Tuesday, December 19, 2006

More RD350 Videos

Chris has been posting a lot of videos of his RD (from a few posts back) up on YouTube. You know how the kids love the YouTube these days! I really got to get some video of my bucket of bolts up on there... Anyways, here is a great video walkaround of the bike:

And here it is making that sweet two-stroke music:

And, finally, the moment you have all been waiting for - the burnout:

Monday, December 18, 2006


My friend Russ just sent over an interesting vehicle offered up for sale on eBay - a 1968 Velorex 16/350. This crazy Czechoslovakian wonder is powered by (you guessed it) a two-stroke 350cc motorcycle engine. Check out those body panels... made of vinyl! And check out the crazy tubular chassis (and motorcycle gas tank) with the vinyl removed:

Saturday, December 9, 2006

UK 2-Stroke Rally Footage

As per the poster:
The Aircooled RD Club's annual rally run out at Ashbourne UK July 2006. 125 plus bikes en masse on the road. Probably the biggest 2 stroke meet in the world.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Chris' RD350 Progress

Chris wrote to me back in October of 2005 showing me his newly acquired 1973 RD350 (see here for post and "before" pictures). Well, over a year has passed, and he's made quite a lot of progress on his machine. Let's see what he's done:

  • Newtronics ignition (I would recommend installing this, worth the money)
  • New Wiseco pistons (lucky that the stock bore just needed honing after finding that one of the lead counterweights let loose off of the crank and went whizzing through the rest of the motor)
  • Used crank from another R5 motor I purchased as scrap from local motorcycle shop (50 bucks! score)
  • Polished all the aluminum I could on the motor before re-installing
  • New stock seat cover (Ebay not cheap)
  • All new black paint job
  • New stock hand grips
  • Rebuilt carbs (found the piece you posted quite informative)
  • As the cold weather approaches, the next task to tackle is chrome spokes on some aluminum rims
I almost sold it on Ebay but, was able to feel out how much I could get for it. I couldn't bring myself to part with. Anyways, keep the website up. It seems that there is resurgence in popularity in these bikes.

I agree, there has been a resurgence in these bikes. They're cheap, simple, fun and good-looking. Good to see such interest in getting these guys back on the road, and in such good style as Chris' ride. Just take a look at this engine:

For those interested in the carb article that Chris mentioned, see my Mikuni tuning post here.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Entirely CNC-Machined Cycle

Another crazy O'Toole (no relation... ?) has just completed the RV100, a machine where all parts were designed on the computer, milled using a CNC machine, and where the only welds occur in the fuel tank:

The concept behind the bike is to eliminate the paradigm of the welded tubular frame. Welded tube frame are labor intensive, require expensive jigs and fixturing, and the quality of the weld is very much dependant on the quality of the welder. In contrast, the RV100 frame components are cut on a numerically controlled machine (CNC). This makes the production of parts very repeatable, and makes the production of unique parts routine.

Very, very interesting technique, and also pretty interesting to look at, even for a test mule.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Ebay find - Speedway Racer!

Spied this beaut up for auction on eBay. From the description:
Up for auction is a Jawa Speedway racer ! This is a alcohol burning 90 HP 500cc bike with no brakes! What a trip to ride! The bike is complete, runs and is very good condition with no damage . The tires are in very good condition. Study the pictures if interested, what you see is what you get.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Return of MV Agusta to racing in America

From MV Agusta USA:

The return of MV Agusta to racing in America is a reality. Using the F41000R in Superstock trim, Eraldo Ferracci brought the rudiments of his team and a pair of young riders to Jennings GP for a private two-day test using Pirelli tires on November 8 and 9, 2006.

Italian Superstock champion Luca Scassa (age 23) and American Matt Lynn (age 22) turned laps under mostly favorable conditions at the Florida track looking for basic setup information and a shakedown for the nearly stock motorcycles.

Scassa is well acquainted with the MV Agusta motorcycle and brought his suspension settings with him to an unfamiliar track. Lynn has raced at Jennings GP but started from scratch on a bike he had never seen or ridden. Both worked through the challenges diligently to arrive at a point where they could begin fine-tuning and offering feedback to keep the MV Agusta technicians heading in the direction of fielding a competitive machine for the US Superbike series.

By afternoon on the first day, both riders were already tantalizingly close to the track record of 1:15:444 of Canadian champion Pascal Picotte set earlier this spring at a joint test of all the Canadian Superbike teams. Just before lunch on day two, Scassa went 1:15.448 and Lynn 1:15.545 hand-timed.

Under sunny skies and with track temperatures climbing nicely, Scassa smashed the record in the mid-afternoon with a 1:14:81 and backed it up a lap later with a 1:14:85 on spec Pirelli tires identical to those used in the Canadian Superbike Championship. Lynn's best of 1:15.2 was also under the old track record and two seconds faster than he had ever been at Jennings GP.

Scassa said, "It's cool being in America, but for sure I came here to do a job and we did some good work. We have much more to do to make the MV Agusta into a superbike but the bike is good and work is OK for me. I'm excited to do this."

"I'm really excited," Lynn added. "We came here with a blank sheet of paper and went to work. It was a lot different from what I have been riding, but once we got the MV basically set up it was really fun. Eraldo knows what he's doing and what he wants. We just kept at it and that's what we need to do. I can't wait to ride it some more. It's fast!"

Ferracci will now travel to Italy to consult with the factory again, delivering information from the test and input from the riders and technicians. The next outing for the Fast by Ferracci MV Agusta F4 1000R will be at the Daytona tire test in December, after which the team will prepare in earnest for the 2007 AMA Superbike Championship.

For sponsorship inquiries, please e-mail mvracing@cagivausa.com.

Thursday, November 9, 2006


J.T. Nesbitt and former Confederate employee Dave Hargreaves have begun a new design company located in the French Quarter of New Orleans called Bienville, and they've got some conceptual work on display. Mostly hand-drawn, which I find interesting. Their QuadRacer concept is particularly appealling. Stop on by and check them out.

Monday, October 30, 2006

HVC has hard-to-find rubber spares

One of the problems my bike suffers from (and I'm sure many bikes of similar age) is rotting or missing rubber parts. Nothing major, mind you, but simple little things like the battery and airbox straps, bodywork bushings, and lever rubber - things that don't need to be there for the bike to function, but sure would help finish things up. Details.

Well, HVC is now carrying a whole bunch of hard-to-find spares. Here's a list of the things I'll be picking up in the near future:
  1. Right Side Cover Dampers (HVC20041) - mine are disintegrating
  2. Kick Start Rubber Cover (HVC20050) - mine are hardened, cracked, ugly
  3. Shift Lever Rubber (HVC20051) - current replacement is crap
  4. Seat Hinge Clevis Pins (HVC20056) - one fell out many miles ago
  5. Battery Strap (HVC20057) - never had one
  6. Center Stand Bumper (HVC20074) - never had one
  7. Neutral Switch (1L9-82540-00-00) - getting tough to find N
  8. Air Box Cover Strap (HVC200114) - disintegrated the first time I touched it

Glass From The Past updates, new products

I was pleasantly suprised when I visited Glass From The Past today and found a fresh new site. There's a bunch of new products, as well as a few galleries of customer bikes and nifty old adverts. Drop by and admire those slick cafe seats!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Nice R5C on eBay

There's an auction for a nice-looking R5-C on eBay right now... thought I'd pass it along...

Also, there's this beautiful cafe XS650 as well... have a gander.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Three Fast, Three Furious?

I watched The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift last night. I know, I know... but what can I say, I'm a motorhead, and anything like this interests me. Despite the bad acting, the movie was actually pretty good, better than the other two - that's for sure. Anyways, I digress.

For a movie supposedly set in Japan, you would think there would be some motorcycles around somewhere. There were a few scooters... and a few bicycles... but as far as I could tell, only one motorcycle. And it was a chopper with NOS bottles for fuel tanks. A chopper! In Japan! The only motorcycle! Wha?

I guess I was hoping to see a little more sportbike-sportscar crossover in this film... o well.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Lacing a Spoked Wheel

Instructables has a great step-by-step how-to on lacing wheels. Although the wheels in the example are from a Royal Enfield Bullet, the info within is still an excellent read. I've seen the motorcycle builds on TV and this process has always confused me. Check it out.

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Mikuni Super Tuning Guide

Just came across this handy manual on the Mikuni USA carburetor owner's and tuning manuals page. This downloadable and printable manual helped me understand the inner workings of my VM carbs. Below is the direct link to the relevant PDF:

VM "Round Slide" Tuning Manual (1.3 MB)

Thursday, September 21, 2006


I was challenged on Motortopia by a 1976 AMF Harley. We tied. It doesn't even run. Sheesh.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Lansdale Bike Night / Hotrod Hoedown

It's that time again... time for all the end-of-summer shows. Stuff coming up this weekend:
  • 11th Annual Lansdale Bike Night - September 9th, 5 - 11PM - the largest one-night bike event on the East Coast (aka Sturgis East)
  • 2006 Hotrod Hoedown - September 8th and 9th - Always a favorite. More jalopies than bikes, but the number of two-wheelers has been increasing every year.
Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend either of these events this year, as K and I are going to check out the Watkins Glen Vintage GP...

Monday, September 4, 2006

R5 at Rolex Vintage Festival

Just got back from the last leg of the MINI Takes The States cross-country rally, which terminated at the Rolex Vintage Festival at Lime Rock Park earlier today. Among the thousands of drool-inducing vehicular wonders, I found this incredibly original 1971 R5B being used as the pit-area runabout for the team that fielded this excellent 1940 Riley Special #5. The owner(s) weren't around at the time when I was snapping, so I didn't get to talk to anyone, but I thought I'd share here anyways:

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Metro Racing

My friend Brian forwarded me this link the other day. Metro Racing makes some great stuff, from T-shirts to restoration decals. There's a good bit of Yamaha kit on there too - check it out!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Confederate strikes again

Again, going a little off-topic, but this one is just too good to not post about. Confederate is back with a striking new design called the Renovatio:

Conceived by the leader of our conceptual design team, Mr. Ed Jacobs, the motorcycle is at once primitive, bohemian, and yet highly technical. She is skeletal, i.e. she showcases human crafts work. The machine is minimal ; using the fewest pieces, moving parts and systems to accomplish her dynamic mission. She is uncompromised, light weight, possesses enormous torque, is capable of extreme performance, yet has maximum real world streetable active safety. She is graceful in motion, yet potentially brutal. She exudes inner beauty through absolute follow through of truth of concept. She has great proportions, holistic brand gestalt, is original, impactful, alluring and elegant. The Driving concept was the creation of a conceptually flexible foundation to allow a place for growth and further iteration. A utilitarian modular flexible foundation.


Monday, August 21, 2006

MV Agusta Sets Bonneville Land Speed Record

I know this isn't really about Yamaha, or 2-strokes, or vintage bikes, but it's cool, and they're local. From a press release by MV Agusta USA, here in PA:
The 2007 MV Agusta F4-1000R raced across the salt flats during the 58th Annual Bonneville National Speedweek land speed trials (August 12-18, 2006) and into the Southern California Timing Association record books as the fastest production class 1000cc motorcycle in the world with an average combined speed of 185.882 MPH (299.148 KPH) and a highest single speed of 187.726 MPH (302.116 KPH).

A collaboration between Team Manager, Bob Leppan of TT Motorcycles, Rider Roosevelt ‘Rosey’ Lackey, Tuner Eraldo Ferracci of Fast By Ferracci Racing Products, Primary Sponsor, Gary Kohs, of Fine Art Models, and Matthew Stutzman, MV Agusta GM, the group focused their efforts on attaining the Land Speed Record for the 1000cc Production Engine / Production Frame (P-P) class previously set at 182.759 MPH. The 1000cc “P-P” record is particularly desirable as it based upon unmodified “showroom stock” production models available at any authorized dealer.

Throughout the qualifying runs, the F4-1000R showcased its renowned high speed stability while delivering a factory rated 174 HP and 81.8 ft./lb. of torque to the Utah Salt Flats, propelling the motorcycle unerringly to the very limits of traction and aerodynamics. Veteran rider Roosevelt 'Rosey' Lackey, who piloted the F4-1000R on its record run said that “the bike is so beautiful, it does everything you could want for it to do, with nothing ill at all in any way shape or form, no hiccups anywhere. I love that motorcycle just the way it is.”

The Bonneville effort is yet another step in the contemporary MV Agusta brand’s return to organized racing and complements emerging efforts in both Europe and the United States. Cagiva USA, Inc., the official North American importer of MV Agusta, has set its sights on AMA homologation for Superstock in 2007, and CEO Larry Ferracci notes that “with a performance like this at its Bonneville debut, the MV Agusta F4-1000R is proving to be the platform that will bring MV Agusta’s historic championship-winning success to US racetracks in the very near future.”

For more information and photographs, please contact Matthew Stutzman via e-mail at mvracing@cagivausa.com or by telephone at 215-830-3300 ext.160.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

In-Lock Security Device

UK designer John Wrightson has designed this brilliant security device for your bicycle or motorcycle:
In-Lock is a locking point for any Mountain Bike or Motorbike while at an outdoor event or camping. In-Lock's main aim is to deter any opportunist thief.

In-Lock works by having the pin screw into soft ground and it then cannot be pulled out. The hole in the main body of In-Lock allows a lock or chain of any shape or design to be used to secure a Mountain Bike or Motorbike of any make or model.

In lock is essentially a NI-CR-MO pin which runs right through an impact modified Polypropylene main body. The NI-CR-MO pin is the same material used on locks and chains currently used within many security products currently on the market. The polypropylene body alerts people that the Mountain bike or Motorbike is secured by the use of bright colour and provides extra protection to the pin.

Although this is just a design thesis, the idea is great, especially for use with lighter motorcycles like the R5 or RD, or dirtbikes. Sometimes there's just nothing to secure the bike, or you don't have a chain long enough to go around that pole or tree. This little device is ingenious and I hope to see it make it to production.

Via Coolhunter.

Monday, August 7, 2006

Motortopia Featured Bike

My R5 has recently been featured on the Bikes section of Motortopia (see previous post about the site). Here's their short writeup:
This really nice 1972 Yamaha R5C is owned by Motortopia member lotoole3. Be sure to check out his photo album, and the link to his weblog detailing the entire restoration.

Here are links to the Feature and to my R5 profile.

Thanks guys!

Friday, August 4, 2006

R5 Clay Model

Check out this great archive photo of a clay mockup of the (then unreleased) R5.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Puma Motorcycle Footwear

Puma, makers of all things hip for feet, have some pretty cool options for riders with their Brutale RR and 750 motorcycle boots:

Brutale RR (pictured above left) - With its motobike story PUMA sets a new benchmark in the world of motorsport footwear. Being a direct visual takedown of a specialist boot the Brutale RR reveals its heritage right away. Although a lifestyle product the boot offers enough soft protection to make you the coolest looking biker in town. $150.

750 (pictured above right) - Moto 1000 takes the next step with a '75 vintage racing collection. The 750 is a visual eye catcher. Full grain leather fingers on the medial forefoot are stylish and functional elements to highlight its motobike relation and to provide soft protection. Also available in Cactus Green. $150.

Saturday, July 29, 2006


Motortopia has launched - a cool, MySpace-like site for cars, bike, planes and boats. The site is really well-designed, and lets you upload photo albums, make friends and challenge other owners in style, performance and overall coolness. Check it out... there aren't a lot of bikes on there yet, so get posting!

My R5 can be found here:

Friday, July 28, 2006

Joys of Motorcycle Repair

I thought this article well-timed after having to stop twice on my last ride to switch out fouled plugs. The Kneeslider has a good article summing up why some of us are compelled to keep our ol' bucket of bolts running, and doing it ourselves:

Buying an old motorcycle may not make complete economic sense when some new or relatively recent bikes are available, but the promise of getting that old bike running again as it was designed to do and once did, hearing an engine that hasn't made a sound in decades come to life, you just can’t buy that kind of happiness.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

License Plate "Trunk"

While perusing the pages of Ebay, I struck upon this little gem. It's an auction for a nifty little polypropylene "trunk" that mounts between your license plate bracket and plate itself, and gives you a little lockable storage compartment for things like your wallet, insurance information, tire gauge, etc. Very clever. A great addition for us early Yamaha riders, as there's not a lot of space to store stuff on this bike. It looks generic enough to bolt to our license plate hangers, but I'm not sure.

Here's a link to the auction. I wasn't able to find a site selling them.

Note that it will NOT fit MD, OH, WI motorcycle license plates. Sorry guys!

Wednesday, July 5, 2006


It took a bit, but it's finally live! A complete overhaul, code-wise and graphics-wise. A few highlights of the new (and recent) functions:
  • New design - layout is much cleaner, more modern, easier to read
  • Site subscription - via RSS and/or email
  • New Lightbox feature - photos no longer go to a new page - click and see!
  • New Frappr Owner's Map Widget - newer, less wonky version
  • Site archives - not all posts are on the same page
  • Post commenting - leave feedback, suggestions, etc...
  • Site search
In the coming days I'll be tweaking the ad space as well as going though the links and photos to make sure everything is working. Everything might not be 100% yet... In the meantime, let me know what you think!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Slick Tank/Seat Combination

Cobra makes aftermarket parts for metric cruisers and Harleys. They also create show bikes. I'm not usually one for Harley customs, but the special all-in-one seat and tank on their "Trakker" showbike (above) really caught my attention.

I'd love a solution like this for the R5. An all-in-one gas tank, oil tank, battery holder, taillight, turnsignals, plateholder and seat. If the seat above were a little deeper, and had the standard cafe-racer-like bumstop bulge behind it, it would be spot on. Imagine it made of aluminum...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Some hard earned knowledge of the DS7

I came across this DS7 page while helping out Nate, who recently picked up a DS7. There's a good section at the bottom that offers some tips that could be of some use for later Yamaha 2-stroke riders:
Riding technique is important. If you are not in the power band (6000 rpm up), twisting the grip to full throttle is not useful, and actually just helps foul the plugs. Be very patient and wait, or shift gears, until the engine gets to at least 5000 before hitting wide open. Otherwise you are just dumping extra oil into the cylinders and ruining your plugs.

The mufflers are too restrictive even when absolutely clean. They rapidly strangle the machine as they plug up with oily soot. So you need to drill a couple of holes about one eighth or 3/16 of an inch in diameter in the end of each baffle so some exhaust gas can bypass the baffle. It's best to not drill in the chrome area, just beside the exit hole is OK. Then you have to keep the baffles pretty clean, and maybe make a scraping tool to clean them out without always having to remove them. A long screw was what I used. (about 10 inches) I used it kind of like a little rake to scrape out the baffle.

Metallic ash can foul the spark plugs. There are two sources of this, one is leaded gas, which you can't find any more so no worries there. The second source is the 2 stroke oil. Yamaha says use oil "BIA Certified for service TC-W" I don't even need to look that up, 20 years later it's still engraved in my memory. Actually, you sometimes can't find this stuff but what you are looking for is "Ash free" oil. You can check the label. The DS7 ran with lots of oil, and that what partly contributed to fouling but also made the engine last a long time under severe use.

More information and plenty of pictures here.

Stock Right Hand Mirror

After a few months of searching, I was finally able to locate a mount for the stock R5 right-hand mirror I picked up. It didn't quite fit, but with a little Loctite and some swearing I made it work. I can finally see behind me!

The stock left mirror that came with my bike is convex, so it gives me a greater viewing area on my passing side, while the right mirror is flat and just gives me a direct view of what's behind me. Nonetheless, it's already been a great help.

You can also view the mirrors in my R5 Flikr set.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Kneeslider strikes again!

Last week, the Kneeslider posted an article about the beauty of Ron Wood's dirt track motorcycles. There was mention in the article that no one was building these for the street. I posted in the comments that, with a little help from Moto Carrera, you can turn a Yamaha R5/RD350/400/RZ350 into a "street tracker", combining the sleekness of a dirt track racer with the practicality of a street-legal road bike.

So they then went a did a little write up about it. Thanks for the shout-out guys!

Thursday, June 8, 2006

What the heck is this?

Yet another interesting auction on eBay:


Gotta love the piston steering cap and hood ornament. And to think, it's one of twenty!

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Do we really need that much coverage of cars turning left?

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE sign this petition to increase the broadcast of non-NASCAR related programming on SPEED. There's so much more to motorsports than just 300+ miles of sponsor-stickered cars turning left. And a hundred shows about the process and drama of 300+ miles of sponsor-stickered cars turning left. And a hundred shows with people talking and analyzing the process and drama of 300+ miles of sponsor-stickered cars turning left.

I want to see more Superbike; More Dakar and WRC, instead of news clips; more F1, Champ Car, and other open wheel racing; coverage of marque-specific racing (Cooper Challenge, Spec Miatas, etc); more GrandAm, LeMans series stuff, BTC, DTM, V8 Supercar and other road racing; more shows like Victory By Design and Two Wheel Tuesday...

20364 signatures so far...

Monday, June 5, 2006

New! R5 Site Subscription Options

Hey everyone! More site updating!

After a few people wrote in about having some trouble with the old wonky subscription service for this site, and after listening to some glowing reviews of a new(er) service in action (on a podcast from the guys at White Roof Radio), I've aligned my blog with FeedBurner to bring you a new RSS subscription option. You'll see the new link in the sidebar, with a shiny orange icon next to it.

So... what's all this fancy RSS stuff, you ask? Well, it's an easy way to stay on top of what's going on here (and many other sites to which you can subscribe). Confused? Get a better handle on the whole RSS thing here.

If you'd rather not get into the whole newsreader thing, and you'd still like to subscribe, you can always sign up via email. Just enter your address is the field located below the RSS button in the "Subscribe" section of the sidebar, and that's it!

I hope this proves useful to you guys! If you have problems, let me know... I'll see if I can sort things out...

Sunday, June 4, 2006

Vintage Bike Auctions

Overheard on the Kneeslider:
The Estate of Barr Ashcraft
Over 50 Classic Motorcycles
Over 70 Antique Tractors
Over 170 Classic Cars and Trucks
Antiques and Home Contents
Everything will be sold to the highest bidder TWO DAY AUCTION JULY 6 and 7
Shutesbury Mass (North of Springfield)

Apparently, among the 50 bikes are Ariels, AJSs, BSAs, BMWs, Ducatis, Hondas, Moto-Guzzis, Laverdas, Matchlesses, Nortons, Royal Enfields, Suzukis, Triumphs, Velocettes, Yamahas, and others, as well as some basket cases, too. Visit the J. Wood and Company site for more info...

But if you'd rather just pick up a whole collection at once, check out this auction for an entire museum. For a listing of the collection, visit the MidAmerica Auctions site.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Rear Set Installation

Finally, here it is! The rearsets go on! I documented everything while doing it, getting the camera nice and oily in the process. I apologize for the picture quality, as the lighting in the garage is not studio-grade, and I was one-handing most of the shots!

Two Wheel Tuesday - Recap

The ne'er-do-wells of PRIMER did indeed attend this week's Two Wheel Tuesday at Abbaye... and we had a good time. Turns out everyone wound up knowing someone, and new friends were made.

A bunch of Ducatis and Triumphs were on hand, as well as some tasty Beemers (for the difference between Beemers and Bimmers, see here). It was all washed down with a glass of La Chouffe ($3 special!) and a big honking plate of fish and chips. After a little late summer night hooliganism on Kelly Drive (map), I retired a happy boy.

Anyways, we discovered the fine folks that put on this weekly shindig are none other than the Philadelphia Riders. These cats run the gamut, and the list of bikes represented is impressive. Check out their site, and look at some of the other events coming up. Chances are, PRIMER will be there!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Two Wheel Tuesday

In keeping with the good weather, the ne'er-do-wells of PRIMER (and some special guests) will be riding the bikes down to the Abbaye in the Northern Liberties for Two Wheel Tuesday, a weekly gathering of unique motorcycles. It's something we've been trying to get together for some time now. Finally, the weather, our schedules and my bike are all cooperating. See you there for some Yards?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Bend that Kickstart Lever!

Last night I went over to my friend Brian's house (fellow rider and business partner in PRIMER), where he graciously lent his vise, torch and shutterbugginess to my ongoing quest of mounting rearsets to the R5.

To recap, I got Raask rearsets for the R5 from friends for my 30th birthday. However, when mounted, the relocation of the rear brake lever impedes the full travel of the kickstart lever, meaning if I put 'em on I wouldn't be able to get the bike started easily. This required heating and bending the kickstart lever to clear the brake before mounting. I got a spare kickstart off Ebay a few weeks ago, and finally got the chance to start bending things into shape last night.

Here, Russ (in background, fellow Yammie rider and also a member of PRIMER), Brian and I take turns heating, bending, and swearing at the lever in Brian's basement workshop. It was quite fun, I must say. The process was well-documented by Brian himself:
Stay tuned... there's more to come on the saga of the R5 rearset install...

Monday, May 15, 2006

Cleaning up...

Some of you may have noticed things are changing a bit around here. I'm in the middle of redesigning this site. It's become less of a site about my personal bike and more of a site about R5s in general, plus due to it's age I think a freshening up and a good reorganization are in order.

Most importantly, I've switched to a archived posting system, so not every single post will be visible anymore, as in the past. You'll find the archives sorted by month at the bottom of the left-hand navigation bar.

Keep an eye out for more changes coming soon!

Saturday, April 29, 2006


Roland, a fellow reader (and R5 owner) from whom I just picked up that NOS right-hand mirror, is currently selling a member of his collection (shown above):
For Sale - 1973 Yamaha RD350, near completion, 90-95% restored. If ever you hear of a prospect buyer, I am asking 1200.00$CDN (950.00$US). Pics available.
Anyone interested (or know someone who might be)? Contact Roland with questions and pic requests.

Help find this ride a new home!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Moment of Zen

I know it's not a Yamaha, but just listen to this Honda RC174 replica...

Parts are coming in...

Finally got the right set of rearsets from Omar's. These were a gift for my 30th from my friends, just about all of whom ride. At first I had gotten the wrong set, but the right set (shown above loosely mocked up) has arrived.

It's amazing how light these things are. All major components are made from cast aluminum, and have lightening holes wherever possible. They look great!

I haven't mounted them to the bike yet, as doing so requires that I bend the kickstart lever. So until I can do that, the stock foot controls will have to stay. I picked up a used kickstart lever from Ebay so I can keep one in reserve for when/if it needs to be switched back. Or if I screw up bending it!

I tracked down and purchased a NOS right-hand mirror from Roland via the Yahoo! R5 Group. Finally I'll be able to see behind me completely! It just arrived, but I need a bracket to mount it, so I'll have to do more digging to scrounge one of those up.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


So after so much speculation as to what could possibly be wrong with my bike (condenser? points? coils?), it turns out that the battery was shot and wouldn't hold a charge. Mike over at Hiway Cycle was nice enough to fill up my new battery with acid and charge it up... and first kick she roared back to life!

Apparently, the ignition on the R5 relies completely on the battery for spark. So, a bad battery = poor spark. A good, fully charged battery should be able to run the bike for a few hours or so, with no lights on.

Anyways, looking forward to a nice long riding season.

Sunday, April 9, 2006

Great mail

Sorry, been a while... PRIMER has been keeping me busy...

But that hasn't stopped the mail from coming in... Just got this great message the other day, had to pass it on:
Dude, you're my hero! My first motorcycle was a 1969 Honda 90 purchased for $200 in the summer of 1973. I was 15 and full of piss and vinegar. A year later I sold the Honda and bought a 1973 R5C. When I bought it it had a sissy bar and ape hanger handle bars. I yanked those off right away and put a set of clubmans on. The kids at school kept asking me, "Isn't it hard to steer with those handlebars?" Anyway, your restoration looks just like my Yammie looked over thirty years ago. I'm inspired. I might just try a resto myself!
Sounds familiar! Glad I can help inspire - I say, get that bike back out there!

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Sweet NOS R5 Pin

It's not too often you see promotional stuff for a 34-year-old bike... so I thought it was kinda cool when I came across this Yamaha R5 lapel pin. Nifty, eh?

Transmission Fluid?

Sorry it's been a while since my last post - things have gotten busy around here...

Joe Hill wrote in with some excellent questions about the R5 transmission fluids:
The question I have is the transmission. Where should the fluid level be? Is there a way to drain the fluid and replace it? And what type of fluid does it take? I checked the trans fluid today, (the plastic cap and dipstick on the right side of the bike sitting on it) and it looked very low. I could see a gear. The guy I bought it off said that it was reciently changed, but other things he told me were done to the bike turned out to be false. I think it needs fluid but I don't know how much it holds or what type. I also need to know if there is an easy way to drain out what is in it to make sure the correct amount gets put in.

Well, Joe, I checked my trusty manual, but found nothing in the transmission sections, nor in the specs section listing capacities. I found it under the "Removing the Engine" section, of all places:

As you can (sorta) see in the photo, there is a single bolt in the underside casing of the transmission, just in front of the arm holding the driver footpegs around the exhaust pipes. This is the drain plug. Take it out to drain the tranny fluid.

The manual goes on to say:
- Warming up the engine will quicken draining the oil.
- The amount of oil is 1500cc (1.6 qts). Motor oil SAE 10W/30 should be used.

Seems pretty simple. At first I thought the perhaps the Autolube system was responsible for oiling the transmission as well, but since the specified oils are different, this cannot be the case. It must just be a self-contained oil bath, and it's probably a good idea to drain and replace anyway. After seeing this, I'll probably wind up doing this myself!

Hope that helps!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Rearsets! Rearsets!

For my Big-Three-Oh-Birthday-Bashtacular, my super-cool friends decided it would be best to mark my three centuries of non-stop-rocking this planet with some cool vintage rearsets for the R5! How freaking cool is that?

They haven't arrived yet, probably because there's not much demand for obscure early 70's Yamaha model rearsets at the moment... but I was awarded the instruction manual so I can drool over those puppies until they actually get here. Photos of said sets, installation and all their shiny, rear-set-y glory will be posted as it all goes down. Stay tuned...

Uber-special thanks to Brian, Michelle, Jim, Angela, Russ, Jessica, Lee and Jenna!

Monday, February 6, 2006

World's Fastest Indian T-shirt!

Paul Crowe from The Kneeslider just wrote to inform me that I'd won one of the shirts from their World's Fastest Indian-t-shirt giveaway... pretty swank! The shirt also has "I'm fast" emblazoned on the back. Excellent!

Thanks Paul! Keep up the good work over at The Kneeslider!