Michael's SR500 Lambada
By Anthony van Someren - 21 Nov 13
Michael Eichler grew up skating, snowboarding and camping in the mountains and hills of south-west Germany, and at the age of 15 he was introduced to the world of two wheels on his first bike, a Hercules Prima 5 with 25cc and a full 25kmh top speed. It was great fun at the time... "A lot has changed since then. Now I’m 30, live in Kentish Town, married to the most wonderful girl, and hardly get a chance to camp or Snowboard. But my passion for two wheels didn’t fade away since I was 15. Quite the opposite in fact. Last year we had enough and decided to hit the roads of Edgware to get a couple of full licenses (turned out the lady loves the bikes too, fantastic!) We just wanted to be able to ride if we felt like it." "Fully Qualified, we were all over the moon but something was missing... We didn’t quite see the appeal of riding a bike in town. And there were still those beautiful hills and their twisty roads back home. And as we keep going back to hang out with friends and family it kinda made sense to get a couple of old bikes to ride around on for when we are there." "Most modern bikes don’t appeal to me. And spanking a lot of cash on a bike which I’d only ride a few weeks a year seemed wrong. I was after something fun, light-hearted, agile to throw around town, a bit rough to be able to go and play in the dirt, go camping with or just to go and pick up some good ol’ German Rye for breakfast. It had to be all German Bauhaus "Form follows function" and all that." "Having said that form and style were still massively important to me. I believe it’s much more that a "cool look" I believe a certain style of bike gives you a certain feeling when riding it too. I used to work as a Graphic Designer and am now an Art Director which I think had a huge influence. Not in quality (I’ve never designed or touched a bolt on a bike before, so it ain't no technically sophisticated machine… my German engineer cousins would probably be ashamed). But I think it influenced the approach. Building something with a clear idea behind it… a purpose. And trying to reflect my own style so I’d feel at home riding it." "Next I had to pick the donor. Now, being in London makes it tricky to buy back in Germany. But luckily there was uncle Ralf, a motorcyclist himself, and he was kind enough to go and pick up a bike I found on ebay. A battered, rusty and dented old thing hasn’t seen any love in a long time (the bike, not Ralf). But that helped me to lose respect, and I thought 'what the hell can go wrong from here?' " "I always loved the idea of a single cylinder. The torque, the rattle, the sound. So it had to be an SR500. Cheap and small enough to be the fun bike to sit in my folks garage and versatile enough to go camping… And all build around a classic frame…. perfect." "I took a month off to go back home and try my luck. As I said, I’ve never maintained or fixed, let alone altered, a bike before, so I planned-in some extra time for things to go wrong. For example when I was installing new lights, indicators and speedo I bought a handful of fuses and kept connecting the damn thing in different ways to find out which way round the wires had to be connected (blew out 3 of them, and no issues since). Overall I just tried and learned. Some friends of my old man had some great tips too. Man, it was some of the greatest fun I had in a while. Sitting down there in that garage till 2am. Waking up with aching fingers, back, arms, just to go down again and face the next challenge." "After three weeks, a super-talented wife that managed to sew me a seat (who ended up getting herself a classy Duc), and a great friend who secretly sandblasted my tank at work, I was done." So, about the bike. The donor is a 1989 Yamaha SR500. The handlebar is a Motacc 1 Superbike with Ariete grips, while lights and indies are from Cafe Racer Dreams. Aluminium fenders come from Custom Wheels, the tyres are Dunlop K82 front and K7o at the rear. Shocks are from Bilstein. Flori sandblasted the stock tank, while Michael made the tank graphics and his wife Melanie made the seat cover. All in all, it's a lovely build and a great story. Thanks to Michael for sharing with all of us on The Bike Shed. There are more pics on Michael's site HERE.