Yamaha SC500 (1973) : another classic scrambler

Selected during the recent National Road Rally, as I was passing through Atherstone, the SC500 is an interesting bike, with an interesting history. One of the early Japanese open class motocrosser, it wasn’t the best reviewed bike in its day

The 500cc bike has a lot of similarities to the MX360 and includes a balancer shaft and a 4 speed box (hmm why wasn’t it an MX500 ?)

It was a toss-up between buying another MX250 (and the one Keith Alderman was selling on ebay turned out to be a £720.00 bargin) and either an MX360 or SC500. The SC500 it was and its somewhat dubious reputation in 1973 was tempered by comments from current owners and restorers. I also toyed with idea with getting a later twinshock, but must admit they didn’t really appeal.

Yamaha SC500

Looking through eBay in the US there seemed to plenty of parts, including some pistons and rings. Unlike the MX250, there aren’t lots of NOS bearings and seals, but should be okay for a restoration. A kind offer from a colleague in Raleigh means I have a location for those supplies who don’t ship international, or whose costs are prohibited.


One thing I like with the SC500 is its patina, of dented and marked tank and also the plastics (including 1976 California license sticker on the rear mudguard) and I’ll look to keep them. The very wide (and I think) original bars will be retained for that Steve McQueen look, though will use the hammerite approach to spray the frame and swingarm as there is surface rust to cover up.

With work and holidays coming up, its going to be a couple of weeks before I can get stuck in to the engine strip and find out what needs to be done. Will probably see if I can get a spark in the first instance and hopefully get the engine to fire up.


Forks and exhaust are very useable, though the rear shocks, like the other two bikes are not the best so will be replaced. I may this time see if I can strip them down to make them useable.


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