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 rec.motorcycles:

> 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)