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Custom 1979 Yamaha SR500 Cafe Racer

This Italian-styled cafe racer has hardly an original bolt on it. Check out the awesome upgrades owner Spero Floro made to this 1979 Yamaha SR500!

In a sea full of choppers and cruisers at Fuel Cleveland, it was nice to find a few café racers out under the sun at the historic Hale Farm. One of those was a fully restored and customized Yamaha café racer brought to the show by Sane Motion Moto owner, Spero Floro.

Floro is a truck and trailer mechanic by trade, and while he’s been an avid motorcyclist for most of his life, this build is his first endeavor. The bike is a 1979 Yamaha SR500 base, although there’s hardly an original bolt left on it.

“I started by cutting the steering tube off of it, because it was set at 28 degrees,” Floro says. “Then, I built my own to fit the 1996 GSXR 600 front end on it. I changed the geometry from 28 to 25 degrees to make a steeper angle and have it be a little more sporty with quicker turning.

“I also rebuilt the front forks on it with Race Tech springs emulators, so the front end works really well. It has custom-made wheels from Cognito Moto with Warp 9 wheels and double disc brakes. It stops on a dime.”

Floro also lifted the rear section of the frame 6 degrees, fabricated a seat cowl out of aluminum, and had the seat made by Haversack Leather. The engine was completely rebuilt as well with high-compression pistons, resurfaced rockers, an aftermarket cam, and a ported-and-polished head. The engine now has a displacement of 535cc and is matched to a custom Lectron carburetor and stainless-steel exhaust. The heavily modified tank comes from a Benelli Mojave.

“The Lectron carburetor is amazing, it’s very progressive on the acceleration,” Floro notes. “I used to run a 41mm flat slide carb in there, but it was too much for the bike. When I hit the throttle, I couldn’t even keep the front end on the ground.“

As for the fabrication work that went into the build, Floro bent all the pipes and tubing for the frame himself. The rear fender, front headlight brackets, etc. were all machined by hand on a milling machine. The craftsmanship is so fine that you would be hard pressed to think this was Floro’s first time doing any sort of fabrication work – even though it was.

The SR500 also sports a few parts that set Floro’s Yamaha apart from the crowd. It has MessnerMoto mirrors, switches and a throttle assembly, all which were machined and manufactured in Italy. Floro says that his business, Sane Motion Moto, is the only business distributing those products in North America. The foot pegs and air filters can also be found on his website.

In terms of the styling, Floro says he went for an Italian look with the color scheme. He visited a paint shop and after about an hour of putting drops of paint together, he settled on the pistachio green that was a close match.

The bike itself is rather light, weighing only 340 lbs. compared to the original 425-lb. weight. Paired with the upgraded engine, Floro’s Yamaha makes for a rather quick ride, but he’s more than happy to just cruise down city streets.

If you have a motorcycle, ATV, UTV, snowmobile or jet ski you’d like to feature in MPN’s Ride of the Week series, please email MPN Content Director Greg Jones at [email protected].

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