I have always been attracted to oddball motorcycles, yet another psychological flaw I can attribute my step-father. Bultaco, Greeves, any English bike and big thumpers. Sure, I’ve owned my fair share of UJM’s, my favorite being my 1980 Honda CB750F, but I like riding a bike that you don’t see a hundred of when you pull up to your favorite Sunday morning breakfast stop. I also have to admit that I have a few Honda CB350 twins that just happen to probably be the largest selling motorcycle of all time(?) but nowadays you really don’t see many of those on the road.
The bikes that really get me going are Thumpers. A big single can be just about anything, and everything, you need. Thumpers are generally lightweight, narrow, low center of gravity and built for quick handling. The motors are simple…hey its only got one cylinder…and have a wonderful sound. A big single has a feel and soul that really does let you be, almost force you to be, one with your motorcycle. Granted, when you’re out having fun on a Sunday morning multi cylinder bikes will just gobble up your single on the straightaways, but throw in the tight twisties and bigger faster bikes are going to be in your rear view mirrors.
Big singles, like many other ‘cult’ bikes generate passion in their owners but I think just because of how singles feel, that passion, that love, is strongest…but that’s just me. Well, I’m not really alone on that one, there are so many forums and Yahoo groups dedicated to thumpers that you will never be lacking for companionship and camaraderie. The support groups are out there for those that feel they need a twelve step program to deal with the ‘Thumper addiction’.
There is a classic thumper on ebay today. The Yamaha SRX 600 is a bike that was only brought to the US one year, 1986. Yamaha had a minor success with the SR500 some years earlier and were having good sales with the SRX400 in Japan. Some true believers at Yamaha corporate believed that the time was right to bump up the SRX, give it good components and send it out into the world. Well, it pretty much went over like a fart in church.
Here’s what Yamaha did, they took the motor from popular XT series dual sports, stuffed into the SRX400 chassis, gave it good bits from the FZ600 (so it would handle and stop well), created a gorgeous body work but…gave it true class by making it kick start only. When most people think of having to kick start a 600 single they would probably choose a root canal first but, the SRX with its built in compression release mechanism is really easy to start…get the piston up to top dead center, set the choke, turn the key and give it a good swift kick. The beautiful sound of a big thumper fills the air. There is one little thing I have to tell you about these bikes…during the starting ritual, don’t even think about touching the throttle! Don’t even look at it, with the two carbs, this bike is way too easy to flood and then all you can do is have another ice tea and wait a bit or hope you’re on a downhill so you can bump start it. The SRX is a true enthusiasts motorcycle, I love ’em.
There is one on ebay today that needs a new home. According to the seller the bike spent a good portion of its life outside (under a cover) and shows the moderate amount of corrosion that goes with that life. He did start the project but then went on to others. Before abandoning the SRX he had the carbs rebuilt, bought new tires, chain,brake pads,battery,cables and more. It was a runner before it was parked so maybe the few new parts and a good clean up, you could have yourself a really unique and fun motorcycle. Click on the pics below for more info and pictures. I have seen really nice SRX’s go for as much a $4000, so far I think this will sell at a good value.