteners for a finish rarely seen on even new factory bikes. Blacked out progressive rear shocks keep the SR compliant on all surfaces while a set of hand crafted pegs and foot controls not only look the business but work a treat.
Out of the box the not quite 250cc Yamaha engine is little flat even powering a lightweight machine. But the spec sheet shows the potential, with a short stroke single capable of decent revs. All it needs is a tickle in the right areas and Auto Fabrica made sure 4A got the right stuff. The motor was pulled down and given a full rebuild with new gaskets and seals throughout. With the head off it’s been gas flowed and higher compression further helps extracts some extra ponies.
Before it was slotted back into the frame the cases were cleaned and the head and barrel given a lick of black paint. The carb draws air through a foam pod filter with a smaller unit for the crank case breather. “The exhaust is made out of 316 polished stainless steel hand bent in-house with a custom stainless baffle internally placed within the pipe.” The rebuild transforms the power plant and that stunning exhaust gives the little Yamaha thumper the bark to match its bite.
To get that extra power to the ground and give the scrambler-esque bike a presence that defies its small size, 4.00 Mitas 18 Trial Tyres provide all-purpose grip levels. While the stock mismatched sized wheels are swapped out now “both 18″ laced with stainless spokes to a stock rear hub and a CB350 front TLS hub.” And it seems our Czech friend isn’t the only one placing an order “The Type 4A is a simple, elegant and timeless machine that could hold its own in a show or down a dirt track, a winning formula we keep on building and improving on.” All first bikes leave an indelible impression, but a build from Auto Fabrica truly is one to tell the Grandkids about.