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!