Single And Loving It
Glenn's Yamaha SRX 600 Custom
The annual Bulli Antique Motorcycle Show and Auction has a reputation for attracting unique, rare and interesting machinery, and the recent event did not disappoint. Glenn Besso has a thing for big singles and his SRX 600 custom has become his daily rider.
Sitting on the grass bike parking area reserved for older machinery was Glenn Besso’s eye-catching SRX 600. It didn’t take long for a small crowd the begin lingering around the customised single-cylinder machine.
Glenn Besso loves motorcycles powered by a large-capacity single-cylinder engine. Throw in a bit of retro styling with enough room for modern customisation, and Glenn is in seventh heaven. Yamaha's SRX 600 ticks all the right boxes for Glenn, and his daily rider, a blue customised Japanese import SRX 600, attracted a lot of attention when he parked it on the grass at the Bulli Antique Motorcycle Show and Swap Meet. Even a standard Yamaha SRX 600 will catch an enthusiast's attention; slim and good-looking, it's hard to walk past one without checking it out. However, the SRX 600 is also a machine that most people didn't think about again when it disappeared from the market in 1997. They were there, then suddenly they were not. Where did they all go?
Manufactured from 1985 until 1997 with hopes of it being another SR400/500 success story for Yamaha, the SRX used the modern (for the time) engine from Yamaha's XT600. It remained an air-cooled, overhead-camshaft single-cylinder like the SR but featured a four-valve head and two-staged carburettor. The engine was housed in a lightweight steel frame with alloy wheels. Disc brakes front and rear looked after stopping duties.
Glenn Besso imported his 1986 SRX 600 from Japan in 2020 as a stock standard model. "You can tell it's a Japanese import by the little red 80km/h light on the dash," he points out. "Only the Japanese domestic market bikes have that, as well as an oil cooler and a single brake disc up front."
Glenn had a vision of how he wanted his custom SRX 600 to look even before it arrived, and as soon as he got his hands on the bike, he stripped it down and looked at ways to make it lighter. "I removed the seat, the headlight, and the exhaust system first - all the heavier gear that I didn't want," he explains. "The rear duck tail I bought from Germany, and the front headlight assembly I made up from projector lights that I bought off eBay and then modified the brackets to mount it to the forks."
Those with a keen eye for Yamaha's SRX 600 will know that the frame of Glenn's bike would have initially been silver. "I wanted it done in something close to Yamaha blue," explains Glenn. "And the paint design on the tank and tail is what they call carbon fibre; it's not true carbon fibre, it's just painted that way - but it's hard to pick from the real things, it's got a coat of blue over the top." Glenn also pointed out that the black wheels have received the same carbon fibre treatment.
Providing a unique sound is an exhaust system that Glenn made up himself, with two separate exhaust systems - one for each cylinder. There were plans to run a trick carburettor system that worked perfectly on the bench. However, the architecture of the frame provided a constant stream of headaches until Glenn finally abandoned the project and turned his attention to the standard Yamaha carburettors. "The standard two-stage carbies work great," he explains. "They deliver plenty of torque down low and power when you twist the throttle". Glenn also fitted aftermarket rear shock absorbers.
When asked what attracts him to the SRX, Glenn replies quickly. "I like big singles. I've got other singles, but I like the SRX because it's a 600cc single, and Yamaha does a great job with its large-capacity single-cylinder engines. Being a four-valve head delivers great performance."
Glenn has owned the bike for three years, and the build took just over a year to complete. "I ride this bike every day," he adds.
"It's a great bike to ride; I've managed to strip 30kg out of it, which makes it very agile. The brakes are awesome, and I prefer the single brake disk setup to the double. The single has a lot more feel."
Glenn's already planning the next round of modifications, including increasing the engine capacity to 636cc with a larger piston. We wish him the best of luck.