Craigslist | 1978 Yamaha SR 500 Cafe – Custom Olive Drab Cafe to Get Around on Base

Up for sale on Craigslist is a decent looking Yamaha SR 500 that’s been given the Cafe treatment, and had a few nice bits added.

We cant tell if this one is homebrew or shop-built, but at least part of the engine work that the seller has completed would have required some more shop-level skill and equipment.

Seller states that this low-VIN SR has only 9,000 original miles, and was rebuilt int he last 12 months to take its current form.

Mechanically, the engine received a rebuild with a fresh Weisco piston and Megacycle cam, the head was also ported and polished and had fresh valve seats cut, though displacement is stock. These engined produced abut 30hp when new, and are not fast (Yamaha stated they would top out at 90mph or so), but they are beloved for being tons of fun at low speeds. The single cylinder thumper configuration in a street bike was somewhat prophetic of the trend we’ve seen the last 5 years of enduros and supermotos being modded into street trackers. Overall, these are great commuters and city bikes, and this one has the added bonus of custom good looks.

Seller upgraded electrical components, running the build of a Motogadget m.unit. The build also has motogadgets very popular bar-end indicators, and has been fitted with the headlight from a 2016 Yamaha XSR900, which we like a lot. This is all behind new clip-ons and what look like the original speedo and tach setup.

Brakes have been given a Brembo master cylinder, and rear suspension has been upgraded to a modern progressive setup.

There are plenty of little touched here and there – including a monza-style gas cap, 1-and-done header into what looks like a cone engineering muffler, and a full cafe-style rear cowl and seat setup with integrated tail light.

The whole thing is finished in OD green paint, which looks OK in pictures, and has some team Yamaha-inspired black blocking on the tank and rear cowl, which is also reflective under light.

The seller notes that the bike HAS been laid down once, and there are a few blemishes on the paint – thought we’d look further before we’d buy. There is a large “paint feature” on the left side of the tank that looks intentional to us, given how symmetrical it is – sorta a military bullet hole vibe…but that might also just be a nasty nick picked up from the drop—its hard to tell from the context of the pictures.

Overall we think this is a nice looking build, but more runner than stunner, and the seller is asking a hefty $6000 — a price that feels like they are trying to get their money out of it, not charge what the market is bearing right now for builds of this type.

Assuming an inspection turns out well, and you are looking for a well-sorted, reliable, and cool-looking getaround bike, we’d suggest offering closer to $4000 and seeing where that takes you.

Quick Summary




SR 500






Sacramento, CA




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