There is a video on YouTube where the star is an absolutely bone-stock Yamaha SR, and yet it has accumulated over 4 million views in less than a year, and no, there isn’t a supermodel or a cash prize involved. What makes the video worth watching is that the forty-year-old bike had been found still brand new in the box. There has always been a hunt for those rare unicorns in the motorcycle world, simply any older bike which is still brand new. And for a client of Sydney’s Sabotage Motorcycles, he’d found such a score, a 2014 Yamaha SR400 still at a dealer waiting for a good home. But rather than leave it stock, he now has the best of both worlds, a beautifully customised vintage-styled crosser, with all of the reliability of a new machine.

Sabotage is one of the true success stories of the Australian custom scene, two bike-loving lads, who met at the local hardware store and have gone on to create a brilliant business. Whether you’re after a basic service all the way through to wanting a show-winning road warrior, the guys have you covered, and there isn’t much they can’t do. “Here at the Sabotage cave, we’ve always liked the SR400 as a base – it’s so diverse and works well in many different forms, from sleek, low cafe racers to raked-out choppers. We’ve worked on lots of them, but never got our hands on a fresh SR to create something out of,” Giles explains.

What Giles and Andy’s client had found was a 2014 SR at his local bike dealer, in totally stock form and with only a handful of KMs on the clock, he snapped it up immediately and scored the rare find at a good price too. Having discovered his unicorn, a bunch of quality Japanese parts were collected and ideas started to swirl about just what he could do to customise the ever-popular SR. But with a young family and a hectic job, there just wasn’t much time left in the schedule for bike building, so the bike was wisely entrusted to the Sabotage crew to bring his dreams to life.

“Luckily those parts he’d chosen were good quality parts from the likes of Posh and Daytona in Japan. So we knew we could get those working on the build for him. He was also adamant that he wanted off-road/on-road capability for those weekend blasts. So we set about creating a simple, fun, and road-legal take on a vintage motocross bike.”

To get the lines right and the basis for such a beast started, the rear shocks were ditched and switched out for some longer travel items. Then with that extra room, the stock spoked rims were wrapped up in perfect Vee Rubber road-legal trial tyres, which offer big tread and plenty of traction.

The next step was to cut off the big rear subframe all the way back to the meaty section around the shock supports. Then a new shorter hooped item was fabricated which features a nice upsweep and once it was welded into place, it became the perfect mount for a quality stainless rear fender; brilliant for keeping mud and rain off the rider’s back. The front fender gets a matching look, but in keeping with the style of the bike is high-mounted and really helps to deliver those vintage motocross lines.

Having brand new tins to work with saves time and money on panel beating, so all that was left to do was to sand them back and pick a colour combination. The tank and side covers receive a timeless metallic grey with just enough pearl to give them some extra pop. The tank then really takes on some classic charm, with the silver metallic highlight separated by a beautifully laid down single cream pinstripe. To complement the look, the shortened seat to fit on the new subframe is wrapped up in stylish black leather in a tuck-and-roll finish.

The single-cylinder engine has always been a peach and this little beauty had barely spun the odometer. “Being a 2014 model, this SR has fuel injection and all the electronic components that go with that. We could go hardcore and rip all of that out and drop in a flat slide carb; but we wanted to retain the reliability of the fuel injection,” Giles told us. It’s a wise decision, but reliable motoring doesn’t have to be boring, and the stunning stainless steel header pipe with a quite-core muffler gives a ripping sound without that irritating drone.

Now the boys could start to bolt on all the extra bits and pieces that really bring the finished product to life, and the MX bars are the perfect touch. But to go the extra mile, things are kept uber clean with a clever re-wire of the stock switchblocks, running their wires through the bars on their way back to base. A new set of grips goes on and the single instrument helps to maintain that minimalist approach.

To finish out the build are Japanese indicators, a set of gaiters for good measure and a small headlight completes the build. It would have been a sin to cut this new old stock SR400 up, and Sabotage Motorcycles have done a brilliant job of maintaining its worth, while still delivering one hell of a kick-ass weekend warrior.

[ Sabotage Motorcycles | Images by Andrew Jones at Machines That Dream ]