By Ross Sharp - 10 Apr 14
Koen Tubée from Eindhoven, The Netherlands, has been through 'the bikers curse' and come out the other side with this low budget SR Tracker/Scrambler build. How many times in the classifieds ads do you see "Baby on the way forces reluctant sale"? (We know what that really means, don't we fellas!) Granted, the only two genuine fears a human is born with are that of loud noise and falling, so on a technicality babies may not like bikes from the outset but pillion one home from the hospital and he or she would soon get used to it. Prior to the spare time crushing endeavours of raising a family, Koen and his buddies, the 225-ers, were cutting, chopping, painting and modifying their bikes from a workshop squat in the industrial district. Koen's particular canvases at the time were Suzuki's GS 750s and 550s and of course, Yam's XS650. All were completed for around €1000 with work being carried out using the group's collaborative skills, and a plentiful supply of hop flavoured fizzy creative juice. Now all grown up with a family and responsibility Koen wanted to get right back to his roots and build himself a rough looking bike with a vintage feel and relatively modern handling. The ever-fruitful eBay provided a cheap 1983 Yamaha SR500 in pretty good condition and luckily four from the original five 225-ers were around to help out with tearing it to pieces. Quickly back in his stride, Koen stripped the SR back to the bone and started freshening the frame, swing arm and wheels with black powdercoat. Metzeler rubber on the alloy wheels are a good compromise, with rugged looks and fairly keen asphalt hugging qualities. The seatpan has been shortened slightly and re-upholstered in brown leather-look vinyl, the only job actually outsourced on this build. The rear mudguard was shortened slightly and painted black. Forks have been rebuilt and the legs painted whilst the rear shocks are enclosed in a neat, neoprene boot. The paint Yamaha use must be pretty robust as it stood up to numerous attacks from Koen and a tin of paint stripper. A couple of evenings with a blade revealed a bit more bare metal but not a satisfactory job so a third attempt was made with a wire wheel on a drill. The brushed, raw steel gave the ratty, vintage look from the original brief so was left to oxidise for a couple of days before being lacquered. Using the '76 XT logo as a design cue, Koen commandeered the kitchen table and layered bespoke colours over the naked steel. Bars are MX type, painted black with Beston grips and a Triumph mirror mounted upside down. The single, digital instrument mounts to a custom bracket and provides an array of warning lights, rev counter and speedo. Whilst modifying the 'loom, red fabric cable was used to run a feed to the rear stop lamps which mount to a fabricated aluminium licence plate bracket. The SR having just one big pot means Koen's meagre budget could be stretched to include a well polished exhaust and silencer, which should pop and bang nicely. To balance the bling on the other side, racy lightening holes have been drilled in the chain cover along with a smart engraving of the 225-ers club logo. It just goes to show that with just a couple of grand you can get out there and build yourself something individual, fun and good looking, plus you get to spend time with your mates talking about bikes and welding stuff. So cancel your next ski holiday and get on eBay.