Free Style Cafe Racer. Jay Lossa Custom Yamaha SR 500.

Another beautiful interpretation of the Cafe Racer style, this one from a 1978 Yamaha 500 by builder Jay Lossa from Lossa Engineering. Those in hot rods and on the trucks business know him well because he worked for some of the best in the business. Born in a family where both sides owned motorcycle dealerships , of course he was also aching for new bikes for himself. Digging  Cafe and vintage racing bikes he already built a collection of a dozen vintage Honda’s from the 60′s and 70′s before starting this Yamaha project, probably the best creation he has turned out. After the jump, the tech list and a splendid video to make you want to wrench then ride fast.

Lossa Engineering Yamaha SR 500 Specs • Frame de tabbed and hooped • Battery relocated • GSXR front end  • Adapted Brembo brakes front and rear  • Brembo front rotor • RD400 wheels  • Custom made sprocket carrier  • GSXR rearsets • Cal Fab aluminum swing arm • Custom made rear brake stay • Bobbed Honda front fender with handmade fork brace • Gauge bucket molded into headlight bucket with re-orientated Lossa brand tach face • Tommaselli headlight ears • Binelli gas tank with custom gas cap • Handmade steel tail section with frenched in Lossa tail light • Big bore kit •White Bros. Cam • Ported head, 36mm Mikuni flatslide carb • Custom intake manifold • Custom exhaust with Lossa cone muffler • Welded sprocket cover • All aluminum was polished first, then hand brushed and cleared over • Works shocks.

Lossa Engineering’s short film “Solus” from Jay Lossa on Vimeo.

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15 Responses to “Free Style Cafe Racer. Jay Lossa Custom Yamaha SR 500.”


  1. 1 Skipper Mike Sep 5th, 2011 at 8:02 am

    What a beautiful little bike and a sweet piece of video! Now, where did I leave my helmet? Well-done, Jay, well-done.

  2. 2 Steve Carr Sep 5th, 2011 at 9:01 am

    First of, let me say that this bike is cool and deserves 2 thumbs up for sure. Its a great example of bringing an old vintage 500cc single back to life…..

    With that being said…., enough with the cafe’ fad already. I appreciate this style as much as the next guy, but this is just a style trend, it is not here to stay, a year from now this will all be old news. Maybe this current trend is due to our sluggish economy, which in some ways allows a few of us to dip into “custom” bike building, that’s great.

    These bikes, if not done correctly, are simply nothing more than hacked up old Japanese bikes from the 60′s,70′s and 80′s which a year or so ago, we all would have looked at and snickered, but now, for some reason, we all ooo and ahhh when we see one at a bike night or on t.v..

    This trend also seems to have the people who build and ride these bikes, boasting about how fast and agile these bikes are, as if some miracle happened with the choice of out dated powerplant and frame used in these creations, is now the latest and greatest in motorcycle technology.

    I respect and understand the history behind this latest movement, but as with anything in our history, it needs to be correct and true to history.

    I may be wrong, but didnt this entire movement begin and END in Great Britan? Were these bikes not generally British bikes that literally strained just to go 100mph?

    Some of these bikes that are called “Cafe Racers” , is like calling John Tesh, Heavy Metal…….

    Guy’s, please take a step back, and really look at what is going on here. Some of the most talented builders on the face of earth, are building bikes that are simply bikes we all built when we were teenagers with no money, no talent and 3 tools, a screwdriver, monkey wrench, and a pair pf plyers…

    Steve Carr

  3. 3 Ronnie Sep 5th, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Steve. You don’t know your history. Cafe Racers started in England with English bikes, but the movement rapidly expanded all over Europe and some in the USA. Very fast Cafe Racers also used Jap, Italian, French, etc powerplants. Even in England Cafe Racers were not always English bikes. Today, Cafe Racers define a style of bikes more than their performance. The Sport aspect of Cafe Racers attracts young riders. It’s mostly an urban motorcycle, less adapted to our type of cities and long highways. It’s not a one year fad. Cyril predicted 3 years ago in this website the come back of this style of bikes. Expect many Sportsters to be turned into Cafe Racers. Harley may launch a Sportster model with Cafe Racer genes (fairing, bullet tail, rear foot controls.) You bet?

  4. 4 BlackSmith Sep 5th, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Cool video.

  5. 5 Kustoms and Choppers Sep 5th, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    I’m not a huge fan of Cafe Racers as I am Bobbers and classic style Choppers but they are a style of custom bike. The Custom and Chopper industry goes through changes, in the 70s everyone wanted a metal flaked long front end bike like Denver Mullins, in the early 2000s everyone wanted a WCC style bike, in the 60s everyone wanted a Von Dutch style bike or an Indian Larry style and in the 90s Indian Larry’s style was big mainly in Ironhorse Mag.

    Now it just happens to be Cafe Racers again which were big in the UK in the 70s.

  6. 6 Eric Maurer Sep 5th, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    this is a nice bike and to those who say cafe is a new trend, I disagree. Its a style that is getting more attention (read: press) of late but nothing new. As a matter of fact, I am glad to see the hybrid of chopper, dirtbike, motard, cafe, etc. Its what pure motorcycling is all about. I don’t just have one style of bike in my stable, just as I don’t have one style of car.

    If done well, and this one is really cool, I appreciate any motorcycle, car, truck, sandwich or woman :)

  7. 7 Mark Sep 6th, 2011 at 7:50 am

    Cafe Racers were somewhat strong in the late 60′s, early 70′s in America. Following on a Brit trend much earlier; emulating the road race machines that were running on tracks in Britain and Europe, especially the Isle of Man, ridden on the street, cafe to cafe. One difference is those cafe racers were usually built around already pretty top flight engines and chassis with a few tweaks and some stripping of superfluous parts. They certainly are a venerable form with a 50+ year history and only went away because of what we have come to call sport bikes; the 750SS & 900SS Ducatis, Guzzis, and later Interceptors, GSXRs, Ninjas and such that took that look, feel and performance of track bikes to the street in the 70′s and early 80′s. The downside of what we are seeing here is it’s mostly an appearance study lacking a high performance engine and chassis. I’ll never tire of looking at GOOD ones, but like many customs, bobbers and such, we may tire of unimaginative rehashes.

  8. 8 Kroeter Sep 6th, 2011 at 8:45 am

    I say whatever “fad” keeps people interested in building or overhauling bikes is a good thing for the industry. Based on the economy it’s the perfect slant for those who can’t afford to jump on the Bagger Bandwagon or build from the ground up. Plus, you can ride the hell outta those old Jap motors and not have to worry about scratching up your chrome Show Pony.

  9. 9 Upswept Sep 6th, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Nice, nice, nice. I’m a previous owner of an SR500 and owned the same one for 25 years. You did a great job.

  10. 10 zyon Sep 6th, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    I’ve always been prone to big displacement V-twins but lately I’ve been really digging a lot of a cafe racers shown on Bike Exif.

    I think its great to see some of these old barn finds finding new life as cafe racers. In this economy, the bloated over priced choppers are out and people are going back into their garages to build interesting customs out of salvaged parts.

    if this is just trendy, I hope it lasts a while. I’d like to find a 650 or something and really tear into it.

  11. 11 aaron Sep 6th, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    the 1977 H-D XLCR indicates this is not a new fad and was not restricted to Great Britain. I like to think that the hard edged cafe racers live on through streetfighters, and that the speed triple is more deserving of being considered a cafe than the thruxton.

  12. 12 rocco Sep 7th, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    steve carr , i dont know you but you should sell your bike , with your attitude your a disgrace to the 2 wheeled world

  13. 13 Steve Carr Sep 7th, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Rocco,

    I dont know you either, And you are right, I should sell my bike, pretty soon as a matter of fact, Just as I have sold each and every bike I have built over my small and understated career. As usual, someone misread and misunderstood my message, and this time it was you.

    I have nothing against any style of custom bikes especialy the Cafe’ bikes. My problem is the Fickle market as a whole, the people who jump on the band wagon of any fad that comes along.

    We all have our own likes and dislikes with anything, especialy Motorcycles. My attitude is dead straight on, and my opinion is just as valuable as yours.

    By the way, check the cover of the August 2011 edition of Easy Rider Magazine……..you will see the disgrace you describe so well in a beautiful white and gold color combination, along with a really nice centerfold…………

    Steve Carr

  14. 14 nicker Sep 10th, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    Hell, Cafe racers were around in England and here long before stretched choppers came on the scene.

    -nicker-

  15. 15 BoFab Oct 3rd, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    I think Jay builds great bikes! i have recently become a huge fan at the Cooks Corner 2stroke event where i saw the RD400 jay brought. The bike is beautiful and hand crafted. no buy and bolt on crap! He stretched and lowered the gas tank, and hand fabbed the tail section from a gas tank…
    in other words… that Steve Carr fella that made a fool of him self needs to get with the program before opening his un educated mouth!! lol. He seems to have no concept of the true nature of a cafe bike. Nimble, responsive and bare bones. They are made for back country roads with twists and turns, and battling traffic! these are not 1/4 mile drag bikes but purpose built rigs with a specific styling. if anything is a fad its the choppers of today. most are not like the 70′s choppers but goofy modern day twists all about the bling. try to ride those fast in the twists and you will urn for a Cafe bike!! People like Steve Carr should get a hobby like collecting stamps or Barbie dolls!

    Great job Jay!! Keep em coming.

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