Spied in the U.S.: 2012 Yamaha SR400

Manufacturer plate on a Japanese-market SR400 Single in Southern California.

2012 Yamaha SR400 - studio 3/4 view

There are a few key elements that come into play when I select a location for a CW photo shoot: a twisty road, clean surface, eye-pleasing scenery and low traffic levels. It would appear motorcycle manufacturers search for the same qualities on their evaluation loops.

At least it sure looked that way when I was snapping photos recently on a secluded backroad for an upcoming story. A brand-new-looking, cream-white Yamaha SR400 cruised by and, whaddya know, it was fitted with a manufacturer plate! Because my camera was sitting on a tripod across the street, I was unable to get that rolling “spy” shot my boss surely wanted, but the bike looked just like the one in the picture above lifted from Yamaha Japan’s website.

I guess Honda, with its new CB1100, is not the only Japanese manufacturer that thinks buyers are looking to shop retro. And what's more retro than the kickstarter on this super-cool Japanese-market 400?!

Manufacturers bring lots of bikes sold in other markets to the U.S. to test. I wonder if Yamaha might be thinking about bringing the SR400 stateside. What do you think? Is there a market in America for a retro-style 400cc Single?

2012 Yamaha SR400 - studio 3/4 view

2012 Yamaha SR400 - studio left-side view

2012 Yamaha SR400 - studio rear 3/4 view