Monday, December 5, 2005

Yamaha R5 Owners Map!

I've set up a Frappr! Map to help locate all the R5 owners out there... follow the link above and get yourself on there!

From now on, there will be a mini-map located just before these blog entries, so that you can browse around and not have to leave this site...

This stuff is pretty neat!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Metallic Orange Paint Solution

I've gotten a bunch of email from others looking for the orange metallic paint that's used on the R5... as far as I could discover, it was officially called "Mandarin Orange" and was used on the 71 and 72 R5s... see these documents:
1971 R5B (656k PDF) - Mandarin Orange over white
1972 R5C (756k PDF) - Mandarin Orange over black

You'll need the free Adobe Reader to view and print these files. Thanks again to Don Q for this info.
Well, after rooting around a little on the r5yamaha Yahoo! Group, I found a response posted by the always-helpful Ed:
There are no codes! House of Color has paint that will get you there. here is a link:

I have restored many early Yamahas and the orange you need is a candy shot over a silver base (fine grain) black is black as long as all the black body parts are the same black . gotten a dead on match to this color on my 71 R5 and I've matched the candy red on my 65 YDS3 and the candy blue on my 66 YM1 using these paints. the color varies depending on how soft or heavy you spray it on.Thats how candies work,all the metalics are in the base coat and the color coat is translucent so more = darker. I hope this helps. Ed
So there it is... no quick and easy bottle touch-up for me. O well - hopefully this info can get in the hands of some more people who need it by posting it here.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Looking for the Orange Metallic Paint

Mike wrote in to inquire about the metallic Mandarin paint on his (and my) bike:

Saw your site and your great old bike. I have an old U7A scooter with the orange paint. I would like to do some cosmetic painting and I wonder if you could tell me where you got your paint; if you did.

Unfortunately, I haven't had any luck finding any official paint... so I thought I'd turn the question loose on you guys... anyone tracked some down?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Message from France

Xavier wrote in from France:
Your website is great.
Go on this way.
Here's a pic of one of my RDs.
I love those bikes.
And here is Xavier's beautiful example:

Thursday, October 27, 2005

RD Innovations Seat Frames

Came across this cool little frame for mounting aftermarket cafe seats to the stock seat hinges on RDs (and I am assuming R5s), allowing you to bolt it to the stock location and maintain the flip-open functionality. This way you can still get to your oil filler and battery should you go with a lower-profile seat. I'm definitely interested. I don't know anything about these guys, the quality of their work or what not, but the pics look good. I'll be contacting them in the near future.

In the meantime, here is their product description from an eBay auction:

Now there is a simple solution for mounting your custom fiberglass or carbon fiber cafe seat or street tracker seat. Our all alluminum frames are specifically desiged to allow you to bolt the seat hinges and seat latch off of a stock DS7 or RD 250/350. You maintain normal seat operation. No battery modification. Best of all no ugly gap between the seat and the gas tank. Pre-drilled for installation of your latch and hinges. We supply stainless steel bolts, nylon washers, nuts and lock washers. All you need to do is align your seat and drill the holes to match using the pre drilled holes in the seat frame for the hinges and latch. Rounded stainless steel Allen bolts are easily covered by seat padding.

Will be listing models for XS650 and Triumph in the near future. Other models to come.

These are designed for flat bottomed fiberglass and carbon fiber seat pans. Curved models like the XR750 pans may require some modification.

More info and pics can be found at RD Innovations site.

BTW they make super-trick CF flyscreens too, to complete the cafe look. Very sharp.

UPDATE: Jerry Jensen from RD Innovations sent in some more info on his products:
Really happy to see your piece on our products in your blog. Just to let you know our seat frames are made out of aircraft aluminum. We are currently supplying seat frames to Moto Carrera and HVC. My business is new and little promotions like this are a real shot in the arm. Thanks for helping us out!
No problem Jerry - keep up the good work!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Scottish parts?

hi nice bike
looking for a rear fender for an rd250 1974
u know of any and would they ship to scotland
Hey, thanks!

I'd say check eBay... or your local scrapyard. I went to a cycle salvage yard this weekend and there had to be about five or six RDs there...

Anyone else out there that can help this fellow out?

Let me know...

Mike spies a deal...

HI Just found a 1971 350 rd its just about mint with 1,200 miles on it he wants 1,000.00 or best offer. Can you tell me what it’s worth. Thank you, mike.
Mike -

1971? It's an R5B, same model but a year older than mine... unlike the RDs there are no reed valves, it has a 5-speed transmission (unlike 6-speed RDs), and has a front drum brake (RDs got the front disc brake). If it has these things, then the bike may be newer, or has been updated with RD parts... check to see if the numbers match. For more info on model identification, see post titled R5 Model Identification (10/10/05).

Without really going over the bike in person (and not being an expert - heh) it's hard to say what it's worth... Some things to keep in mind - how original is everything, overall condition (which you say is mint, so good so far) and how it runs. You may be able to bargain a bit, but with that kind of low mileage and mint condition, I'd say $1k is a pretty fair price... anyone?

I say join the Yammy Stinker club - the more of these things on the road the better!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Ricardo's DS7 and RD350

Hi, I really enjoyed your site and the nice bike. I believe you did a great job!!!

You and I have the same kind of interest. The only thing is that I am a lot older than you. I am originally from Venezuela, but I have been in USA since 1996. I am a mechanical engineer, Ihave been involved with two cycle engines since I was 12 years old.Actually I work for Bombardier Recreational Products in Racine Wisconsin. (Outboard Divison/Evinrude).

When I was 15 years old my father gave me my first bike, it was a 1972 DS7. After that motorcycle my father also gave me the RD350 (1973). I used to race them too! Last summer and 33 years later I saw a DS7 in a farm (rusty) but 100% original. I don't know what happened to me but I decided to buy it.

To make the story short, I restored it. It was awsome I did remember every bolt and component of this bike. Last weekend I finished, and I had a blast. It rides very nice........and the smell of two strokes is the best part! They still very fast! I think!! I also decided to find an RD350, just like my second bike............I found it. This will be my next project. Here are some of the pics. Please take a look of the DS7. It will be so nice to have your bike and mine on a photo ah?

Take care and we will keep in touch.
Ricardo - thanks for writing in! Those two bikes are real lookers! The DS7's paint looks great!

BTW... maybe you can convince those guys at Bombardier that they REALLY NEED to build the Embrio...

Monday, October 10, 2005

R5 Model Identification

A few people have written in lately and asked me how to identify an R5. After some searching on the internet, I found that there was suprisingly little information about this. So I've decided to repeat a little information from some earlier posts and other sites to get this info into one comprehensive place.

The Yamaha R5 series is the predecessor to the RD series. The R5 models were built in 1970 (A model), 1971 (B model) and 1972 (C model). The R5 is a piston ported motorcycle, so unlike the RDs there are no reed valves. It also uses a 5-gear transmission, unlike the later 6-gear RDs. It was very similar to the YDS7, and used oil injection and front and rear drum brakes (the later RDs got the front disc brake).

For more information, photos and articles, scroll down the sidebar at left. For official specs, click here or scroll to the very bottom of the page.

In terms of overall model year color schemes, from what I've gathered:

1970 R5(A) - Metallic Purple/white
1971 R5B - Mandarin Orange/white
1972 R5C - Mandarin Orange/black

This is the way you can tell the model years apart visually. But, as so many surviving bikes have swapped/lost body parts or been repainted, the next step is to check numbers:

Engine or Frame Numbers (start-end)
1970 R5(A) - R5-000101 - 013649
1971 R5B - R5-015101 - 042209
1972 R5C - R5-100101 - 130606

The R5 shares the same serial numbers for both engine and frame. You can find the engine numbers stamped in large numerals on a flat section of the left side of the case, above the shift lever. If the flat spot is there, but no number, most likely you have a replacement case.

The frame number is also stamped in large numerals on right side of the neck of the frame, just in front of the tank.

This info comes from a dealer document listing colors, start and ending engine and frame numbers on all Yamahas '62-74. A very generous Don Q scanned the docs from 1970-1972 (R5 model years) and posted them as PDFs on his site. The rest of the pages are so bad they are not readable and Don will have to type them up manually. His files are pretty big because of the scan, but have a great old photocopied look to them. You can download them from his site here, or you can download smaller, slightly cleaner PDFs here:

1970 R5(A) (536k PDF)
1971 R5B (656k PDF)
1972 R5C (756k PDF)

You'll need the free Adobe Reader to view and print the files.

Don is a very talented striper, flamer, letterer and artist located in Costa Mesa, California. There's some really good stuff on his site - check it out! Special thanks to Don for sharing this info.

Sunday, October 9, 2005

Some RDs

Some folks wrote in over the weekend to say hi and ask a few questions about the successor to the R5, the RD350. The RDs are very similar to the R5s, sharing most of the parts, with the most notable advances between the two models being the addition of a forward gear (up to 6), a change to reed valves in the carbs, and the switch from a front drum to a front disc brake.

Anyways, I thought I'd share our conversations.

Chris and Lyndsay Scholey wrote in from Canada and sent a pic of their 1973 RD350:

... and had this to say:
I just thought I'd drop a line and comment what a cool site you have. I bought this one about 3 months ago. It is a 1973 rd 350 the offspring of the r5 with only 4000 miles on it. I have all intentions to do what you are doing, Mildly customizing it.

The odd thing about it though is, there are no serial numbers on the motor anywhere, the left side and right side gearbox casings where never stamped. No one at the shop where I had it saftied has heard of this. Anyways in the works is aluminum alloy rims with chrome nine gauge spokes, boysen reeds, port job, electronic ignition, K&N air filter, and a proper paint job. I already started to polish all the aluminum on it. I was thinking of a set of D&G pipes, but the stock exhaust looks more vintage and I don't really want to race the thing. It sure is a head turner. It is amazing what a set of clubman bars do to change the appearance. Once again excellent site, very informative.
Wow - impressive mod list you're planning there. Should be even more of a looker when you're done! I agree with you on the pipes - on a fully-faired racer, they look great, but on a street bike that's somewhat stock-looking, with a decent amount of chrome, the low straight stock chromers just look better. And I love me some clubman bars - first mod I did when I got the bike home, after I took off the crazy sissy bar!

About the serial numbers missing, I've never heard of that either - unless the casings are aftermarket replacements. Looking at your photos, it appears some of your covers have no paint, and it just might be that they were replaced at some point. For more info on numbers, see post titled Letter from South Africa (10/7/05) below.

In the meantime, Chris and Lyndsay, good motoring! And thanks for the kind words and for sharing your ride!

And now, going a bit further south, wvgriffin writes in from North Carolina to ask a few tech questions about his new RD:

The tank is rusted fairly bad on the inside, does the Kreme kit work or should i buy a 1976 tank I found in much better shape?
I was lucky, and my bike's tank was coated in WD40 while in storage and there wasn't much rust to deal with, so I never really had this dilemma. But my tank is dented, so I looked around for replacements. But I ultimately decided to keep everything as original as possible, making only small period-correct changes (like the clubmans) where necessary.

I've heard the Kreem coatings work just fine, so if you want to keep the bike mostly stock-looking, or keep as many original parts as possible, then this is your route. but if you just want to stay period-correct and get things back on the road ASAP, then going with the better, newer tank is a good idea.
Is CDI ignition worth doing , if so whats the easiest and cheapest ?
Also needs a battery , saw a Battery Ellimenator (sic), should i get this or put a battery back in?
Hmmm... not being familiar with the newer RDs, I'm not quite sure how to answer this. Plus I'm not too good with the electricals on my bike, and right now she's not running due to some gremlins in the charging system that I don't have a clue as to how to remedy.

But, according to what I've read, in order to go to a CDI ignition and run a Battery Eliminator, you first must have (or convert to) a RD350LC magneto system. Something about needing to rebuild the crank, add on the LC system and reworking the wiring. Dunno which model RD350 you have.

But I'm interested in the idea of the Battery Eliminator. Let me know if you come up with anything further on the subject.
Need tires, has a 3.60 H 18 front and a 4.10 H 18 on rear , can't find conversion to new sizes.
Dunno about size conversions, but I have heard that Cheng Shin makes tires that are good direct replacements (and period-correct look) for less than about $30 each, and good ol' JC Whitney carries them. I had my mechanic order a replacement front tire to pass inspection, so unfortunately I didn't do the legwork when it came to replace mine.
The engine and bike have 6500 miles on, most of chrome and other paint look great , engine runs and sounds awesome, first kick started. I plan to build carbs anyway and few other small things.
Sounds like you're on the right track! Sorry I can't help you out a little more, but thanks again for writing in! Send a pic when you get the chance!

Friday, October 7, 2005

Letter from South Africa

Gerhard recently wrote in all the way from South Africa:
Hi there, from Swellendam South Africa

I recently bought my R5 and rebuild it. It was in storage for 10-12 years and was still in perfect running condition except for the battery and a little rust in the tank, but no problem. It got 26000km on the clock I have got a couple of questions. How can you identify what year model it is? What was the original colors of the models? What is the route of the front brake-, throttle- and clutch cables?
I struggle to get the right shape of the seat...

Thanks for a great site and I think there is a lot of 350 Yammie owners that enjoy your site just as I do. Wish there were a R5 club in SA.

Here are before and after pics of my pride and joy.

Gerhard de Jager

Quite a looker you got there, Gerhard. Interesting choice in paint!

Really like the crash bars on the bike... it's not often you see them on small standard bikes here in the states - usually I see them on big cruisers and the like. Interesting.

Another good story about bringing one of these bikes back to life from long-term storage. All mine needed was a little cleaning and a new battery too!

Ok, now to answer some questions...

In terms of colors, from what I've gathered:
1970 R5(A) - Metallic Purple/white
1971 R5B - Mandarin Orange/white
1972 R5C - Mandarin Orange/black
This is the way you can tell the model years apart visually. But, as so many bikes have swapped body parts, tanks or been repainted, the next step is to check numbers:
Engine or Frame Numbers (start-end)
1970 R5(A) - R5-000101 - 013649
1971 R5B - R5-015101 - 042209
1972 R5C - R5-100101 - 013606
The R5 shares the same serial numbers for both engine and frame. You can find the engine numbers stamped in large numerals on a flat section of the left side of the case, directly above the shift lever. If the flat spot is there, but no number, most likely you have a replacement case. The frame number is also stamped in large numerals on right side of the neck of the frame, just in front of the tank.

In terms of cable routing, I'm not sure... I checked out the official online Yamaha Parts catalog (plenty of diagrams and part numbers for most Yamahas produced) and found this image here.

Unfortunately, it doesn't tell much in terms of routing. I had to reroute mine when adding the lower clubman bars, so I couldn't show you a stock setup using my bike... I'd just look at some of my images or links to other R5s in the sidebar at the left of this page and see if you can figure it out from those examples.

In terms of a seat, check out eBay... used R5 seats pop up from time to time...

Hope that helps!

Friday, September 30, 2005

Hooray for Steve!

Every once and a while someone writes in and tells it like it is:
I just wanted to thank you for all the information your website has provided in helping me resurrect my 72 r5. I purchased it about 2 weeks ago and it has been turning out good ever since. You should one day post what a blast it is to drive, I don't think I read one yet. Anyways, great job on the site.
First off, congrats on the bike! And on your discriminating taste in two-wheeled transportation! And, thanks, of course, for the kind words.

But yes! What a blast this thing is to ride! So quick, so agile! The great feeling you get as the front wheel tries to lift off every gear change! The looks you get from other people on cars and bikes alike - what is that? is it a dirtbike? is it really that fast? is it really that old? I used to have on of those! best bike ever! - all tremendously grin-inducing.

Steve, I thank you for reminding me that riding is what this is all about. The joy in bringing something back to life, shining it up, taking it for a spin and showing it off.

Now I'm really motivated to get this thing back on the road... it's been too long since I've heard the rrrrrrrring-ding-ding...

Grips and Mirrors

JD wrote in to ask a good question about the bar and grip setup on my R5:
I noticed that you have bar end mirrors, do you also have stock grips? If so how did you install the mirror on the throttle grip - just cut a hole?
Here's the deal. I replaced the stock bars for lower, somewhat uncomfortable, but much better looking cafe bars. In order to get the clutch lever off the stock bar, I had to cut the stock grip. I tried not to, but the sucker wouldn't budge. Once the one was cut, well, I went ahead and replaced them both with open-ended ProGrip 698XL Superbike grips.

Well, sorta.

The 698XLs I ordered wound up being closed-ended, despite the description on the site I bought them from, and they didn't carry the open-ended ones. That's OK, though, as I discovered that I really wanted the 699 Superbike grips... same company, same material, just a cooler grip pattern. And supposedly open-ended. So I exchanged for those.

And, of course, they arrive close-ended. So at this point I simply took an Xacto to them and trimmed myself a hole. Both grips, as I had mirrors on both sides.

The grips are excellent. They really dampen the vibration of the motor. However, the bar-end mirrors, while looking rather trick, no matter how much tightening and adjusting, they just never stayed put. The one thing I could count on was a good view of the ground behind me or my armpit - not good when you actually need to check your background for a quick lane change.

So, I decided to remove the bar-ends, replace the original black plastic caps that came with the cafe bars in their stead, and mount the original dental mirror. While it's only on one side, I really like the look of it. Plus, due to the lower speeds of the bike while cruising, I'm usually in the right hand lane anyways. I may keep an eye out for a NOS mirror for the other side too... might not look bad with both on there...

For more info, see posts titled Mirror Swap (5/31/04) and Hmmmm... (7/13/04), below.

Friday, September 16, 2005

"All my life I've wanted to do something big."

Unlike Supercross, and Biker Boyz, and Torque, which all pretty much sucked, this looks like a good motorcycle movie. Anthony Hopkins isn't the type to do crap films, and director Roger Donaldson has good stuff (The Recruit and Thirteen Days) before.

A full website is coming soon, but here's a short synopsis:

Anthony Hopkins stars as Burt Munro, a man who never let the dreams of youth fade. After a lifetime of perfecting his classic Indian motorcycle, Burt set off from the bottom of the world to test his bike at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. With all the odds against him, he set a new speed record and captured the spirit of his times. Burt Munro’s 1967 world record remains unbroken and his legend lives on today.

Here’s also a website about Bert Munro, subject of the film.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Yamaha Racing 50th Anniversary Microsite

Hadn't posted this before, but Yamaha Factory Racing has put up a microsite with lots of good images of the days of racing glory past. Check it out here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Paul checks in

Sorry everyone, my hosting company went down while LA experienced power outages...

In the meantime, Paul Moeller had written in, and I've been meaning to get back to him:

Lawrence, I found your website searching through google and I wanted to drop you a line and ask a few questions. My dad has one of these babies sitting in his shed, probably the exact same one as you have. It's a 1972 Yamaha 350 R5 that needs a lot attention and I would like to be able to give it the tlc it needs. I just have a few questions for you? Are parts easy to come by? I don't really have that much experience with engines but I am mechanically inclined and love a challenge. There is a chance that the engine needs some work, and do you think that with the help of some online materials and book help an engine overhaul could be done by a novice? I am looking forward to exploring your site more and thanks for putting it out there for everyone to see.

Paul -

Sounds a lot like my situation... I love everything automotive or motorcyclic in nature, but don't have much experience doing things myself. I just didn't have the space to work on my stuff that much - rowhome living did limit what I could accomplish on my own. I do enjoy the challenge though, and have jumped in feet-first by buying this bike and attempting to do everything myself. At least I could chain the bike up on the pavement while it was being worked on, and wheel it inside during the winter.

I did however take the bike to a licensed HD mechanic to look her over just to make sure nothing major needed to be done... apparently all that was needed after 20 years of storage was a good carb cleaning! So in my case I was lucky. Just a little tinkering got her legal and back on the road.

However, the bike isn't doing so hot at the moment. Seems the battery is not charging while running, so I need to find those gremlins and get rid of 'em. I have been busy buying a house and moving for the past few weeks, but the new place has a garage (!) so I anticipate a lot more work getting done in the near future!

I started my R5 site as part scrapbook, part experiment, and mostly placeholder for all the links I found while combing the internet for R5 stuff... you see, there was no one site that had everything all together. I think that's why it's become so popular.

Anyways, it seems there's a whole mess of R5s out there, and a pretty good helping of spares and aftermarket parts to keep 'em going. Even New Old Stock! There are also a lot of manuals (factory originals and reprints as well as independent books) still out there. A simple search for "R5" on eBay came up with a handful of stuff, and you can even keep looking for the later RDs, as much of the stuff is interchangeable... then there's a bunch of shops that cater to the early Yammys, and those links are to the left. A couple of the bigger ones that I've seen many a person reccommend are Moto Carrera and HVC. Another good source for finding stuff is by asking around on mailing lists (Yahoo! R5 and Yahoo! RDS) and forums (like USA 2Strokers and OBB). The good news is these bikes are available, there are plenty of parts new and old, and prices are on the cheaper side...

So, I say, if I can do it, you can do it - what are you waiting for? The support is out there... get that stinker back on the road!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Sorry for the downtime, everyone.

I had some problems with my (previous) hosting company, supposedly for letting my renewal and domain registration lapse. Which was, of course, not the case - I had a year to go...

In any event, I've switched over to MediaTemple - designer-friendly, real tech support, four times the server space, and half the cost. Everything should be resolved by now, because if you're reading this, then everything is working as it should.

While I made the transition, everything went down - for a while, all of itself went down, which killed everything - all my sites as well as email. I apologize if anyone got mail bounced back to them. I assure you, all that has been fixed now.

There may be a few things missing here and there, such as images and the like - I'm going through everything now to make sure all is as it should be.

My main site is currently down for a redesign - everything is a mess now anyways so why the heck not? Hasn't had a major overhaul in something like four years... shame on me. Anyways I'm working on getting the R5 site (as well as the MINI site) more real estate on the front page, instead of being squirreled away as before. Stay tuned...

Monday, August 1, 2005

Yamaha Paper Models

OK, not really news, but cool stuff nonetheless. Yamaha's popular motorcyles have been realistically captured into downloadable paper models. Apparently, "the challenge level and your satisfaction guaranteed!" They even include the YZR M1 US 50th Anniverary Edition with the paint scheme discussed in my post on Friday, July 08, 2005.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Ambitious Restorations in Canada...

Darren from Canada writes in to share his R5 restoration story:

Hi there. I found your website and I like your R5. I am in the middle of restoring my R5. I had it on the road about 10 years ago and hope to get it on the road in a few more months. It will be an everyday runner, weather permitting - she won't be a trailer queen. The picture showing the frame is one of six R5's that I am using for parts to keep mine on the road. Once this one is on the road, I plan to restore a 1971 from the frame up.

Now that's cool - restoring your own personal R5! The frame looks great... and sounds like you've got all the resources you need with 6 donors around! Glad to hear it won't be a trailer queen too - these things were meant to be ridden!

Also, yet another super-cool garage space:

Monday, July 18, 2005

Greetings from Kansas

Leo Kempf checked in to share his bike story and also a little about our somewhat similar careers:

i came across your site a few months back when i was looking for a vintage bike to get going and possibly turn into a mild cafe project. this was after i already acquired a Yamaha 200 Electric (mine's blue) that was siezed up. my dad had an R5 and i was sort of looking for one. so, i thought your site was pretty awesome.

anyway...then i went to your root site and found that you basically have the career i'd love to have in a few years. i'm a 5th year industrial design student studying at KU in lawrence, ks. yes, the city i live in is your first name! a business associate of mine and i just started a web dev. business at specializing in dynamic sites.

so, i gave up on the yamaha and bought this 1972 honda 350 for $300 and i've been tinkering's great fun.

anyway, i just wanted to let you know that i enjoy your website

Leo Kempf
Excellent! Thanks Leo!

First off, the Yamaha 200 Electric looks rather similar to the R5 (in fact, very similar to the later RD), cosmetically differing only in the tank, seat and sidecovers... seized up though? Have you gotten it going yet?

That Honda is sweet! Love those high, single-sided pipes! Looks good with those low bars, too. As a matter of fact, my girlfriend and I were driving home last night and we passed one almost like yours (although not in as nice condition, and yellow) and we were talking about how cool it was (well, could be, if it were fixed up a bit)...

The Deepthought site is rather nice. Looking good. Funny, if I had the chance to rewind and do this whole messy design thing over again, I think I would have liked to study industrial design. Always been fascinated with the discipline, and I've had the chance to design some products while I've been working here at scünci. Definitely would have loved to work in the automotive design field...

Anyway, thanks for writing in and sharing!

Friday, July 8, 2005

New Yamahas to Wear Old Livery at Laguna Seca

Yamaha factory racers will be painted in the old yellow and black scheme of yore when they race this weekend at Laguna Seca. These colors haven’t been used since the 70’s! All part of the celebration of Yamaha’s 50th anniversary. I dig it.

Via Kneeslider, who posted the official Yamaha Press release:
Yamaha’s Factory MotoGP team goes to this weekend’s United States Grand Prix in celebratory mood, wearing the famous Yamaha USA colours of yellow, white and black.

This special livery marks Yamaha’s 50th Anniversary and acknowledges the significant contribution made by American riders to the marque’s racing history. The Yamaha Motor Company was founded on July 1st 1955, just two weeks before the factory’s first bike, the YA1, won its first race, the Mount Fuji Ascent race. Since then three American riders have won nine premier-class World Championships with Yamaha – ‘King’ Kenny Roberts, Eddie Lawson and Wayne Rainey, each taking three crowns across three decades, the 70s, the 80s and the 90s.

The livery that Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 riders Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards will wear at Laguna Seca was first used by Yamaha USA in the late 1960s and won global renown when Roberts scored his World Championship hat-trick.

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

More Mail and Pics

Hello all. Posting has been somewhat sparse lately, as things have been pretty busy. Not much riding is getting done, as the bike is still out of sorts electrically, and now is past due for inspection. Hopefully I can rectify it all this weekend.

In the meantime, more people are checking in, so as I get 'em, I'll post 'em. Lou sent in this message and a shot of his beloved:


Wow - good for that little R5! I love hearing about vehicles that get used, that get taken all over the place - I mean, there's just something about trailer queens that irks me. But I hear you about the strange looks - here in the city, you either see Harleys or crotchrockets... so when you pull up on a vintage looker that sounds like a dirtbike, you manage to turn a few heads. And more than a few bike owners admit to owning an R5 or two in their day... it seems to have been the starter bike for a whole generation... Thanks for writing in!

Also in my inbox was a message from Glen from way down under:

Hi, my names Glen, I'm in New Zealand and I'm doing up an 1975 RD350/400. It's got bits from both bike on it, seeing as it's already a mongrel, it means I can do whatever I like to it, with felling guilty about ruining it's originally. I've got some clip on bars for it already as I'm looking at going cafe style on it. The seat pan is screwed, so I'm making a whole new seat for it. It should be getting new Chrome and some powdering coating in a few weeks. The engine is seized too. I'll keep you posted on how it all goes. Here's a pic of the beast, I think you'll agree, I have more work cut out.

See, Glen has a good situation on his hands. He's got a good bike, but one that needs work, so now he has free reign to hook it up in any style he deems necessary. I'd love to chop some things off and mix parts up, but when you have a bike that's more or less complete and looks good stock, it's hard to justify. So Glen, you do have a fair chunk of work cut out for you, but you also have quite of chunk of fun ahead too! Getting some clip-ons on there, getting some cafe flavor can really enhance the Yammy and sets it apart from the usual stuff. Keep us posted!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Good conversation

There's been some good newbie discussion going on the "r5yamaha" Yahoo! Group lately. Mel from Seattle wrote in with these good questions:

Hi, I recently purchased a 1972 R5, until my owner's manual arrives I have some basic questions:

1. What do most of you have for tire air pressure on stock size tires?
2. What fuel do you run? Is there a need for premium (92 octane) with compression only being 6.9:1? (forgive me but I am new in 2-stroke world).
3. Shop manual, any recommnedations?
4. Basic setup, where do I learn about air/fuel mixture setup, carb sync, idle speed, etc?

1. Engine runs strong, it has less than 8,000 miles. It accelerates really well (at least that is how it feels to me) however at coasting or compression braking (throttle closed) I get a lot of bucking and surging. Any ideas?

There have been some responses, this latest one from Ed:

Hey Mel,

Run premium fuel ALWAYS! You are running too lean and that's what you are hearing when you are cruising along at speed at part throttle.

The way to tune these is to make it rich to the point where it 4 strokes and then back it down to the point where it no longer does this. You want it as rich as possible to keep it cool. Never run anything less than a 120 main(I run 130)

keep the needles near the middle, set the float height at exactly (this is critical) 15mm, use a 30 or 40 pilot jet and play with the air screw some (start at about 1 3/4 turns out and go in from there till it runs smooth but doesn't make any clicking noises at about 60 mph for about 10 minutes). Run a STOCK air filter and baffles in the exhaust. Using a dial indicator and volt ohm meter (this is a must) set the timing at 2mm before TDC. At this point the points should just begin to open. You can tell this by the needle just starting to flutter on the vom. The points need to be set first. Do this at TDC and set them at 13 thou.

R5s are bullet proof, but until you get them set up right they can be difficult. It is extremely important that everything be correct for them to run right and be dependable. Once there they stay there with little work so take the time and set it up right now.

Hmmm... I have a bit of that bucking, so perhaps my timing is off... It's been about a year so I'm sure things need to be checked and reset.

Saturday, June 18, 2005


These days everyone is writing in, from all over the place, to show me their R5s... this one from Finland!

Leppänen Jukka-Pekka sent in his pride and joy:

Check out that mudflap! Dig the badgeless seat! Chromed cylinder head cooling fins! Also, I love the amber rear turnsignals (mine are red), and that they seem to be mounted closer to the bike than mine (to the actual rear fender?)...

That's a well-stocked workspace too...

Well done!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Hello from Bermuda!

Chris Broadhurst wrote in this afternoon from Bermuda:

I like your R5. Also you have a very informative site.

Here's mine: Got it off eBay just like you. 5,000 miles - I paid $900. Think you did a little better - but she's in great shape huh?

Check out this beaut:

A very fine specimen indeed! Wonderful paint! And in Bermuda! Shucks, you are one lucky person! Thanks for sharing, Chris!

BTW, you can clearly see how Chris' R5 has the turnsignals mounted on the forks... this is how they were mounted on my bike, and I relocated them to the depressions on either side of the headlamps to make room for the clubman bars (see May 17th entry Relocating the front turnsignals below).

Points and Timing

Chris wrote in to say hello and ask a few technical questions:

First off I'd like to compliment you on your fantastic looking R5, I hope mine can some day look that good as I am in the process of restoring it right now. I just had some questions that you may be able to answer for me regarding the points and condensors, Would you happen to know the point gap and its timing as well as the gap for the floats? If you have this information it would be greatly appreciated, or if you have any questions go ahead and let me know. Thank you very much.

This directly from the original Yamaha DS7/R5C/RD250(A)/RD350(A) Combined Service Manual (1973) that I was lucky enough to get with the purchase of the bike:

Timing should be checked anytime the points are re-gapped.

Tools necessary:
- dial gauge
- dial gauge adapter
- conductivity test lamp or Yamaha Point Checker
- point wrench
- flathead screwdriver
- 12mm wrench

1) Install a dial gauge adapter in the plug hole on the cylinder head, then install the gauge. Set the indicator to zero when the piston is at top dead center (TDC). Rotate the crankshaft against the normal direction of rotation to 2mm BTDC.

2) Set the point gap at 0.3-0.4mm (0.012-0.016") by moving the breaker plate. When adjusting ignition timing for the left-hand cylinder, adjust the point of the LH terminal (orange), while for the right-hand cylinder, adjust the points of the RH terminal (grey).

3) Connect the positive lead of the point checker to the insulated point terminal. Ground the negative lead of the point checker to the engine or chassis.

4) Loosen the breaker plate setting screw, and move the plate to the right or left with a flathead screwdriver until the point checker indicates the points opening at exactly 2mm BTDC. Do not fully loosen the screw, because the breaker plate tends to move when the screw is retightened. Turning the breaker plate in the normal rotating direction will retard the ignition timing, while turning in reverse direction will advance the timing.

5) Finally, tighten all screws, rotate the crankshaft against the normal, running direction until the dial gauge indicates 2.5mm BTDC. Then slowly turn the crankshaft in the normal running direction. The point checker should just swing into the green at 2mm BTDC, indicating the points are opening causing ignition.

6) For best performance each cylinder's specifications should be nearly identical. Point gap (L&R) should be identical and timing should be within 0.05-0.10mm. Timing on any one cylinder, besides being in balance, must be +/- 0.1mm of 2mm BTDC.

As for the gap for the floats, they should be set to 15mm.

Hope that helps!

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Photoshop Wrenching

After looking more at the TR3 versus streetfighter R5 I was talking about a few days ago (June 5th), I started thinking... I like that bike because it's so stripped down... why not strip it a bit more?

Using Photoshop I "modded" the original bike and deleted the mirror and the tail light. I know to be street legal you'd need them, but they can be incorporated somehow else (french the taillight into the seat section, and figure out some way to mount mirrors in more discreet locations). I also removed the Yammy logo for kicks, just to keep them scratching their heads. Finally, the rev counter looked so lonely to me perched up there all by itself, so I took it off too. Why not? Just listen and you'll know when to row a gear or two...

Here's the before and after...

Anyways, again, much props to the Go-Getters for this amazing machine. The bike is great as-is... I'm just messing around...

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Jaime checking in...

Jaime Aguirre dropped a short note to say hi:

Nice bike, excellent, I am glad it fell in some good motorcycle lover person. I am looking for one myself, I love 2 stroke motorcycles, my passion, but, unfortunately, nowadays, there are non in the market, at least in the US. Great bike, and those cafe bars / club man bars are excellent. For fun, perhaps a nice exhaust system will add power , and that nice sound we 2 stroke lovers like.

Been toying with the idea of an exhaust, along with the full trick-out like this one... and then I take the time to shine her up, and stand back and look at her, and she looks great just the way she is... toughie...

Anyways, keep them eyes peeled... there are a few here an there, just gotta be patient...

Monday, June 6, 2005


I've been wondering why I get so many random visitors to this site, so I
Googled "Yamaha R5" and found I'm the fourth result... not too shabby!

UPDATE - I just checked again tonight, June 14th, and I was the second listing. Wow.

Sunday, June 5, 2005


This is exactly the type of bad-ass TR3 versus streetfighter R5 I was talking about in a previously posted conversion (January 10th)... streetable, all attitude and totally hot. I'm speechless...

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Mirror Swap

I had bought bar-end mirrors for the R5 and installed them when I put on the clubman bars. While I love the clubmans, the mirrors really got on my nerves... No matter how much tightening and adjusting, they just never stayed put. The one thing I could count on was a good view of the ground behind me - not good when you actually need to check your background for a quick lane change.

So, this past weekend, while polishing the stinker to a high shine, I decided to remove the bar-ends, replace the caps in their stead, and mount the original dental mirror. While it's only on one side, I really like the look of it. Plus, due to the lower speeds of the bike while cruising, I'm usually in the right hand lane anyways. I may keep an eye out for a NOS mirror for the other side too... might not look bad...

Now I'll have to change the header image, as the bike has had some changes since...

Had a bit of trouble with the battery this weekend - it had gone totally dead... after two days on the charger it came back to life, but while riding, if I used the turnsignals, the bike would stall. Don't know what that's all about. Either the battery is bad, or the voltage regulator and/or rectifier units are bad...

Anyways, that's it for now... bike is due for inspection soon, so hopefully all this can get sorted out.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Jennifer from Canada

Got an email from Jennifer up north this morning:

Hi there,

I just bought my first bike last night. I had no clue what I really had until I started researching it online this morning.

I definitely think I got a great deal after reading about this bike. It's been a one and half owner bike. I say half because the second owner had it for the last 5-6 yrs but never drove it. It was kept in his living room (seriously) since he got it. Anyway, the bike only has 5871 original miles on it and is still sporting the original rubber it had from the factory!

There's only a small dent in the tank just above one of the emblems. It's coppery orange and black just like yours. The only thing this bike needs is a battery and I would like to replace the emblems. Even the seat is in mint condition! The fuel tank needs to be cleaned as it has a bit of rust in it but the guy who just had it was smart nough to disconnect the line from the carb so I don't think there will be any problem with the carbs. So I got this sweet ride for $500 Canadian (about $400US).
Well just wanted to share.

First off, congratulations! Welcome to the wonderful, smoky world of R5 ownership! From my personal experience (and the writings of many others) this is one of the best beginner bikes to have, a bike with much historical significance, and an all-around fun vehicle...

I find it pretty interesting how similar your story is to mine:

• This was my first bike as well, bought it from a fellow who accepted it as trade for construction work from the first owner and never really rode it...had only 3000 miles on the odo! So I guess you could say it's a one-and-a-halfer as well!

• He had stored it in his garage for the better part of 30 years, but this winter I brought the bike into my house! I guess you could call it the living room - my place is just one big open loft space, no walled rooms save the bathroom... see here...

• Just like you, the only thing that needed replacing on the bike was the front tire... all the rubber was good, the seat pristine and the paint in great shape!

• I have the same sort of dents in the same area you speak of, as well as the same paint scheme! See here...

• The owner was smart/I was lucky that the entire bike was sprayed down with WD-40 while being stored, so there was almost no rust anywhere, nothing that couldn't be taken off with an hour or two with a brass brush...

• Mine was purchased locally (although via eBay) for $550 US! A veritable steal! You could see the guy didn't really want to part with it, but he had no use for it, hadn't ridden it in years, and needed the space...

It really is amazing how I'm seeing more and more of these bikes popping up... and not just on eBay. I've been seeing some R5s (although older) and RDs of the same era around my neighborhood... it's very encouraging, and a testament to the durability, ease of repair anf fun factor of these bikes.

Anyway, thanks for writing in, Jennifer... have fun, and keep the rubber side down!

Friday, May 20, 2005

Another visitor...

SimonX wrote in this afternoon to say hi and ask a question:


I just happened upon your site while looking for a clutch cable for a 1971 R5 350. I have called and emailed dozens and dozens of people to no avail. No one carries it or has one. Do you have any suggestions on a contact? I would appreciate any help you could give me.

Thank you very much.

I pointed SimonX to Classic Cycle Parts, a retailer with an eBay store... I haven't ever used them before, so I can't vouch for them... I think they only do online transactions via eBay. But they do have a 99.9% positive feedback rating, and have had over 15,000 transactions so far, so they seem pretty reputable. Anyone else had experience with these guys?

Hope that helps SimonX!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Relocating the front turnsignals

One thing I remembered doing to my bike that I neglected to mention before was relocating the front turnsignal pods when putting on the aftermarket cafe bars.

When I got my R5, the front signals were mounted on the forks on factory-looking washer-like mounts located just under the top fork nuts:

Sorry the picture isn't very clear - these were taken by the previous owner and posted as part of the eBay auction. But at least you can see that the signals are not attached to the sides of the headlamp, but further back by the forks. You can see the bolts that hold the headlamp on just in front of the signal lenses. See the pic below for comparison.

Anyways, the problem was this - when I mounted the new cafe bars, the hand controls would not clear the turnsignals - there was just no way to have them both in the same spot. I had seen the front signals on other R5s mounted on either side of the headlamps, and in fact, there is a depression in the metal that is the same size as the end of the signal arm (I think there were holes for the locator pins as well - you can kinda make them out in the photo above). So with a little fineggeling I moved them there and ditched the mount washers:

Is there any reason to why some bikes have the fork mounting location and some are mounted on the headlamp ears? Model year difference? Is this something owners did for better clearance, or what?

Anyways, just something to keep in mind if your bike is set up the same way...

Darby checks in...

Darby wrote in from Ohio to say hi and offer some advice on flooding the carbs:

I just picked up a 71 r5b for 500 bucks. Sadly, it wasn't as nice as yours, but it is at least a 1 kick starter. If you find yourself in ohio or closer to the state line sometime we'll have to go for a ride. excellent site by the way. it's probably the best and I would say maybe only r5 dedicated site out there. Keep it up! I was planning on doing almost exactly what you have done to your bike so it's been great seeing my bike the way it could be. It's nice to be able to go somewhere and get some motivation. I noticed your post about flooding out the carbs and I do the same darn thing now and then. I hate it when I forget to switch the petcock to off. I just got my baby to start again today after fiddling all day long. Black sludge and gas everywhere, smoking to beat the band... oh well, at least it finally kicked over. The fastest way to fix it is to either push it in 2nd gear for a while then kick it till you hear the carb sucking air when you turn the throttle OR if you REALLY flooded it over a couple of days (what I just did. We're talking a gallon of gas in carbs, engine and pipes) loosen the screws under the carbs and dump out the float bowls THEN start your kicking. Either way it's a nightmare. I'd like to think I won't do it again, but I'm sure absent mindedness will get me eventually. I'm rambling on.... awesome site is my point.

Congrats on the bike, and thanks for the kind comments, Darby!

It's funny, I really didn't set out to make this an R5 resource, as I really don't know all that much about the bike, or motorcycles in general. This is my first ever motorcycle, and I just wanted to catalog the process of resuscitating the bike and sprucing her up a bit. It didn't take nearly as long as I thought it would, so now that it's (more or less) finished, I just pop stuff up here from time to time... I'm glad it's helping and motivating some people!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Non-Yamaha related stuff

Crazy bimota Tesi 2D... rear and front swingarms? Which way is this thing facing?

Check out the Rokon Ranger, a 2-wheel-drive bike that leaves a track lighter than a man's footprint, is the quietest gas powered all terrain vehicle on the planet, and floats.

Also, check out American Cafe Racers... somewhat cool...

Another cafe Yammy

Came across this caffeinated Yammy the other day, thought I'd share.

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Usenet stuff

Just doing some searching around

> A friend and I wanted a bike so, we looked in the classified and found
> an ad for a 72' Yamaha two stroke R5 350. The bike was sitting out in
> the rain for about ten years. That didn't daunt us so we it rebuilt
> anyway. We replaced the lower end, had the pistons rebored and bought a
> new battery and sparks. The bike started up then quit.

Been there. Seems like you have a pretty good start on making the bike
a runner. We'll get to the electrical problem in a minute. First you
need to take care of some other areas before they get to be real

If you don't have one already get a good manual, Clymer or Yamaha.

You made no mention of the fuel system. Here you need to:
1. Empty the tank, remove the petcock and clean that sucker out. If
there is rust buy a tank coating kit with an acid wash. Kreem makes an
outstanding example.

2. Empty and clean the oil reservoir. Its plastic so it won't rust.
Fill with a good quality premix. Golden Spectro or Yammalube.

These items are important because they not only feed fuel, but
lubrication to the engine. It is a good idea to add inline filters to
gas line.

> I took it into
> the shop and they dialed in the points. I took it home, it ran once or
> twice. Then it doesn't start again. In fact, it drains the battery. I
> know the problem is not the starter because it has a kick starter. I
> tried to push start it, no luck. I don't know what to do. And I don't
> want to spend a fortune to have a mechanic look at it. When it runs it's
> a really great bike to ride.

Sounds like it is not charging. First get a battery charger. They make
some inexpensive units. You don't want anything that charges over 1 amp
or you may harm the battery. I would recommend getting a "Battery

They run about $45 dollars but are excellent units that can be used to
keep any small battery at full charge without worry.

With the battery at full charge start the bike and hag a voltmeter
across the battery. It should read about 14 volts with the engine
running about 3,000 rpm. If not , get to checking. Since this thing
has set outside so long in the rain I would undo all electrical
connections, clean them and stick them back together using a dielectric
(conductive) grease.

Recharge the battery and restart the engine. Still no 14 volts? (it
will read 12 volts if not charging). You may have a problem in the
charging system itself. Could very well be the voltage regulator.
Follow the manual in trouble shooting the charging system.

DO NOT ride the bike unless it is charging. If the battery gets low the
ignition system can not do its job and the engine will detonate or eat
its own pistons. Trust me on this one. It happened to me.

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Extreme Vespism!

I know this is in no way related to Yamahas or R5s (other than smelly 2-strokes), but it's cool nonetheless... pop that wheelie! (QuickTime)

Thursday, April 21, 2005

First Event of the Season


Saturday, April 23rd, 2005
Spring Custom, Classic, and Beater Show
10am until 5pm + FREE to PUBLIC!

Last year there was a nice selection of cafe racers, choppers and ratty bikes to oogle. Tons of rat rods and sweet kustoms too. I'll be bringing the R5 out, but not showing it, since nothing's been done to it since last year... or maybe I will... dunno yet.

KAHUNAVILLE Entertainment Complex
Exit #6 off I-95
Wilmington, Delaware

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


I've been getting a ton of visitors lately, and a lot of people are writing in to ask questions. Almost daily! It's been great! Keep it coming!

Thomas Paxson wrote in to ask about where he can find points... I "pointed" him (sorry) to HVC Cycle...

And Eric Lentz-Gauthler wrote in to ask about the ultra-small fairing I've been lusting after for quite some time (you can get it here), and to offer some help:

oh, and I have to make one more recommendation just because I'm in the muck of it right now. is a website for a guy who makes a great voltage regulator and rectifier unit for the bike and it works MUCH better than the stock charging setup. Plus once you have a different battery box, his units are much cleaner looking and easier to fabricate mounts for.

Thanks, Eric! I'll be looking into it!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Seriously SWEET Café Racers

Like the title says... take a look for yourself... This is the attitude I want the R5 to have...

UPDATE: New site here, with videos and stuff. Damn, the R5 needs to look like the "black whale"...

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

"I like your Yamaha site!"

Got some "fan mail" in my inbox this morning! Brock wrote in to share his story:

Yep, exactly that: your site has been extremely helpful in my quest for knowledge on the Yamaha 350! I recently had one *given* to me by a friend. It needs restored, it has been sitting for about 30 years. It is my first motorcycle, and I am enjoying working on it more and more every day. I'd just like to say thanks for all the helpful links on your site, and the cool, daily stories!

Funny how I've been hearing a lot of similar stories about these bikes. When it was at Mike's shop, many people remarked how this bike was their very first motorcycle, the one they cut their teeth on. It's my first as well. I bought mine from eBay (see first entry way down below) but it too had been sitting around for most of it's life. A number of scooter aficionados in my area have been looking into these bikes, as they are simple 2-strokes but a blast to ride, and many of them are finding them on the cheap, after lying dormant in some garage or backyard for the past two or three decades.

Anyways, thanks for the mail! The whole purpose of this site is to gather up as much information related to the R5 as I can find and put it up here in one central location. Keep checking back - now that the riding season is upon us, I should have much more to post...

Monday, April 11, 2005

Yammy Causes Hit-and-Run!

This weekend, I had parked the R5 at Brian and Michelle's house, while Brian and I went to oogle Russ' new Mini. While we were there, apparently some guy in a primer-grey pickup with a snow-plow was driving down the street, and the driver was oogling my bike. Oogling so much that he hit a car parked on the opposite side of the street. So the driver gets out, surveys the damage, and - get this - gets back in the truck and drives away! While witnesses look on! Nice one, tool!

Yet another person that should be locked in a Port-a-Potty, set on fire and pushed off a cliff.

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Spring is in the air...

And with it came the irresistible urge to get the bike out of the house and running again...

I dunno, perhaps it was the umpteenzillion bikes I saw today, including the usual Tuesday gathering of exotics in my neighborhood (see below*), or maybe all the distant wails of sportbikes zooming off in the distance...

At any rate, I got home tonight a little early from the gym and decided to push her out. With little help from Kendra (boy, she is strong!), we maneuvered her down the stoop without too many swear words... it sure is easier to get out than get in... I ran down to the gas station for a gallon of gas (which really confused the attendant) in my little red plastic container, and after adding the contents to the tank, topping off on oil, and aiming the pipes AWAY from Kendra, the house, the general public, etc, I let her rip...

And she roared to life (ok, I'm exaggerating) in a great plume of whitish smoke (ok, I'm not exaggerating)... and with only three kicks...

So she lives! Wintering indoors treated her well, as did the lining of everything with WD-40... from what I can tell, she just needs a bit of polish and some air in her tires, and she'll be ready for the open road once more...

* BTW, I finally found out what goes on every Tuesday at a Belgian pub in my area (from the Moto Guzzi National Owners Club):

Come join us every Tuesday night at 7:00 P.M. at The Abbaye, 637 North 3rd (3rd and Fairmount), Philadelphia, to socialize with like minded riders and have dinner, if you wish. Rain or shine! For more info call: 215-432-4229

That would explain the wonderful assortment of non-Harleys lined up every Tuesday... I'll have to gather up my posse and head down one of these weeks...

Monday, April 4, 2005

Akira's cycle

This may have nothing to do with R5s, or with Yamahas, but it does have something to do with Japanese motorcycles... well, sorta. Someone actually made a full-size working version of the motorcycle driven by the hero in the Akira anime... and now someone's gone ahead and made one from a scooter!

In related unrelated news, check out the sub3wheelers... and you can hack together a cheaper version here...

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

OBB's Reader Ride

I recently submitted the R5 to the Reader's Rides section of the Old Bike Barn, a purveyor of all things motorcyclic... and was accepted. You can see the old girl in all her glory here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Back from holiday

Back from down under! Since it was nearing the end of summer there, as you can imagine, bikes were everywhere. Perhaps because we stayed mostly in and around big metropolitan areas, I saw pretty much nothing but modern sportbikes. But they were everywhere! Much more a part of everyday life than here.

The best of all? Not a single one was chained to a pole or railing. Not one! They were parked anywhere, usually just casually on a curb, and that's it! Says a lot...

I'll be posting pics once I get throught them all.

Friday, February 18, 2005

:: HIATUS ::

Alas, friends, time for a holiday. K and I will be visiting the land down under for about 2 weeks, starting tomorrow... so no bike-related stuff until then. But lots of pics, I promise. And I'll be sure to say "Hi!" to Paul Hogan and Colin Hay for you.


I just hooked up this site to send feeds you can subscribe to and read with a newsreader, or display on other web sites, software, or gadgets. I guess that means I'll have to post more... well, the riding season is quickly approaching, so we'll see...

To subscribe, you can use the link at the bottom of the sidebar, or click here.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Hooligan film

"Hooligan" - this documentary is not a technical history of motorcycles. It is designed to shed light on an energized cult of inspired motorcyclists – past and present – who have been referred to as "Rockers," "Hooligans," "Ton Up Boys," "Coffee Bar Cowboys," and "Bike Boys." It is not about Harley Davidson riders, weekend cruisers, chopper builders or sport bike riders. It is about a lifestyle born from the coupling of rock ‘n’ roll and the magic of two-wheeled machines like Triumphs, Nortons, BSA’s, Motoguzzis and Velocettes. It is about stripped-down, old-school cafe racers; retro classics; bobbed fenders; clip-on handlebars; customs; and rat bikes. It is about the love and commitment necessary to restore and maintain them.

I especially like the tagline:
"Real bikes are built in garages."

Friday, January 28, 2005


While the bike was indoors, I was fiddling under the seat and located the bolts holding the seat strap. Not particularly liking the strap, I removed it... what do you think?

BTW while I was under there, I found an ancient rubber "bungie"-type tiedown wedged between the foam and seatpan. Cool.

Monday, January 24, 2005


A coworker forwarded on to me this morning a PowerPoint document comparing the sounds of a HD to a Honda... of course the HD was all rumbly potato-potato, and the Honda was, well, not... but the funniest thing is I describe the sound of my bike almost exactly like this! Have a listen:

[728k WAV]

UPDATE: After having heard the sound once again, from online ads touting it as a cellphone ringtone to a wierd animation of a frog imitating a motorcycle, I followed the link to and actually discovered the origin of the sound from an interview conducted by Newtek Europe with Erik Wernquist, the creator of The Annoying Thing:

A little more than a month after I had put the animation up I got a phone call from a somewhat confused person claiming he recognised the sound in my animation as his own creation. His name was Daniel Malmedahl and he said he had been contacted by a friend of his telling him to check out my website. I was a little uncertain at first but when he gave me the "proof" of performing the sound live on the phone there was no doubt he was the guy I was looking for. Apparently he was oblivious to the fact that his sound had spread around the internet, even before the Annoying Thing. He told me the he didn't actually make that sound as a joke at first, but as a serious attempt to imitate the 2-stroke engine of a moped of his. He has a talent and interest in imitating the sound of engines. This was about six years ago, and it wasn't until a friend of his put the sound on a CD that they used to play at parties he realised the hilarious quality of the noise. From that CD, the sound somehow found its way to the internet and eventually ended up in my mailbox...

Monday, January 10, 2005

Want to convert an R5 into a TR3 replica?

I had already linked to another R5-TR3 conversion, but the parts listed were from Yamaha, and most are no longer available. Well, Jamie Linxwiler put together an up-to-date article on building a TR3 Replica R5/RD350, using parts and resources that are currently available. It seems like it's remarkably simple and straightforward process... and making a hybrid, street-legal version with the TR3 tank and seat could be very interesting... time to start saving sheckles...