Joe wrote in with some nice things to say about the site, and to request I pass on some info about his R5 project for sale in South Carolina:
Do you know anyone willing to buy a project bike? I bought it for $300 and have only put about $50 into it... but I've had a fellow put $50 bucks down on it 6 weeks ago; but has never come back... So, I'll happily take $300 for it. I put on a front brake handle, and front right "original" turn signal lens, also carb floats.
I’d love to post it for sale on your site. I am in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I’ve had the bike in my yard for sale, and have had several bites… but no takers, yet.
Steve wrote in with some nice things to say about the site, as well as a really great story to tell:
Hello, I wanted to first thank you for your very inspirational site. I check here often. I wanted to share my story and my bike with you.
I'm 36 years old and my dad had this old 1971 Yamaha R5 almost since I was born. It was always an "old motorcycle" that I never paid much attention to. He rode it rarely. Although, I have some cherished memories on the back seat, leaned into the sissy bar enjoying the thrill only a 7-year-old could understand. (See the attached picture for a pic of me as a boy on the back with my dad.)
For the last 15 years, it mostly sat, dirty and rusting in my parent's garage. "When are you going to get rid of that leaky motorcycle" my mom would occasionally say.
One day my dad chimes in "I think I'm going to put the motorcycle at the curb, sell it for $50." Something went off inside me. I HAD to have the bike. I had never ridden a motorcycle, never cared about motorcycles. Certainly knew nothing about fixing one. But I had to have this piece of family history. My Dad gave it to me for free on the spot. The next week I picked it up on a trailer and hauled it 60 miles home to my house. It barely ran and looked tired. One cylinder was misfiring. One carb barely working. Exhaust so clogged-up it couldn't go over 40 mph. There was a thick layer of grime and oil on everything. Did I mention my dad NEVER washed it? Seriously, maybe a fender got wiped off now and then. But for the most part, road grime and oil coated every nook and cranny.
I got it home and immediately began tearing it apart and sorting every bit. Did I mention I have never taken apart or worked on a motorcycle before? I spent over a year, part-by-part restoring the Yamaha in my garage. Bought an old manual, but did most of it on instinct. I found amazing satisfaction in figuring things out as I went. The bike was an absolute dream to work on. I was never intimidated, and every restored part was gratifying beyond belief.
Somehow, it seemed the layer of grime had sealed in the bike pretty well. No major damage to fix. Only surface rust to deal with. Solid electrical and a very happy motor after a top-end rebuild. I learned all about taking carbs apart. I repainted the frame (with the engine still in, don't ask) and stripped and repainted the bodywork to match the original. I kept the bike as original as I could. Only replacing the stock bars and mirrors. I found a few loose parts like the badges on eBay. But for the most part, I kept her original. There wasn't a square inch on the bike that didn't get my attention to bring her as close to new looking as my meager budget would allow.
This is my baby now, I still putter with her in the summer and ride her when I can. Did I mention I have a Ducati Monster that has drawn my attention lately? But the Duc cannot compare to the old soul of this girl. Every so often I get my son on the back (see other picture) and hope he's enjoying it as much as I did. Now if only I could find a nice sissy bar.
Dave wrote in to share some pics and info about his build:
I ended up with this bike and two others from a friend who knew I wanted one of these things real bad. They were all parts bikes and for some reason each one had a part needed to make a complete bike.
This is the first time i have done a ground up but it was worth it, The R5 is a bike that will stand out in history as a Giant killer and I had to have one. I started this project in the winter of 2004 and had it completed in the summer of 2005 with the resources I had and have been working on it ever since. This is a rider and it will always be!
Currently I am putting a fresh top end on it so I will let you know how that works out.
A friend of ours is selling one of his bikes, a project Yamaha. Here is his description:
Runs great. 27,331 miles. Bought it as a project bike. Newly inspected until 10/2009. Standard Yamaha wheels were painted Yamaha Yellow and the rest is painted flat black. Added old clubman cafe bars. Seat was chopped and shorted to a single seater. Good tires. Older original cables, could use some updating.
The XS does have a slight electrical problem with a really dim headlight that will probably require a new regulator or charging unit. Headlamp brightens when revved at idle (stuff on XS websites to correct). Also electric start doesn't work. Kick starts in a few kicks. Bike sounds great and looks mean, fun to ride.
(There isn't any vintage Yamaha related info in this post, but I wanted to pass this on anyway... Chances are, if you dig old Japanese iron, you probably dig old British iron, too...)
Had the opportunity to borrow the documentary Brittown from my friend (and Bonnie rider) Brian this past weekend.
For those who haven't heard of it, this is a short synopsis from their website:
Brittown features legendary underground mechanic and Britbike connoisseur "Meatball" from the Hell On Wheels bike shop in Anaheim, CA as he eats, drinks, and sleeps British iron; using all his skill to transform an old 650 Triumph Bonneville motor into a barely-legal road racer.
Embracing the legacy of Steve McQueen, Meatball runs his old BSA in vintage motocross races, flies down the Willow Springs raceway on his Norstar, and conquers the So Cal freeways with the No Gooders motorcycle club while still finding time for his family and his rock band Smiling Face Down.
This movie wasn't what I expected at all. Far from some usual T and A biker flick or a long commercial featuring posers tinkering with stuff they really don't know about, these guys are the real deal: living, breathing, racing, and rocking out with British motorcycles.
The movie also has incredible production quality. It's funny, filled with interesting likable characters and good music, yet is quiet, genuine, even moving at times. It's very much a nod to On Any Sunday - but not a rehashing, rather one for this generation.
Unless they're fooling with me (it is the first of April after all), my bike has been crowned Bike of the Month for April 2008 on the newly renovated Yahoo! Yamaha R5 Group.
For the unaware, this Yahoo! group is populated with folks who are most knowledgeable in all things vintage Yamaha. Without their help many of the problems with and parts missing from my R5 would never have been sorted. I thank them very much!
Be sure to check them out, and to sign up if you haven't already!
Arte House is offering art prints as large scale murals, prints on canvas, as well as note cards, magnets and special signed editions from the image archive of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame.
The murals are particularly interesting, in that they can go up to 44"x60" in size!
Not too much Yamaha stuff, but a whole bunch of interesting vintage posters and racing photographs. Pictured above is Roberts Yamaha at the Laguna Seca GP, while below, Rob Morrison and Kenny Roberts battle it out.