Today we find a fun rare model that is - for once on RSBFS - totally affordable. The Yamaha SRX series included multiple displacements, although in the US we only received the XT-derived 250cc model and the XT-based 250cc machine. Home markets also included a 400cc variant. Based around a nimble, single cylinder air-cooled engine, the SRX models were extremely narrow and light, focusing on nimble handling and flick-ability rather than oodles of HP and straight line speed. The design was neo-British old school, and the overall package was unique and usable. Unfortunately for Yamaha, these were not great sellers, and the US models were limited to only a few editions over the 12-year global run. The 250 suffered the worst fate; a single year availability in the US over a 2-year model span. Then it was gone like it was never there at all....
From the seller:
Up for sale is my 1987 Yamaha SRX250. This bike is super rare and only imported the the US for one year. The motorcycle is super clean for being 30 years old. The bike is all stock and runs, drives, stops and idles very well. It has 10,708 miles. The bike is missing the side mirrors. The engine is 249cc with a 6 speed transmission. The engine shares many parts with the Yamaha XT250 enduro which was produced for many years. The tires will need replacing at some point. Inside of the fuel tank is pristine. The bike has a brand new battery. All controls work as they should, turn signals, horn, kill switch, ect....
I have yet to see another one on the road. The bike gets comments everywhere it goes. The bike is a blast to ride and has plenty of power.
The antithesis of the Ninja 250R and as far away from the Honda 250 Rebel as it could get, the SRX250 looked to have carved out its own niche. But the 1980s were not about small displacement bikes, and although attractive and utterly practical, the smallest SRX lost out to lack of interest. It was a practical bike that held the promise of a lot of fun (as much fun as 17 HP will get you), but small displacement and wild introductions of Hurricanes, Ninjas, Turbos and GSX-Rs ultimately buried that fun in a sea of noisy performance.
Today the SRX is a loved model (the 600 version much more so, since we are all capacity bigots). Honda has come closest to recreating the magic with the CBR250, and with a different era upon us is actually moving a fair number of units. The little CBR will never reach the rarity or novelty of the SRX250, but then again a marketing failure is an expensive way to create a future rare model. Check it out here. Sure it's more of a toy than a true canyon tool for many - but it's very rare, very cool, and very, very affordable. What's not to like?