Benji's Cafe Racers founder Benjie Flipprboi had an epiphany while stuck in traffic en route to a meeting with a customer who was commissioning a custom built Yamaha SR400: this bike would be optimized for lane-splitting, the California-legal, traffic-beating practice of motorcycles riding between lanes of cars in traffic jams.
The SR400 is the perfect foundation for such a design, as the air-cooled single-cylinder machine is a slim, trim throwback to the roots of motorcycling, with none of the superfluous add-ons that can make some bikes disappointingly fat.
How narrow could the SR400 get, if that was the underlying design principle? The answer, as measured in centimeters, is reflected in its name, 'Lane Splitter 54.'
The bike's hips were the starting point, so to convert it to runway model-thin, BCR Design cut away the rear subframe that supports the seat and replaced it with a narrower bolt-on stainless steel frame topped with a custom leather seat.
Beneath the seat, Benji sculpted a teardrop-shaped exhaust tip, with a matching intake scoop just ahead of it.
The whole assembly is designed to ride high above the rear wheel, with the resulting open space contributing to an airy, lightweight appearance.
Check out the aluminum gas tank: it is hammered into a teardrop shape to enhance the bike's art deco design theme. The scalloped shaped front fairing is also made of aluminum and mounts directly to the frame.
The fork shrouds are stainless steel, while the ventilated front brake disc covers are aluminum.
All the hand controls are custom-fabricated and the throttle employs an internal cable to keep the appearance clean.
"This project was an exciting artistic challenge," said Flipprboi. "Our final decision was to use the bike’s teardrop silhouette to inspire the downstream design decisions chosen for the subcomponents. Several other design paths were equally inspiring and worthy of pursuit. Perhaps one day, we will have the opportunity to pursue those other options."
That sounds like an invitation for someone to open their wallet and commission a sequel to Lane Splitter 54.