The SR500 was priced and compared with other "middleweight" 500s and 650s. In a 1979 comparison test it was of course slower than the multi-cylinder bikes in straight-line speed, but not in the switchbacks - as it was judged having the best handling along with the best fuel mileage - 60 mpg (the new model with EFI is rated at 66 mpg). Motorcyclist magazine praised the SR500 for "its way with a twisty road few motorcycles possess." Yamaha's popular XS650 vertical twin (1970-1985) was criticized for its poor handling, and having even more vibration than the SR500. Did I want the SR500's best-in- class handling attributes or the XS650's electric start and more power "suitable for touring. "Not considering any brand other than Yamaha, I chose the SR500. I remember a Honda CBX (inline-6) owner trying my SR500 and falling in love with it.
The updated SR400 EFI version (2010-on) now available in other Asian countries and imported to Europe, is coming to the US this month as a 2015 model. The SR is partially hand built. For instance, the engine covers are polished by hand and there is a lot of manpower involved in bending the exhaust header. The build quality is high and it cost Yamaha quite a bit to produce it.
Photo: 1981 Yamaha SR500 (US spec final model)
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