When a motorcycle has been on this earth for more than four decades, you can bet your bottom dollar it’s seen a hell of a lot and has more than a few stories to tell. And for a machine that left Yamaha’s Iwata factory as a humble single-cylinder commuter bike, this steed could never have imagined the life it would live. But this Yamaha SR400 has just in the last handful of years, been the baby of a rockstar, found its way into the hands of a serious bike collector and undergone at least three complete builds. The latest of which was at the hands of Australia’s most prolific custom bike builder, the super talented Noel Muller of Queensland’s Black Cycles. It’s fair to say Noel has ensured this machine has only gotten better with age and it’s now ready for its next fun-filled decade.
A few years ago the Yammie rolled into the Black Cycles Australia workshop, and as Noel describes, “It had been slightly modified before & had seen better days.” No problem, it was now in safe hands and would undoubtedly get one wicked cool makeover. At that point, the owner of the bike was none other than Joel Birch, the frontman of the hugely successful metalcore band from the sunshine state, The Amity Affliction. When the singer with the big pipes sat down with Noel to work out exactly what he wanted from his custom bike, he really only had one request, it had to be all black, “murdered out”!
The SR was then treated to a full custom build, with many of the modifications carried out then, still on the bike to this day. The wheel package was different and of course, there was no yellow, the tank was 2K black with some of Joel’s own artwork ghosted into the paint on the tank and fender. Sadly Joel didn’t get to enjoy the bike for long, as Covid-19 hit and took a sledgehammer to the music industry, and he was forced to sell. Lucky for the Yamaha however, it was picked up by a mad keen custom car and bike collector from Sydney, named Simon, who would ensure that it would be well looked after.
In fact, Simon has had multiple other bikes built by Black Cycles Australia, so when he decided that it was time to give the SR400 an update, it was sent back up north to let Noel work his magic once again. So, with the back story understood, let’s take a deep dive into what makes this humble hauler such a damn beautiful bike.
The frame has been smoothed out and cleaned up, before the tail was chopped off and then given a shorter, narrower hoop for an ultra-clean look. To get the stance right, a set of billet short shocks were bolted in at the rear and the front end was professionally lowered and rebuilt by Chris at XXX Rated Suspension.
For this version of the bike “the wheels were then disassembled and gold alloy rims with new stainless spokes were built giving it the early ’80s classic Yamaha look,” Noel explains. The tyres are an interesting choice and make for an inspired selection, for anyone who wants the meaty appearance in rubber that will actually perform on the road, these hoops are Dunlop K180 flat track tyres. Wrapping over the top of the front item is a customised aluminium fender, which provides just enough protection without being over the top.
“Next was a Benelli Mojave style tank which was modified to fit & we fitted a pop-up flush mount fuel cap & frenched in a Motogadget Motoscope Pro digital speedo.” The tank sits beautifully over the backbone and at just the right angle, and oh baby how can you not love the classic Yamaha Yellow and Speed Block combination laid down by the talented Justin at PopBang Classics.
To match the look, a fuel level tube and breather were added also. “The seat was also recovered by Adam again & now utilizes a laser etched Black Cycles logo too.” This all added over the custom seat base the Carman’s Auto Trimmers man had built for the bike when Joel was the owner.
The engine certainly forms part of the appearance and the single-cylinder was performing well when it first showed up at Black Cycles, so there was no need to go to town on it. The whole thing including the carb has, however, been painted in a quality black finish.
Before a pod style filter was added and “the exhaust is a 44.5mm stainless steel item built here & wrapped in black, of course, using a 20cm SC Project muffler.” One thing that breaks up the dark hue but still packs a punch is the custom stainless ‘knuckle duster’ kick start pedal, with Noel mixing and matching materials in using modern carbon fibre for the nearby heel guards.
All the controls are high-end, “The triple trees were smoothed & filled & clip-on bars added with micro buttons, Motogadget bar-end indicators & glassless mirrors.” Even the lever perches were carefully welded and smoothed into the bars for a super neat look.
The forks covers are deliberately designed to support the Purpose Built Moto LED headlight and the new number plate mount supports Kellermann’s all-in-one micro tail light assembly. To ensure the latest incarnation provided many more years of trouble-free motoring, the bike was re-wired by Justin, who also fitted the latest version of Motogadget’s mo.lock keyless start.
It’s been a hell of a journey for the splendid SR, and Simon’s ready to show off Noel’s handy work at the Sydney staging of The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride.