Mark's Motorcycling History

Yamaha SR500 1981

My love of large singles eventually brought me to an SR500 Yamaha. I could no longer face the heartbreak and expense of owning English or Italian so a Yamaha it was. My first year or so of ownership was hell with rampant unreliability major and minor but finally after lengthy modifications, incredible patience and severe hip pocket hurt it become a pleasant motorcycle. It lacked the performance and character of a desmo or B50 but still had that thumper feel. The supposed Velocette copy frame must have been one of the most rigid made by the Japanese in 1981 and improved suspension really makes these things handle in a retro kind of way. Since I bought mine seven years ago they have developed a minor cult following and are becoming scarce and expensive.

Sadly the SR500 met it's end in November 2000 when my then 73 year old father rode it and him into a ditch on a tight windy bit of road near Wisemans Ferry. The bike was totalled and so nearly was he. After six weeks in intensive care then major surgery on his many fractured vertabrae (not to mention his numerous other broken bones) he decided to call to an end a lifetime of motorcycle riding much to the relief of my mother.

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