It takes courage to introduce a kickstart-only motorcycle in the Thai market, but that's precisely what Yamaha going to do with the classic Yamaha SR400, a motorcycle whose history go's back for a very long time.
The Yamaha SR400 is officially build for the Japanese market, where the drivers license system has a 400cc cutoff, and displacement for us is unchanged to keep cost low. As we write this we're not informed what the Yamaha SR400 will cost.
Although the Yamaha SR400 looks like it could actually be a mid '70s model – even to the point of still having a little window on the cam cover to help the rider find top dead center – its SOHC two-valve engine is now fuel-injected, enabling it to meet the though Thai emissions regulations and be easier to start, aided by a compression release on the left side of the handlebar. Yamaha in fact, says the 2014 Yamaha SR400 can be started by hand.
We'll have to see about that, but in the meantime we like the elemental nature of the other hardware. This includes a narrow double-cradle steel frame, a center-stand, just over 12-liters fuel tank, a comfortable bench seat, a front disc brake, and a modern rear drum with a handy pointer indicating brake shoe wear.
Although the chrome-intensive Yamaha SR400 looks like a motorcycle from about 40 years ago, that's its appeal. It's simple. Easy to ride. And ripe for customization, a throwback to when motorcycling was more mainstream, more accessible.