A brand new 1981 Yamaha SR500 still in the factory crate

Interestingly, this is the second time we’ve featured a 1981 Yamaha SR500 that’s still new in its original factory crate in the last 12 months, so if you’re having a bit of deja vu, don’t be don’t worry, we do too.

The reason two essentially identical examples of the 1981 Yamaha SR500 have appeared for sale still in their shipping crates with 0 miles on the odometer is that they were both purchased by the same man when new , but unfortunately, his planned plan for them would never come to fruition.

Quick Facts – The Yamaha SR500

  • The SR500 was first released in 1978, essentially as a road version of the popular Yamaha XT500 off-road motorcycle.
  • The SR500 is powered by a renowned for its robust air-cooled single-cylinder engine with a single overhead camshaft, two valves per cylinder, a single carburetor and a 5-speed transmission.
  • Thanks to the SR500’s affordability and indestructibility, it has become a popular commuter bike in Japan, Australia and Europe.
  • In recent years, the SR500 and its stablemate the SR400 have become a mainstream choice for custom motorcycle builders around the world who turn them into cafe racers, scramblers, flat trackers and Brat-style bikes.

The Yamaha SR500

In 1981, you could walk into a Yamaha motorcycle dealership and buy yourself a road-legal street bike that was powered by the same engine that had propelled the Yamaha XT500 to victories in the Paris-Dakar Rally the previous two years. – 1979 and 1980.

Although the specs of the SR500 may not seem that impressive, the engine won the first two races of the Paris Dakar Rally and it became one of the longest lasting engine designs in Yamaha history.

On paper, the specs of the Yamaha SR500 don’t seem particularly interesting. It is powered by an air-cooled 500cc single-cylinder engine with a single overhead camshaft, two valves, single carburettor, single exhaust and an integrated 5-speed gearbox.

The motor is mounted on a tubular steel half-duplex cradle frame, it has standard telescopic forks up front and a pair of adjustable shock absorbers in the rear. There are seats and pegs for two and the usual assortment of turn signals, a headlight and taillight.

Despite the somewhat average sound specs, the SR500 and its stablemate, the SR400, would become cult classics in Japan and around the world.

The bike’s low weight and extreme reliability endeared it to urban riders, and custom motorcycle builders created a wide range of unusual bikes based on the SR500, including cafe racers, scramblers, flat trackers , brat-style bikes and a mid-steer wild creation. by Japanese Skull Motorcycles.


A wide variety of different versions of the SR500 have been offered from the factory, and custom motorcycle builders around the world have long favored the model as their starting point.

The SR500 was originally released in 1978 and it was sold until 1999 when it was replaced by the SR400. Even though the SR400 is powered by a slightly smaller engine at 400cc, power levels were similar and from 2010 it received fuel injection to meet modern emissions regulations.

How This SR500 Ended Up In A Crate

It’s a bit sad why two SR500s ended up in crates, but it has now presented two people with unique opportunities to purchase brand new examples of one of Yamaha’s most important models.

I’ll put it back here for the seller to tell you the story below:

“This bike, and a second matching bike, were both purchased new, in 1981, by a gentleman from Harrison Township, Michigan. He bought one for himself and one for his son and delivered them both in the crate as he planned to assemble them himself with his son.

“His son has never done motorcycles, time has passed and 41 years later he decided it was time to sell some stuff.”

The bike you see here is part of the original pair, and you can read more about the other here if you’re interested.

This one is currently offered for sale on Bring A Trailer out of Livonia, Michigan. If you want to know more or register to bid you can visit the list here.


Images courtesy of Bring A Trailer


Ben has had his work featured on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the Official Pinterest Blog, the Official eBay Motors Blog, BuzzFeed and many more.

Silodrome was founded by Ben in 2010, in the years since the site became a global leader in the alternative and vintage automotive sector, with millions of readers around the world and several hundred thousand followers on social networks.