John Eldridge has the kind of life most of us would envy. He’s an accomplished surfer, he runs a board shaping business and an award-winning café, and he lives in one of the most beautiful parts of England—Cornwall, in the south west.
“The Space Hopper was commissioned by a chap in London wanting a lightweight street hopper for weaving through the London traffic in style,” says John. (For those of you outside the UK, a Space Hopper is better known as a ‘Hippity Hop.’)
“We discussed a few motorcycles to use as a donor, and eventually settled on a Yamaha SR250—knowing full well that it’d need major surgery on the frame to get the clean lines we wanted.”
The SR250 sub frame is low and not very pretty. So after stripping down the Yamaha, John removed the whole back end of the frame—from under the tank to the rear foot peg mounts.
“We created a fresh, clean subframe which sat a good couple of inches above the original. It gives us the ride height and aesthetics we were looking for, and we tied it off with a nice, simple rear loop,” says John.
To balance the stance of the SR250, longer 360mm shocks lift the rear a little—and will no doubt sharpen the steering too. The standard 16” and 19” rims are gone, replaced with freshly anodized 18” aluminum rims. They’re laced to the hubs with stainless spokes, and shod with Heidenau rubber.
After sorting the stance, it was time to fix the lines. “We toyed with a few different tank options, and settled on the sleek and neat Suzuki TS125 tank,” says John. “We had one lurking around the workshop—it’s great when parts we have been holding on to end up on a build.”
John modified the tank mounts and installed a stainless knurled cap. “I can’t imagine a more suitable tank: it has a nice directional lift coming up from the underside towards the headstock, and that’s where we decided to mount the key ignition.”
After sending the tank and frame off for paint, John refreshed the SR250 with new rubber and stainless parts, from top to tail. He also upgraded the Mikuni carb from a BS34 to a VM32 for extra oomph.
The sleek stainless exhaust downpipe is by Jadus Motorcycle Parts, and John’s kept things looking neat with a short muffler. The electrics are all contained in a hollowed out seat pan, including a 4-cell Antigravity battery.
On went whole bunch of well-chosen custom parts, including hand-made aluminum fenders, chrome ¾” bars with a 2” rise, aftermarket levers and Biltwell grips. The left hand switchgear has been lifted from a Yamaha FS1E, and the rest is from Posh. Bates-style lighting and a 60mm speedo complete the build.
The quirky tank graphics are by the artist (and certified petrolhead) Stevie Gee. “We didn’t know what the art was going to be,” says John. “We just sent Stevie the tank, along with some photos for reference, and trusted his artistic flair. And so the Space Hopper was born.”
It’s the perfect city runabout—light on its feet, and heavy on the style. More builds like this, please.