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.
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!